Tuesday, December 25, 2007

On hiatus till '08

Happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Update III: Rape in Saudi Arabia

Some good links about this on Crossroads Arabia.

Update II: Rape in Saudi Arabia

Interesting column by Anne Applebaum in the Washington Post. According to her, we need some kind of new Elizabeth Cady Stanton to take on countries like Saudi Arabia where women are treated poorly.

Analysis: For the most part I agree with her. Women in SA are second class citizens and something should be done about it. She claims that American feminists tend to be wary of criticizing non-Western cultures, and they shouldn't, they should go for it. That point is where I'm torn. Saudi Arabia is an extreme example of women's rights being denied. And no, it's not part of Islam. There are some differences set aside, and women are supposed to dress modestly, but they don't have to completely cover themselves like in Saudi Arabia. But where do we draw the line between what it wrong and what it someone else's culture? We need to be very careful here. In the US, naked photos of a girl under the age of 18 are child pornography. In Germany, it's under 17. They even have a magazine called 17 (but in German) that features all 17-year-old girls. How many people in the US would stand for that happening here? How many would allow women to go topless on the beach? I mean, they're only breasts, what's the big deal? [Look how many women have trouble breast-feeding in public!] How many would allow a morning talk show host to have her pubic hair waxed on camera? Who gets to decide what is right?

One thing that isn't talked about much is that not all women want to be "saved." When the Shah of Iran issued a ban on wearing the chador, many women (especially elderly women) didn't want to leave their homes because they felt naked. I'm not saying that every Saudi woman feels that way, but there are some who do. For those who don't, who want equality, and the ability to drive, and the right to not wear a long black covering: they have to bear the brunt of this. And some of them are. They've had "drive-ins" where a group of women got together and they all drove their cars around. I feel that we should support them and help them. But I'm not sure we can force SA to change. While racism has taken some very violent forms, gender issues are more entrenched. Even in America.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Update: Rape in Saudi Arabia

The king has pardoned the women who was raped. Apparently it's not unusual to issue some pardons for Eid al-Adha, but this was done early. And not everyone is happy. Some people are accusing the king of caving in to Western pressure. Seems like you just can't please everyone.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Brits in Basra

Two articles from the BBC: Basra resident blame UK troops and Basra's new era brings new fears.

Analysis: The Brits have slowly been pulling out of Basra, in southeast Iraq. And in September they moved out of the city and into an army base. They're getting ready to downsize even more. It will be interesting to see what happens. Will the violence decrease if the "insurgents" have fewer "invaders" to fight? Will "sectarian violence" increase as they fight each other? Southeast Iraq is mostly Shi'ite and contains the holiest Shi'ite shrines. And Basra has historically been an important city. It's ironic that during World War I, the British invaded Iraq and started by taking over Basra. After WWI, they did not have an easy time in Iraq. It's a pity we didn't learn more from that.

Al-Qa'ida Speaks

The BBC has an article about the latest statement from Zawahiri, on the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks in the US. I found this section interesting:
Previous messages attributed to Zawahiri have urged Muslims to unite in global jihad - holy struggle - and for the governments of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to be overthrown.

Hmmmmm. Overthrowing: a country where the president is basically a dictator because the press is censored and there are no truly free elections; a country with an old-fashioned monarchy that denies basic rights to many of its citizens and is a hotbed of religious fomentation; a country run by a military dictator that contains some of the heartland of al-Qa'ida. That almost makes sense. Wait, I didn't say that. They might put me in Gitmo for agreeing with a terrorist! I guess I'll have to wait until Bush comes to the same conclusion. Except that he won't because those are our buddies. We don't care if you're a democracy or a brutal dictator, as long as you're our buddy. But if you're not our buddy, we'll invade your ass and install democracy (even if you already have it)!

(Yes, the Gator is feeling a might testy today.)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

More Problems for Women

The Guardian has a really good article on the problems and violence facing women living in Iraq. One of these problems is honor killings. See my post on honor killings too.

Muslim Helps Jews in NY Attack

It's always nice to hear about interfaith cooperation. Too bad the Christians involved were the bad guys. A group of them were wishing people Merry Christmas, so a few Jews wished them Happy Hanukkah, at which point the Jews were attacked by the Christmas-wishers. A Muslim nearby helped the Jews fight off the Christian attackers.

