Dumbest (uncorrected) Choices in American History: Shortlist

100_0172a

My list of REALLY STUPID CHOICES made in American history; just a short-list I am afraid:

Diet Food” that is more chemicals than food

Having the Soviet Union an “ally” in WWII – better to have let them go it alone; email for full argument

The Electoral College in the Age of Communication; direct election of all offices should be the norm; Political Parties are OBSOLETE and COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE

Public Sector Unions

Adding “under God” to the Pledge making it a point of division instead of unity

Lotus and Apple’s Patent-the-Universe Syndrome making the courts accept patents on things never meant for patent

Failing to live up to Dr. King’s vision and refusing to stop being prejudiced regarding race

Private campaign donations of any kind other than labor

Campaign donations by businesses

Supreme Court deciding that money= a right to a louder voice for YOUR ‘free speech

Dropping the no-partisanship requirements for radio talk-shows and ‘interview’ programs

Letting Lawyers advertise

Supreme Court declaring that nothing of value is earned by the recipient of a military award or decoration

Women’s, Chicano, Black “Studies” propping up people selected, distorted and lionized with blatant prejudice; taking away self-respect while pretending to help by ‘giving the poor things a hand’, and White Studies designed to rip on Western Culture for the same purpose – removing its self-respect – it seems non-whites are too dumb or clueless to run their own lives or stand up to whites and that whites are just intrinsically demonic – welcome to the enlightened world of PC education

Failing to settle on the point in a pregnancy where a woman’s choice is MADE and she must be held responsible for an infant rather than a piece of owned tissue. (6 month preemies regularly survive today and the Radical Right’s agenda on abortion would make women all but chattel)

Worrying more about which consenting adults, what age, color or how many may legally get ‘married’; ignoring the concept of duty, honor and responsibility anyone brings to their marriages

Bilingual Education as a policy

Helmets, knee and elbow-pads for tricycle riders

Peer promotion in school

Affirmative Action after 1990 – where was the transition to color-blind government?

Worrying more about what actual people have DONE with their guns than trying to get law-abiding folk to not have any at all

Electing Andrew Jackson, Jimmy Carter, George W., and Obama

Forgetting that ALL countries do best with immigrants if they pick from the TOP of the pile instead of the bottom

Paying a private group to print/coin money like a product to be bought forgetting that money has no ‘intrinsic’ value’; dollars are just counters for the economic game; increasing or decreasing the supply by fiat to ACCURATELY reflect the production/wealth of a nation is the ONLY reason when deciding when or if to print more money, or let the cash pool contract

Deciding that political consensus and no working model or scientific theory that has been tested is sufficient when making decisions in haste that could wreck the world’s entire economy/infrastructure; in the 70’s it was the next Ice Age that was imminent… no models then either

Making an “eco-friendly” light-bulb containing hazardous amounts of mercury

Adults stealing Halloween from the children and making it another grown-ups party holiday

The Writer’s Strike

ANY serious university or college that “emphasized” sports to make money and enabled ‘tails’ that can wag Great Danes with ease

Forget Faith in Jesus or Mohammad – I Believe in Bugs Bunny

hypocrite_fish

One thing seems to be consistent about religions all through human history; faith in the literal truth of the religion’s doctrines and dogmas is strongest in the least educated and least widely experienced, while the “elite” tend to range from religious beliefs with agnostic admissions to full-blown, cynical atheism.  This aspect of societal religion tends to favor the more partisan of each camp; the “masses” are peer-pressured to “show faith” and not think too much, while the “elite” are pressured in the same way to deny ALL aspects of deity and belief and God(s).  For those of us to who seeking understanding of God in a REAL sense, as opposed to a political or emotional/security sense, this is a bit of a hindrance.

To try to avoid the almost inevitable miscommunication that occurs when attempting to discuss God let me define my own terms; belief is not the same as faith; faith is something that causes grief and only causes good by accident; belief is what built civilization as we know it.

Faith is defined in Western culture as belief in something unseen, unproven, un-EVIDENCED other than by conflicting scriptural testimonies; this is a fool’s game at best!

Pseudo-religion has taken over much of the world’s “Faithful” by taking advantage of the tendency of the masses to desire a simple creed with an un-questioned authority to follow – just so that they do not have to ponder things that they do not have the experience or education to ponder with any confidence.

It is not enough, their preachers say, to believe in the bridge over the canyon, you must have and prove absolute faith that it is there…

The next sound you hear is the sound of crunching bones at the bottom of the canyon; and if the snake-oiled social-system-from-perdition that they are selling fails the test in the real world they have an escape clause; it is the fault of the poor soul who failed to “show enough faith”; you know who I mean, they are most likely a victim of the situation for which they are receiving (divine sanctioned) blame!

As you can see Virginia, I have never completely gotten over my desire to seek God, and lead others to know God better! Mea culpa; I still care. But, at some point I recognized that all the “Organized Religions” have long since been co-opted by pirates, parasites and reactionaries – who are their own enemies as well as everyone else’s; never thinking, believing then acting – just fighting the others while stealing as much power over people’s souls as possible.

Oh, let me point out that yes, Atheism is a faith; it takes a lot of ego-based, un-founded faith to KNOW that “our reality contains no form of anything that might be called God, period, debate closed; it is not even possible you know, why even bring it up in ‘intelligent’ company?”

Belief on the other hand is based on facts and experience and even intuition, if that intuition has a good track record; if every time you had something very bad happen in your life, and you had ignored a strong, distinct feeling to avoid the situation, eventually you would “believe” enough to listen; even though for years you might not have the “faith” to gamble on your premonitions being something other than a coincidental case of indigestion!

