Politics



Western feminists are NOT silent

Francesca Tronetti, MA Anthropology, Women & Gender Studies

Doctoral Student in Philosophy and Religion at CIIS

While flipping through YouTube videos I came across a segment of the Michael Coren show from May 25th of this year in which he and Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch discussed Amina Filali, a young Moroccan girl who committed suicide after being married to her rapist for a year.  The marriage was ordered by a judge, a practice which is common in Islamic states if the woman is not killed to redeem the family’s honor.

During the show Spencer said, “We’re absolutely immured to this, the human rights organizations don’t care, the Western feminists don’t care… The Western feminists are really incredible about it.  You see all these feminists who are very quick to criticize Christianity, criticize Judeo-Christian values, criticize the West, the United States and Canada and Europe for its alleged mistreatment of women.  But when you come to Islam then they suddenly start making excuses and they say women who are wearing burqas and are essentially slaves of their husbands, well their happy and it’s ok.  And it seems clear that the idea of multi-culturalism trumps feminism.”  Now I had several problems with this segment besides the fact that it only involved two white Western men discussing women in the Middle East.

The idea that Western feminists are passive and forgiving on this issue, that we make excuses and allow women to be subjugated because of multicultural indoctrination, i.e. liberalism, is ludicrous.  No woman who heard that story would say to themselves, ‘well it’s their culture so it’s alright.’  In Western culture we had similar practices; though these practices were typically not part of the legal code, instead they were just how things worked.  Western feminists, even non-feminists are outraged when women and girls are treated in this manner, not even as second-class citizens but as third-class creatures.  I suppose since women did not gather together and march through Washington on national television that Mr.’s Spencer and Coren assume we do not care.

Feminists, male and female do care; but we pick which battles we will make public and which we will keep in secret.  Feminists work behind the scenes in global groups to support women.  Yes, there are well publicized letter writing campaigns to free rape victims from being sentenced to prison for adultery.  But, there is more subtle support such as fundraisers to donate money and resources to women’s groups in Islamic states to create schools, legal defense funds, clinics, and a network of safe houses and embassy staff to help women leave these countries.  Women in Great Britain pushed for the creation of the Forced Marriage Unit, a police unit which intercedes on behalf of women and girls who are being forced into marriage to men outside the country, or are already in an abusive forced marriage and protects their rights as human beings.  Feminist groups in the United States and Canada work within their local communities to make police and social services aware of the plight of women and girls in forced marriages and help to keep girls in the West from being shipped off the marry strange men in Islamic countries where they will have no rights in court, no protection from abuse, and no support system to help them.

Consider the case of Bibi Aisha, an Afghan girl of 12 who was married to a Taliban fighter to settle her father’s debts.  After she attempted to flee his family’s home she was taken before the courts and for dishonoring her husband he was allowed to cut off her nose and ears, while his brother held her down and leave her to die.  The members of her husband’s family would not help her, her own uncle turned her away. Finally a member of her family took her to a non-Afghan hospital to save her life.  A hospital run by a U.S. Army medical unit.  The doctors and nurses there saved her life, taught her some English and with the help of the organization Women for Afghan Women Bibi came to the United States, underwent surgery to have a permanent prosthetic nose and became a symbol of the treatment of women in Afghanistan.  Feminists who support groups like Women for Afghan Women and Women Living Under Muslim Law are supporting protections for women in Islamic states.

It simply is not feasible for Western feminists to try to force a change in the status of women in Islamic states.  These are not states in which majority rule will decide law.  These are states in which a specific interpretation of the Holy Quran has given men complete and total power over women.  A state in which a man can rape a woman or young girl without repercussions, where a father can sell a daughter to settle his debts, and where a feud between families does not have to be settle by the men fighting but instead by one group of men raping a woman from the other group.  Those in power believe they are right in the eyes of God and no amount of public outcry or petitions by Western women will change their beliefs.

