Pamela Bone writes the following article in the Age, the Australian publication, concerning womens rights (or lack thereof) in Islamic cultures.
Sargodha: A woman is in hospital after having both legs amputated because of severe injuries inflicted by her brother-in-law and mother-in-law, who clubbed her for her alleged illicit affairs. The woman, who was fighting for life, said the real reason was that her brother-in-law was trying to force her to arrange his marriage to her younger sister, but her sister had instead eloped with her paramour. - Dawn.
What chance of this woman becoming an international symbol, as has the boy who so tragically lost his arms during the invasion of Iraq?
Why is international public opinion not outraged at the treatment of women in Islamic fundamentalist societies? Why is it easier for millions of people around the world to see America as the great evil, rather than the countries in which governments ignore such horrific abuses of women?
No, the US didn't go into Iraq, or Afghanistan, to liberate women. Indeed, by the standards of the region Iraqi women were not badly oppressed - notwithstanding the hundreds who were executed by Saddam's son, Uday, for "dishonouring" their country (which meant speaking out about corruption in government). Nothing was done by Western governments to help the women of Afghanistan until Osama bin Laden became a threat. While South Africa was subjected to years of sanctions over the oppression of blacks, no sanctions are applied to countries because they condone or promote the oppression of women.
Yet if there is ever going to be a peaceful world there are few things more important than lifting the status of women. The hatreds of bin Laden and his kind will not be assuaged; but in general, fundamentalism wanes as prosperity increases. And as a United Nations report notes, a large part of the reason so many countries in the Middle East are overpopulated, economic basket cases is the repression of women.
I'll go a step further and state that more specifically, the more educated the female population of a country is, the more prosperous the country is altogether. Education for women in Islamic cultures is almost non-existent. In particular in Afghanistan, it wasn't until the US booted the Taliban out that women were allowed to return to schools. If women are allowed to attend universities and primary schools, they are more informed about their own health and well-being as well as having a chance to become something other than a pre-selected wife. I believe that this is a large reason for the misery and poverty inflicting many Islamic cultures. When you keep half of your population out of schools and the workforce, you are handicapping your country against the rest of the world. You are destined to fail if women are repressed in this way.
What is distressing to me is that many of the feminist movements in the US and other Western countries are on the wrong side of this debate. Not to say they don't support womens rights, but it appears that many of these groups are more concerned with condemning Bush and the administration rather than supporting other women in the countries we are liberating. How can any of these groups find more fault with Bush, who led the charge to liberate these countries from regimes that horribly oppressed women, than with the regimes themselves? If these feminists are as commited as they say they are, they would be protesting the fact that we haven't invaded Iran or Syria yet. Iran beat a female Canadian journalist to death last year and it barely made the news. But there was no shortage of news showing radical feminists protesting Bush and his evil imperialistic ways.
Does anyone else find this hypocritical?
It's really sad that these groups are protesting against a president who has liberated millions of women from repressive regimes. Somehow I find something wrong about this.
I understand that domestically, Bush has plenty of enemies in the abortion debate, as well as other womens issues. And I am pro-choice, so I agree with these arguments. But there is a bigger picture going on here. Bush will only be around for one or five more years, then we can debate about these subjects again ad infinitum in our open society. But there are people who want us dead or enslaved to Islam NOW, and these people are repressing the hell out of their women. I would think this would be more important.......................But what do I know anyways.....my Mom is only a lawyer......
Some further reading on the subject of Islam and women-
Islam and Women- an atheists perspective-
A Declaration of Women's Rights in Islamic Societies
Women's Movement in Islamic Countries