I have beliefs, I have very little faith; I like it that way.

Faith has to be blind; the blind tend to step on things, including other people’s toes, property, pets and even bridges that are NOT over canyons.

Of course many of the things that can fall under either label are good, or useful!

In a documentary film about the life and death of comedian Andy Kaufman (Man on the Moon) there is a scene where he is waiting to undergo a faith healing in India with full belief, from things he has seen and read and experienced, that he would find healing given by an honest healer. But instead, he sees from where his stretcher is laid that the “healer” is faking the procedure, and his belief dies.

Of course, the proponents of “faith” will tell us that if he had continued to ‘have FAITH ™’, instead of merely believing, the placebo effect would have worked with a holy head-start, and he might have found healing; I do not disagree but, I find that level of blind faith an evil, black magic; one that is less a slippery slope than a swift escalator to horrific abuses ( ones that we have seen over and over again in history when people forget the reality of their fellow man, and treat them solely according to their “faith.” Q.E.D. Virginia, Q.E.D.!

The bottom line is that true lover’s of God are recognized despite their religion, not because of it; mostly everyone stays for their entire life in the religion that they were born into; in some religions it can be fatal to become an Agnostic let alone change your religion; so much for an honest quest for God.

Yet there are good, godly, devout people wherever you find human hearts and human tears.  You can’t avoid that simple, obvious truth; unless you cling to “faith” in the notion that God made a special effort to make sure that you were born in the faith that you “happen” to believe in – all just so you could be “saved“! Of course, anyone not so favored was chosen by the ‘Infinite Power and Mercy of Deity’ to be born in an “un-Godly cult” that destines them to almost certain “damnation”!

If you do believe that this is true, then there is a quote from the Christians’ Bible that I believe is appropriate: “Jesus Wept“!

Islamists in Egypt seek to Terrorize Women into Silence

Egyptian-army-soldiers-be-007

It seems to me that the Islamist factions in the Egyptian election seek to couch everything in terms of a referendum between Mubarak-era corruption, foreign servitude and autocracy, and decent traditional “Egyptian” ways “somehow” involving the harmonizing political influence of Islamic morality and probity. This black and white, and ultimately false, view serves the Islamist parties well by tarring with a very broad brush virtually all political factions that support a secular Egypt; they all were at the least comfortable under Mubarak as compared to the Islamists who innocently sought to install a theocratic regime by any means necessary.

In reality this election will decide whether Egypt remains with its face turned toward Western Civilization or abandon that path to return to the “traditional” tribal mentality of millennia past.

Recently the Islamist factions have been organizing riots against anyone with a pro-Western, secular agenda by labeling them as Mubarak supporters. This trend reaches its ugly peak with the story below; take notice of the carefully neutral and anonymous description of the attacking men – imagine a group of Hassidic Jews or Radical Mormons staging a mass assault on a Gay rights parade never having their religion mentioned in the entire article; the victims are lumped in with all former cronies of the former dictator!

Mob attacks women at Egypt anti-sexual harassment rally

From AP

Alarming assaults on women in Egypt’s Tahrir

A mob of hundreds of men have assaulted women holding a march demanding an end to sexual harassment, with the attackers overwhelming the male guardians and groping and molesting several of the female marchers in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

From the ferocity of Friday’s assault, some of the victims said it appeared to have been an organised attempt to drive women out of demonstrations and trample on the pro-democracy protest movement.

The attack follows smaller scale assaults on women this week in Tahrir, the epicenter of the uprising that forced Hosni Mubarak to step down last year. Thousands have been gathering in the square this week in protests over a variety of issues — mainly over worries that presidential elections this month will secure the continued rule by elements of Mubarak’s regime backed by the ruling military.

Earlier in the week, an Associated Press reporter witnessed around 200 men assault a woman who eventually fainted before men trying to help could reach her.

Friday’s march was called to demand an end to sexual assaults. Around 50 women participated, surrounded by a larger group of male supporters who joined hands to form a protective ring around them. The protesters carried posters saying, “The people want to cut the hand of the sexual harasser,” and chanted, “The Egyptian girl says it loudly, harassment is barbaric.”

After the marchers entered a crowded corner of the square, a group of men waded into the group of women, heckling them and groping them. The male supporters tried to fend them off, and it turned into a melee involving a mob of hundreds.

The marchers tried to flee while the attackers chased them and male supporters tried to protect them. But the attackers persisted, cornering several women against a metal sidewalk railing, including an Associated Press reporter, shoving their hands down their clothes and trying to grab their bags. The male supporters fought back, swinging belts and fists and throwing water.
Eventually, the women were able to reach refuge in a nearby building with the mob still outside until they finally got out to safety.
“After what I saw and heard today. I am furious at so many things. Why beat a girl and strip her off? Why?” wrote Sally Zohney, one of the organisers of the event on Twitter.

The persistence of the attack raised the belief of many that it was intentional, though who orchestrated it was unclear.

Right Virginia, it was about as unclear as Maj. Hasan’s motive for committing “workplace Violence” at Fort Hood in 2009!

Mariam Abdel-Shahid, a 25 year-old cinema student who took part in the march, said “sexual harassment will only take us backward.”
“This is pressure on the woman to return home,” she said.

Of course, there are so many distinct factions in Egyptian society that are violently dedicated to returning women to their traditional roles that we will probably never be able to assign a culprit; oh well.

Hey, isn’t it horrible that Romney might have done something mean to someone that he might have thought was gay 40 years ago?

