Pharyngula

A barbaric tragedy

I wondered, incorrectly, if Leila Hussein was a reluctant accomplice in the death of her daughter, Rand Abdel-Qader, the young girl who was murdered by her monstrous father for speaking to a British soldier. Now I feel particularly awful about that; Leila Hussein was devastated by the killing, condemned the act, and left her contemptible husband at grave personal risk.

Leila Hussein has been murdered, gunned down as she tried to escape Iraq.

It was two weeks after Rand’s death on 16 March that a grief-stricken Leila, unable to bear living under the same roof as her husband, found the strength to leave him. She had been beaten and had had her arm broken. It was a courageous move. Few women in Iraq would contemplate such a step. Leila told The Observer in April: ‘No man can accept being left by a woman in Iraq. But I would prefer to be killed than sleep in the same bed as a man who was able to do what he did to his own daughter.’

Her words were to prove prescient. Leila turned to the only place she could, a small organisation in Basra campaigning for the rights of women and against ‘honour’ killings. Almost immediately she began receiving threats – notes calling her a ‘prostitute’ and saying she deserved to die like her daughter.

This is an instance of unimaginable fear, hatred, and tragedy…and it’s just one example of a climate and pattern of oppression of women. It’s a story that’s hard to read through the tears.

Comments

  1. #1 Dennis N
    June 2, 2008

    There’s some sad, sad men over there. Such a need for control, so afraid of women.

  2. #2 Philip R
    June 2, 2008

    Oppression FTL… Such a sad story.

  3. #3 Lord Zero
    June 2, 2008

    My level of recents news its the lowest of the low. I didnt know about this situation but its incredible in its
    cruelty. Its strikes fear into my heart. I think… could
    i have done something to help this corageous woman ?
    May we can stop things like this to happen again.
    I feel helpless in this, but i feel like taking
    action somehow…

  4. #4 Dennis N
    June 2, 2008

    ‘I could hear people talking on the corridors and the only thing that they had to say was that Leila was wrong for defending her daughter’s mistakes and that her death was God’s punishment.

    Clearly people took action here. They must not have trusted in their god to do it, so they went out and did it themselves. Somehow that redoubles their faith.

  5. #5 raven
    June 2, 2008

    Bunch of fucking barbarians.

  6. #6 Reginald
    June 2, 2008

    What’s the name of the organisation in Basra that fights against honour killings, anyone know? It looks like whoever they were they shut down operations due to threats. I’d love to help them out any way I can and give them my support. It’s sad that Leila would have to be a martyr, but if we put our work into it, maybe she can not have died in vain.

  7. #7 Snitzels
    June 2, 2008

    That just makes me sick… Poor woman…

  8. #8 Lord Zero
    June 2, 2008

    This its one of the most obvious examples
    of the evils of religion…
    If their moral its twisted around and their criticism
    its nill, they can do anything being proud of their
    faith… its sickens me so much… i feel nauseous…

  9. #9 Carlie
    June 2, 2008

    I’d like to be able to blame their religion for promulgating these kinds of actions, but really, it’s just plain old misogyny. The same kind that kills women of all religions and none, in their country, ours, and all others. The same kind that’s causing a man to beat his wife right now, within a few miles of where any of us live, the same kind that lets men off the hook for “crimes of passion”, the same kind that leads newspaper reporters to write stories about men being charged with “having sex with” young girls rather than using the word “rape”, the same kind that makes it acceptable on network tv to joke about killing a presidential candidate just because she’s an uppity woman. Compartmentalizing it as something that men “over there” do in “that religion” shifts the blame heavily and inappropriately – it’s all us.

  10. #10 Serena
    June 2, 2008

    Ugh. That’s just awful. I was really hopping that she would be able to escape from the situation.

    How can murder be less of a sin then talking to someone? How can talking to someone be a sin?

    It is incredibly scary that these people are able to justify such violent actions against their own flesh and blood.

    I just don’t get it.

  11. #11 Maakuz
    June 2, 2008

    How sickening. It seems they are yet to reach the dark ages…

  12. #12 tsig
    June 2, 2008

    Where is the first Muslim to justify this act? Maybe no true Muslim does these things. But they do get done. Belief in life after death leads to death.

  13. #13 Barklikeadog
    June 2, 2008

    I used to live in Lybia and can attest to the majority of disgusting people who live in that society, and yes Iraq is no different than Lybia. The people(should I say the men) are for the most part(cherish the exceptions)a disgusting lot. Another mark on the wall for religious piety and goodness. How long do we have to live under these rules? When will people see the injustice of their religious convictions? If there were a hell I would take them on a trip to see it sort of like we do with wild teenagers taken to juvi to stike fear in their hearts to straighten them out.

  14. #14 Sean Stone
    June 2, 2008

    Just keep repeating…

    Religion of Peace…

    Religion of Peace…

    Religion of Peace…

  15. #15 mcow
    June 2, 2008

    It’s horrible and tragic, but there is a hopeful side. Here was a woman who saw a culturally accepted atrocity for what it was, and left her husband in protest despite knowing the immense risk involved.

    I think that people like her will eventually end this insanity.

  16. #16 mikespeir
    June 2, 2008

    It’s not hard to see how the notion of Hell originated. Sometimes I’m tempted to think such a place might almost be justifiable. It’s not, of course. Even this crime, heinous though it was, doesn’t merit eternal punishment.

  17. #17 Lord Zero
    June 2, 2008

    Misogyny… i see your point, i guess its dificult
    for people who live in a society where men and
    women are supposed to have the same potencial to achieve
    their personal goals in life, to fully understand
    something like that… im guess im just
    not triying enough, maybe a antropologist would.
    The real shame its the loss of the potencial of
    those opresed women in humanity at large, they could
    be great scientists and push people forward.

  18. #18 S.J.
    June 2, 2008

    I’m by no means a fan of war, but it’s stories like this that make me wish we could just bomb them back to the stone age and be done with it.

  19. #19 Dennis N
    June 2, 2008

    An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, S.J. But I can see the temptation.

  20. #20 Lee Harrison
    June 2, 2008

    That’s evil – just plain evil.

    Next time I hear someone say that you can’t be moral without god I’m going to find it really hard not to punch their smug face.

  21. #21 S.J.
    June 2, 2008

    Dennis, I know that wouldn’t help anything, but sometimes it’s hard to see how we can ever get atrocities like this to stop. I suppose the only real solution is to let them figure it out for themselves.

  22. #22 Jason Failes
    June 2, 2008

    Cue the post-modern armchair commentators to correct us all and tell us that this has absolutely nothing to do with Islam, somehow.

    Glad I hit refresh before commenting. Hello, Carlie.

    I forget who pointed this out first, but one of the major differences between Christianity-inspired violence here and Muslim-inspired violence there, is that we are legally a secular society.

    Oh, sure, we still get nuts who kill their wives and babies for Jesus, or blow up abortion clinics or smash fossils (you won’t find me arguing that the bible is any better than the Koran in its extremism and calls for violence), but these people go to jail.

    So, yeah, what’s worse than religion? Religion given free unchecked reign over a society.

    I forget what my point is, I’m so disgusted at this, and disgusted in advance at the inevitable 200-post post-modern discussion we’re going to have here, where half the people will try to out-politically correct the other half, completely ignoring what these monsters, as well as the Koran itself, have to say.

  23. #23 frog
    June 2, 2008

    SJ: I’m by no means a fan of war, but it’s stories like this that make me wish we could just bomb them back to the stone age and be done with it.

    If you don’t believe that the folks in Missouri, and many town in the US, wouldn’t be capable of this but are held back by the rest of us, I got a bridge to sell ‘ya. Wasn’t it in Wyoming where a couple of men crucified a gay man? How big a step would it be to murdering your daughter?

    And remember, this crap didn’t fly under Hussein – he was a murderous bastard, but he was for fairly equal rights for most of his regime. The world is too complex to boil down to “bombing the bastards to the stone age”, particularly after we have done that, and only exacerbated the situation. The world just doesn’t work that way.

    If anything, it’s the exact opposite — we have to raise their standard of living, if you expect to improve their way of life. Give them something to prop their egos better than abusing the weak, give them something to live for, rather than just live against. Instead, we prop up (aka, your tax dollars go to the military to support) the bastard Saud clan who fund the religious police and fundamentalist terrorists, while their own impoverished populations grovel at their feet.

  24. #24 Barklikeadog
    June 2, 2008

    Amen Jason, Amen.

  25. #25 Seamyst
    June 2, 2008

    Oh shit. This makes me sick. I had truly hoped that Leila Hussein would be able to escape and make a better life for herself.

  26. #26 Matt Heath
    June 2, 2008

    mcow @ #15: +1 I only hope I could be so heroic if I was in a similar situation. The same goes for “Maryam” in “Faisal” in the story.

    Carlie @#9: Yes, but also no. Obviously, treating this as something essential to the character of Arab men would be wrong but I think it is clear that misogyny in Iraq and misogyny in Sweden (say) are not the same thing. Gender equality is at least a cultural normal thing to believe in the west. It’s the fact that women’s rights are so far outside the Overton window in many Muslim countries that makes those prepared to stand up for them so heroic.

  27. #27 Christopher Olson
    June 2, 2008

    The only consolidation for my anger is knowing that this angers quite a lot of people. If I were the only one who was shocked to read this, I would be seriously more depressed than I already am.

    It’s a small consolidation, but it’s the only thing I’ve got to keep me from falling into despair every time I read about an honour killing or a child prostitution ring. And there’s no difference between the kind of depravity it takes to molest a child, and the one that convinces people to kill their own wife and daughter, except of course that child molesters don’t always kill their victims.

  28. #28 windy
    June 2, 2008

    I’m by no means a fan of war, but it’s stories like this that make me wish we could just bomb them back to the stone age

    But you already did.

