Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Taboo Culture

Islam and the Muslim culture have received a lot of criticism for violating the rights of women. However, is the criticism justified?
To what extend does this culture interfere with what a woman can or cannot do?
Is it regional: Are some Muslim societies more oppressive than others?
Who is the oppressor in the culture?
Is it the men who direct the code of culture?
Is it the women who are apathetic to the society the live in?
Or is it the religion?

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali immigrant to Holland and a Member of Parliament was the target of an attack that led to the murder of Theo van Gogh. Her script which chronicled the oppression of Muslim women was filmed and directed by this distant relative of Vincent van Gogh. He was killed and a note found on his body highlighting the threat to Ayaan Hirsi Ali's life.


Ayaan Hirsi Ali is working on a second script.



wg said...

Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Islam, culture and oppression. I guess i find this paradigm the totality of societies contradiction of itself.

Sometime back I read a book Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia (Mass Market Paperback)
by Jean P. Sasson.
It had strong parallels with a lady we shared a supervisor here in Liverpool, in terms of a fiercely independent Saudi woman, immensly rich yet, so entangled in the larger muslim culture that is soo tabood to even contemplate going against one grain of it. I guess there is something admirable in the muslim culture in the way they fully and wholly internalise religion, God, for there is no other way to deal with God, its a matter of a realisation of the God in each one and so your whole way of being is determined by that, and the question of separating church and state, culture and God, social life and worship etc etc does not arise, for humanity is anchored in Godliness, so how can there be a conflict or a separation between the two?
And yet, perhaps there is no other culture webbed out by hypocrisy, hate, malice, perhaps no other evil so pure. It is this same culture in their attempt to attain and maintain purity will send their boys to Egypt to vouche for 8yr old lowly muslim virgins, on day trips from saudi so that their young men can know the ways of the world and still devour their exploits. They prefer Egypt for those are fellow muslims whose shame in the whole affair is their protector and so they will not be exposed. In that book a father organises drowning of one of their daughters who had illicit sex in the family swimming pool, that is attended and accepted as a way of life to this day to maintain honor. In the same family the lady goes to london to buy 17 gowns for a wedding at Harrods since she cant make up her mind which one to choose, her aunties back home will need to assist! spending 50,000 $ on one shopping trip is kawaida. My friend used to tell me she has no complaint about their life styles for she can afford to attend parties everyday of her life, with gyms, saunas, beauty parlours and all in their houses, and servants buzzing everywhere, and when she wants out she can go to switzerland, shed her veil and have a wild time....... so where is God in all this? God is there in all the wild times, in the parties and in the be-headings for the adulterer. the muslim culture therefore becomes yet another culture whose survival sometimes requires negation of Godliness........ a social settings that is based on arabic culture rather than divine wisdom.

Perhaps our traditional culture especially the Gikuyu culture came closest to the ideal, not the current neo-Judeo-Christian mimic of culture. Our God was also our culture and every stage of life was understood and given the _expression it needed, from the little children, to the teen years, to adolescence where the beauty and vigor of youth was pushed to the limit by allowing full _expression of their humanity in dance, song and ceremonies. The protection and nurturing of young mothers to bring forth healthy generations, and the respect and honor given to those who had been through it. Gikuyus did not have kings, or dynasties, and the council of elders included women who had proven themselves, they could actually sit and drink alcohol which was taboo for the young both men and women... knowing the indiscipline that would follow if the young combined alcohol with the hot blood in their vein..... Our separate houses meant woman had her space and therefore could deal with her hormonal and temperal moods without necessarily explaining herself. Property was based on households and women were the heads of their households, while the man was the overall head giving identity to that household. i do not presume all was perfect but everybody understood the wrath of a taboo and you could not sneak and have a quickie in Egypt for your God, your conscience was your keeper......... it was not out of fear of capital punishment or anything of the sort but the wrath of God in the curse....that kept people at bay and everybody knew being conscious is being aware of good and evil and your choice meant accepting the consequences of either.

I presume it must have been the same with Prophet Mohammed, but modern humanity is more keen to hide what is not seen than maintaining Godly consciousness. Egypt to this day refuses to acknowledge they have HIV, Morocco and Tunisia are popular destinations for Gay community, Saudis and their harlems from time immemorial..... But their 'warriors' are ready to kill van Gogh for highlighting their hypocricy and yet they know their anger is not that there are falsehoods on them but they are being exposed for what they are by the likes of Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Morio said...

Well, I must say your opinion are justified. I just wanted to add that we should brace ourselves for more of the same stories. The Arab world are begining to be exposed now. It is no different from the west. They are humans and your are bound to get Rapist, Thieves, Gay, Lesbians and the like, I hope you catch my drift. The difference, here is nowadays is because of the media. You get to see, read or hear about such events, stories.

It is not the religion but the people. There is nothing wrong with Islam. If is not in the Holy book then it is not Isalm.
Most people tend to confuse between what is written in the holy book and Hadith ( stories narrated by muslim scholars. Scholars may have different opinions about muslim teachings practices.

Anonymous said...

I have heard that women are kept veiled in Islam because they are given the highest status of respect...or that is what it the reasoning originally was.


acolyte said...

Is there any women's movement in Kenya looking out for Islamic women?

Pauline said...

Rosseau once said that man is born free but everywhere he goes he has chains...or something like that. The gist of this is that we as human beings usually come up with various rules, regulations and codes of conduct under the guise of maintining the order.

I have come to realize that we are all equal and we should be treated as such.I hope that one day i will wake up and MAN will stop adding more and more links to the chain that ties him down.