As my colleague Michael noted last night, CBS reporter Lara Logan was reporting on the protests in Egypt when she was caught up in the turmoil.
As the headline says, i am appalled. I am disgusted. But I am not surprised.
Very few like to talk about it, but there is a deeply misogynistic element in Islamic culture. All these elements are readily found in many Islamic societies, and Egypt is hardly an exception.
Women are essentially seen as property. They never achieve full “adult” independent status. They are considered the property of their fathers (or, in his absence, an uncle, brother, or other male relative) until they marry (at the direction of their owner). At that point, they then become the property of their husband. Oh, they dress it up with terms like “guardian,” but they are still the property of the male.
Men are allowed up to four wives. However, in agreement with the Bible’s stricture about “not having two masters,” women only get one husband. Further, divorce in some strains of Islam is simple: the man simply has to say “I divorce you” three times. For a woman do divorce her husband, she needs his consent and the consent of religious figures. (Bribes are often useful, but that’s usually difficult, as the woman’s money and other assets are property of her husband-owner.) And even then, she simply reverts to the property of her nearest male relative.
In Egypt and other places, young girls are “circumsized” at a very young age. But for girls, it’s a bit more extreme than for boys. They remove the entire clitoris and occasionally portions of the labia; the idea is to deprive them of their full potential for sexual pleasure later in life. That is to remove the temptation to stray from their husband-owners and reduce the rewards of infidelity. That it also makes them far less likely to challenge the virility of their husband-owners is a happy coincidence.
Women are strictly segregated within Islamic practices. They are given their own separate prayer area in the mosques, apart from the men. Further, the idea of a woman holding anything even resembling authority in the faith. Compare this with the “rampant sexism and condescending patriarchy” of the Catholic Church — who forbids the ordination of women. These “Neanderthals” of the Catholic Church at least grant women a place within the Church’s hierarchy, including positions of power and authority. Ask any
survivor graduate of a Catholic school about what kind of authority a Mother Superior can wield.
Which brings up another point — the education of women. In most Islamic cultures, it’s seen as about as sensible as sending a cow to school. Women’s only purpose is to learn how to be good (meaning obedient) wives to their husbands and mothers to their children (especially sons), so educating girls is rather pointless. Especially when you factor in the costs of setting up those separate schools, as they must be segregated from the boys. That’s why in Afghanistan, one of the Taliban’s more frequent targets are schoolgirls.
And women in public? They must be covered up. Veils, burqas, hijabs — all women must be covered in some degree. Sometimes it’s just the hair. Sometimes it’s all but the face and hands. In some cases, it’s their whole bodies except for the eyes — and even those are occasionally screened. This is to protect their “virtue.” If they preserve their modesty, then they are protecting themselves from being perceived as a “woman of loose morals.”
And that is a very dangerous thing. Because in Islamic culture (and here is another thing that isn’t talked about), women are extremely powerful. They can provoke uncontrollable lusts in men just by exposing their arms, their hair, their faces. And when those lusts are provoked, the men are utterly helpless to resist and can’t be blamed for acting on them immediately. No, the fault is strictly on the women.
Funnily enough, these lusts only afflict Muslim men. Us Western men, us unclean, evil kaffirs, us barbarians, us brutal oppressors and haters of all things Islamic, can gaze upon an uncovered woman without losing control of ourselves. Personally, I have seen women in the complete absence of any kind of clothing or modesty whatsoever and have never been so overwhelmed that I utterly disregarded her wishes and forced myself on her. (Even without a large, burly bouncer nearby to discourage such conduct.)
In legal proceedings, the word of a woman is officially worth less than that of a man. Hell, in most Islamic countries, a charge of rape must be verified by two Muslim male witnesses. And in the absence of that proof, then no rape occurred. However, the woman has just admitted to sexual contact, so she has confessed to fornication or adultery and must be punished.
What happened to Ms. Logan was an atrocity, an outrage, and utterly predictable. By the very tenets and principles and beliefs of Islamic culture, every single Muslim man is the feminist propaganda nightmare of “a potential rapist.” But he’s a “potential rapist” with a hair trigger — all it takes is the sight of a tiny bit of female flesh (or even hair) and he’s utterly unaccountable for whatever actions he takes, and it’s the woman’s fault for provoking and tempting him.
Lara Logan, as the picture shows, was in the middle of a huge mob of Muslims (mostly male) while going around with her hair, her face, and her hands uncovered, and these devout adherents of The Religion Of Getting A Piece chose to go berserk. The only surprising element is that there apparently was a large enough group of women (presumably Muslim women) nearby to see what was going on and to help rescue her.
Logan’s treatment was entirely in accord with the tenets of the Islamic culture in which she was surrounded. And the utterly vile and loathsome comments of Nir Rosen that Michael quoted demonstrate the “respect for other cultures” that we have been told for years is something we must all tolerate, and even embrace.
To hell with that. All cultures are NOT equal. And I will proudly say that Western culture is intellectually, morally, ethically, and socially superior to Muslim culture in pretty much every way. (As I’m not an absolute expert in both cultures, I’m allowing that there might be some exception.)
I am reminded of one of my great heroes in the struggle against “multiculturalism,” General Sir Charles Napier. He was one of Britain’s colonial leaders in India, and was confronted with the Hindu practice of suttee (or sati) — the burning of a widow alive atop her husband’s funeral pyre. Sir Charles’ response to this time-honored cultural practice was one for the ages:
You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; [then] beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.
I suspect that Ms. Logan would appreciate Sir Charles’ sensibilities. And I suspect that, were he still alive and in Egypt, Sir Charles’ carpenters would be very busy indeed.