Analysis: I personally have no problem with Christmas as a holiday for several reasons. First of all, it is traditional for most of America. Secondly, it's not even Christian. Every time I see those "Remember the Reason for the Season" signs I think: pagan solstice celebrations and Germanic tree reverence. So I don't have a problem with Christmas. I do have a problem with the people talking about the "War on Christmas." Yes, there are people in this country who are NOT Christian and have their own holidays. Hanukkah and Kwanzaa spring to mind as holidays that take place around Christmas. So what the hell is wrong with wishing someone Happy Holidays? I don't think you should be forced to use Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas, but especially if you know someone is not Christian, maybe you should use that instead. Save the Merry Christmases for Christians. How many of these people upset with a "War on Christmas" would be extremely offended to be wished a Happy Kwanzaa? But it's okay if they do it? I don't have a problem with churches putting up trees and nativity scenes. But I think government offices should stick to trees and wreaths. The Nativity IS blatantly religious and Christian. So leave that to non-governmental groups. If you own a company and want to put up a nativity scene, then go for it. You have that right. But we have something in this country called "separation of church and state." If a city decides to put up Christian symbols for a holiday, then what about Jewish holidays, or Muslim holidays, or Hindu or Buddhist or whatever? So my final answer is: nativity scene = religious, tree/wreath/candles = not religious. We may not be a Christian nation, but we are a Christmas nation.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Rape: Pissed off Gator

There have been several posts on rape recently. In my last post I mentioned how I was upset about the hypocrisy in America over rape victims. Little did I know that my words were prophetic. A woman named Jamie Leigh Jones did an interview with ABC claiming that as a contractor in Iraq she was raped by some of her fellow contractors. In researching this article, I found a link on a conservative blog (Jawa Report) about the event. What really disturbed me were the comments about the alleged rape. Here's a quote from Jawa:

"But combine gang rape + cover up + corporate malfeasance + political intrigue and you have the perfect story." and "It's perfect. Too perfect. The kind of story the Left can rally around."

And some comments that were posted to Jawa:

"It sounds like something Michael Moore would dream up if he made movies for Lifetime. It doesn't look right."

"Amazing how this has gotten no coverage till now..I question the timing....A made to order story to fill the gap of bad news from Iraq." ('...' are from original post)

"gold digging trollop"

"On her website she admits she is a slut."

"We have a lot of people REALLY wacky people on the loony left, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find one motivated enough to go through all the hassle of going to Iraq just to give grounds for such an accusation. It will be interesting to find out what groups she was involved with in college. If it turns out that any of them are leftist/democratic-party affiliated, then I’ll bet my life savings that the accusation was planned out before she ever left the states."

"the only story about this alleged incident has come from the tart and her lawyers"

So if a woman is raped in Saudi Arabia, and given lashes because she was committing an illegal act at the time, then this woman is a victim. If an American woman is raped by contractors for KBR, then she's a lying whore? I agree that not all the evidence is in yet, but so far it looks like she's telling the truth. I guess that white men don't rape women, only those sex-crazed Arabs rape women. Oh wait, I believe that's "sex-crazed black men" - there I go, mixing my stereotypes again.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

More Rape

ABC's 20/20 showed a segment Friday night about a French boy (age 15) who was raped in Dubai. When he went to the police he was accused of being a homosexual and consenting to the attack.

Analysis: Again, this does not surprise me. See my topic More Sex in the Middle East about honor killings. There have been honor killings when a woman (a virgin) is raped. Even though it's not her fault, she is seen as having lost her honor. For the police in Dubai, it was probably easier to believe that this boy was a homosexual than to prosecute his rape. There will probably be a horrified outcry from the West, which I agree with. But I would like to bring up some of the hypocrisy that goes on as well. How many women who are raped go to the rape trial and end up being asked what they were wearing or how they acted to incite the rapist? I think it has decreased as time goes on, but I remember this being a really big deal in the 1970s and 1980s - that the rape victim was basically on trial. It greatly annoys me when I see people in the US complaining about those horrible Muslims, when they are guilty of similar acts.