Ahmed Mansour, a 22 year-old male medical student who took part in the march, said there are “people here trying to abuse the large number of women protesters who feel safe and secure. Some people think it is targeted to make women hate coming here.”
I am here to take a position and to object to this obscene act in society,” he said.

Assaults on women Tahrir have been a demoralising turn for Egypt’s protest movement.

…women have also been targeted, both by mobs and by military and security forces in crackdowns, a practice commonly used by Mubarak security against protesters. Lara Logan, a US correspondent for CBS television, was sexually assaulted by a frenzied mob in Tahrir on the day Mubarak stepped down, when hundreds of thousands of Egyptians came to the square to celebrate.

Sexual harassment of women, including against those who wear the Islamic headscarf or even cover their face, is common in the streets of Cairo. A 2008 report by the Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights says two-thirds of women in Egypt experienced sexual harassment on a daily basis. A string of mass assaults on women in 2006 during the Muslim feast following the holy month of Ramadan prompted police to increase the number of patrols to combat it but legislation providing punishment was never passed.

After Friday’s attack, many were already calling for another, much larger stand in the square against such assaults.

Another participant in Friday’s march, Ahmed Hawary, said a close female friend of his was attacked by a mob of men in Tahrir Square in January. She was rushed off in an ambulance, which was the only way to get her out, he said. After suffering from a nervous breakdown, she left Cairo altogether to work elsewhere in Egypt.

Women activists are at the core of the revolution,” Hawary said. “They are the courage of this movement. If you break them, you break the spirit of the revolution.”

Read it all… 

Deoband fatwa: It’s illegal for women to work, support family

 
theocracy
LUCKNOW:

Darul Uloom Deoband, the self-appointed guardian for Indian Muslims, in a Talibanesque fatwa that reeked of tribal patriarchy, has decreed that it is "haram" and illegal according to the Sharia for a family to accept a woman’s earnings. Clerics at the largest Sunni Muslim seminary after Cairo’s Al-Azhar said the decree flowed from the fact that the Sharia prohibited proximity of men and women in the workplace.

"It is unlawful (under the Sharia law) for Muslim women to work in the government or private sector where men and women work together and women have to talk with men frankly and without a veil," said the fatwa issued by a bench of three clerics. The decree was issued over the weekend, but became public late on Monday, seminary sources said.

At a time when there is a rising clamour for job quotas for Muslims in India and a yearning for progress in the community that sees itself as neglected, the fatwa, although unlikely to be heeded, is clearly detrimental.

Even the most conservative Islamic countries, which restrict activities of women, including preventing them from driving, do not bar women from working. At the peak of its power, the Taliban only barred women in professions like medicine from treating men and vice versa. But there was a never a blanket ban on working, although the mullahs made it amply clear that they would like to see the women confined to homes.

The fatwa, however, drew flak among other clerics.

"Men and women in Sharia are entitled to equal rights. If men follow the Sharia, there is no reason why women can’t work with them," said Rasheed, the Naib Imam of Lucknow’s main Eidgah Mosque in Aishbagh.

Mufti Maulana Khalid Rasheed of Darul Ifta Firangi Meheli — another radical Islamic body which also issues fatwas — criticized the Deoband fatwa as a retrograde restriction on Muslim women.

The fatwa was in response to a question whether Muslim women can take up government or private jobs and whether their salary should be termed as `halal’ (permissible under the Sharia) or `haram’ (forbidden).

Well-known Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawwad, however, justified the fatwa. "Women in Islam are not supposed to go out and earn a living. It’s the responsibility of the males in the family," he said. "If a woman has to go for a job, she must make sure that the Sharia restrictions are not compromised," he added, citing the example of Iran, where Muslim women work in offices but have separate seating areas, away from their male counterparts.

In Lucknow, a city with strong secular and progressive traditions, where Muslim families train their daughters to be doctors, engineers and executives, there was a sense of shocked disbelief even in conservative quarters that such a decree could come from those who consider themselves to be advocates of the community.

"I am also a working woman and also ensure that my Sharia is not compromised," said Rukhsana, a lecturer at a girl’s college in Lucknow and a member of the executive committee of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB). "It’s not necessary that one would have to go against the Sharia when going to work."

"Name one Islamic country which does not have a national airline and does not hire airhostesses? If I know correctly, even the Saudi Airlines has hostesses and they don’t wear a veil," said Shabeena Parveen, a computer professional in the city.

Source: The times of India

UN Ignores Islam-based FGM, Honor Killings and Under-Aged Marriage

blurb200

Ever wonder why the UN Human Rights Commission doesn’t do much about violence against women?  This video of the commission’s meeting with a concerned NGO will explain it is painful detail: Simple explanation; Islam may not be linked with ANY bad “traditions”, period, end of statement.

Littman UN video rev 4 from Vlad Tepes on Vimeo.

Watch it all, it is worth it!  Get ready to applaud the “point of Order” by the German delegate!!!

From the Moderate Muslim File: Kuwaiti women MPs refuse to wear hijab in parliament


Two female Kuwaiti MPs, Rola Dashti and Aseel Al-Awadhi, are defying the country’s powerful Islamist movement by refusing to wear the hijab, or headscarf, in parliament.
By Richard Spencer in Dubai

Published: 2:57PM BST 12 Oct 2009

(HH: You just know That is going to go over well. I wish them luck.)

The MPs, …, have angered their Islamist colleagues, who say they say they are flouting sharia, or Islamic law.

(HH: Somehow I think that these women are already aware of that fact. In fact that is the whole point of what they are doing as we shall see.)