But do no mistake the quietness of feminists for acceptance.  We are working to change things for women in Islamic states.  We provide money and support for schools for girls, for lawyers to help child brides out of arranged marriages and when specific cases of barbaric treatment of women hit the news we have even forced the king of Saudi   Arabia to pardon a rape victim.  We publish the biographies of women who have escaped these countries, we make it known how the women are treated in these countries, and we make it known to our own leaders what we will and will not tolerate when it comes to dealing with the countries.  But mostly, we have Muslim and Middle Eastern women take the lead on the work in their countries, because they understand better than any well read anthropologist what the true situation is and how to combat it.  Western feminists work from behind the scenes, not pushing our immediate agenda for total equality overnight because we know that is not going to happen.  Instead, we support our feminist brothers and sisters around the world in a variety of ways, and work to change the lives of Muslim women in our own countries because we know our laws and we know which buttons to push with our governments.

Michael Coren clip: “Michael Coren & Robert Spencer On The Suicide Of Amina Filali” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lb1FWUPCIgI

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As 2012 approaches with all the predictions of “the end of the world” what is actually happening is a literal war between two radically different approaches to how human beings organize themselves.  We are seeing this played out all around the world right now and in the political battles between the far right and the far left in America.

The hallmark of civilization from the very beginning has always been the pooling of resources to free up time and the natural creativity of members of society.  To allow for the care of the young, the sick and the handicaped and the old.  Not to do so is the basest level of human existence and the opposite of civilization.  The clear message of the far right in America is this:  we can no longer afford to take care of the young, the old, the sick and the handicap.  That message is one of “rugged individualism” taken to the level of “dog eat dog” and is the natural endgame of corporate thinking capitalism gone wild.

As the progression of the ages switches from Pisces to Aquarius so the basic premise of overall gestalt is changing.  The age of Pisces was the age of the Abrahamic religions, most notably Christianity and the advent of Christianity destroyed the Roman empire with the loss of respect of diversity and plunged the Western World into the Dark Ages.

This is a spiritual war.  The Abrahamic faiths teach of a father god who sits in judgment of all we do, rigs the game to favour his “chosen” who can do any damn thing they want as long as they eventually repent.  It teaches that the world exists only for the exploitation by those chosen people, that those who disagree have no actual rights and if you fail to prosper that is a reflection of the flaws within yourself and you are getting what you deserve.

Goddess consciousness is the exact opposite.  It is embodied with the concept that all of us are in this together, that we are to take care of each other and in the supreme irony, we are the keepers of our brothers and keepers.  The teachings of Jesus were consistent with Goddess consciousness, the practice of christianity are not.  Goddess consciousness is being connected to the earth, the universe and the idea that we are the Divine ourselves, all of us and all around us and that we can aspire to reflect that in our lives and how we interact with the world.  It is the basic understanding of ecology, the value of diversity in the world including all the other animals we share our planet with.  It is a world view of responsibility rather than a twisted social Darwinism.

America is choosing right now which philosophy will dominate the next phase of it’s history.  Which way do you wish to go?  Chose wisely.


Every woman in the western world grows up with the sexual double standards but this is getting beyond ridiculous, it’s now downright dangerous.  Boehner is going to be in the immediate line of presidential succession.  If Nancy Pelosi had ever shown 1/100th of the emotion this guy does she would have been removed from office and I think everyone knows this.  Boehner cries as easily as a transgender crossdresser newly on estrogen to grow a set of titties and potentially his finger may be on the nuke button!

I am personally beyond fed up with the deliberate stupid blindness of the tea baggers and the right.  When Bush was president it was screamed to be treason to oppose him in any fashion because he was a “war time president”.  People I knew got Secret Service visits for merely openly joking about him. Excuse me, we are still at war on two fronts.  Obama is a war time president so by the reasoning of the right every Repugican in the Senate and most in the House are out and out traitors.  They openly espouse Fascism such as total censorship of a free press and much else of the actual Constitution not to mention a “police state”.  They all violate their oath of office. They have blocked funding of the entire military of our country as well as opposed legislation that extended GI rights.  The repugican Senators ALL voted against medical aid for 911 first responders! They have openly stated they will sacrifice everyone in the US to oppose the President…..you cannot separate the office from the man.  If it was treasonous to oppose Bush and Chaney, this is beyond treason by their own rules.  By any reasonable standard of behaviour the Repugicans have shown they are anti-American, anti support for the troops and at the very least owe royalties payments on their past shameless use of 911 for political hay while they clearly don’t actually give a damn about those who actually responded.