  29. #29 Carlie
    June 2, 2008

    Matt – true, there are different degrees in cultural norms of gender equality. I’m not trying to say that it’s equal, but my point was that we can’t just point and say “Oh, we’re nothing like that here.” The fuck we’re not. Jason, I didn’t say it had nothing to to with Islam, I said that Islam can’t be completely blamed for it. That’s too easy, and it ignores the suffering going on in every other culture, and absolves us of having to look at ourselves at all. You say the problem is religion going unchecked over society as if religion is some entity of its own divorced from the people who make it up in the first place. Religion is just a convenient encapsulation of the attitudes of a group of people.

  30. #30 MissPrism
    June 2, 2008

    Bloody hell, what a depressing story.
    Those women who tried to help Leila are heroes.

  31. #31 Yoo
    June 2, 2008

    I wish there was a way to turn all those barbaric men into women and let them see how much they’d like being treated like dirt.

    Sometimes it feels like the culture there is so hopeless that anyone trying to improve the situation even a little will get killed. I’ll have to console myself with the fact that some of the modern civilized cultures were also just as barbaric hundreds or thousands of years ago, so that the situation isn’t entirely hopeless.

  32. #32 S.J.
    June 2, 2008

    Windy, Frog, again, I KNOW THAT BOMBING THEM IS NOT THE ANSWER! I’m not a fan of the war in Iraq, or any war. But after reading the story, my first, angry, knee-jerk reaction was to want to hurt the people responsible as badly as I could. I wouldn’t act on it, even if given the chance, it was just the first thought of a mind clouded by anger.

    I actually think frog has the right idea with raising their standard of living.

  33. #33 tsig
    June 2, 2008

    Maybe we should start a fund. Escape From Islam.

  34. #34 Andrew
    June 2, 2008

    Damn…didnt think it could get worse. :(

  35. #35 Rick R
    June 2, 2008

    #31- “I wish there was a way to turn all those barbaric men into women and let them see how much they’d like being treated like dirt.”

    Back in the days following the 9/11 attacks, I thought if they ever managed to capture Bin Laden, the best punishment imaginable would be a sex change operation for him, then release back into Middle East culture.

    What prison could possibly compare?

  36. #36 MissPrism
    June 2, 2008

    Can we please not get so high and mighty about how womens’ rights come naturally to Civilised Peoples like us? Women got the vote about 80 years ago, and marital rape was legal until about 15 years ago, and there was strong resistance to both of those changes.

  37. #37 Susan
    June 2, 2008

    I’m so glad we’ve spent trillions of dollars bringing the gift of democracy to Iraq. Money well-spent.

  38. #38 Richard Harris
    June 2, 2008

    Submissionism, (the religion of the followars of Mohammad, piss be upon him), the religion of peace that respects women, so they claim.

    These evil misogynists disgust me.

  39. #39 DocAmazing
    June 2, 2008

    Boy, it sure is a good thing that we got rid of their oppressive secular government and gave them the freedom to exercise their religion!

    Yay, team! We had nothing whatever to do with unleashing religious tyrrany in Iraq, no sir, not us!

  40. #40 Akheloios
    June 2, 2008

    In China they used to bind the feet of their women so they couldn’t walk.

    Here in the Middle East, they commit ‘honour’ killings.

    Europe once deprived women of any and all property rights and inheritance.

    We’re all guilty of it at sometime in the past.

    Europe, and the US, though both of us are not completely free of it yet, have come a long way since and because of the Enlightenment. We learned the hard way from religious wars and atrocities against minorities that everything should be questioned, everything should be poked, prodded, tested, examined, re-examined, theorized over, contemplated and blogged about.

    We finally learnt that a lot of our prejudices were groundless rubbish, the idea of the dirty Jew, the perverted Homosexual, the idolatrous Catholic, the stupid and emotional Woman, all gone in the last couple of hundred years. Some took longer than other unfortunately.

    We need to spread the Enlightenment value that an untested prejudicial value is not worth the breath it’s spoken with.

    Maybe then people will see that no-one is inherently sinful, dirty, perverted, or evil, and the only thing worth criticising is the baseless, theoryless, kneejerk, emotional reaction.

    Maybe then we can finally be rid of horrors like this.

  41. #41 frog
    June 2, 2008

    JF: Cue the post-modern armchair commentators to correct us all and tell us that this has absolutely nothing to do with Islam, somehow.

    Well, Mr. Armchair Commentator, why does Islam suddenly have unchecked control over Iraq, where a decade ago it did not? Hmmm? How did this possibly come to be?

    Could it involve a number of “secular, law-based societies” which suddenly where not following international law — an international law that they themselves were crucial in creating, but suddenly didn’t apply to “barbarians” (emotionally driven from our own primitive theologies)? But you expect us to decry the proximate cause, but ignore the ultimate cause, eh?

    Gahh, what’s worse than post-modernism? The vulgar moral relativism derived from post-modernism by nationalists and jingoists!

  42. #42 Jason Failes
    June 2, 2008

    Carlie @ 29 wrote:
    “Religion is just a convenient encapsulation of the attitudes of a group of people.”

    Wait, I thought religion was a set of eternally absolutely correct beliefs handed down by God (or in the case of other peoples’ religions, eternally absolutely incorrect beliefs handed down by Satan)…

    Point is, even though you are correct, no one seriously adhering to one of these Abrahamic religions would see their own beliefs that way, making religion an inherently different creature from other philosophical encapsulations, such as national constitutions or political platforms, that are (in principle, if less often in practice) open to new information, reconsideration, and change.

  43. #43 Akheloios
    June 2, 2008

    Could it involve a number of “secular, law-based societies” which suddenly where not following international law

    Noam Chomsky’s said again and again that we don’t look at things universally. We like to think that we’re better than others, that we don’t commit crimes, that ‘evil’ is always the ‘other’.

    We’re doomed to repeat history unless we look at ourselves with the same scrutiny that we do everyone else.

    We’re guilty of warcrimes, illegal wars and torture. The one thing that is possibly redeeming is that we don’t allow our governments to do it to us.

    If we could show that same restraint when dealing with the rest of the world, then I’d be happy. Though I doubt Ann Coulter would.

  44. #44 Dunc
    June 2, 2008

    I’m by no means a fan of war, but it’s stories like this that make me wish we could just bomb them back to the stone age and be done with it.

    Yeah, like that would help. From a moral perspective, how would you tell the difference?

  45. #45 protocol
    June 2, 2008

    This is tragic; this is the kind of hatred only a combination of religion sanction and social mores can inspire. By the way, all those pontificating about our “civilized” culture and feeling disgusted at “their” barbarism should remember that our governments were at least partially responsible for creating fundamentalist islamic power blocs by helping to systematically obliterate all secular opposition to U.S. and British policies in that part of the world. You know the middle east once had secular nationalists….once they were eliminated with a lot of U.S. taxpayer help, the only viable opposition was religious (in fact actively promoted by the U.S. to destroy the secular nationalist enemy).

    Also remember that as frog points out wars only embolden these fundamentalists and gain them more followers. When your country is under attack by the sole superpower thug and your lives are at risk, you will will forced to seek the help of the worst available thugs in your country who, incidentally, are the most effective in offering protection; these thugs also just happen to be (religious)fundamentalist thugs, and you play by their rules.

    Yes we should be disgusted and look forward to a day when such acts of blatent misogyny cannot be justified by religious or social sanction. But let us do it as human beings, and not as more “civilized” westerners who despair for these “uncivilized” brown people in the desert somewhere (and by the way, our government’s barbarities, on the other hand, are more directed to people living in other countries. The fact that the victims of our governments mostly live in other countries should not mitigate the “barbaric” or “uncivilized” nature of those acts, as in “can you believe it, Saddam killed his own people”!!! as if killing other people is morally better).

  46. #46 Jason Failes
    June 2, 2008

    “Well, Mr. Armchair Commentator, why does Islam suddenly have unchecked control over Iraq, where a decade ago it did not? Hmmm? How did this possibly come to be?”

    An Evangelical idiot named George W. Bush, because he thought God was on his side, bombed the hell out of Iraq and forcibly removed its secular government. It was on the news.

    A dramatic reduction in Iraqi quality of life, not to mention the invasion itself, made fundamentalist versions of Islam more attractive, and an atmosphere of relative lawlessness has allowed these offenses to go unchecked.

    I’m not sure what you are on about. Because I don’t attach a 20-page pdf of my beliefs to every post, or redundantly rehash my disgust at GW’s actions here (in a place where I would presume an overwhelming majority of people understand that the invasion of Iraq was evidentially groundless and morally indefensible), I therefore approve of nationalist jingoism?

    We live in a multi-causational world: Islam can be an evil stupid religion, America can have an evil stupid president, and misogyny can be a persistent evil stupid attitude, all at the same time.

  47. #47 Matt Heath
    June 2, 2008

    Miss Prism @#36: Going through the comments preceding yours I wonder if you weren’t addressing me @#26. If so, you don’t have to me that. I’m sat in a Western European country (Portugal) which only brought its first law against domestic violence in the last decade so I know very well that breaking historical oppression is always a struggle. But it is still the case that in some places it is a harder struggle than others.

    I really don’t think I am coming from a complacently pro-Western viewpoint when I say that it is easy for a boy growing up in Europe or North America to grow up seeing women as deserving equal rights than it is for a boy growing up in the Gulf States or Afghanistan. Yes, demonising the “other” and failing to see similarities with one’s own culture is always a risk to be fought against, but equally so is over correcting for this to the extent that you deny that cultural background has an impact on levels of oppression.

  48. #48 Mich S
    June 2, 2008

    Of all the things that Islamists are allowed to do, I find it rather curious that you find this to be the most gruesome. A video was posted on youtube sometime ago where an Iraqi girl was stoned to death on the streets, for falling in love with another “muslim” guy (muslim! not an INFIDEL!). i am sure this utterly horrifying video can still be viewed. Islam is not a religion for human beings. I demand, defend and fight for truth and evolution.
    I find it utterly disgusting that people defend Islam for the moderates in that religion. It is like defending nazism for the good people in that party.
    And one more thing, I also think that they will still sell us their oil even if we do not defend Islam… after all how different are those rich sheikhs from our rich politicians.

  49. #49 Tim
    June 2, 2008

    How hideous. I don’t believe in hell, but for some I’d like to make an exception.

