Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Exploitative? How?

A number of groups are upset right now at Toronto Life magazine for their cover story this month about the murder last year of 16 year old Aqsa Parvez who was killed, prosecutors allege, simply because she wanted to be her own woman which some -- and I do underscore some -- Muslim men consider to be a "sin" worthy of death. Those groups are claiming that the article pigeon-holes the issue of violence against women and children and makes Muslims the targets of hate.

I'm with BigCityLib on this one and agree that the protest misses the point -- that Parvez' murder was in fact an honour killing. The only mistake Toronto Life made was saying it was the city's first honour killing -- they should have said it's the first one we've heard about.

We also need to consider why it is we aren't getting through to immigrant communities from all regions of the world, of all races and of all religions where speaking out about such violence is not only discouraged but in many cases brutally supressed. Indeed, I know many people within the community I come from, both men and women, who actually say if a woman is beaten up or raped it was because she wanted to. But if it is a man who is victimized by a woman, then it is a "horrible" crime and the wife should "get what she deserves." This is within a Christian, European community, folks, not a Muslim one.

Enough of the double standard, people. Part of the settlement process is an absolute insistence on re-education to purge that kind of hate, and if they will not do so then they should be given a one-way ticket out of the country. Plain and simple. If violence against is an indicated part of "multiculturalism," in fact actually increases violence against women, then it's time to change the policy or get rid of it all together.

And even removing the issue of culture, it's not an issue of culture. It's one of violence. 53% of women will be a victim of violence at the hands of her partner at least once in her lifetime. When we don't speak out, we acquiesce to the violence no matter the origin or specific belief of the attacker or the victim. Of course we must oppose hate crimes against people on the basis of religion, but violence against women is also a hate crime and should be punished as such.

Kathy Shaidle also has a tack on this one, and notes the irony that the protestors chose Remembrance / Veterans Day to launch their anger -- an irony not lost on me either.

To which, I would add this, since it is 11/11: Our troops are supposed to be fighting for women's rights. Inevitably, we just substitute one faction that hates women with one that hates women just a little less. A worse evil in my opinion, because it only means we actually educate the women, then kill them for whatever reason. Why in God's name aren't we looking for irregulars and militia groups who actually like women and support their dignity, for a change? Those groups, besides women's rights NGOs, seem to be in very short supply in Afghanistan right now -- another reason why we might want to consider pulling out of that hellhole before 2011, even if Obama wants us to send more fighters to back up the reinforcements he's sending next year.

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