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How bad Is it? ~ Skirting the Truth at Cairo, Telling it in America, Turned Down at Brown, Left to Tell after Rwanda

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I was told to shorten my titles.  This was the original:

In Cairo, Obama Delicately Skirts the Issue of Islamic Violence Towards Women, but Chesler (Honor Killings), LetsGetHonest (DV and Christianity), Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Infidel), Nonie Darwish (They Call Me Infidel), Immaculee Ilibagiza (Left to Tell, 91 days in a Rwandan bathroom) shoot from the hip on the dangers of ANY pride/shame/hate-based culture

 

Note:  Of the above “notables” obviously President Obama’s OFFICE outranks the rest of us, but I’ve put 4 famous female voices (& mine) to 2 male to underscore, well, who and what the others have downplayed

Note:  LetsGetHonest’s voice here doesn’t mean she considers herself on a par with these feminist &/or COURAGEOUS for Truth women, but that my experience resonates to elements of their voices.  I have many role models, but these are among them, particularly Imaculee with her faith and Dr. Chesler with her decades of feminist writing & reporting, including on some matters regarding the courts.  
The two “Infidel” Books (“Infidel” and “They Call Me Infidel”) describes aspects of polygamy which  – – strangely — spoke the inbred emotional truth of my own family line, in ganging up against a grown, literate mother to (try and!) teach a lesson about authority, and the punishment being removal of children and “excommunication.”  (and my family line identifies itself, with apparent pride, as NOT believing in God, this is for supposedly inferior intellects and emotionally weak individuals).  

[Have been told to shorten the posts, too, not just the titles.  Working on it!]

 This post, July 2 (2 days before “Independence Day” USA)  had been on hold. Unlike several women featured here, I added my voice to theirs, telling it like it is, then self-censored out of fear:  I felt MY contribution was too radical, too out-spoken, and too indignant.

Well . . . . 

BUT, I have noticed the headlines since July 2nd — a litany of murder/suicides, family annihilations, and slaps on the wrist for men punching, stalking, kidnapping or threatening to kill women, after which they then kill.  I had my children stolen for daring to report abuse, violations of court orders, and for refusing to “submit” to arbitrary orders on how to dumb down my smart daughters.  I know what “shunning” is.  I know what “enabling abuse” is.  

I have never experienced fundamentalist Islamic violence against women, but the sense of the Christian version of it over here is starting to feel like a sort of ritual purging process.  It is starting to ffeel like “No Exit” unless there is a miraculous parting of the Red Tape, a CLOUD covering my behind and a FIRE leading the way.  We already tried the “appeal to reason” paradigm, or the “appeal to law” ONE, ALSO.  We also did the “it’s not in your best interest” reason, but some people will pay a lot of money for the privilege of refusing to stop abusing.  Like they say, truth is on the auction block, and was sold cheap, Lies fetched a higher price.

I pay attention, and have SEEN Protestant so-called Christian Caucasian men drilling young men how to dominate women twice their age in the name of their god, and been subjected to this as well.  Recently.  Yeech — Retch!  What kind of “sanctuary” is that??

However, now that a suburban California back yard finally released ,29-year-old Jaycee Dugard and her 11 year old and 15 year old girls fathered by the man who kidnapped HER when she was only 11, I felt this post is quite appropriate:

This case is shocking for its combination of statistics (18 years! Missed opportunities!  “We never knew!”  “But they looked like a nice couple!”  “I spoke with Jaycee on the phone, she was courteous and professional” (She was not only a sex slave, but also supported this man’s business while living in shack-like conditions in a back yard with her kids).  A WOMAN called the police reporting that people were living in the back yard.  Like my calls and reports to police that another man, their father, was going to kidnap MY daughters, her voice was not heard.

Are we willing to listen and change behavior YET?  The behavior “we” need to change is to get smart and act on hunches.  While people who take the scriptures too literally are castigated and censored, disdained in public media, how about some of us in the U.S. start taking the 3 charters of freedom:  Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights literally for a change?  Starting by knowing their INtents based on their CONtents!  And then recognizing that humanity is a DNA thing, not a color thing or a gender thing!  And the usage of “all men are created equal” in the first was NOT “men vs. women” and did not say, although it was so practiced, “all Caucasian landowning males.”  It meant ALL EQUAL and not to be colonized, or, like Miss Dugard (sr.) was, pimped.

 

I am United States citizen by birth, and was never beaten, or degraded because of my gender before I married.  Nor was I forced into marriage.  But women of faith or no faith nowadays who attempt to leave, risk being stripped of children, or killed, for the act of — leaving their marriage and asserting legal rights they already have.

While our current President has described the angst and sense of loss he felt not having his father in his life growing up, the rest of us describe some of what it’s like to be a target of violence and punishment for the crime of having been born without a Y chromosome, for some, a life sentence punishable by death.

 

President Obama, pre-election, helping out Senator Bayh in Indiana, with some more Mother-Omission:

2006 – EVER TRYING TO RAM THROUGH ANOTHER BILL, FINE-TUNING & REDEFINING FATHERHOOD AND HEALTHY MARRIAGE

As one of my fellow-bloggers commented in Indiana Mothers for Custodial Justice:  Evan Bayh is not his Father’s Son,

Senator Evan Bayh’s (fatherhood-promoted) own father Senator BIRCH Bayh, was in favor of equal rights for women:  so much for a chip off the old block, and passing down values from father to son, politically.  

According to this post (Verifiable Here) both Senator Evan and then-Senator Obama co-sponsored  YET ANOTHER “Healthy marriage and Responsible Fatherhood” bill, which was defeated in 2006.  