  50. #50 Larry Teabag
    June 2, 2008

    Cue the post-modern armchair commentators to correct us all and tell us that this has absolutely nothing to do with Islam, somehow.

    The question is not whether this has “absolutely nothing to do with Islam”, but what the most suitable distinction is. You say it’s Islam versus non-Islam, I go for “people who do terrible things in the name of Islam” versus everyone else.

    The reason my distinction is the right one and yours is wrong is that (a) it doesn’t unfairly malign large numbers of innocent people (including the victim and the heroes in this case) (b) we have a better chance of doing something successful operating across my lines (you ain’t going to make Islam go away whatever you think about it), because… (c) mine allows for a broader and stronger coalition to be built against the bad guys, significantly including moderate Muslims – who have a better chance of being heard where it matters than a bunch of atheist americans pissing over the prophet.

    In other words, if you think the distinction between condemning evil bastardry and condemning Islam wholesale is “post-modern”, then you’s an idiot.

  51. #51 ildi
    June 2, 2008

    Interesting pattern: When atrocities such as this one or female genital mutilation are pointed out in blogs, there are the commenters who say “don’t judge others, it’s their culture; or, our culture was recently just as bad; or, xianity is just as bad,”. When a posting points out some type of injustice against women in this country, another group jump on the “these damn man-hating feminists don’t know how good they have it! Quit your bitching!” bandwagon.

    So, which is it?

  52. #52 Dennis N
    June 2, 2008

    I think “our culture was recently like this” is part of the point. We’ve moved on and they should too. They have the benefit of seeing us do it, while we had to mostly figure it out for ourselves.

  53. #53 Jason Failes
    June 2, 2008

    Larry@50

    “In other words, if you think the distinction between condemning evil bastardry and condemning Islam wholesale is “post-modern”, then you’s an idiot.”

    And if you think that a moderate religion can ever arise from a religion with such gems as this in its holy writ…

    “Kill disbelievers wherever you find them.”

    …then right back at you, Larry.

    I’m with Dawkins on this. Moderates provide license for extremists in all religions. All religions must go.

    I’m not advocating anything violent, but I’ll be rude as all hell telling them to prove it or lose it.

  54. #54 MissPrism
    June 2, 2008

    Matt – No, it wasn’t in response to your commemnt – or any one particular comment, it just seemed that some people were making a sharp distinction between Civilisation (Us) and Barbarians (Them) and forgetting how recent our own progress is.

    Of course, I agree with you that the West and Iraq are currently in very diffferent places on the continuum!

  55. #55 ShavenYak
    June 2, 2008

    I’m by no means a fan of war, but it’s stories like this that make me wish we could just bomb them back to the stone age and be done with it.

    1. You’re implying that they’re not in the stone age now.
    2. Lots more women like Leila would die in the bombing.

    If we could somehow invent a bomb that only kills assholes….

  56. #56 Don't ask don't tell!
    June 2, 2008

    This sort of “honor killing” has been an islamic family value for hundreds of years. Don’t expect it to change anytime soon.

    I don’t wish bad things on anyone but I wonder how soon the old man will meet his own fate?

  57. #57 Larry Teabag
    June 2, 2008

    All religions must go.

    Good luck with that. In the mean time don’t be too surprised if your anti-Muslim rhetoric (as a contribution to debates about immediately pressing problems and their solutions) is liable to merge in people’s minds with that of e.g Ann Coulter. Both of you see as irrelevant the distinction between the people who killed this woman, and the people who tried to save her.

  58. #58 rb
    June 2, 2008

    I’m with Dawkins on this. Moderates provide license for extremists in all religions. All religions must go.

    Then quit being a moderate athiest, eliminate the evil theist, fundamentalist and moderate. begin the murder and torture of all thiests, and infants born to thiests. quit being a moderate and letting them continue to exist.

  59. #59 Dennis N
    June 2, 2008

    What, rb? Can you find an extremist atheist? Do they have TV shows and presidential candidates seeking their endorsement? If Dawkins is your definition of a militant atheist, well, look what he strives for. Full right to religion in your private lives if you’re an adult? How audacious of him!!

  60. #60 Matt Heath
    June 2, 2008

    Thanks for replying, MissPrism

  61. #61 Dennis N
    June 2, 2008

    Larry, Islam did not empower this woman to break free from her husband. She and the people who helped her rose above their religion, because they were better than it. Someone like Ann Coulter opposes Islam because it happens to not be the religion she grew up in. Its hypocritical. We oppose all religion, and that is very consistent.

  62. #62 octopod
    June 2, 2008

    @#53: The Old Testament isn’t any better, and would you say you’ve never met a decent Christian? Because I’ve met plenty. Same with Muslims.

    The good ones are out there; they just ignore the nasty parts of their scriptures, because they’re better, kinder, more compassionate people than the cruel, petty, child-abusing God they worship (unlike the ones who killed Leyla Hussain, who are just like him). They would be the same good people if they were atheists. They are out there.

  63. #63 mothwentbad
    June 2, 2008

    Jason -

    Do you believe that such things as moderate Judaism and moderate Christianity exist? If so, then the hurdle that Islam needs to clear isn’t any higher. If you’ve spent any time in the Old Testament, you would know that.

    http://www.evilbible.com/Rape.htm

    Sure, the Christians are still totally giving us fits to this day, and I wouldn’t want the task of harmonizing any religion this side of Deism with reality, but culture has a bit of a hand in saying which things are interpreted how and which are totally neglected. I think that the holy books will be working against us rather than for us, for the most part, in the mean time. But it’s not an impossible turnaround.

  64. #64 Mich S
    June 2, 2008

    Comment for #54 —MissPrism

    100 years ago women were not treated as equals. 100 years ago all men were not treated as equals either. 100 years ago we did not have Google…..Oh! we did not have computers either….crummy world then! 100 years ago muslim men did not travel as much to witness other cultures…like Europe or North America. 100 years ago muslim men were not watching porn over the internet either.

    But even 100 years ago men were not praised for killing their daughters here. 100 years ago women were not wearing burkhas here. 100 years ago people were not blowing themselves up in the name of religion here. Hmmm! that did not even happen 200 years ago. Oh! yeah we did have a lot of faults..but it is our will to change for the better that makes us truly wonderful.

    Civilization versus barbarians….Hmmmm! you tell me what you would call us if we did any of that. I would call us barbarians :)…..like we call the joker and his cronies in the WH.

  65. #65 Brownian, OM
    June 2, 2008

    begin the murder and torture of all thiests, and infants born to thiests. quit being a moderate and letting them continue to exist.

    Why are the religious so obsessed with torture?

    Oh, right. They mastered the art.

  66. #66 mothwentbad
    June 2, 2008

    Er, pretend that when I said “this side of Deism”, I meant the theist anthropomorphic smitey beardy God side. Usually “this” would mean “atheist”, given the beliefs of myself and the host.

  67. #67 Bernard Bumner
    June 2, 2008

    I’m with Dawkins on this. Moderates provide license for extremists in all religions. All religions must go.

    Yeah, but the only problem with that is that it doesn’t do anything to really address the issue.

    I wish… or any amount of anti-religious rhetoric isn’t actually going to help in this case. As intellectually unpalatable as it may seem, pragmatism is the only hopeful route: we have to engage with people who call themselves moderate, those who occupy the more liberal end of the spectrum of religiosity, in order to make practical inroads into wiping out these vile cultural practices.

    The people who have the most power to prevent tragedies such as this are Muslims. Any amount of condemnation from non-Muslims alone is simply impotent rage and moral indignation which will fall on deaf ears. Dawkins is absolutely right that moderate religion foments the conditions necessary for extremism, but it also often provides the only route of mediation.

  68. #68 Tommykey
    June 2, 2008

    Well everyone, I share your outrage over this and I have done a number of posts on my blog about this as well.

    The question is, what are you going to do about it?

    The father and ex-husband of the murdered girl is still a free man who is apparently still collecting a salary from his government job. If anything is going to come out of this at all, this man, as well as his two sons who were accomplices in the murder of Rand, must pay for what he did. We need to start making some serious noise about this.

  69. #69 Jason Failes
    June 2, 2008

    “All religions must go.”

    I suppose it would be more accurate to say that all religious control over societies must go. I really don’t care what people believe in their heart of hearts, as long as they understand the legal limits of religion in a secular society.

    That said, I really don’t think people will stop trying to overthrow secular societies with religion until religion itself gets educated out of the vast majority of human minds.

    There is a quote from the Bible in Luke (19:27) comparable to the Koranic verse I listed above. Tolerance is antithetical to the Abrahamic religions.

    rb@58

    “Then quit being a moderate athiest, eliminate the evil theist, fundamentalist and moderate. begin the murder and torture of all thiests, and infants born to thiests. quit being a moderate and letting them continue to exist.”

    Long Reply: I cannot even begin to tell you how wrong that is. Besides playing into preexisting religious persecution complexes, besides being against every tenet of free speech and secular governance that I, as an extreme atheist, believe in, your insane plan completely ignores the fact that minds can change. It’s cheaper, easier, far more moral, and far less bloody to change minds through rebuttals, link-fests, and even rude mockery, than to eliminate bodies.

    Short Version: The stupid, it burns.

  70. #70 Dennis N
    June 2, 2008

    Good point Jason, rb was actually called for his own persecution to fulfill his persecution complex! Then he can feel self-righteous. He’ll be horribly disappointed when we don’t give him what he wants.

  71. #71 frog
    June 2, 2008

    jf: ‘m not sure what you are on about. Because I don’t attach a 20-page pdf of my beliefs to every post, or redundantly rehash my disgust at GW’s actions here (in a place where I would presume an overwhelming majority of people understand that the invasion of Iraq was evidentially groundless and morally indefensible), I therefore approve of nationalist jingoism?

    So, you were just swinging at the almost non-existent group of idiots who think that cultural relativism implies that we shouldn’t “judge” sectors of the modern world that enslave their own populations (since we’re not talking about the 200 uncontacted indigenes wandering the Earth)? Strawman much?