One …is going further by demanding the scrapping of …regulations that says they have to observe sharia in parliament.

“You can’t force a woman going to the mall to wear a hijab and you can’t force a woman going to work to wear the hijab,” [said] MP, Rola Dashti…

Last week, the rector of al-Azhar University in Cairo, traditionally the principal seat of Sunni Islamic learning, banned women students from wearing the face veil in women-only classes and student dormitories, and was followed by other academic institutions there.

Students at Khalifa University in Sharjah, the most conservative of the seven city-states that make up the United Arab Emirates, have also reportedly been told to stop wearing the veil, known in Arabic as the niqab.

When electoral law was changed in 2005 to allow women in Kuwait to vote and stand for parliament, Islamists inserted a law-minute rider that “women as voters and MPs” would have to follow sharia. It did not specify precisely where or how.

Three Islamist MPs immediately protested when Dr Dashti and a second MP, Aseel Al-Awadhi, turned up at the Assembly without a hijab, the simple head-scarf that covers the hair and is compulsory for women in public in Saudi Arabia and Iran but optional across most Gulf nations.

One MP sought a ruling from the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, whose “fatwa department” last week decreed that hijab was an obligation for Muslim women, without referring directly to the electoral law.

As a result Dr Rashti tabled an amendment on Sunday demanding that the sharia rider be dropped.

She said Kuwait’s constitution stipulated freedom of choice and equality between the sexes and did not incorporate sharia.

“There’s a group of people who know they cannot Islamise the constitution so they try to Islamise every issue when it comes up,” she said. “I’m going to examine anything that violates the constitution, taking it law by law.”

… A private citizen has filed a private suit against Dr Dashti and Professor al-Awadhi for not wearing the hijab, which is due to be heard before the country’s constitutional court later this month.

Read It All…

(HH: This stand could land these women in jail or get them or their families killed. Westerners do not realize just how big of a protest this is in the Muslim world.

Anyone who despairs of Islam ever reforming needs to scan the polls at Muslims Against Sharia and Saudi Controlled Al-Arabiya.

You will find the usual bedrock of anti-Semitism and sense of Muslim manifest Destiny that you might expect. But you will also find very strong minority currents of Western style Liberal thought. A great many people across the Muslim world would LOVE to be able to treat their religion the way most Western Christians do. As a personal comfort and guide that does not demand more than a normal, secular lifestyle can accommodate.

Their leaders are well aware of how slippery is the slope of reform. But these same leaders often find themselves backing this or that reform in order to protect their own power. This is known as shooting yourself in the foot.

With every reform established the hunger of the people for a normal life, free from religious or secular Big Brothers watching their every move, becomes greater and greater. Go ask the Soviet Duma how well Western Reforms go over in a totalitarian state but you might need a Ouija Board to make contact since that body is as dead as Stalin.

It is well not to forget though that even the most reform minded Middle Easterner often has other attitudes that they do even try to examine objectively. Such as the aforementioned anti-Israel/anti-Jew, Muslims are just awesome and Westerners are naive at best self-aggrandizement. But past history shows that once they allow for individual rights and secular law the end result will be the decay of the other superstitious and hateful traditions. It couldn’t hurt, as the Jewish lady said while spooning chicken soup into the dead man.)

From the eyes of a Muslimah; what a real patriarchy looks like


(HH here: It seems that it is not the leers and stares of Western men that Muslim women are hiding from in their veils. It is from MUSLIM men that they hide. This is a very interesting look through the eyes of a Muslim woman at the inequities of her society. Take note how she holds the West up as the sin qua non of RESPECTFUL behaviour toward women.)

by Hamida Ghafour

Hey, woman, wash my clothes!”

“How much do you cost?”

When I heard men shout these insults on two separate occasions as I walked down the street in Kabul and Abu Dhabi, respectively, I was stung.

Being stared or yelled at is just part of the experience of working and living in this region. But I never get used to it. Indeed women all over Asia and the Middle East are harassed constantly.

” The Abu Dhabi beach was quickly divided into two sections last year after women expressed their discomfort at gangs of laborers roaming about and leering. “Western women are targets, but so are our Arab, Indian, Nepali, Bangladeshi and Pakistani sisters. We are stared at, called names and sometimes assaulted by men. Which is why part of me cheered when al-Bawadi Mall in al-Ain announced earlier this week that laborers had been banned on weekday evenings and weekends following a litany of complaints about harassment.

The Emirates is the most female-friendly country in the Middle East. The Government’s efforts to encourage women to use public spaces is admirable. The Abu Dhabi beach was quickly divided into two sections last year after women expressed their discomfort at gangs of laborers roaming about and leering. Emirati men are courteous. They never stare.
By contrast, sexual harassment levels in Egypt are endemic. In the Punjab and Karachi, images of women on billboards are defaced or just banned.

(HH here: remember, in Egypt something like 70% of all adult women have been “circumcised”.)

When I lived in Kabul, cars with men at the wheel occasionally raced in my direction and swerved out of the way just before hitting me. A British-Asian friend of mine was once pushed into a ditch of raw sewage on her way home from a press conference in the Afghan capital. The Taliban used to say a woman’s place was in the home or the graveyard.

Across the region this message is given in many variations, but the gist is aggressive and clear: respectable women do not belong in the public sphere. And those who venture outside the home are objects of scorn or fascination. There is certainly an element of racism and snobbery in al-Bawadi Mall’s decision. The laborers are poor South Asians and Arabs. Although it may be offensive to westerners, in some Asian cultures staring is normal behavior. It is a popular pastime in India and Pakistan, where people stare at others to see what they are buying or wearing.

