Feminist Friday: The Haps
Posted February 18, 2011on:
Beaucoup de feminist news this week, all. I will try to do it justice, although it won’t be Shakespeare!
First on many minds is the brutal rape and beating of journalist Lara Logan, which has shaken so many of us to the core. I hope you have all read Sky Dancing on this topic, here and here. I don’t have too much to add to those excellent posts, but I must say that I think that it is ludicrous to talk about the violence as though Ms. Logan’s being in Egypt had nothing to do with it. Why are Egyptians so politically protected when it comes to their heinous policies towards women? If what happened to Logan had happened anywhere else – say, in America – we would surely be discussing how shameful it is that our country still permits this type of gender-based violence. For example, when Gabrielle Giffords was shot and the other victims killed or wounded, America’s gun-lovin’ culture was dissected to the nth degree. Why can’t we do the same to Egypt?
Remember when, in Obama’s Cairo speech, he gave women’s rights the most feeble and poisonous hat tip I’ve heard from a Democratic President?
Moreover, freedom in America is indivisible from the freedom to practice one’s religion. That is why there is a mosque in every state in our union, and over 1,200 mosques within our borders. That’s why the United States government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab and to punish those who would deny it. (Applause.)
That was the only time Obama mentioned women’s rights in his speech, and all he talked about was their right to participate in their own oppression. Sadly, the President lacked the courage (or the desire) to state the truth about what women really go through in Egypt. For example, this article explains the Egyptians’ “ancient” attitudes towards rape. Although the title is hopeful, it’s difficult to see why:
Hend [an 11-year-old girl who later became pregnant] is one of 20,000 women or girls raped every year, according to Egypt’s Interior Ministry, a figure which implies that an average of about 55 women are raped every day. However, owing to the fear of social disgrace, victims are reluctant to report cases, and experts say the number may be much higher.
“If the Ministry of the Interior gets 20,000 then you should multiply it by 10,” said Engy Ghozlan of the Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights (ECWR) anti-harassment campaign. It’s hard to tell [exactly how many women are raped] because there aren’t a lot of statistics. Most people won’t come out and say it happened because culturally it is not accepted.”
Rape statistics are notoriously problematic, partly because there is no precise, universally agreed definition of the crime of rape. In Egypt, for example, spousal rape is not illegal. “The law prohibits non-spousal rape and punishment ranges from three years to life imprisonment; however, spousal rape is not illegal,” says a US State Department country report for Egypt dated March 2006.
To say nothing of honor killings, in which (of course) the raped woman is killed for her “lack of honor.” After all, the “bitch wanted it,” right?
Rape is also a problem within many families. This is especially so in more traditional parts of Egypt, Rania said, where “honour killings” may take place to redeem the family of the rape victim. In some areas of southern Egypt, the perpetrator is often a family member, perhaps an uncle, and blame is often shifted to the victim, she said.
“There are problems of honour. Sometimes a brother or cousin may kill her, saying ‘you wanted this, you encouraged this, you’re not honourable, and what is that you are wearing’?… Of course it’s not her fault, but who are you going to tell that to? The girl or society?”
“Honour crimes” are not technically illegal in Egypt, according to the US country report for Egypt mentioned above.
Lest you think that the article above is no longer relevant because it’s from 2008, the website Stop Honour Killings has a story from September of 2010, in which the claim is made that honor killings are on the rise in Egypt.
I’m no politician or pundit, but I sincerely believe that it is impossible to discuss what happened to Lara Logan honestly without giving the context in which it happened. If that is “racist,” then please remember that I am also “prejudiced” against male (and female) fundiegelicals of all skin colors who want to take my civil rights away. Man, I just don’t like anyone, do I?
Well, I kinda like Planned Parenthood right now. Faced with a House Bill which aims to strip all funding from the clinics run by the organization (which provide all kinds of reproductive health services, including prenatal care), the people at Planned Parenthood New York are planning a rally on February 26th. (The national organization needs to catch up – they’re still in “Call Congress” mode.)