Like this Senator, and another well-known FR attorney from the Chicago Area,  both the Senators also remembered all the Hoopla around Father’s Day, Fatherhood, Father Celebration, and etc., etc. (can we say “patriarchal?”) in June PR (June is Father’s Day month, FYI), but forgot the same on Mother’s Day, in May.  Actually, in 2009 and (I found) 2008, PR around now-President and then-Senator Obama eclipsed this acknowledgement of where they came from, literally (they  had mothers, right?), as the word “Mother” has become, as I blogged elsewhere, virtually invisible linguistically in connection with “families” on the whitehouse.gov site.  The preferred term, for those of you not in the know, is “Parent” when it comes to the divorce situation, and “Women” when it comes to who’s having violence (including murder) perpetrated against them by, often enough by the father of mutual children.

~ ~ ~ ~

It is difficult to control a population aware of their “unalienable rights,” not intimidated by verbal derogatory talk, or economically dependent upon abusers or captive to them by the threat of death as they leave.  Now one factor that often gives a mother courage and motivation to LEAVE abuse is precisely her motherhood, so no wonder it would be threatening to any:

Fear/Shame/Pride-based culture or religion.

The mother/daughter/son bond, culturally needs to be degraded and broken (stepmothers will do) if we are to have a truly sheepish culture that will do what they are told without protest.  Family Court venue is GREAT for this, and I happen to believe was designed for the purpose, despite all the hoopla from under-funded (??), under-recognized (????????) fathers, especially those who like to minimize their own violence towards their own women, often prompting separation, which even that bill (above) recognizes is a primary cause of separation!

 

@@@

The link “parsing Obama” caught my attention, and led to an article from “Real Clear Politics” on the Cairo Speech.

I have just written on “Women” vs. “Mother” and the weak (# occurrences) presence of both when it comes to Family Issues being discussed under the current US Administration’s “White House” page.  Not only were the words barely absent, but their usage (which I didn’t analyze and post — but noticed) was also weak.  In looking for the word “mothers” I would have to assume that after the age requiring home nurse visitations, we don’t exist.  For example, the President’s own mother was transformed into the word “parent” in a  sentence highlighting absence of a father.  To people who haven’t been through systemic prejudice against their “mothering” it may not register, but when examined, it’s blatant PR omission.  It undermines the credibility of the whole page.  (granted, the month was the month of Father’s Day, however, if someone has a record of this page during May and wishes to countradict my post, please feel free to comment).  

SIMILARLY, when it comes to speaking in this nation, Egypt, the mention of Islamic violence (not bias, but violence) toward women, the omission is just as loud.

So, I just slapped up the article, with someone else’s commentary on it, for your consumption.  Then I searched out and pasted up interviews, articles or book reviews from several women who do NOT Delicately skirt the issue of violence towards women, and hate talk in general.  Two of these women came to America, and one of them, since coming, has converted from Islam to Christianity.  

A third woman from Rwanda didn’t convert, but was already Christian.  Her story isn’t about gender violence, but it was another “can’t put down” book of survival in the face of hate, and refusal to hate back.  The individual verbal abuse or hate talk that often DOES escalate to physical domestic violence got me (in marriage, after marriage) sensititve to moods and fluctuations in language that might indicate an “event” about to erupt also precedes genocides or attempted genocides.  The speech sometimes works the speaker or groups of speakers up, or justifies the abuse.  Whether the Holocaust or Rwanda, hate talk is a danger sign.  Just as PTSD from domestic violence does indeed have similarities with PTSD from actual war.

So, this had me also noticing books and commentaries on the languages preceding genocides or attempted genocides; Rwanda had caught my attention earlier from the book on which the movie “Hotel Rwanda” was based.  This book details times when pastors protected, and times when pastors betrayed, those that were being hunted down.  So I include the “Left To Tell” book because it seems relevant.

And I added my two bits.  And a few links indicating that this fatherhood stuff is turning to vigilante behavior, unfortunately.   And pointed out, again, what our Declaration of Independence was about….

On my blogroll to the right, is a little Youtube showing just how low my President bowed, casually, quickly, to the leader of a Muslim country, in the company of Queen Elizabeth and a G20 meeting.  This disturbs me, and was of some serious debate in a blogtalkradio dialogue (as I recall the source, anyhow) moderated by Dr. Phyllis Chesler and Marcia Pappas of NYS NOW.  Is he the leader of the free world, or at least part of it?  Then what’s that obeisance about?  Would he kneel to the Pope to be politically correct, kiss the ring and insult all those boys and girls abused by priests, and the concept upon which this nation was founded, Bill of Rights Number I?  

I myself am VERY disturbed at how domestic violence killings are starting to take on a vigilante nature, as if in retaliation to a woman leaving a family, or exposing a sin, how DARE she?  As a mature woman and mother who has been dumped by the roadside by a combination of my own family and my ex-batterer, apparently for — again, exposing family something or other — I am thinking about:  

  • How
  • Why
  • Who ARE these people?
  • What IS this world?

How many OTHER myths have I believed about life, my country, my family, the legal system, etc.?  I will tell you one I have let go of:  “The American Dream.”  I have switched this my dream from anything material, and am changing it to a character issue, a personal one with myself.  

I am calling upon the combination of my God (NOT the one that is a respecter of persons, or genders, or legalistically profiling and whimsical in judgment, that I have seen in certain places), and my courage, and putting my intellect a good bit lower, respectively, than it used to be.  Plus, from within, my emotions of concern and compassion for others, and whatever picture I can imagine.  Indignation about injustice only goes so far, and as the injustice basically never stops, another motivation must be found.

I think part of the trouble around here is that people pretend to be neutral and detached (a high value) when they aren’t anything of the sort.  They can incite to violence, ride roughshod over families, due process, and civil rights, as easily as any other nation or culture, but claim this is based on “evidence-based practices.”  In one place on this post, I included a Rwandan woman — the issue was not on men versus women, but the same principles:  hate talk towards a certain group of people (Tutsis) and how quickly it ignited. 

We have become an incredibly morally bankrupt place (as well as fiscally — and they are related), while drowning in certain materials and products.  However, the solution to this is not to be found in the institutions, but rather in the people who are aware that these institutions are not going to replace human basic functions of:  produce, protect, educate, alleviate, CREate (when it comes to arts, ideas, concepts, etc.), that which we have procreated.  If you’re new to this blog, you’ll notice that when I have a strong emotional reaction to a certain thing (or idea), I pile on labels, like sauce on a hamburger, or whipped cream on a milkshake, or, . . . . or. . . .    