Many of the laborers in the Emirates have also had little exposure to the outside world because they are from small towns. When they move here, it is often their first contact with the rich and developed world. They have a natural curiosity about the way westerners live because they have snatched glimpses of it in films. European and North American expatriates have a lifestyle laborers can never hope to attain, and wandering around a mall on a hot Friday afternoon is an opportunity to experience that which embodies all the wealth, glamour and power of the West: the mobile phones, the high-definition televisions, men in clean, pressed suits, women in skimpy clothes.

I can’t blame them for that

(HH here: It is interesting how Middle Easterners often fail to see that the point of the West is not skimpy clothing but being free to wear what we want, skimpy or conservative without the intervention of controlling neighbors or thought police.)

” Men who have no shame at leering at women make clear distinctions between those who deserve respect and those who do not. “But the way many of them look at women is not the glance stolen by the man sitting across from you on the train in London, New York or Rome. In the West a stony look is enough to put an end to that. Instead it is a penetrating gaze that goes right to your core, combining lecherousness, intense curiosity or just hatred. It is sometimes accompanied by clicking noises meant to get a woman’s attention. It is humiliating.

(HH again: Note that it is not the gaze of the lecherous kafir that hurts and offends. It is the intense, over the top Muslim man who causes his sister pain.)

The images of the riches of the developed world beamed from satellite TV also send a second message: western women are easy. This is the fault of Hollywood films featuring bimbos and the proliferation of pornography on the internet. Yet western women are also fascinating because they are considered a third gender. They look like females but have the independence of men. Men who have no shame at leering at women make clear distinctions between those who deserve respect and those who do not.

(HH: Men who leer at women in this way are adept at blaming the women for their lack of control and politeness.)

This view reveals itself in small ways. When I wear long, loose tunics and trousers it is much easier to flag a taxi in Abu Dhabi. Drivers will invariably stop for women in abayas or, even better, the niqab, because they are perceived as modest and good. But the drivers sometimes breeze past a woman in a dress with spaghetti straps because they assume she has no self-respect.

(HH: I feel sure that is what the taxi drivers SAY, but knowing men as well as I do I would say that it has more to do with “good” being equal to “submissive and easy to dominate” and “she has no self respect” translating as “she had the nerve to not allow me to take advantage of her or disrespect her. Plus she looked me right in the eye!!!”.)

I have two wardrobes: one I wear in places like Egypt, Afghanistan and India; the other I reserve for parts of Dubai and Europe.

Many women wear a hijab to prevent unwanted attention but it doesn’t always work. In Egypt, harassment is part of daily life. In 2006, women in Cairo organized a demonstration with the slogan “the street is ours” to protest about the groping and taunting. In the 1990s, Moroccan women went on strike for the same reason.

Afghan women wear a burqa for safety: it is a barrier between them and the abuse. (HH: this means that unless a woman is in a burkha she is harassed and taunted and even offered violence until she “Chooses” to “embrace the freedom” of the mobile tent.) I sometimes wished I had one to slip over my head.
The concept of respect and the presence of a woman in public are linked. In most parts of South and West Asia and the Middle East, there are few opportunities for women to work outside the home, and education is partly to blame.

In Afghanistan, when I stopped at villages to talk to people, word would get out that a single woman was on the street and I soon found myself being followed by dozens of men pointing and whispering. They would often point at my pen: the image of a lone woman writing in an illiterate society was alluring.

If they are allowed an education, in many Muslim societies children are segregated from an early age. Girls are covered from head to toe and they are taught that any interaction between the sexes before marriage is forbidden. Marriages are arranged in their late teens and there are no opportunities for the sexes to mix.

As they grow older, boys fetishise the female body so even a glimpse of an ankle or a wrist is tantalizing. As adults, living in labor camps in the Emirates, they have no contact with wives back home, but there are plenty of Bollywood films for distraction with scenes of pouting girls in clinging wet saris dancing in the rain to heighten the excitement. By the time they encounter a blonde woman in jeans buying chicken at Carrefour … well, it all becomes too much.

In Kuwait, women have been trying to resist efforts at segregating men and women in schools to prevent this fetishisation. It would be easy to blame the lechery on the rise of political Islam, which emphasizes a traditional role for women and the need to protect women’s honor by limiting their mobility and access to the public sphere. But a colleague in Cairo once told me that she enjoyed going to Muslim Brotherhood demonstrations because the crowds of men always respectfully parted to allow her through. (HH: here we have the obligatory white wash of any responsibility belonging to Islam. I notice though that the author does not say how her friend dresses at these meetings. Can she walk through in jeans and a blouse? Or only in hajib or niqab?)

Most of the men here who leer at women know it is wrong. They are from cultures where they are taught to avert their eyes when they see a girl, out of respect for her father and brothers.

I recently moved house and hired a moving company, staffed by Indian and Bangladeshi workers. The foreman in charge was more interested in watching my movements than doing his own job. I finally snapped.

“Why don’t you get on with your work? What if someone stared at your sister like that?”

When it becomes too much I create a mental buffer zone to tune out the calls and stares. If that doesn’t work I try the shoe trick. When the offender shouts an insult, I stop, point at his shoes and laugh.

It subtly shifts the balance of power. And I won’t get arrested.

(HH: This woman has a game attitude but ultimately it is the attitude of a slave or prisoner. All the power is in hands other than hers and subtle ridicule is her only weapon.)

*Published by the UAE-based the NATIONAL on July 11.