    See just now ildi: #51
    Interesting pattern: When atrocities such as this one or female genital mutilation are pointed out in blogs, there are the commenters who say “don’t judge others, it’s their culture; or, our culture was recently just as bad; or, xianity is just as bad,”. When a posting points out some type of injustice against women in this country, another group jump on the “these damn man-hating feminists don’t know how good they have it! Quit your bitching!” bandwagon.
    So, which is it?

    As you see, these kind of simple-minded strawmen are quite common – so it’s best not to swing at them and then whine that you were misunderstood (or even give the perception of swinging at them). Who says “we shouldn’t judge them”? All that is said is that the larger context should be considered — damning without looking at ourselves is exactly jingoistic nonsense. And who but trolls say that the “feminists should quit their bitching”?

  72. #72 Don Cox
    June 2, 2008

    “And remember, this crap didn’t fly under Hussein”

    It did. Check out the activities of Uday Hussein.

  73. #73 sailor
    June 2, 2008

    So commentators make two points worth noticing.
    Civilized countries have not been that way for long. True. We have made a lot of progress recently, women got rights somewhat before black people in the USA. Furthermore, some people who killed with impunity about 40 years ago, have recently been brough to trial. So the solution is to hope there is pressure for things to get better and then maybe this son of a bitch will end up doing time when he is 70.
    “Its attitude not religion”. Well duh, there is no god so religion is just a reflection people’s attitudes. It is worse than other fantasies though, as it make people think they are right when they commit atrocities.
    Yes this is a babaric and horrible case, and a plague on the perpetrators, who are so sexually insecure they have to kill. I suspect one of the reasons virginity is at such a premium is they cannot stand comparison.
    However, consider the number who have killed and been maimed in the war in Iraq, and consider who is perpetrator of the worst evil.

  74. #74 Robster, FCD
    June 2, 2008

    It isn’t post modernism (better termed post intelligent) but honor killings are found nowhere in the Koran. That said, people do point to their religion to defend such killings. It is more cultural than religious. Of course, it is a culture that religion has had a major part in producing.

  75. #75 Mich S
    June 2, 2008

    Comment for #68—-Tommy

    Yup! only question we should be asking.
    Solution I: Start unequivocally praising muslim men and women who oppose this. Advertise this fact and start calling them the only ‘true muslims’.

    Solution II: This might make some people queasy. Muslim men who do not adhere to western rules of democracy (this has to involve the equal rights for women) and live in western countries must and should lose their jobs and bussinesses.

  76. #76 Mich S
    June 2, 2008

    Comment for #68—-Tommy

    Yup! only question we should be asking.
    Solution I: Start unequivocally praising muslim men and women who oppose this. Advertise this fact and start calling them the only ‘true muslims’.

    Solution II: This might make some people queasy. Muslim men who do not adhere to western rules of democracy (this has to involve the equal rights for women) and live in western countries must and should lose their jobs and bussinesses.

  77. #77 Jay
    June 2, 2008

    If tomorrow we revoked laws in the USA and allowed men to kill their wives for “honorable” reasons, I would guarantee that thousands would be killed in the following days.

  78. #78 Dennis N
    June 2, 2008

    Our definitions of honour are not the same. I know no one whose only reason for not killing their family members is the law. You have a very sad, cynical view of us, Jay.

  79. #79 AmeriDuh
    June 2, 2008

    Yay, we’re winning the war of bringing western civilization to Iraq!

    Err, nevermind…quick, look at Paris Hilton!!11!

  80. #80 Dennis
    June 2, 2008

    Having read the comments I would say that almost everyone has a valid point. Violence against women happens in every country in the world. There will always be persons who are scared they will lose something when someone else is given a chance to be their equal. The difference is that when culture and religion become inseperable, the ability for the enlightened to speak up becomes stifled and their voices go unheard. That is why it is even more important for them to speak up! And for those of us fortunate enough to be in countries where we can speak out we must so that we send a message that violence against women is unacceptable. But it is especially important now, that the leaders of the west make known their outrage, and yet we have not heard from most; how many here have made their feelings know to them?

  81. #81 Mich S
    June 2, 2008

    Jay, One, I agree with Dennis. Two, that is why we do not have those kinds of laws because some ‘humans’ are stupid. And if religions don’t get that, they should be eradicated just for that reason….. amongst a million others.

  82. #82 BoxerShorts
    June 2, 2008

    The misogyny and barbarism are shocking.

    I haven’t read through all the comments, so maybe it’s already been posted, but I strongly suggest checking out stophonourkillings.com. It’s a very worthy cause to support.

  83. #83 Denis Loubet
    June 2, 2008

    I don’t think it’s just misogyny.

    Religion INSTITUTIONALIZES misogyny, and makes it an integral part of the culture. Religion rationalizes it. It enables it. It demands it.

    Religion must be destroyed.

  84. #84 Dennis N
    June 2, 2008

    Destroyed by the tools of logic and reason, that is.

  85. #85 Disciple of "Bob"
    June 2, 2008

    http://www.stophonourkillings.com/

    The thing that infuriates me the most is when certain people (frustratingly, it’s usually liberals) insist that these “honor killings” have nothing to do with Islam, and nothing to do with Arab culture.

    I’ll believe that as soon as I start reading about honor killings among Norwegian Episcopalians.

  86. #86 Mich S
    June 2, 2008

    Logic and reason…maybe Buddhism….not Islam

  87. #87 Alverant
    June 2, 2008

    I’ll tell you something else that’s disturbing, that a story about a nutroll giving a list of who’s going to hell got 3 times as many comments as this story.

    Violence does not have a good track record when it comes to stopping religious extremism. It can work but it’s very messy and not very efficient. The mideast needs two things, a good economy and Enlightenment. Once Xity got the latter, the former happened and the violence in the name of that religion went down. It’s not a perfect solution but it’s a whole lot better than killing everyone.

    If honor killings get much worse, there won’t be enough women to sustain the population. The cold equations say this problem may work itself out eventually.

  88. #88 johannes
    June 2, 2008

    # 45,

    if you believe that a secular, nationalist and/or degenerate socialist dictatorship could have stopped islamists from massacring people, the answer will be one word: Algeria.

    > You know the middle east once had secular nationalists….
    > once they were eliminated with a lot of U.S. taxpayer help,
    > the only viable opposition was religious

    They eliminated themselves, because of their economic incompetence. “Secular nationalists” (= secular rather than clerical fascists) might have massacred islamists on occassion – nobody likes competition from a rival gang – but still islamists profited from their actions on the long run. Islamists suffered under the jackboots of sun-glassed lieutenant-colonels, but others – socialists, communists, liberals and conservatives – suffered even more, leaving the islamists as the only alternative to increasingly desparate people. This said, some of the worst traits of islamists – antisemitism, antiliberalism, utter disregard for human rights and a cult of death – are actually shared by nationalist regimes or rackets that could trace back their ancestry to the european fascism of the thirties, or the stalinism of the cold war era. A dictatorship, even a secular one, teaches people that violence is the only way to go, and that makes it easy to continue the same sort of violence under islamist colours.

    America is indeed at least partially guilty for the raise of islamism, but not because it fought nationalist thugs, but because it made an alliance with the islamist thugs of Saudi-Arabia.

  89. #89 Dennis N
    June 2, 2008

    The reason this thread has less comments is that we are generally on the same page here. We all agree what happened was wrong. There is more contention and debate going on in the other thread. That does not mean we condemn the actions of these people any less.

  90. #90 BoxerShorts
    June 2, 2008

    If honor killings get much worse, there won’t be enough women to sustain the population. The cold equations say this problem may work itself out eventually.

    Those are very, very cold equations indeed.

  91. #91 protocol
    June 2, 2008

    # 88

    I did not say anything about the form of regime, i.e. dictatorship or democracy. You could have theoretically had secular democracies (as opposed to secular dictatorships, like you imply) in the middle east. Of course the biggest thugs of them all (the U.S. government and the Soviets)would not have necessarily liked that. Examples include mossadeq’s Iran and Nasser’s egypt (though I agree that Egypt under Nasser was not quite a democracy, but way more democratic than Sadat’s or now).
    Other than that, I agree.

  92. #92 frog
    June 2, 2008

    MichS: 100 years ago women were not wearing burkhas here. 100 years ago people were not blowing themselves up in the name of religion here. Hmmm! that did not even happen 200 years ago. Oh! yeah we did have a lot of faults..but it is our will to change for the better that makes us truly wonderful.

    Have you looked at portraits from 100 years ago? The fashion wasn’t burkas, but it was covering from ankle to neck — just check out late 19th century beach pictures. And yes, the state did enforce this dress code — you still get people fined for wearing thongs in public in some locales.

    100 years ago we had just stopped killing our neighbors in the name of religion (Manifest destiny anyone?) The only reason we stopped, is we ran out of local non-Christians. But we were killing, in the name of our God-given right to empire, Filipinos in large numbers. A century ago, Americans were holding other Americans in de facto slavery, and the cotton those “sharecroppers” produced did lead to profits by nice Englishmen who would never dirty their own hands with slavery.

    Just give me a f*ckin’ break. We are barbarians – they are barbarians. Most of Goddamned human race is made up of barbarians. Our clothes comes from slaves, “they” enslave their families. We bomb nations to the stone age, “they” bomb school busses. In the end, what “they” do at small scale, we do at large scale. “Their” hands are bloody, and our hands are bloody, but we’re too damn effete to take responsibility for it.

    And the only way we’re going to fix “them”, is if we fix ourselves. If we weren’t so barbaric, allowing entire nations to starve to keep our economic advantage in agricultural, maybe we’d have a world where that kind of barbarism would slowly eat itself and die, rather than being funded and supported by our clients in the ME and elsewhere.

    Just think of the worst barbarism in Latin America, and how often (not always) it is linked with our own political and economic ambitions. We can’t do anything about one effin’ son of a bitch half a world away — but we can do something about the political conditions which lead to him getting away with it.

  93. #93 Mich S
    June 2, 2008

    “If honor killings get much worse, there won’t be enough women to sustain the population. The cold equations say this problem may work itself out eventually”.