 

I was referring to the churches, some of which I left voluntarily, and one of which I got thrown out of last month for being female, having understanding of a Biblical passage, and speaking up (even with permission).  How dare I think I knew something!  

See:

Family Values” Pundits not so upstanding themselves.

 

This is a new site to me:   REAL CLEAR POLITICS.  This dates to June 2009

I simply posted the whole article.  Any italics are my emphasis, some (not all) of the other style changes are mine, too:

 

Did Obama Say Enough About Women’s Rights?
Posted by Cathy Young | Email This | Permalink | Email Author

 

As I said in my previous post, I had a largely positive reaction to Obama’s Cairo speech.  However, I agree with David Frum’s criticsm of Obama’s comments about women’s rights — which should have been a key part of an “outreach to Muslims” speech.  In contrast to Obama’s strong affirmation of the principles of democracy, his discussion of women’s issues and Islam was too general, too weak, and afflicted with excessive even-handedness.

{{with which “even handedness, as I have beLABORED in previous posts, the Whitehouse.gov agenda on families is not even remotely afflicted.  It flat out ignores the fact, practically, that mothers exist.  Period.}}

Here is the passage in its entirety:  (OBAMA):

“The sixth issue that I want to address is women’s rights

“I know there is debate about this issue. {{“debate”?!?}} I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal, but I do believe that a woman who is denied an education is denied equality. And it is no coincidence that countries where women are well-educated are far more likely to be prosperous.

Now let me be clear: issues of women’s equality are by no means simply an issue for Islam.

{{EXCUUUUUSE me?  Is this or is this not a dodge, or an understatement?  Was there a political or safety reason for this understatement at this particular conference?

http://www.phyllis-chesler.com/211/are-honor-killings-simply-domestic-violence

I have posted an excerpt below.  And photos.  OK, now you may continue reading President Obama’s speech…}}}}

 

“In Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia, we have seen Muslim-majority countries elect a woman to lead. Meanwhile, the struggle for women’s equality continues in many aspects of American life, and in countries around the world.

Our daughters can contribute just as much to society as our sons, and our common prosperity will be advanced by allowing all humanity – men and women – to reach their full potential. I do not believe that women must make the same choices as men in order to be equal, and I respect those women who choose to live their lives in traditional roles. But it should be their choice. That is why the United States will partner with any Muslim-majority country to support expanded literacy for girls, and to help young women pursue employment through micro-financing that helps people live their dreams.”

Frum takes issue, in particular, with Obama’s remarks about the head-covering issue: he points out that not only “some in the West,” but many women in the Muslim world regard the hijab as a symbol of female submission (not to God but to man), and that many women who “choose” to cover themselves (sometimes not only their hair but their face) do so because of coercion and intimidation either by family members or by radical Islamic militias.  I do believe Obama was right to affirm a woman’s right to choose hijab; quite a few Muslim feminists regard it as a legitimate and positive form of religious expression, no different from the Jewish yarmulke, and quite a few moderately traditional Muslims are alienated by the categorical rejection of the hijab as oppressive.  However,  it would have been fitting to balance his statement with an assertion of a woman’s right to choose not to cover their hair — a right that, in some countries, they are denied not only by informal pressure and harassment, but by law and official policy.

As for the rest of this passage, it was nice of Obama to assert the importance of educational opportunities for girls and women, but that’s about as uncontroversial as it gets: who, except for the Taliban, disagrees?  In all too many Muslim countries, the main problems facing women are far more severe: forced marriage, vastly unequal treatment when it comes to divorce and child custody, and socially sanctioned violence.  How can one talk about women’s rights in the Muslim world and not mention honor killings?  Or the horrific recent public flogging by a Taliban militia in Pakistan of a 17-year-old girl whose apparent offense was to have stepped outside her house without a male relative escorting her?  Or cases in which Islamic courts have sentenced rape victims to death for fornication or adultery when the rape could not be proved under a stringent standard requiring two male witnesses?  (While we’re at it, how about the fact that in Islamic courts, the word of a female witness is officially given half the weight of a man’s?)  What about female genital mutilation?  Against the backdrop of these genuine horrors, literacy programs and micro-financing for young women’s employment look like a rather feeble response.   How about first ensuring that the girl who participates in a literacy program doesn’t get brutalized for showing a strand of hair in public?

In this context, Obama’s comment that “the struggle for women’s equality” is also a problem in America is also, to say the least, unhelpful.  Yes, there are still gender disparities in the U.S., though I think many of them are due to, as Obama put it, women not making the same choices as men.  But to mention what sexism still remains in American society in the same breath as the violent misogyny and patriarchal oppression still pervasive in much of the Muslim world today is a truly misguided attempts at even-handedness.  It’s a bit like saying that of course it’s a bad thing that of course it’s a bad thing that Joe locks his wife in the closet, beats her senseless, forbids her to talk to any other man and monitors every penny she spends, but hey, Bill spends only half the time his wife does on housework and child care and treats his own career as more important than his wife’s, so if he voices disapproval of Joe he’d better mention his own failings too.

Yes, of course it’s not only in Muslim countries that women face severe oppression.  (The issue of women being elected to lead in deeply patriarchal cultures is a separate, and fascinating, one, but I don’t think it’s a good measure of the overall status of women in society.)  And I know there is a vigorous debate about whether Islam is inherently more female-unfriendly than other major religions and whether an Islamic feminsm is possible.  Nonetheless, the fact remains that in recent decades we have seen a rollback of women’s rights in many societies — sometimes a drastic rollback — due to the influence of Islamic extremism.  Obama’s failure to mention this fact was extremely disappointing.  Talk about a missed opportunity.  In my previous post, I said that Obama’s comments on women’s rights deserved no more than a B-.  Analyzing them now, I’m lowering the grade to a gentleman’s C.