Women in Iran march against discrimination


By Moni Basu
CNN

(CNN) — Like thousands of other Iranian women, Parisa took to Tehran’s streets this week, her heart brimming with hope. “Change,” said the placards around her.

Women, regarded as second-class citizens under Iranian law, have been noticeably front and center of the massive demonstrations that have unfolded since the presidential election a week ago. Iranians are protesting what they consider a fraudulent vote count favoring hardline incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but for many women like Parisa, the demonstrations are just as much about taking Iran one step closer to democracy.

“Women have become primary agents of change in Iran,” said Nayereh Tohidi, chairwoman of the Gender and Women’s Studies Department at California State University, Northridge.

The remarkable images show women with uncovered heads who are unafraid to speak their minds and crowds that are not segregated — both the opposite of the norm in Iran, Tohidi said.

She said a long-brewing women’s movement may finally be manifesting itself on the streets and empowering women like Parisa.

“This regime is against all humanity, more specifically against all women,” said Parisa, whom CNN is not fully identifying for security reasons.

“I see lots of girls and women in these demonstrations,” she said. “They are all angry, ready to explode, scream out and let the world hear their voice. I want the world to know that as a woman in this country, I have no freedom.”

Though 63 percent of all Iranian college students are women, the law of the land does not see men and women as equal. In cases of divorce, child custody, inheritance and crime, women do not have the same legal rights as men.

In the past four years, Ahmadinejad has made it easier for men to practice polygamy and harder for women to access public sector jobs, according to CNN’s Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour.

Even the granddaughter of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the architect of the Islamic republic, voiced frustration at the way women are treated.

“Women are just living things,” Zahra Eshraghi told Amanpour. “A woman is there to fill her husband’s stomach and raise children.”

For the first time, women were allowed to register for the presidential race, though none, including Eshraghi, were deemed fit to run by the religious body that vets candidates. But women’s issues surfaced in the campaign.

That was partly the result of a women’s movement comprised of educated, urban, middle-class women that has grown in recent years with the addition of more conservative and poorer women, said Tohidi, a longtime observer of women’s rights in Iran. Ironically, traditional women first gained voice under the clerics.

“Khomeini needed their votes, so he encouraged them to be publicly active,” Tohidi said.

The middle-class women who enjoyed certain freedoms in prerevolutionary days refused to turn back, while a new generation of conservatives were awakened to feminism.

In 2003, lawyer and women’s rights activist Shirin Ebadi won the Nobel Peace Prize, providing a “big boost” for Iranian women, Tohidi said.

At the same time, private organizations and charities that deal with women’s issues blossomed under the presidency of reformist Mohammed Khatami, growing by as much as 700 percent, Tohidi said.

Marriage age increased as more women opted to marry for love, instead of entering arranged marriages. The One Million Signatures Campaign officially launched in 2006 sprouted new discourse and attention with a petition that asks the parliament to reform gender discriminatory laws.

Two opposition candidates, Mir Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karrubi, vowed to look into parts of the Iranian constitution that defer women’s rights to what is regarded as an outdated version of sharia, or Islamic, law. Moussavi had even promised to appoint women as cabinet ministers for the first time.

Some women in Iran looked to Moussavi to carry their banner, perhaps because they were inspired by his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, a much-admired academic who told CNN’s Amanpour that Iran’s 34 million women want civil laws and family laws revised.

Author and journalist Azadeh Moaveni, who spent several years working in Iran, said Ahmadinejad’s fundamentalism has pushed Iranian women to the edge.

“He has been a catastrophe for women,” said Moaveni, who wrote “Lipstick Jihad” and co-authored “Iran Awakening” with Nobel laureate Ebadi.

The weight of discrimination against women is felt most profoundly through Iran’s legal system, but Moaveni said Ahmadinejad added to the hardship by clamping down on women’s lifestyles. He mandated the way women dress and even censored Web sites that dealt with women’s health, Moaveni said. A woman would be hard-pressed to conduct a Google search for something as simple as breast cancer.

Moaveni was almost arrested because her coat sleeves were too short and exposed too much skin. In that setting, she said, it’s striking to see women protesting, especially without their hijabs, or head coverings.

“While it’s not at the top of women’s grievances, the hijab is symbolic. Taking it off is like waving a red flag,” Moaveni said. “Women are saying they are a force to be reckoned with.”

Azar Nafisi, a professor at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and author of “Reading Lolita in Tehran,” said she has been watching the footage from Iran with “inordinate pride.”

She marched on the streets during the 1979 revolution because she believed in greater freedoms for her people, only to see her dreams shattered as hardline clerics took hold of Iran. “Reading Lolita” is largely a memoir of her harrowing days in Iran until 1997, when she immigrated to the United States.

“The way I walked down the street became a political statement,” Nafisi said.

She recalled her own mother being a devout Muslim who chose not to wear a veil. Her grandmother, like more traditional women in Iran, wore a veil but resented the government ordering her to do so. Covering up, Nafisi said, was a matter of faith, not politics.

Nafisi believes that women have become a symbolic statement of the power of the Islamic state. She called Iranian women canaries of the mind — barometers of how free society is.

It’s impossible to predict what will transpire in Iran in the coming days.

Nafisi believes a regime change will not be enough; that only a change in mindset can lead to greater freedoms for women.

Moaveni said the sheer scale of the demonstrations assures her that the political and social climate will never again be the same in Iran.

Tohidi is keeping her fingers crossed that the protests won’t prompt Iran’s hardliners to clamp down and rule by repression.

But all of them shared the hopes of the women — like Parisa — who are marching on the streets.

“Today, we were wearing black,” Parisa said, referring to the day of mourning to remember those who have died in post-election violence.