    Who are you? What are you?

    “America is indeed at least partially guilty for the raise of islamism, but not because it fought nationalist thugs, but because it made an alliance with the islamist thugs of Saudi-Arabia”.

    Saudi Arabia sells oil to pretty much every country in the world. The folly is to think that America helped the Islamic thugs. Those thugs can sustain themselves without any help. They did so for the last 1200 years.

  94. #94 protocol
    June 2, 2008

    “Saudi Arabia sells oil to pretty much every country in the world. The folly is to think that America helped the Islamic thugs. Those thugs can sustain themselves without any help. They did so for the last 1200 years.”

    Do you know who took a bunch of wandering Bedouins and made them in charge of recently-discovered middle-eastern oil (hint: the tribe is also known as the sauds)? Do you also know who set up a puppet regime in the formerly ottoman region, now known as Iraq? more recently, who was the CIA’s “man in iraq” during the late 70s and early 80s?

  95. #95 frog
    June 2, 2008

    Don: “And remember, this crap didn’t fly under Hussein”
    It did. Check out the activities of Uday Hussein.

    Don, that’s just stupid. Uday did anything he wanted to — it wasn’t misogeny, it was simple dictatorship. This crap didn’t fly for citizens — but the sovereign always gets to whatever the hell they want to do, in any state. That’s a completely different problem, no different in essence from Limbaugh flying down to the Dominican Republic to rape young girls (the power difference whether internal to the state or external between states). That’s not cultural barbarism, but individual barbarism.

  96. #96 Mich S
    June 2, 2008

    Frog: Have you looked at portraits from 100 years ago?

    Yes, neither of the two sexes were seen wearing the bathing suits of today. However, my guess is that even 100 years ago a woman would not be stoned to death for talking to a man, or falling in love….even on the beach. Most likely that is where people fell in love..100 years ago. YSL had not started his fashion trends and created those wonderful bikinis (or whoever invented those) either.

    100 years ago we were wrong for a lot of reasons. 200 years ago we were worse. Even now, migrant workers are not paid the same wages. That does not mean we get maids from other countries and treat them worse than pigs. And in the rare cases that some aberrations in our society do manage to do this the law actually is on the side of the opressed. Yeah! it is not perfect, but I believe we are willing to evolve, to change. And the majority of the world likes this model.

    The Iraq war was a very stupid folly made by a very stupid man. There is no disagreement here. Even so, that has nothing to do with the things being practiced in the name of Islam the world over. Islam has been present for over 1200 years. We are only becoming aware of it now. Read the history of Islam and you will see this is not a novel phenomenon bought on by American greed.

    And no we are not barbarians, I am sorry this might come as a surprise to you but we do not give aid to other countries so they can build schools where the students learn how to become suicide bombers. And no our universities and schools do not teach hate either.
    I cannot imagine how everyone reserve the choicest and meanest words for America.

  97. #97 Philip Tucker
    June 2, 2008

    Can we please not get so high and mighty about how womens’ rights come naturally to Civilised Peoples like us? Women got the vote about 80 years ago

    Um, seriously, you’re comparing suffrage to a man killing his daughter for talking to a British soldier? Behavior like that hasn’t been tolerated by Western socieities for centuries. I’m no historian, but would a father killing his daughter for speaking to a boy of a different religion been tolerated (even congratulated) by neighbors at any time after Charlemagne?

  98. #98 protocol
    June 2, 2008

    “And no our universities and schools do not teach hate either.I cannot imagine how everyone reserve the choicest and meanest words for America.”

    NO, our universities produce people like Kissinger and mcnamara, who decide to indiscriminately bomb a whole country and kill between 1-3 million people “for freedom”. They produce people like Samuel Huntington who advises forced “urbanization” to separate the viet cong from the general population (i.e. setting up of “camps” to trap Vietnamese villagers). They produce people like Wolfowitz, and Cheney who have little respect for the lives of the victims of U.S. foreign policy. They also produce people who deem unacceptable the results of democratic elections in other countries if they do not go their way. I could go on and on, and not even scratch the surface of the barbarity that resides beneath the veneer of civilization.

  99. #99 frog
    June 2, 2008

    MichS: And no we are not barbarians, I am sorry this might come as a surprise to you but we do not give aid to other countries so they can build schools where the students learn how to become suicide bombers. And no our universities and schools do not teach hate either.

    Broaden your horizons a bit. We have a little thing called the “School of the Americas” which has spent decades training the worst thugs on the planet to burn villages to the ground, women and children included. No, we don’t train suicide bombers – we train monsters who are even worse.

    Have you followed the debate on Free Trade status with Columbia? That little kerfuffle is about how one of our allies has cut down the systematic and institutionalized murder of labor activists down under a 100 yearly, after having been a magnitude larger a few years ago. Yet somehow Chavez is the “Enemy of Freedom”! We have one bad bastard that we spend constantly berating, but yet we just begin to notice that our erstwhile ally is literally 100 of times worse!

    I cannot imagine how everyone reserve the choicest and meanest words for America. You lack imagination. We have many good qualities — but we also have such power that we also have much greater responsibility than any other nation. Our crimes get multiplied a thousand fold through our military hegemony and our (slowly dwindling) economic power. Stop being such a pansy.

    That’s what really galls me — this whining about how “we” are constantly being attacked. Instead of taking an honest look at our strengths and weakness, we only want to look at our strengths and complain about the “unfairness” of critiquing our weaknesses. What a bunch of whiny, panty-waisted, crybaby nonsense. The US is the single-most powerful nation in the world – we don’t have a damn thing to whine about, the world order is in our interest.

  100. #100 protocol
    June 2, 2008

    Oh I forgot to mention free fire zones (i.e. everyone, men, women, children are fair game; remember Kissinger’s famous orders, “anything that moves”), agent orange to destroy crops and forest cover, napalm, chemical warfare against a bunch of peasants, in addition to what frog mentions above.

  101. #101 Michelle
    June 2, 2008

    Shit. What is this world coming down to?

    FUCK THEM. Seriously. I’m sick of being nice with these third rate countries. Their backwater thinking is terrible. The very idea that my VAGINA makes me less important than their camels pisses me right off.

    A poor woman died. And her only mistake was being born in a fucked up place and being married to a murderous fucktard in a murderous land.

  102. #102 Mich S
    June 2, 2008

    Protocol: “NO, our universities produce people like Kissinger and mcnamara, who decide to indiscriminately bomb a whole country and kill between 1-3 million people “for freedom”.

    Hmmm!.. Our universities. Let’s see what else they produce. The host of this website, the people who invented this media so this communication is even possible,……the list is just too big. I can guarntee you, my list will outnumber your list by millions to 1. Because, I count every single American who believe in right and not just the nobel prize winners

    I am never going to defend Wolfowitz or Kissinger (Cheney is beneath contempt and Mcnmara is debatable. I am afraid I know very little about Huntington.). However, our universities did not teach them those ideals. Their ideas were their own and not handed down to them by an imaginary higher power.

    Most importantly, that has nothing to do with the barbarism that is prevalent in Islam in 2008.

  103. #103 protocol
    June 2, 2008

    A very very very small sample (lest people question the evidence) of what I said….some snippets:

    “The telephone transcripts show how frustrated Nixon was becoming with the Vietnam War and his failing effort to withdraw American troops from Vietnam by expanding the war into Cambodia.

    He became especially angry on Dec. 9, 1970, with what he considered the lackluster bombing campaign by the United States Air Force against targets in Cambodia.

    ”They’re not only not imaginative but they are just running these things — bombing jungles,” Nixon said. ”They have got to go in there and I mean really go in.”

    ”I want them to hit everything,” he said. ”I want them to use the big planes, the small planes, everything they can that will help out there, and let’s start giving them a little shock.”

    He ended by saying, ”Right now there is a chance to win this goddamn war, and that’s probably what we are going to have to do because we are not going to do anything at the conference table.”

    Mr. Kissinger immediately relayed the order: ”A massive bombing campaign in Cambodia. Anything that flies on anything that moves.”

    Find more here (from the New York Times):

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D01E2DD133EF934A15756C0A9629C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=2

  104. #104 protocol
    June 2, 2008

    “Our universities. Let’s see what else they produce. The host of this website, the people who invented this media so this communication is even possible,……the list is just too big. I can guarntee you, my list will outnumber your list by millions to 1. Because, I count every single American who believe in right and not just the nobel prize winners”

    See what frog says in # 99, paragraph 4

  105. #105 Mich S
    June 2, 2008

    Frog: “You lack imagination. We have many good qualities — but we also have such power that we also have much greater responsibility than any other nation”.”The US is the single-most powerful nation in the world – we don’t have a damn thing to whine about, the world order is in our interest.”

    It is extraordinary how you take all that for granted. I am willing to learn from your mistakes.

    Frog: “Instead of taking an honest look at our strengths and weakness, we only want to look at our strengths and complain about the “unfairness” of critiquing our weaknesses”.

    It is positively going to decline if people have this to say about the US when the discussion was about the state of Islam and its relevance in today’s world. In the context of the present article that sparked this discussion I will say only nice things about us.If the host were to post an article outlining our foreign policy blunders sure there are some dirty skeletons lurking there.I would have no qualms in criticising us at that time. I think you have the right ideas in the wrong place.

    Frog: “What a bunch of whiny, panty-waisted, crybaby nonsense.”

    Hilarious! And you are the one who wants to persuade Islam to change.

  106. #106 ERS
    June 2, 2008

    Once her daughter was murdered and she courageously decided to leave her abusive, violent husband, Leila’s life was at very high risk. But still. . .

    Here are some ideas about what can be done about these crimes:

    1. Most of the countries where dishonor killings are indigenous have signed any number of international human rights agreements and covenants with us. For example, Jordan is in violation of 17 of them, and that is just on dishonor killings alone. We need to put pressure on our governments to ensure that these agreements with us are upheld. The U.N. is a huge disappointment in this respect.