 

I give it an “F.”  See below:

PLEASE READ THIS ARTICLE:  I PASTE ENOUGH TO ENCOURAGE YOU TO GET OVER THERE AND READ IT!

 

Dr. Phyllis Chesler:

 

 

Are Honor Killings Simply Domestic Violence? (title is URL)

by Phyllis Chesler
Middle East Quarterly
Spring 2009

 

Families that kill for honor will threaten girls and women if they refuse to cover their hair, their faces, or their bodies or act as their family’s domestic servant; wear makeup or Western clothing; choose friends from another religion; date; seek to obtain an advanced education; refuse an arranged marriage; seek a divorce from a violent husband; marry against their parents’ wishes; or behave in ways that are considered too independent, which might mean anything from driving a car to spending time or living away from home or family. Fundamentalists of many religions may expect their women to meet some but not all of these expectations. But when women refuse to do so, Jews, Christians, and Buddhists are far more likely to shun rather than murder them. Muslims, however, do kill for honor, as do, to a lesser extent, Hindus and Sikhs.

 

{{Everything underlined here, was an issue in my Western, non-Muslim marriage.  I snuck education.  I was stalked, through my own family and individually for leaving to the point that I have had major fear to finalize this divorce, and have not;  I experienced retaliation consistently of engaging in activities outside the home, specifically anything that related to my former profession.  This retaliation could come in the form of interfering with me getting out the door, or sabotage — allowing me to start, but making it hard to complete, a simple season’s engagement; complaining about or withholding funding for something as elementary as a simple black skirt and shirt to perform in; display of weapons immediately after returning from a rehearsal, leaving the car with insufficient gas to get back from one, and other night-mare-inducing behavior.  This extended also to times my daughters were engaged in music as well; UNBELIEVABLE.  I have watched my piano be physically attacked, buried under virtual trash, and then I was mocked for not practicing it enough, which I barely could find time to do in a day.  I left home once, with an infant, in another state, for a week.  I was given extra tasks to complete before leaving, and I came back to a house that was dangerously trashed –NO dishes had been done, broken glass on the floor (and we had a baby), and a special plant/bush I’d given him had not been watered, and was dead.  Food in pots was moldy; I was stunned.  In subsequent (to marriage) public times, in court, he repeatedly talked about the condition of the house, as if I didn’t also work, or was solely responsible.  I had an unbelievable time getting access to a car, which was resented.  

Finally, when I was able to leave the family home for two weeks, for a music camp, with daughters, when I returned, I’d been thrown out of the bedroom, a lock installed, and in short, this was when I determined to leave.  These TYPES of activities continued, to this day, post-separation.  Every decision I made that entailed putting daughters in a music class, or lessons, was permitted reluctantly, but eventually stopped.  Then public declarations were made that I was isolating and depriving them.  I attended a VERY liberal Midwestern college, and as a young person, was not restricted or berated for anything regarding my gender.  The place I met this man was not illiberal — it ordained women, we preached in teams, and sometimes lived together.  

During this marriage, I began to doubt that I was indeed in America.  I had never heard of any experience like this, or known anyone who had experienced a situation like this violence, and abuse.  Speaking of it to the variety of people I did, indeed, come in front of year after year, few of them had words to describe this thing that was happening to me.  To this day, my “liberal” relatives will not use the word “domestic violence” or “abuse” in front of me, practically, and appear to be furious that I have actually spoken in these terms and insisted that this is indeed what happened.  The denial has taken it beyond the legal terms — there has been, within my family — a literal denial that any of the laws to protect people from domestic violence exist, apply, or have anything to do with our case, or my many difficulties. Experientially, it needs a name.  Now, gradually, through blogging, networking, reading, talking — and I have not been through ANYthing like the women below here — I have come to understand that this is a serious moral / emotional / social crisis our country is in.  There are powerful political factors that HAVE to say the words “domestic violence” with their mouths, because the cat is out of the bag, and the horse is out of the barn.  BUT, they are diluting, reframing, derailing the conversation and attempting, in many and disturbing ways, to turn back the clock on this matter of women saying NO!  You can NOT do this! and saying it through the courts.

Every woman has to determine how she is going to respond to this shunning, when women in our world survive, and are emotionally supported primarily through their connections with others.  that is the value that is respected (often) with American women.  We are in our communities, we have children  OR, we have careers, or juggle both.  For women of my age (middle, OK?) to have both lost children AND career, and contact with their family, but not be a radical feminist, is indeed interesting.  We can come into the church perhaps as ministers, acolytes (so to speak), or servants supporting its infrastructure.  I, for one, no longer care to support the infrastructure of anything so dysfunctional.  I consider myself to be courageous and independent (in certain ways), but there comes a burnout level.  I have PTSD, and when exposed to more “women, get thee behind me, Satan” talk in certain denominations (many of them), I simply have to speak up, then leave.  I will not hang out there.  At least I have a few options.  

To survive abuse, sometimes, one has to become two people:  a public one and a private one.  This includes sometimes with one’s spouse.  At some level, my soul was not going to show itself any more, for another verbal beating for mere existence.  Instead, I took the verbal tirades for being, supposedly, apathetic, wimpy, not caring and passive.  Well, being anything else got me physically assaulted, or some other form of escalation, sometimes involving property destruction, or attack on pets.  Children were in the home.  I just couldn’t keep that up, and guess what:  No one was backing me up.  No one was confronting this man, really.  At the end of the day, I had to come home to sleep.  He began accumulating guns, and large knives.  I don’t use these, or know how to, and it wasn’t too long (although more than a year) after this that I realized — we had to separate.  I cannot tell you the level of shame and embarrassment I had, with or without children, having to hide my mail, ask strangers for rides, or a few $$ to put in the ggas tank (if I had a car).  One night, I got stranded late at night in a downtown urban area after my night job.  I took a ride with what might have been a drug dealer to get to a gas station.  My ex came and got me, but with the news that someone had run over the cat that day, my favorite one (I always found this suspicious timing).  The concern for my personal safety was at zero level.  I kept journals.  My journals were targeted, and I had to remove them from the home for safekeeping.  He went after, and befriended the people keeping them, I got them back.  

