Friday, October 07, 2005

How could I fail to write about the brilliant erudition of President Mush. Maybe being in Washington does that these days. The Bush effect. No president may make sense while speaking in the US...?

So our dictatorial tendencies are beginning to show. No longer quite so media-savvy. No longer quite as forthright as on the 12th of October 1999. Six years can do that to a person, I suppose. So dissent has become anti-Pakistan. Criticism of human rights abuses has only one explanation: the critics are out to get Pakistan. Bah!

And of course I take it far more personally just because he was talking about rape. There's a kind of relief in him having made that statement publicly. However embarrassing it is that the head of state of the country I currently live in holds such asinine views, I have to admit that he isn't the only one holding those views. It's interesting to see a public reaction to the kind of views about which a lot of Pakistanis have no clue that they are incredibly offensive.

It's another reminder of how uncomfortable Pakistan, as a nation, is with the women's rights movement. And no, it's not because of Islam. The world of Islam has become extraordinarily sexist, but it's also classist, racist, etc. I don't like admitting that openly. But the reasons lie in a decision made 1000 years ago to actively forbid further evolution of social practice. The religion started out, like most religions that actually take root, with a vision of social justice. And it worked towards creating that social justice. It set things up so that slavery gradually eliminated itself in the Muslim world much before the Western world. It guaranteed women's property rights, etc. And then it was taken over by the power-hungry, as so many movements are, and, indeed, as virtually all faiths have been. So the dominant dogma has fossilized. There are still scholars doing a great deal of work on the logical evolution of Islamic law to match current social realities, but they are not part of the mainstream. Besides which, what fun would it be for the Islamophobic media to admit to the existence of educated, enlightened, believing Muslims, when it's so much more colourful to imagine us all wrapped in turbans or veils of backwardness and bigotry?

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