    2. We can write to our representatives and leaders and demand that they withhold some meaningful portion (25% or more?) of our aid to these countries unless and until they materially, measurably, sustainably improve their human rights track records. And we cannot rely on self reporting. . .we need to have the right to go in and do our own investigations of the situations on the ground.

    3. Maybe it’s time we start economically boycotting countries that continue to treat their women like this and the companies that do business with them. We could do for women what the boycott of South Africa did for blacks when they were living under apartheid.

    4. Funding is a huge issue. There seems to be an overabundance of funds for people and organizations that haven’t gotten much in the way of results (typically, they are using the funds for international travel, conferences, seminars, overhead, and other line items that aren’t doing anything to help at-risk women like Leila), and almost zilch for those that are really striving to make a difference by offering support services, better information about the nature and scope of these crimes (good data is difficult to come by and, thus, decision making quality is less than optimal), shelters, safehouses, and even assistance with asylum. So this is a touchy issue. . .one that requires a lot of due diligence, not just do gooding.

    Ellen R. Sheeley, Author
    “Reclaiming Honor in Jordan”
    http://www.redroom.com/author/ellen-r-sheeley

  107. #107 Mich S
    June 2, 2008

    What about muslims living in western countries?

  108. #108 frog
    June 2, 2008

    MichS: to paraphrase, “In short, I have no response”.

    Sad. Instead of carefully analyzing things, you just want to have an opening to condemn and vent. “They” are barbarians — how can a sane individual say that, without recognizing their own barbarism? How can I condemn my neighbor without simultaneously condemning my own acts of the same nature?

    As I said, pathetic and weak. An exercise in excuse making. As usual, 50% of folks are nothing but overgrown children, unwilling to follow from the specific problem to it’s global context, so inevitably the discussion degenerates to defending “ourselves” from our own barbarism, rather than finding how “our” barbarism, the one we have control over, interacts with “their” barbarism, the one that is “their” problem.

    Otherwise, what the hell is the point of the discussion? Whether one of us is going to go over to Iraq to find these guys for some vendetta justice? What infantile nonsense.

  109. #109 Michelle
    June 2, 2008

    @ERS: Boycotts are tough to do. Especially when these oppressing countries essentially run your car. And we need that.

  110. #110 Michelle
    June 2, 2008

    @108 frog: It’s easy for you to say it’s infantile to hate them, you have a cock.

  111. #111 Mich S
    June 2, 2008

    Frog: to paraphrase “I think I am funny” even better “I really believe I am smart. After all I have the habit of taking things for granted”

    Frog: “Sad. Instead of carefully analyzing things, you just want to have an opening to condemn and vent”.

    Wow!

    Frog: “As I said, pathetic and weak.Blah! Blah! Blah!

    I call that incoherent venting. This is very typical of the pseudo-intellectual know-alls. They have no idea what we are discussing but seem to have an opinion on everything. This is no different than the stupid man who went to Iraq (to correct our mistake and look for WMDs) when the real discussion was about the barbarism and the nonsense in Afghanistan. Yeah! go ahead change the topic and keep pretending you are smart!

  112. #112 DavidONE
    June 2, 2008

    For the masochists in the audience – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJkmRBEOC3o

    It will be decades, at best, before the Muslim world comes close to 21st century ‘Western’ morality and human rights.

  113. #113 Dan
    June 2, 2008

    Whoa! Hold on dudes and dudettes, Hey Frog can you say that in English. Much too deep for us Vandals. What was that? “I can’t call you a barbarian unless I admit to being a barbarian first”. Sorry, enlightened people universally and unanimously condemn what this devolved post-grunt did to his own flesh and blood. His kind of thinking is keeping his entire culture lost in the muck of the dark ages.

  114. #114 frog
    June 2, 2008

    Michelle: It’s easy for you to say it’s infantile to hate them, you have a cock.

    How do you know that? This is the intertubes…

    By the way, I wasn’t saying it was infantile to hate them — what I was saying was that it’s infantile to just hate them, without going further into what we have done to create the situation, and what we can do to ameliorate it.

    Just like spending a lot of hot air condemning grandmas who hold down their granddaughter to have them genitally mutilated. Just saying “what evil old women” is insufficient — we have to give women who refuse political asylum (as we should have done for Leila Hussein — we as a national diplomatic corp should have found her, and brought her to the states), we should fund women’s rights groups internationally (which we often don’t because of religious madness about birth control — the single most important issue for equal rights), and we shouldn’t have as client states murderous oppressive regimes (since human rights are women’s rights as well).

    Instead, shmucks like Mich want to condemn the “other” without condemning our own role. Pap did nothing for Leila — if anything, it helped get the woman killed.

  115. #115 Katharine
    June 2, 2008

    Religion is a main culprit of these things. I hope religion is eradicated in the next few decades.

    This speaks of a bigger problem: many religions share the same misogynist ethos.

    If you read Joss Whedon’s original essay about this, he mentions ‘womb envy’ – a theory which I am beginning to agree with wholeheartedly – which is the notion that because men cannot reproduce without a woman to provide half of the DNA and carry the child, and are, on average, less physically tough than women, many of them try to denigrate women.

  116. #116 frog
    June 2, 2008

    Dan: What was that? “I can’t call you a barbarian unless I admit to being a barbarian first”. Sorry, enlightened people universally and unanimously condemn what this devolved post-grunt did to his own flesh and blood. His kind of thinking is keeping his entire culture lost in the muck of the dark ages.

    Yup, that’s what I meant — but only because we do barbaric things to them; our barbarism is relevant. What Leila’s husband did, should and must be universally condemned — but stopping there is like condemning some civilian murders committed by some little Stalinist thug during WWII on the frontlines, and just stopping there flat. The latter would be one terrible little crime that grows out of the vaster crimes going on all around him. It would be almost absurd (in the technical sense) to do that.

    “Our” kind of thinking also helps keep “their” kind of thinking alive. Hungry, poor, desperate people do stupid, insane, criminal things. Stupid ideas keep the Muslim world in the dark ages — but so does an economic system where children are enslaved in factories to produce for the Western market. Two hands of the same monster.

    See, the difference between “us” and “them” is that we’ve evolved to farming out our atrocities — they still do theirs personally, while we distance ours with governmental bodies that allow us to delude ourselves into thinking that we’re not committing them. Who’s the barbarian in that case? The primitive cannibal, or the one who buys his flesh in the supermarket? (That’s a metaphor, for the numbskulls).

  117. #117 Mich S
    June 2, 2008

    Frog: “Instead, shmucks like Mich want to condemn the “other” without condemning our own role”.

    You are a funny intertube as you admitted.

    On the other hand you are learning and that is the only important thing. You finally are beginning to see the light .”we as a national diplomatic corp should have found her”..well better late than never.

    America has made its share of blunders, the bigger the country the bigger the blunders. Even though it has made several blunders, that has nothing whatsoever to do with honor kilings being committed in the name of Islam.

  118. #118 Roger Scott
    June 2, 2008

    The only bright side I can see in this appalling story is that moral progress seems to have a price. The Catholic Church no longer burns dissenters at the stake. Was this due to subsequent outrage? Thomas Aikenhead paid with his life for his religious disbelief. He was the last victim of religion to pay with his life in Britain. Was this due to subsequent outrage?
    Maybe when this Iraq business has settled, a better society can emerge. I’m not too hopeful however.

  119. #119 Mich S
    June 2, 2008

    Katherine: “Religion is a main culprit of these things. I hope religion is eradicated in the next few decades”.

    Agree 100%.

  120. #120 frog
    June 2, 2008

    MichS: On the other hand you are learning and that is the only important thing. You finally are beginning to see the light .”we as a national diplomatic corp should have found her”..well better late than never.

    You really are as dumb as Cephas, ain’t ya Mich? If you couldn’t see that that was implied by earlier statements, you really should take an English as a Second Language course, and Logic 101. Do we have to converse at a newspaper level of reading comprehension?

  121. #121 Nick Gotts
    June 2, 2008

    Um, seriously, you’re comparing suffrage to a man killing his daughter for talking to a British soldier? Behavior like that hasn’t been tolerated by Western socieities for centuries. I’m no historian, but would a father killing his daughter for speaking to a boy of a different religion been tolerated (even congratulated) by neighbors at any time after Charlemagne? – Philip Tucker

    Too right you’re no historian. Such events have happened in northern Ireland within my memory.

  122. #122 Mich S
    June 2, 2008

    Frog: “You really are as dumb as Cephas, ain’t ya Mich? Croak! Croak! Blah! Blah!

    Hmm…! You personify what can only be classified as one of America’s more vocal blunders. You now want to really believe that you had the right idea all along. No problemo….silly intertube. As long as you have learnt something today, even after you received some nice ass kicking from several members and saw the light, it is still not a problem at all. Still worth it….

    So, I will stop educating you.

  123. #123 frog
    June 2, 2008

    To those who continue to claim that this sort of barbarism is something centuries out of date in the West — in the US, only sixty years ago, towns came out to castrate in public men who refused to salute the flag during WWII. Yes, Jehovah’s witnesses who refused to salute the American flag were castrated by their good patriotic Christian neighbors.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minersville_School_District_v._Gobitis

    Your parents or grand-parents may have been involved in such outrages — at least their generation was, depending on your age. This kind of barbarism, literally, is only distanced from Americans by two to four generations — as a matter of fact, just about the distance since this kind of barbarism was publically acceptable in Iraq.

  124. #124 Dennis N
    June 2, 2008

    ok, frog, but which society would you rather live in, and which should we and the middle east strive for?

  125. #125 Nick Gotts
    June 2, 2008

    America has made its share of blunders, the bigger the country the bigger the blunders. – MichS

    The typical response of the deluded or self-deluding nationalist, whose country may be admitted to commit “blunders” but never, never, crimes.

  126. #126 Carlie
    June 2, 2008

    Religion is a main culprit of these things. I hope religion is eradicated in the next few decades.

    Religion is not the culprit, people hiding their bigotry in the cloak of religion are the culprits. Getting rid of religion won’t be enough.

  127. #127 JCE
    June 2, 2008

    I think this poor woman died to send a message to any other possible escapees, which makes it even more vile (less in the heat and more calculated).