NOW:  Now, I cannot live that dual personality way, and will not. When I go into a church and am expected to adopt a certain demeanor — I won’t.  It’s like violence to the soul.  I am one person:  I will tell someone (in my family) if I am upset with them, and why.

The Court System:

The Family Court system in this country has become a charade.  It rewards short-term performance in front of evaluators, mediators, judges, and other people.  No one really looks behind the scenes — there is no interest, time or resources to fully check facts.  For the most part.  This system rewards the batterer “snake” personality:  Charming, manipulative, dissembling.  Or, alternately, wounded and looking helpless.  I have seen a (female) judge leap to aid my ex, to the extent of testifying for him, as if he could not speak.  I have watched him interrupt an attorney and derail the direct question, and get away with this.  When I go to court, I am primarily PTSD, although I try pretty hard.  All such a person needs to do is get through the next appearance with some person in authority, get their way, and afterwards, do whatever they want.  

 

There are too many similarities between the hypocrisies and coverups of fundamentalist religion, and what I see in these courts.  It is going to take women, feminist women, to address it.  The other factor is, in this court, children are involved.  We are  not always 100% on board with the radical feminist regimes.  I cannot tell you how many women in my situation, leaving batterers, losing their kids to stand by helplessly as their kids are showing symptoms of abuse, including child sexual abuse, are themselves religious.  Many of them, their husbands or partners specifically targeted them in these circles — because the environment is male-domination-friendly.  

When I say in my posts, that churches are NOT havens for women leaving violence, or necessarily shelters for them, I am absolutely in earnest.  i hope, in my way, to be able to speak to this and do something about the shameful failure to support — or even SPEAK about — the laws against violence towards women, and children — in these venues.  They are in their own ether, with their own agenda, and their own intents.  I do not believe this is the genuine religion of, in my case, the man Jesus Christ as I read about him in scripture.  I read nothing about his abusive or dismissive treatment of women; in fact it is the opposite.  I think what we have now is a charade of that.  For the most part.  I don’t think most people have the guts to do what he did, but some do.

(WOW — where did THAT come from?  Well, I’ll post.  I may erase some of it another day…..)

 

Amina Said (L), 18, and her sister Sarah, 17, were shot dead by their father Yaser at their home in Irving, Texas, in January 2008. Said was upset by his daughters’ “Western ways” and was assisted in the killing by his wife, the girls’ mother. The victims of honor killings are largely teenage daughters or young women. Unlike ordinary domestic violence, honor killings often involve multiple family members as perpetrators.

Let’s Get Honest comments:

In “ordinary domestic violence” family members could be either hostages, victims, OR enablers.  The truth is, it takes enablers for a PATTERN of domestic violence to thrive and grow.  There is denial, there is incompetence, there is scapegoating, there is helpless ignorance in what to do.  Many people in my culture have very strong emotions, but in certain classes and circles, this is not “socially acceptable.”  So they suppress them behind circuitous speech, evasive answers, or simply no answers.  When I got, out, I had some strong emotions (anger) as I began to stop hating myself (which was safer) and be angry.  My anger was noticed – his violence, and the danger this represented — was not.  I only recently simply decided to forgive, and do this entirely detached from any reason to, other than a decision, and a desire to be free from anger, and reactionary mode, which is typically either anger, or depression, when the insults, aggressions, etc. continue.  That’s how I am choosing to handle it at this point.  

I am posting quite a bit here about Islamic violence towards women.  However, I am doing so with an understanding that forms of Protestantism (mainstream and nonmainstream) Christianity can still kill, destroy, and maim — physically and emotionally.  I am here to warn out country not to ignore this hate talk from governmental circles towards women.  In the lingo of domestic violence, denying it is a form of it (a.k.a. crazymaking).  Below, is a passage from “Infidel” about “baari.”  If I am able, I will find the passage from a Focus on the Family publication that sounds uncomfortably similar.  And I will say, the “shunning” and patronizing (social, psychological) takes a different form, but still exists, when a Christian woman throws out an abusive husband and then shows up in church unapologetic.  

And expecting to be treated with respect. Or worse, looking for an opportunity to actually speak or teach the Bible (this was why I got thrown out of the last place, and I was entirely too submissive in that as well).  I finally came to the conclusion that it was safer outside those buildings.

Another alarming trend, vigilante-style behavior  — AND TALK — around the issues of the family courts.  Continuing on the topic of Honor Killings, which was “skirted” nicely in the Cairo speech, above….

 

The United Nations Population Fund estimates that 5,000 women are killed each year for dishonoring their families. This may be an underestimate. Aamir Latif, a correspondent for the Islamist website Islam Online who writes frequently on the issue, reported that in 2007 in the Punjab province of Pakistan alone, there were 1,261 honor murders. The Aurat Foundation, a Pakistani nongovernmental organization focusing on women’s empowerment, found that the rate of honor killings was on track to be in the hundreds in 2008.

There are very few studies of honor killing, however, as the motivation for such killings is cleansing alleged dishonor and the families do not wish to bring further attention to their shame, so do not cooperate with researchers. Often, they deny honor crimes completely and say the victim simply went missing or committed suicide. Nevertheless, honor crimes are increasingly visible in the media. Police, politicians, and feminist activists in Europe and in some Muslim countries are beginning to treat them as a serious social problem…

(SO WHY ISN”T OUR PRESIDENT?)

 

 

PLEASE ALSO, READ THESE TWO BOOKS.  OK, THREE.  I DID.  I COULDN’T PUT THEM DOWN, IN FACT.  AND I FELT I WAS READING ABOUT MY OWN FAMILY.  I LIVE IN THE WEST.  I LIVE IN THE USA.  I DIDN’T EXPERIENCE, PHYSICALLY, AT ALL THE SAME AS THESE WOMEN.  WHY DID IT FEEL FAMILIAR?  

