Friday, December 30, 2005

The Terminator's Response

Some lefty pols in Arnold Schwarzenegger's home town of Graz, Austria, in self-righteous snittery over his refusal to commute the death sentence of a multiple murderer, one "Tookie" Williams, decided to express their displeasure at their favorite son's barbarism by proposing that Arnold's citizenship be yanked and his name removed from a municipal athletic stadium. What's worst, they proposed that the stadium be renamed after the man who shot four people to death for a couple of bucks (See here.)

The Terminator didn't take this affront meekly, however. Mark Steyn has a "don't miss" column on Schwarzenegger's response to the moral Euro-midgets who serve on Graz's city council. It's a hoot.

Looking for the Leaker

We're heartened by the news that the Justice Department is investigating the leak which led to the New York Times revelation of the secret intelligence gathering operation conducted by the NSA (National Security Administration). We remember how excited the media was over the possibility that the identity of a minor CIA functionary had been leaked by an administration official and their high hopes that someone in the administration (i.e. Karl Rove) would be indicted for it. We await the same degree of breathless reporting, endless speculations, and fervent hopes that someone who really has done serious damage to our national security will be caught and punished.

Since, however, the leaker in this case was trying to make Bush look bad the media will probably hold him or her to a different standard than they would have held Rove or Libby. That the leaker made each of us more vulnerable to those who want to kill us will be a matter of little moment to those who assess the heinousness of a crime in terms of who stands to gain or lose politically.

Honoring Islam

This post by a blogger named Athena is over a year old, but its theme is one which bears repeated mention:

To kill a girl because she has sex is quite sickening, especially when the guy is deemed as only giving into the girl's "seductions." It's even worse when the person who chooses to kill the girl is her father, brother or uncle. I guess it reminds me of the passage in the Bible where Jesus rescues the woman who is about to be stoned and says "he who is without sin cast the first stone."

When a family learns that the girl has threatened their "honor" in the community, they discuss this without the girl's presence, even with the mother, and they just "know" that the girl has to be killed in order to regain their standing in the community-even though the community may not know about the relationship. It's not even a choice, but a duty.

The mother knows this is the fate for her daughter, and even agrees to it, sometimes choosing the manner in which she will die...perhaps being burned alive, her throat cut, stoned or clubbed to death. The family leaves the house, and the person who is chosen to kill her comes in and does it as the family is away so there are no witnesses. The whole community knows of the killing and accepts the family into the community with open arms because they have wiped their slate clean with the blood of their child.

Today I was visiting the Center for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan and my roommate, we'll call her Sally, went with me because she had to meet with the same professor as I. She started crying in the taxi on the way back home telling me about her experience the other night with her Jordanian boyfriend, we'll call him Malik.

Sally and Malik haven't been dating for very long, and I won't go into the details of their relationship, but she really did like this guy, and I liked him as well. He seemed very Western, spoke English well, acted respectably, dressed nice, came from an affluent and well-off family. He even lived in Europe for two years and had relationships with girls there.

They went out to eat last night and she brought up the subject of honor killings. Malik nonchalantly said that he would be willing to kill his sister or support his uncle or dad if they killed her if she had sex. This really upset Sally. They were holding hands and she immediately jerked away. He looked at her quizzically and asked what was wrong. She said she couldn't be touched by someone whose hands would kill his own sister for doing things that this guy enjoys fairly often with females.

Malik just didn't get it. He said it was just his culture. Sally said that she can't be around someone who would kill his own sister, and she asked him what he thought of her, did he even view her as human or was she just some object since she was an American girl? Malik couldn't explain himself, indeed it's a position that cannot be rectified. These people think they are so free here, but they're shackled in their own chains. They try to be so Western, so modern, so rich but they are wallowing in their own backwardness.

There's a stark difference between not condoning promiscuous behavior and killing someone over it, especially when the guy is not held culpable. Malik just explained that he was only being honest with her, and that if most guys here were really honest, they would tell her the same thing. "It's just our culture."