“We were holding signs. We said, ‘We are not sheep. We are human beings,'” she said.

Parisa was thankful for all the images being transmitted out of Iran despite the government’s crackdown on international journalists. She was thankful, too, that the world cared.

“Today,” she said, “I had this feeling of hope that things will finally

Read it all

Fundies to the Left of Me, Fundies to the Right of Me

Here we go again. Some evil moron shot an abortion doctor, in church no less. Now so called Christians are having trouble condemning this act wholeheartedly. Sound familiar? Ever notice how a fundie Communist and a fundie Muslim and a Fundie Christian all seem to sound alike on certain issues? This is a perfect example of how BOTH sides in the abortion debate have long since abandoned any moral high ground to slug it out in the swamps of reactionary evil.

And in this corner, weighing in at two hundred ninety pounds, clutching a Bible in one hand and a bag of pork rinds in the other we have the Pro-“life” movement. P.L. had a long day trying to fix the tractor a while ago and got a bit of sunstroke. He imagined that there was a new chapter in the Bible where Jesus reveals that a fetus becomes a soul-bearing person at conception. He imagines that this makes any and all fertilized eggs people (assuming they are not among the half t two thirds that God decides to abort in the first three months.). This fills P.L. with such holy rage that he must ignore Jesus’s commands to respect secular law and love your enemy and not judge and go out to, if not actually murder, not totally condemn the murder of a doctor that performs abortions AT ANY STAGE late or early.

This misogynistic bruiser foresees a society where all women of child bearing years are constantly monitored for pregnancy. Once found pregnant P.L. would have them treated for nine months as though a breathing, crying, FEELING and THINKING infant was in their arms, partaking of their food and drink and “entertainment” injestibles. Any activity that would be seen as harming to said infant would land them in jail for child abuse. And actual abortion would be charged as a murder at any stage.
Take a bow Pro “Life”ers!!!

And in THIS corner, weighing in at 98 pounds of quivering Vegan goose flesh we have the Pro-“choice” contingent wearing birkenstocks and hemp cloth cargo pants with an “end the Zionist Genocide in Palestine” t-shirt. Not content to try to sell a “live the way I tell you or God will be mad at you in the next life” ploy they have the merciless attitude of an insect as they contemplate the horrors of anyone who furthers their cause of destroying what IS so THEIR ideal utopia can be built. P.C. excused Lenin, justified Stalin, S(he) fawned over Hanoi and genuflected to Pol Pot and Guevara. But the least crimes of the “establishment” P.C. greets with howls of “evil” and “criminal” while funding dinners with people who beat their subjects for fun in support of “humanitarian causes”.

Not content with the common sense ruling of Roe vs. Wade P.C. has fought tooth and nail, using disingenuous dialectic that would have had Stalin open mouthed in envy to justify/ignore actual murder going on in the name of legal abortion.

Most reasonable folks are on the same page about the utter lunacy of P.C.’s opponent but few really analyze the heartless evil that also underlies the hardliner “liberal” stand.

Let us be clear here. This is NOT ABOUT FIRST TRIMESTER ABORTIONS AT ALL. Nor is it about 4th or even 5th and 6th month abortions.

P.C. shows his/her sunstroke by covering his/her ears and going “lalalalalalalala” when you mention the FACT that 8 and 7 month preemies are surviving in numbers far greater than they are dyeing. Poor soul-dead P.C. cannot make the simple contemplation of the difference, if any, between a woman who miscarries in her 7th month and produces a live baby and a woman who, in her 7th month CHOOSES to take the almost certainly VIABLE infant with thoughts and dreams and everything but a fully developed lung to survive and KILL IT for her convenience.
P.C. will never ask Why she did it 2,000 times last year in the U.S.

I have asked again and again in my writings for someone to tell me what medical condition a woman might have that would REQUIRE the the removal of a 7 or 8 month LIVING and VIABLE (not talking about proven severe birth defects) but allow her to have it PARTIALLY delivered. Why not just deliver it and take it to preemie ward and let it have it’s chance? CONVENIENCE!!!!!!!!

WHY won’t P.C. admit that a woman who CHOOSES to get pregnant and not abort; CHOOSES to carry for more than 6 months and not abort but then in the 8th month decides to abort has very little if any moral high ground.

The best possibility I can come up with is a woman who gets diagnosed with cancer at 7 months and needs to begin therapy at once that would harm the baby. But then again WHY couldn’t the doctors take the same track as with conjoined twins at this stage and abort only if the fetus seemed certainly non-viable out of the womb. WHY not deliver it and give it a HUMAN CHANCE then begin cancer therapy? Why? Because the Lefties are just are cruel and heartless to a baby that would be crying on the floor if their “mother” tripped going up the steps to the abortion clinic as the Righties are to the woman who is raped and wants an abortion in the first two weeks.

What is reform to a slave?

(HH here: This one is interesting. It is from a Gulf source and seems to be aimed at Muslims though it is in English. Notice how faintly the author “damns” the anti woman fatwas. She is clearly a radically feminist writer by local standards but see how uncommitted and equivocal she is. Anything more would be seen as the words of a radical. Actually, this gal complains here about weird rulings yet had defended the hijab. Ever heard of Stockholm Syndrome?)

There’s often more than one way to look at a fatwa
Hissa al Dhaheri

Last Updated: May 14. 2009 11:03PM UAE / May 14. 2009 7:03PM GMT An apple on a tree could fall, hit your head and inspire you to formulate a universal theory of gravitation. Or an apple on a tree could fall, hit your head and tempt you to take a forbidden bite.