I FEEL AS THOUGH OUR FAMILY HAS BECOME LIKE A POLYGAMOUS CULT, AND WE ARE A SMALL, NUCLEAR, PROFESSIONALLY INVOLVED FAMILY, ABOUT 3RD GENERATION IN THE COUNTRY.  NO ONE HAS BEEN JAILED.  WHY DID THE BEHAVIOR SOUND SO FAMILIAR, AND WHAT’S GOING ON?  I BELIEVE THAT IT IS THE EMOTIONAL, SPIRITUAL CONTENT OF THE BEHAVIOR WHICH IS THE SAME, FROM CULTURE TO CULTURE, EXPRESSED DIFFERENTLY.  HATE IS STILL HATE.

 

This book, and woman, are so well-known, I don’t think there is too much to be added.  However, if not, READ.

WIKIPEDIA:  (evidently not fully current)

Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Nl-Ayaan Hirsi Ali.ogg pronunciation (help·info)Somali: Ayaan Xirsi Cali; born Ayaan Hirsi Magan 13 November 1969 in Somalia)[1]is a Dutch feminist, writer, and politician. She is the estranged daughter of the Somali scholar, politician, and revolutionary opposition leader Hirsi Magan Isse. She is a prominent critic of Islam, and her screenplay for Theo Van Gogh‘s movieSubmission led to death threats. Since van Gogh’s assassination by a Muslim extremist in 2004, she has lived in seclusion under the protection of Dutch authorities.

When she was eight, her family left Somalia for Saudi Arabia, then Ethiopia, and eventually settled in Kenya. She sought and obtained political asylum in the Netherlands in 1992, under circumstances that later became the center of a political controversy. In 2003 she was elected a member of the House of Representatives (the lower house of the Dutch parliament), representing the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD). A political crisis surrounding the potential stripping of her Dutch citizenship led to her resignation from the parliament, and led indirectly to the fall of the second Balkenende cabinet.

She is currently a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, working from an unknown location in the Netherlands.[2][3] In 2005, she was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.[4] She has also received several awards for her work, including Norway’s Human Rights Service’s Bellwether of the Year Award, the Danish Freedom Prize, the Swedish Democracy Prize, and the Moral Courage Award for commitment to conflict resolution, ethics, and world citizenship.[5]

 

HERE IS A LINK TO A 2007 Interview (NY Mag Review of Books).  “The Infidel Speaks,” by Boris Kachka, Feb. 4, 2007

 

SHE SAYS SOME EXTRAORDINARILY RELEVANT THINGS.

I THINK IT EXTRAORDINARLY REMARKABLE THAT MY PRESIDENT DIDN’T MENTION MUCH ABOUT THE TREATMENT OF WOMEN, OR ANY OF THESE EXTRAORDINARY ONES, WHEN VISITING A MUSLIM COUNTRY.  NOTE (AS TO “CAIRO SPEECH”), NONIE DARWISH, BELOW, FLED EGYPT FOR THE USA, AND CONVERTED TO CHRISTIANITY.  HER YOUTUBE AND A PARTIAL INTERVIEW IS BELOW (SO LABELED:  THIS IS THE SOMALIAN SWEDISH AMERICAN WOMAN HERE:

 

 To her admirers, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a maverick, bravely defying the Netherlands’ political correctness to address Europe’s growing cultural rifts. To detractors, she’s a charismatic bomb-thrower with as little regard for her adopted nation’s safety as for her own. Both sides would have to admit that the former Somali-Dutch politician is a master of self-reinvention. After a rough childhood (circumcision, daily beatings) in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Saudi Arabia, she escaped to Holland from a forced marriage, eventually joined the Dutch Parliament as a Muslim criticizing her own culture, and made a provocative film with Theo van Gogh that got him killed and sent her into hiding.

This is why I think that, just perhaps, President Obama might have been a little remiss to simply not address this issue in a Muslim nation.  Nonie Darwish’s father was killed in jihad, and she left Egypt for the US.  Now here is an American leader back in Egypt, speaking on this topic, and nothing substantial?

When a rival threatened to revoke her citizenship, the resulting furor toppled the governing coalition. But Ali just moved on, resigning and moving to Washington, D.C., where she now works for the American Enterprise Institute. It’s all retold in her eloquent new memoir, Infidel. Stopping by Soho House recently, she spoke with New York about life and politics in her latest adopted land.

  

You’ve been here for six months. How do you like the U.S.? 
That is the question they all ask! I love it. The most comforting thing is the anonymity. I’m not allowed to talk about security—to tell you who in this room is security and who is not—but the pressure cooker of Holland is over. I am now just one individual in the melting pot.

 

You’re at a conservative think tankperhaps an odd place for a harsh critic of religion in political life. 
I consider myself nonpartisan, but I’m a liberal—not in the American sense, because Americans seem to refer to communists as liberals. What we see in Europe, because of the welfare state, is government pretending to provide all sorts of services they shouldn’t be providing.

 

Let’s Get Honest comment:  My point EXACTLY, in many of these posts! 

But what do you make of Christian conservatives in your ranks? 
No one in the American Enterprise imposes their beliefs. We clash, and I think that’s what the West is all about.

 

But you’re with them on the whole “clash of civilizations” thing? 
When I was in Holland, the idea was, all cultures are equal and all are to be preserved. My idea was, no, all humans are equal but not all cultures are equal. In the culture of my parents, we never seemed to be able to succeed in such basic issues as getting food, interacting and living in peace with each other, or adapting to our environment, and the West, they’ve succeeded in all those. I’d been taught Western culture’s only bad. Maybe that’s good for your self-esteem, but it wasn’t taking us anywhere.

This woman comes from WHERE?  And she understands the Declaration of Independence (principles) better than we do?  It’s not the CULTURE, it’s the HUMANS:

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

THAT IS THE PURPOSE OF GOVERNMENTS.  NOT DISHING OUT HAPPINESS AND HEALTH, BUT SECURING THOSE RIGHTS!