Let me know in comments if you want to go – I have to work in the morning, but could possibly get to the rally on time if I rush. Here’s hoping that more and more women will get their feet on the street, like our friends in Wisconsin and Ohio who are fighting back on union-busting plans by their Repub governors. Not the Democratic governors don’t do the same…like here in New York, where the union bosses are even now preparing to cave to our Democratic Governor’s demands for massive cuts to public sector spending. Let’s hope Noo Yorkaz get inspired by the actions of our midwestern cousins, and that Planned Parenthood gets inspired by its New York chapter’s activism.
And finally, some IACF! (It’s All Clinton’s Fault!) for your reading pleasure. I apologize, but I simply had to share a ridiculous email from the people at War is a Crime. I do think they have done some very good work, but I was flabbergasted to see the utter cluelessness of one of the heroes of this group, Ray McGovern. The subject of the email was “Hillary’s Hypocrisy.” The first part was very sad, and they seemed to be making a good point – that during the Secretary of State’s speech about freedom of expression, Mr. McGovern turned his back, and for this “outrage,” was roughly hauled away in handcuffs by the police. The man had bruises and was bleeding by the time he was thrown in jail. I thought, “You know what, she should have done something. Maybe I’ll give her a call and tell her so.”
Then I read this:
Ray told Rob Kall at OpEdNews what he had been protesting by standing silently with his back turned:
“Hillary is the driving force, together with a few others, behind the wars in Afghanistan. She’s one of the big hawks in Iran. When I look at her and her husband that they don’t know the first thing about war. I do and so do my fellow Veterans for Peace. I have to make clear that we Veterans for Peace think that her policies are an abomination to the nation, that they are at cross purposes to the country and not everybody should applaud and give her the idea that she’s doing the right thing.”
I’m sorry, but this man is way off-base.
If he’s a Veteran for Peace, you’d think he’d appreciate the Clinton Administration, in which not one American died in a foreign war. If he’s a guy who “knows about” war, he should know who is the driving force behind Afghanistan. Here’s a hint: The guy’s name starts with a Barack, and ends with an Obama. His title is “Commander in Chief,” not “Secretary of State.” You know, the guy who said over and over again that he was going to “surge” in Afghanistan if and when he became President. How in the name of all that is holy can McGovern still think Obama is not responsible for his own policies? Maybe a video will help.
It gets worse. Here is the real heart of the matter for McGovern. The poor soul is still stuck in the hypnotic trance-state of 2008, believing the zombie lie that will not die. He continues:
“The height of irony, of course, is that was her tragic flaw that let Obama beat her. She supported the war and Obama didn’t. She is the height of hypocrisy. When people die because we have hypocrites at the top of our government, that compels me to make a statement in whatever way I can. It was not the theme of her speech that I was protesting. It was her war policies and support of Mubarak.”
Oh. My. Guh. Does this guy actually believe that Obama didn’t support the war in Iraq? Because he made one speech? Hey, Ray, whaddaya say about this one? I know it’s from Fox News, but the rest of the media was too busy licking Obama’s ass in 2008 to pay attention to his lies.
Yes, McGovern is right. People are dying because there is a hypocrite at the top of our government. His name is Barack Obama, he who promised to end the war in Iraq and hasn’t, who promised to surge in Afghanistan and has, who’s gleefully accepted the Nobel Peace Prize while killing civilians at will in both those arenas, as well as using drones to attack weddings in Pock-ee-ston. Until well-intentioned people like Mr. McGovern finally grok that Obama is not their friend, they will never make a dent in the military-industrial complex. And they are the hypocrites to blame Hillary for Obama’s actions, yet refuse to call out Obama. Where’s my email entitled “Obama’s Lies on Abortion and Choice?” I think I hear the sound of crickets.
I wonder if they know something we don’t about Hillary 2012? I have to say, the reappearance of this 2008 meme – that Hillary is a war hawk and Obama is a dove – is verrrrrry interesting. Are “progressives” running scared at the prospect of Obama and Hillary squaring off for a second time in 2012? And if so, why?
This is an open thread.
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