    I’m with Michelle (#101) and am angry angry angry. I also don’t give a rat’s gluteals for using “oh we cannot condemn them because we did x y and z a hundred years ago” as an excuse. This is happening NOW. I also think that refusal of suffrage comes under the heading of “damn sight more tolerable form of misogyny than murder”. In the past few centuries, back when my ancestresses were considered to belong to their fathers and husbands, could not vote and were widely discriminated against regarding holding of their own property, it was still illegal to murder your daughter and illegal for anyone to murder your wife while she fled from you (many generations before that my ancestresses were often armed to the teeth and could fight back – probably not a bad means of curbing misogyny). Western civilizations of the past few centuries had (and still have) faults but most would still have taken this miserable excuse for a human being and HANGED him for what he did to his daughter.

    I sincerely hope that the moderate Muslim leaders are already condemning this… LOUDLY and without reservation. If not, then may your repugnant pustule of a religion die in a generation when all your women flee and leave you without the mothers that you lack respect for, the wives that you treat as property, the daughters that you fail to protect and the sons that you cherish but do not deserve. You can take the other irredeemable sects with you on your way out – the world doesn’t need any of them. I wish I believed in an omnipotent meddling being and a hell because it would be comforting to think that divine punishment was coming to people who murdered someone who was only trying to leave, but since I do not will have to settle for righteous (secular) fury and seeing if there’s any reasonable way to help these women get out. Is there? Boycotts hurt the least powerful first (guess who that will be?), political pressure has no teeth in that region as everyone tippytoes around religious sensibility. Are there any organization that would spend funds actually getting people, even if it is just a few, OUT?

  128. #128 frog
    June 2, 2008

    DN: #124
    ok, frog, but which society would you rather live in, and which should we and the middle east strive for?

    Where would I rather live? Isn’t it always better to live in Rome than in the provinces? Safer and more humane, in the cosmopolitan center than in the peripheral autocracy of Jerusalem?

    The second question is better — what kind of society should we strive for, because we, the Americans, the Europeans, the ME, the Latin Americans, the Asians and Africans, are part of a global society — it’s been that way to one extent or other for centuries, and it’s almost complete now. Our economic and cultural systems are integrated — nobody is an uncontacted indigene.

    And the answer should be fairly clear — one with political and economic justice. A world where we are not profiting off of human slavery, and pretending to be morally clean. The EU program of confederation and absorption of peripheral societies while strengthening their democratic processes seems workable. Strengthening international confederations in general, while weakening central state authorities would seem to be the kind of principle that has worked, and will work, to slowly corrode religious nuttiness. Stop guaranteeing loans to despots. Stop using Western militaries to protect the most regressive bastards in the world, for short term economic gain — see the history of C. Am. and Africa for an infinity of examples.

    In short, the way to save the Lailah’s of the world isn’t to decry bastards like her husband, but to fund program like the Grameen microbank which gives startup funds for poor people, particularly women, to start their own business, instead of giving vast loans to corrupt despots that end up going into Swiss bank accounts. Bombing them to the stone age can only strengthen the misogynistic bastards; who else is going to win a war of curses but the bloodiest bastards?

    That’s what pisses me off about right-wingers decrying these assaults on women — it’s their goddamned policies that help create these conditions in the first place; they excarcebate the local religious insanities by using them, just like we did in Afghanistan, and then crying “Whahh Whaah” about the barbarism of our own clients!

    In short, behave decently. If the guys with the big guns behave decently, the rest of the world has the best shot of behaving decently. If we don’t, there’s not a chance that much decency will survive elsewhere.

  129. #129 Mich S
    June 2, 2008

    Nick:”The typical response of the deluded or self-deluding nationalist, whose country may be admitted to commit “blunders” but never, never, crimes”.

    Nick, I wholeheartedly see your point. I repeat what I said. What bothers me is that we believe so much in our power and take it for granted. I have no delusions whatsoever about our mischief-making in the world. However, I cannot reason to myself why this sod kiiling his daughter in this gruesome fashion has something to do with America. Poverty in that country is not created by us, but the rich sheikhs who govern them. We have no choice but to deal with those sheikhs. I hate to say this but any attempt at enforcing democracy …….well look at the Iraq experiment. Not to mention the kingdom of Saudi Arabia? This may sound naive, but some things are that strangely simplistic.

    I have no qualms at all in criticizing our faults and as you so eloquently put it “our crimes”. The reason I am in no particular hurry to do that is there is enough of us doing that already. Forget all the good we have but I am just craving for someone to suggest a solution to mend our weaknesses.

  130. #130 frog
    June 2, 2008

    JCE: I also don’t give a rat’s gluteals for using “oh we cannot condemn them because we did x y and z a hundred years ago” as an excuse. This is happening NOW.

    Is this thread to be pure strawmen? Show me where anybody has said you can’t be “angry angry angry” at Lailah’s husband. But you should as well be “angry angry angry” that the US government is in bed with goddamn government that is protecting Lailah’s husband. If you’re angry angry angry at one and not the other, you’re part of the problem.

    You know what’s happening NOW as well? That we destroyed the infrastructure of Iraq and removed the secularists from office. What’s also happening NOW? That we’ve been selling weapons to the Saudis and working hand in glove with them, that our entire economy is geared to keeping them in power, while they allow girls to be burned to death rather than escape from a burning dormitory while not fully covered.

    You should be fucking angry about that! That our energy policies lead to little girls burning to death, because we’ll look the other way rather than condemn a country that has us by the ovaries.

    I’m fucking angry angry angry that the worst elements in the ME have been gaining, not losing, power because the West (including Europe) has preferred investing in propping up the worst bastards in the ME for 50 years, leading to the murder of men, women and children, their gassing, their enslavement, and their impoverishment, rather than investing in alternate energy sources. That the morons in the US re-elected Bush (and the morons in Britain re-elected Blair) exactly due to these memes about ME savages, and thereby strengthened those very savages in the ME and in the US (and if you don’t think we have those savages in the US, Christian savages protected by their local governments, you have led a very sheltered existence).

    Yeah, tell me about your anger…

  131. #131 frog
    June 2, 2008

    However, I cannot reason to myself why this sod kiiling his daughter in this gruesome fashion has something to do with America.

    Because it wouldn’t have been possible before the joint American-British invasion of Iraq? Just maybe we have something to do with it? Hmmm….

    Because our “de-Baathification” process turned into a simple-minded “fire all the secularists and replace them with Shiite fanatics and Iranian stooges”? Hmm…

    Because we invaded Iraq with insufficient troops and have never been willing to actually invest sufficiently to rebuild the country, thereby leaving the most ignorant and impoverished fools to their own devices, and giving a free hand to the religious fanatics to rebuild the society in their own image? Hmm…

    This kind of denseness just escapes me. This rises to the level of Americans who are willing to believe that our interference in El Salvador was not responsible for the massacre and genocide of a 100000 Salvadorans, even though the architects of the plan are living scot-free in the US. The fact that indigenous elements are the ones with blood directly on their hands, those direct causes in no way absolve the ultimate causes.

    Anything else is simply moral sophistry.

  132. #132 Mich S
    June 2, 2008

    Dennis: “but which society would you rather live in, and which should we and the middle east strive for?”

    I am sure that the question was purely rhetorical. Kudos! Dennis.

  133. #133 protocol
    June 2, 2008

    “Dennis: “but which society would you rather live in, and which should we and the middle east strive for?”

    I am sure that the question was purely rhetorical. Kudos! Dennis.”

    And how does this question relate to U.S. foreign policy? Think about it for a minute, the question is a complete non-sequitur and has nothing to do with the basic argument. Consider, for example this conversation:

    Dissident: The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was a crime and has destroyed the country

    Commissar: Where would you rather live, Moscow or Kabul?

    I think you get the idea

  134. #134 frog
    June 2, 2008

    MichS, your lack of reading comprehension becomes clearer with every posting. If you are incapable of recognizing that my response (at least attempted to) explode the false dichotomy posited in Dennis statement, you have no justification in continuing to debate. You just don’t know how to do it, other than by substanceless hand-waving.

    It’s like arguing with a teenager — circles circles everywhere. Hopefully that’s your excuse. How about trying to come up with a meaningful defense? Actually attacking a point instead of “naa-naa boo boo”? íYa basta con este moron!

  135. #135 Mich S
    June 2, 2008

    Yeah, the overt enthusiasm of a few eager beavers probably prompted that question.

    Honor killings in the name of Islam has nothing to do with American foreign policy. This has been going on for the last 1200 years.

  136. #136 ildi
    June 2, 2008

    frog: “Because it wouldn’t have been possible before the joint American-British invasion of Iraq? Just maybe we have something to do with it? Hmmm….”

    bullshit!

    (I see Mich S beat me to it.)

  137. #137 frog
    June 2, 2008

    Honor killings in the name of Islam has nothing to do with American foreign policy. This has been going on for the last 1200 years.

    It stopped in Iraq 2 generations ago. Now it has started again. For the same reason that there are no well-known “honor killings” in Missouri — but if you were to invade Missouri and destroy the state government, they would occur. For the same reason that there were plenty of honor killings (based on race) in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, etc, until the 1960s, and they only stopped once the US Federal government forced those states (at the end of a gun) to change their laws, and massively funded infrastructure throughout the South.

    Moron.

  138. #138 Mich S
    June 2, 2008

    OOOOH! the intertube is croaking again. Forget my lack of reading comprehension dear frog, instead look at your own lack of understanding of reality.

    In an increasingly interconnected world honor killings cannot be justified no matter our how you look at it. JCE was right on the money till you applied your brand of logic to it.

    Your rants are just that…good for speaking within closed doors, nothing more. You remind me of that funnyman (and his cronies)in the WH who sticks to his point no matter how irrelevant or illogical it is. He just like you comes up with the most bizarre explanations to defend what he is saying and the nastiest things are reserved for people who tell him the truth.