That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

 

LOCALLY SPEAKING, SOME WOMEN NEED TO DISBAND THEIR FAMILY UNIT, TO SECURE THEIR SAFETY.  WHO THE HELL IS THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES TO UNDERMINE THAT DECISION BY GOVERNMENTAL DECREE, AS HAS BEEN DONE IN THE FATHERHOOD RESOLUTIONS, GRANTS, INITIATIVES, AND TASK FORCES ??  ???  

THE MAIN QUESTION IN THESE MATTERS IS WHETHER OR NOT WOMEN ARE INCLUDED IN THE INCLUSIVE NOUN “MEN”  NOW, WOMEN HAD TO FIGHT FOR THIS, BUT IN 1920, AFTER SLAVES, WE MANAGED TO GET THE RIGHT TO VOTE.  THIS WOMAN CAME FROM A RELIGION, THE NAME OF WHICH MEANT, “SUBMIT.”  THE NAME OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT, PER DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE FROM GREAT BRITAIN, ABOVE, IS IN ESSENCE, PERMIT.

NOW AS TO FAITH-BASED INITIATIVES, I’D LIKE TO CITE THE PRIMARY CHRISTIAN VERSE USED TO JUSTIFY WIFE-BEATING:  


 

 

You’ve dismissed accusations that you’re lashing out because of childhood traumas. So why write a memoir graphically detailing the abuse you and your siblings suffered? 
It became important to say, “Okay, you guys keep accusing me of using my past. Let me tell you my story, and my story shows that I do not blame the death of my sister on Islam. I do not blame female genital mutilation on Islam.” My whole awakening was triggered by the eleventh of September, and it did not affect only me, it affected a lot of people.

 

 

Do you regret certain things you said about Muhammad—like that he was a pervert and a tyrant? 
I don’t regret that. I’m still convinced that for Muslims to integrate fully into modern society, we cannot avoid discussing the prophet. We didn’t only deal with communism militarily, but we said it is a bad idea. The works of Karl Marx were discussed.

 

 

Maybe academia would have been a better—and less dangerous—venue. 
Politics is not a good thing for me. But I wanted to bring out the issue of Muslim treatment of women in Holland, and I could only accomplish that in Parliament. If I had been a professor, it would just have disappeared in a cabinet.

 

 

 

 

“the Territory that is now Somalia was divided between the British and the Italians, who occupied the country as colonizers, splitting it in two.  In 1960 the colonizers left, leaving behind a brand-new, independent state.  A unified Somalia was born.”  

Page 12 of her book “”Of course my mother had no right to a divorce under Muslim law.”  “a woman who is baari is like a pious slave

 

“If in the process of baari you feel grief, humiliation, and everlasting exploitation you hide it.  If you long for love and comfort you pray in silence to Allah to make your husband more bearable

 

Page 13 of her book

 

 

 

AND:

“They call me infidel”. Ex-Muslim Christian Nonie Speaks out

This was of interest to me because the author had experienced a regime change within her home country, and then come to America and experienced a change of religion.  So she spoke of the qualitative differences.

 (11/20/2006)

Egyptian-born Nonie Darwish is “too controversial” to speak at Brown University, where her invitation to speak was just taken back. The title of her new book about says it all Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror . Good luck with that one. Here, where we’ve been attacked by jihadists, we don’t like to hear about the enemy we face.

(THIS IS AN INTERVIEW.  EXCERPTS, HERE:)

LOPEZ: Are the majority of Muslim women oppressed? What can be done for them?

DARWISH: The majority of Muslim women are oppressed and that is due to Islamic sharia law which severely discriminates against women. Even the most educated and powerful Muslim women are faced with a legal system that is very discriminatory against women. Muslim women start the marital relationship from a weaker position. The Muslim marriage contract itself is unfair to women because Muslim men can add three more wives if he wishes. That changes the dynamic of husband/wife relationship even if a Muslim man does not exercise this right. Polygamy has a devastating impact on families. There are chronic social ills and tragedies stemming from this single right.

The court system is designed to oppress women, without a doubt.
 

{{Commentary:  I read her book.  She talks about how polygamy (one man, many women) pollutes relationships not just between the man and the woman, but also between women:  backbiting, whispering, intrigue.  I remembered my own case, which has many women involved in protecting a single man, vigorously defending his behavior, which was criminal, as though it were honorable, and I were the criminal for speaking up.  I could not put this book down, asking WHY? does this sound like my family?  I think these are spiritual issues, and that while the West does NOT endorse polygamy, within the court systems, at least, many of these dynamics are at play — first wives, second wives, etc.  They are used against each other, undermining ALL women.  }}

LOPEZ: How prevalent is “honor killing”?

DARWISH: According to Islamic law sex outside marriage is prohibited and the penalty for that is often death. The woman is always to blame because she is regarded as the source of the seduction. Muslim men’s honor is dependent on their women’s sexual purity. It does not matter how honorable the character of the Muslim man; but if his female relatives commit any sexual taboos, Muslim society will dishonor him. Arab culture is based on pride and shame** and a Muslim man cannot survive with this kind of shame unless he kills the source of that shame which is the female relative who have had sex outside of marriage. It is not known how common this crime of honor killing happens since it is often goes unreported and the police often looks the other way, but I believe it is common in certain parts of the Muslim world if the girl is discovered to be no longer a virgin or pregnant. That is why most girls in the Middle East remain virgins till marriage and there are very few births out of wedlock in the Middle East.

{{**I am concerned about the culture of “manhood” in the west being based on the same things.  It is not a good basis.  I also believe that, despite the level of indoctrination being nothing of the like, this same BASIS of education in the U.S. exists — and that is not a good basis for human behavior.  Rather, how much better, to respect accomplishment in a variety of life situations.  But school is NOT a variety of life situations, it is ONE of life’s many situations.  To teach people to be puffed up, or feel inferior, based on their grade performances (although it is good to study and learn, and be able to have those skills), is simply wrong.  How much better to be, rather engaged in the process of learning, and let that be the intrinsic reward.  We will have better people.  