I guess what's really upsetting is that Malik is from the rich in society, which seem to be so much more liberal and modern. You generally think of honor killings as coming from the lower classes, but I will tell you, it's not the case, the sentiment is there in the upper classes as well. And only "20 per year" isn't the case either. Many go unreported because the people in villages support the act and the man is never turned in for his crime.

The only reason there are less honor crimes with the upper class is because the girls have enough money to get abortions. It's common practice here for girls to revirginize themselves before they get married, because if they are found out to not be a virgin when married, they are shamed for the rest of their life and their husband may kill them or leave them. Indeed, it's not just them that is shamed, but also their family and entire tribe. Everyone is so related here, that you shame an entire community, and the only way to expunge that shame is to do away with the girl.

And many of the girls feel like they must have sex with their boyfriends. Even girls wearing the hijab. The hijab is mainly not religious piece of apparel, it's expected and a social pressure. It signifies modesty, but it's just a sick prison. This whole society is imprisoned. On the surface they seem to be taking so many initiatives to liberalize and pursue freedom, but deep down they prescribe to the same beliefs. And you know, women are their own oppressors many times. They do themselves in more than the men by partaking in labeling, gossip and prescribing to arguments they know aren't true. Even one of the biggest feminists I've met here went off on a rant when she heard another woman divorced her husband because he "bought her 3 mink coats last Ramadan and bought her a nice car and gave her everything she wanted."

These hijab-wearing girls will have sex, because the guys will threaten to leave them, and it's such a large pressure on these girls to get married that they do anything they can to keep a man. Then, if for some reason their guy leaves them, they must get re-virginized through an operation.

It's these girls' own mothers that pressure them so much into marriage. In one family, the girl is 29 and not yet married. Every other night a new guy comes to the house with his mother and they check her out up and down to see if she's suitable. She doesn't like any of them, but the guys that she meets on her own, she can't even tell her parents about...she has to date secretly. This girl's mother was in the Jordanian Parliament and seen as a modern, pro-Western woman.

Anyway, my friend Sally invited Malik over tonight and told him she couldn't see him anymore. He just didn't understand. He's a nice guy, and I know that's weird to say after all this. But, he really is. In a way you can't blame him, he's just following what he's been taught. But who do you blame? And how do you change it? And there's a twist to this story. My other friend, we'll call her Megan, lived with a host family called the Salah's for two months before moving into our apartment with us. The Salah's have a son, Mohammed, who dates the sister of Malik. Malik was over at our apartment one night, and it clicked with Megan who he was and she, like a normal American was excited and said, "Ohhhh, now I know who you are! Your sister is my host brother's girlfriend! I've heard of you!" Malik just looked at her puzzled and shook his head saying, "Uh no..she doesn't date." Because to him, it's just completely out of his mind that his sister would date. We're hoping Malik is still in denial and that nothing happens to his sister...

Don't believe it when people tell you how modern a lot of the people in Jordan are. It's one big facade. They may be one of the most modern Middle Eastern countries, and they drive their 8 series BMWs, the women have the nicest clothes, they engage in talks about "freedom" and "feminism," they seek out capitalistic business ventures, and they can quote Locke and Marx and Hume all they want.

These people are living lies. All the women here are veiled, whether the physical fabric is covering them or not. And the men are just as blind.

Some enterprising journalist should set about to ask every Muslim imam in America to publicly state his opinion on the practice of honor killings and whether he thinks Allah approves of such barbarism. It would be interesting to see the results. Alas, the media are too obsessed with their pursuit of the great white whale of the Bush administration to be bothered with reporting on a matter of real importance to our national health.

We wonder, though, whether such apathy would prevail in our nation's newsrooms if it were discovered that some Christian group somewhere was endorsing honor killings.

Thanks to Michelle Malkin for the tip. Michelle has more details on the honor killings by Nazir Ahmed of his daughters that we commented on here.