In both cases the apple is a fruit, but it can lead to a variety of different outcomes. In the former case the apple is a source of inspiration. In the latter the apple is a source of disobedience.

(HH: This is the kind of language you have to adopt when straight forward criticism is seen as blasphemy)

In much the same way, fatwas can have wildly different results. A fatwa, a religious edict, could have the same effect as Sir Isaac Newton’s apple and lead to a revelation, or it could be like Adam and Eve’s apple and lead them astray.

This is especially relevant when it comes to fatwas related to the fitna of women’s issues. Fitna is a source of chaos and sedition, and in Arabic women are always referred to as fitna. Fatwas concerning women’s issues could be “empowering”, or a source of “controversy”. Last week, three fatwas concerning women’s issues were announced.

(HH: notice how she totally accepts that some man has the right to pronounce this Fatwa concerning women at all!!)

On Wednesday, the UAE General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments released a fatwa in conjunction with (or in celebration of) a treaty of understanding with the Egyptian fatwa centre. The fatwa gave women the right to education, marriage and medical treatment even if the father/husband/male guardian disapproves.

(HH: This Fatwa actually means nothing. Unless there is a corresponding law in place with enforcement who is to make the father/guardian LET the women do anything? Say that a woman does marry without her father’s approval. There are ample Fatwas supporting his killing her as a rebellious female. Unless having the “right” suddenly transforms a woman into Sigourney Weaver I do not see it having much affect on her actual life.)

In Kuwait, a member of the Salafi movement came up with a fatwa declaring that it is a sin to vote for female parliamentary candidates. Then, on Sunday, a Saudi judge at a family violence seminar came up with a fatwa that gave a husband the right to slap his wife for over spending.

So fatwas could be considered empowering, or they could stir up fitna and controversy. To understand their effects on society, one must only look at the apple, tumbling down, hitting your head or staying nestled in the branches of the tree.

The Emirati fatwa, unlike Newton’s apple, did not fall from the tree to hit Newton’s head and inspire a revelation, nor did it tumble down and stir up a controversy. In the UAE the number of women in higher education outnumbers the men. Women are visible in all sectors of society; we already have women ministers, members of parliament, doctors, pilots, etc. The relevance of this fatwa could be nil, or it could be empowering for re-emphasising an existing truth (one apple on the tree is better than ten rotting on the ground).

(HH: What is this truth she imagines have been affirmed? Just because at this time this country allows it’s women some rights to education and participation in politics does not mean they have a RIGHT to it. Again Show me the government intervening in a man trying to force his daughter to not go to school. Then let me see that daughter NOT ostracized or even beaten and killed for her rebellion if she goes anyway. THEN I will feel that this Fatwa is “re-emphasising” anything positive.)

The relevance of fatwas comes from their timeliness. It seems there is a time lag between the proclamation of a fatwa and the needs of society. The need for the first fatwa was probably 100 years ago, if indeed there ever was a need. Education, equality and equity are a given: why do we need to prove that again with a six-page document (and yet more information is available by checking fatwa No 4610 on the Awqaf website, as suggested at the end of the document).

(HH: what world does this women live in that these are a given for women outside of the West. And only recently there!!!)

In the case of the Kuwait and Saudi fatwas, they were timely: they were both developed as mechanisms to deal with current issues and situations. The political competition in Kuwait is the justification for the fatwa against voting for women candidates, while the credit crunch is the excuse for permitting a man to slap his wife.

(HH: WOW, I mean..WOW! She said it! Talk about Stockholm Syndrome! She is unhappy that the negative Fatwas came quickly upon society’s NEEDING them but the “positive ones” only come slowly!!!! It is a sin to vote for a woman because there are already too many candidates. And she does not like it but has no argument against it!! A man can slap his wife if she overspends because credit is very tight and it is more serious…she does not LIKE IT yad yada yada…)

This is interesting: a fatwa that raises the status of women is already out of date, while two that lower women’s status are timely. An apple on a tree falls, tempts, or in very rare cases reveals. An apple on a tree can never climb up, but only fall down.

Why does a fatwa that “empowers” women tend to be long, while any fatwa that pushes women’s situation downwards is short and concise: “It’s a sin to vote for women” in one case, and “Slap your wife” in the other.

(HH: Here we go again, her complaint is not the domination of men, it is that they are not “fair” about it!!!!!!)

Because of the apple, Newton discovered gravity and Adam and Eve fell out of Heaven. We always blame Eve for Adam’s misfortunes, just as many muftis blame women for much fitna. But isn’t it strange that in these cases it’s men who are tempting women to take a bite out of these apples, trying to persuade them that these are revelatory. What next: a fatwa declaring that women are actually human?

(HH: If by Human you mean no different than men in the eyes of God, don’t hold your breath.)

The UAE fatwa probably won’t make a difference to my life, but maybe it will strike some chords with others. I am sure many apples have fallen from many trees and hit many heads, but it was only when one struck Newton’s head that the theory of gravitation resulted. These fatwas might be seen as a revelation for many: what else would explain the popularity of Islamic fatwa programmes on TV, radios and Islamic websites?

I don’t like apples: but that doesn’t change the fact that an apple is a sweet and tasty fruit.

(HH: And if you doubted here we have her confirmation. Apples (Fatwas) are “sweet and tasty” to the soul even if we do not like them. So while she has some mild criticism she wants all to be sure that she will accept whatever the next Fatwa decrees.)

Hissa al Dhaheri is a sociologist and researcher in cultural studies, and holds an MA in Gulf Studies