We ceased to be a nation of laws when the Supremes overthrew the election in Bush v Gore.  Since then our country has been an outlaw nation internationally, one that engages in torture, colonial invasions of sovereign nations absent the internationally recognized provocation.  That is now enshrined as the “Bush Doctrine” which, if applied on a personal level, would give me the right to shoot any Christian fundie as a potential threat to me personally.  Just how do you think that would work out for me in court?

America as a nation of laws and example to the world has ended.  There is one way to restore it and one way only.  Rupert Murdock, the entire Faux News crew and every single republican Senator needs to be immediately arrested.  Bush, Chaney and company need to be arrested and turned over the International Courts.  Impeach every member of the Supreme Court still on the court for treasonous overthrow of the legitimate government of the USA that voted yes on Bush v Gore. Do this and maybe the rest of the world might believe us again.  Fail to do so and we remain a rouge nation armed to the teeth and an eminent danger to the rest of the world.  If it was any country but America, we ourselves would be screaming bloody blue murder.  I am not talking revolution here but rather a restoration of law.

I’m fed up with the double standards.  It is beyond fair to hold others to the ethics they espouse for others so round them up, put them on trial and start the investigations with the question “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Republican Party?”

And Boehner?  Get him the hell out of the line of Presidential succession quickly, we cannot afford to have someone with zero control of his emotions in that position of power.  Women in American politics are not allowed to show any outright emotion, let us replace these crying game men with real women!   Crone women past menopause, not the nutjob right wing “manpants” , “I’m not a witch”, fish bashing, not staying full term in office, death panel nutjobs and traitors to the sex you find on the right.


Since the early days of the Bush Administration and in particular after the attacks of 9-11 I and others I communicate privately with about spiritual matters have noticed a number of gestalt shifts or reality realignments.  The America of today bears almost no resemblance to the one I grew up in.  For all it’s faults, and there were plenty, the America of my youth still stood for things, good things and the attitude of the average American, if not our government, was one of basic fairness and individual rights.  Oh we had to fight for those individual rights but always with a sense that eventually we would prevail precisely because of the basic instincts of the average American towards fair play and equal opportunity.

The downfall of Richard Nixon energized us with a sense that even those at the top were accountable for misdeeds which was uniquely American.  The change started with Reagan.  It’s a historical fact that the Iran-countra scandal cost Carter the election.  That the neo-neo-cons, mostly holdovers from the Nixon administration, brokered a complex deal that kept the Iran hostages from being released until after the election.  Reagan, the godfather of modern conservatism, then proceeded to explode the national debt to a level that almost was three times anything done in the past…..and was never called out on it.  Bush the elder then came up with trickle down economics or the rich pissing on the heads of the poor and telling them it was raining.  This has been the hallmark of “conservative” economics ever since in a twisted version of the a reverse of the “American dream” which was rapidly becoming the American nightmare if you were lower middle class or Goddess help you, poor. The military industrial complex that Ike warned about when he left office was now basically in full control.  Every political shift from this point on was hard to the right moving the the centre with it.  Workers were no longer participants in the economy as much as replaceable worker drones, unions busted, actual collective bargaining returned to being “communist” in the public mind.

I’ve long said that Clinton was the last actual republican president.  In terms of what the republicans were back in the sixties this is a completely accurate statement.  He actually balanced the national budget, something long thought to be impossible by most economists.  No matter what you might think about him based on the unending attacks on him from the right during his entire presidency, he was a true fiscal conservative.  The right, however, demanded revenge for Nixon and they are still in this mode.  Damn the country, screw the military, the hell with the poor, they demanded never ending revenge for Nixon’s resignation against any Democrat in office.  And they did this waving the flag and branding anyone that opposed them as traitors to the country.  Fox news came into existence during the Clinton administration.  Every last shred of anything America actually stood for ended with the battle for Florida during the Bush – Gore election.  Fox news declared Bush the winner long before the actual news organizations would make a call and those actual news organizations, unaware that Fox did not play by the rules of journalism, followed and set the stage for the Bush v Gore decision by the Supremes.  At that exact moment America ceased to have a legitimate Constitutional government of law.  Make no mistake, history will eventally record that was an overthrow of the American form of government that ended the American experiment.  Everything that has followed has been the systematic destruction of all that made America American.