I believe (opening up a bit here) that what happeend to me in music was, I was allowed to be more expressive, and less analytical, also less about, producing a grade.  I didn’t value grades — already had them.  They did nothing for me socially and weren’t hard enough to earn.  They di dnot increase my sense of self-worth at all, as an adolescent.  I learned to be ashamed about things that had no basis in shame, including my (good) grades, and so forth.  The act of going to and from a classroom is not exactly a major accomplishment in life.  The ability to help others learn to do something, or to engage as a human being; to build something, to design something, to perform something.  But to fill in the correct multiple choice answers on a test sheet according to data you were fed in a textbook?  That’s nothing; it’s for the convenience of the school comparing you to everyone else.  . . . ..  I remember failing on purpose, just to see what it felt like.  I still graduated at the top of my (public high school class).  The skills needed in college were entirely different.  Thank God, there were pianos and there was singing, which led to different types of social interactions.

I believe that what I noticed about this book was when she spoke about the intense hatred, rivalry and bitter suspicious, ongoing, between women in particular.  I have been dealing with this for the many years since I left my ex-husband, after the difficulties while dealing personally with him in the home.  It really is wearing to the soul, and saddening.  I am still seeking and believing for some of these family issues to resolve, but I feel sad when I see that, for the sake of eradicating my world view and values, my children were, literally, uprooted from contact with me, as if I might contaminate them somehow, with self-confidence, and the courage to be different.  The courage to expect a woman to have equal legal rights to a man, in America, our country.  So far, “NO DEAL”!!}}}}

LOPEZ: What’s it like to be a journalist in Egypt? Worse than life under the Patriot Act?

DARWISH: I was a journalist in Egypt in the early seventies when I worked at the Middle East News Agency in Cairo, Egypt. I was an editor, translator, and censor. As a censor I decided what was to be allowed for publication and what was not allowed. Egyptian media outlets at the time were controlled more or less by the government. Journalists were not really journalists in the Western sense of looking to expose government corruption and internal problems; they were more concerned in blaming the outside world. Military information was totally off limits in reporting. I once said to a fellow journalist that I met a Jew in one of my trips and that that was the first time I met a Jew. The colleague warned me that Arab journalists who communicate with Jews in foreign countries come back to Egypt in a box. Very few Arab journalists were even aware of the true role of media in a society. As to Western life under the Patriot Act, I think it the opposite Arab government controlled Media. In the West it has often become Media controlled government where freedom of the Press (having too much of a good thing) often comes before other important things in Western society, such as for example national security. Sometimes Western media has no tolerance for any restrictions and that can help America’s enemies.

LOPEZ: 
What made you leave Egypt?

DARWISH: I always regarded America as the land of hope, equality, and opportunity and that was my motivation. I also wanted to leave the Middle East with its problems, its jihad, its pride, anger, and anti-Semitism and above all the constant state of war with Israel.

I CAUTION, the United States of America, I CAUTION them to monitor the “us/them” mentality in every area of life.  I CAUTIOn them to keep a lit on this vigilante return to Fatherhood, and the farming out of any conscience, guidance, and education of their young to anyone such as those in those in the Executive Branch of Government, who are presently engaged in establishing, on one hand a national religion (through a variety of means) and on the other hand, a totalitarian system in which choice is the heresy.  Opting out of government involvement in the basic processes of life is a heresy.

There are aspects in which the fatherhood movement — as practiced, reminds me of the KKK.  It is the same type of hate speech.

I am going to talk about another, very uncomfortable genocide I have read in some detail about (it just came up, and I continued reading, OK?  It’s what I DO!)  Rwanda.  This is of interest to me because some churches protected, and some betrayed.  Here is a personal, amazing story I ran across.  Again, it is told by a woman:

 

LEFT TO TELL

 

 

In 1994, Rwandan native Ilibagiza was 22 years old and home from college to spend Easter with her devout Catholic family when the death of Rwanda’s Hutu president sparked a three-month slaughter of nearly one million ethnic Tutsis. She survived by hiding in a Hutu pastor’s tiny bathroom with seven other starving women for 91 cramped, terrifying days. This searing firsthand account of Ilibagiza’s experience cuts two ways: her description of the evil that was perpetrated, including the brutal murders of her family members, is soul-numbingly devastating, yet the story of her unquenchable faith and connection to God throughout the ordeal uplifts and inspires. This book is a precious addition to the literature that tries to make sense of humankind’s seemingly bottomless depravity and counterbalancing hope in an all-powerful, loving God.”
-Publisher’s Weekly, Starred Review, March 2006

 

We all ask ourselves what we would do if faced with the kind of terror and loss that Immaculée Ilibagiza faced during the genocide in her country. Would we allow fear and desperation to fill us with hatred or despair? And should we survive, would our spirit be poisoned, or would we be able to rise from the ashes still encouraged to fulfill our purpose in life, still able to give and receive love? In the tradition of Viktor Frankl and Anne Frank, Immaculée is living proof that human beings can not only withstand evil, but can also find courage in crisis, and faith in the most hopeless of situations. She gives us the strength to find wisdom and grace during our own challenging times.” 
-Elizabeth Lesser, co-founder of the Omega Institute, and author of Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow

“Left to Tell is for anyone who is weary of the predictable “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” trance most of the world suffers from. Immaculée Ilibagiza breaks that spell by bravely quelling the storm within, and contacting a force so powerful that it allows her to calm the storm “without,” and more important, to forgive the “unforgivable.” Her story is an inspiration to anyone who is at odds with a brother, a nation, or themselves.”
-Judith Garten, teacher and counselor of The 50/50Work© and a child of the WWII Holocaust

 

 

 

(As far as I got on this post July 2, 2009

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martinplaut

Journalist specialising in the Horn of Africa and Southern Africa

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