  139. #139 windy
    June 2, 2008

    However, I cannot reason to myself why this sod kiiling his daughter in this gruesome fashion has something to do with America. Poverty in that country is not created by us, but the rich sheikhs who govern them. We have no choice but to deal with those sheikhs.

    Which “rich sheiks”? The murderer was protected by the legal government of Basra, your allies:

    At the police station where the father was held Sergeant Ali Jabbar told The Observer last week: ‘Not much can be done when we have an “honour killing” case. You are in a Muslim society and women should live under religious laws. The father has very good contacts inside the Basra government and it wasn’t hard for him to be released and what he did to be forgotten. Sorry but I cannot say more about the case.’

  140. #140 frog
    June 2, 2008

    In an increasingly interconnected world honor killings cannot be justified no matter our how you look at it

    Are you composed of straw MichS? Is that all you’ve got?

    Come on, give us something good, other than a strawman that you’ve knocked down ad nauseum, which has been debunked by multiple debaters multiple time. Try again… It’s not hard, actually take a real point I’ve made (not one you make up), and dissect it. But strangely enough, I can’t find one time you’ve actually done that.

    You’re not even fun anymore.

  141. #141 Mich S
    June 2, 2008

    Windy, I agree with you. America (I don’t know who can be called allies in Iraq) should have done everything possible to save the woman first and then sought justice for the murder of the daughter. Most importantly, I completely oppose our meddling in other countries. I am merely pointing to the fact that, honor killings existed even before America was born.

    The rich sheikhs on the other hand were a comment for some other issue that I was talking about.

  142. #142 Mich S
    June 2, 2008

    Frog: “multiple debaters multiple time”.

    Schizophrenia too frog! Should have seen that coming!

  143. #143 ahmcguffin
    June 2, 2008

    Everyone (including pz myers) needs to contact their local Hope House and get an education on abuse in this country. How to spot the signs of abusers and those who are being abused. It has little or nothing to do with religion. The lack of knowledge about how pervasive it is here is frightening. Especially for teachers to be so oblivious. Just frightening.
    A woman was killed trying to leave her abusive husband. Tragic anywhere. In the US, the more “safe houses” that are created for mostly women and children who literally must be hidden from family that are trying to kill them for leaving. There is never enough room. A few years ago the US Supreme Court ruled that local law enforcement who should be enforcing court protection orders don’t have to. That’s right. A Colorado women who divorced her abusive husband and had custody of two children had a protection order against the ex for threatening to kill her and the children. The ex snatched the kids out of the front yard one evening in front of the neighbors, who called the police. The police and sheriff were notified of the court protection order but just couldn’t find the time to try and look for the ex and the kids. He had driven to a shopping area and about an hour later killed the kids and himself there in the parking lot. The US Supreme Court ruled that a protection order does not mean that it has to be enforced if local law enforcement just doesn’t feel like it. The story only made news because one of the neighbors was employed by a local tv station.
    I usually read this blog because it lets me know there are a handful of people who are still rational in the US. I was raised by an abusive family, the original post was just too cruel and ignorant for me to respond. And ignorant comments on how the rest of the world is backward…I hope these aren’t comments from teachers. (Thanks frog, you and a few others have made me feel a lot better today.)

  144. #144 JCE
    June 2, 2008

    frog (pity that’s your handle – I am quite fond of real frogs).

    You don’t get to say who I’m angry at by reframing my words and you sure don’t get to include me in that “we”. I get to pick my targets, not you, and I didn’t choose to make my post a platform for the discussion of US foreign policy. I’m pissed at a lot of things about this, including the lame political spin-doctoring and attempts to thin out the blame by spreading it around (hint: that doesn’t thin it – it’s like that adage about a thousand parts wine, one part sewage). I’m also very grateful to have been born into a family and a culture where my gender has as much chance to make it on merit as anywhere in the world. For years well-meaning people have been telling me how well someone with my background and skills could do in that region career-wise. They didn’t know any better. Glad I was too spooked (or maybe not greedy enough). I’m angry because being born without a Y-chromosome is so bad in parts of the world THAT WOMEN MOURN WHEN THEY HAVE DAUGHTERS and because it makes me feel like a target, even in my nice safe country where I have the right – and ability – to fight back. I no longer wonder why some females see males as the enemy. I’d probably join them if it wasn’t for having had decent male influences in my life (thanks, Dad, love you lots :) ).

    I used to think that Tepper’s novel “Gibbon’s Decline and Fall” was overdone. That was naive of me. Now I wish that the solutions in the book existed in real life.

    Oh yeah, I’m Canadian and no, I didn’t support the invasion of Iraq, even though I’d probably be considered fairly right wing (for a Canuck). Kindly stuff your self-righteous “we” bullshit about energy policies and Blair-Bush tactics where it will do you the most good. People only have responsibility for things that are in their power to control. Not everyone who posts to this blog is from the US/UK and even then I’m betting damn few voted for Bush or Blair. Even for those who did, exacerbating and enabling something this screwed up doesn’t carry the same level of blame as being the originator, and is a piss-poor excuse when you are talking about something that has been going on for a lot longer than the current state of affairs in Iraq. If there is shame for the occupying forces it is that they did not stop this. There I think we agree. If you are going to invade somewhere, do it with enough forces to actually occupy and control.

    There are plenty of examples in recent history where the underlying decency and humanity of people shone through in times of horrific hardship. The “ultimate cause” of someone killing his daughter in an “honour” killing and letting him get away with it is a mindset that makes the action acceptable. It also shows an utter lack of regard for his daughter as a person worthy of love and protection. He didn’t fail at fatherhood and humanity because the country was disrupted. There have to be plenty of decent fathers in Iraq who are just as horrified as we are but who dare not speak up. We can.

    Yes, I’ve read the Shock Doctrine recently (too?) and yes, am horrified at what the Chicago School and Sachs got up to and are probably still up to. Their complicity does not diminish ONE IOTA the guilt of those who actually performed the killings and torture.

  145. #145 ahmcguffin
    June 2, 2008

    And if anyone wants to try to help those in Iraq, it is technically illegal. There are Iraqi who are temporarily allowed in the US. They do need help, they literally have nothing. No matter how skilled they are they aren’t allowed to work, even medical doctors. It is illegal for Muslim groups to assist them. However individual members of Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War are assisting those who have fled. Check with your local peace organizations and individual members.

  146. #146 frog
    June 2, 2008

    Windy, I agree with you. America (I don’t know who can be called allies in Iraq) should have done everything possible to save the woman first and then sought justice for the murder of the daughter. Most importantly, I completely oppose our meddling in other countries. I am merely pointing to the fact that, honor killings existed even before America was born.

    But the entire point of your argument was that these things were outside our power — that it wasn’t due to the legal system we instituted as sovereigns of Iraq. It’s irrelevant that these things happened historically — that’s like saying witch burnings happened in the 16th century, so current policies aren’t to blame for the spate of witch-burnings.

    See: Nick, I wholeheartedly see your point. I repeat what I said. What bothers me is that we believe so much in our power and take it for granted. I have no delusions whatsoever about our mischief-making in the world. However, I cannot reason to myself why this sod kiiling his daughter in this gruesome fashion has something to do with America. Poverty in that country is not created by us, but the rich sheikhs who govern them. We have no choice but to deal with those sheikhs. I hate to say this but any attempt at enforcing democracy …….well look at the Iraq experiment. Not to mention the kingdom of Saudi Arabia? This may sound naive, but some things are that strangely simplistic.

    The Saudis are our clients — this would be like Rome disavowing the doings of Herod. Can’t do it. In the case of Iraq, it is even more stark — since we have ultimate military responsibility over Iraq, we are the sovereigns of Iraq, so if the cops in Iraq help a guy kill his daughter, it’s in substance the same as that event in Vermont. They’re our cops. How much more do I have to simplify this for you?

    Honor killings happen every day in the US. Wives are killed by their husbands for looking at another guy, the local cops look the other way. In both cases, US society has a partial (but not full) responsibility for those events, because it happens under US sovereignty. How simple could it be? You’d prefer to simply damn that bastard of a husband, but look the other way at the cops, claiming that there was a separate time and place to do so — bullshit. The cops and the state have partial responsibility, and the time to point it out is now.

    Now claiming that we don’t have responsibility for our clients in Saudi Arabia is simply historical nonsense. The Saud family was supported by the British and American governments in their conquest of the Arabian peninsula in the 1920′s. We’ve had sixty years since we’ve realized that we were positioning ourselves to be dependent on the Saudis keeping their local populations down, and therefore the price of oil, but we’ve done nothing to alter the geopolitical conditions by properly funding energy science, or regulating industry out of that hole.

    To say that we are somehow helpless in the face of the sheiks is to turn the entire 20th century on it’s head — in short, just a lie. By implying that lie and muttering another time and place, Mich, you’re acting as a collaborator. By not connecting things that any twelve year old could, you’re acting in the service of those who create these conditions.

    You see, Mich, I actually break-down your argument, then call you a liar, instead of simply posting “liar liar pants on fire”. If you’re going to flame, learn the game, kid. And typos don’t cut it “Nanan booo boo, you mispelled kiilling!” (as you did in the original posting, sic).

  147. #147 Mich S
    June 2, 2008

    Aaah! frog do leap out of that little pond and get a life! I know what I said.

  148. #148 protocol
    June 2, 2008

    Incidentally if people here are interested about U.S. Saudi relations (a prototype for many other relations), they might find the following book very useful:

    Robert Vitalis, “America’s Kingdom: Mythmaking on the Saudi Oil Frontier” (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2007)

  149. #149 frog
    June 2, 2008

    You don’t get to say who I’m angry at by reframing my words and you sure don’t get to include me in that “we”.

    Of course I don’t. But I can tell you who you should be angry at. I sure as hell can reframe your words — if you don’t want that, don’t get in the discussion — you don’t get to say something and just walk away with it as the last word.

    Where has your government been on the Iraqi invasion, hmm? Canada has not only not done a damn thing, they have been part of the problem as well. “You” turned over one of your own citizens to be tortured abroad! Give me a goddamn break. You want to be horrified, but like the rest of your cohorts, you don’t want to take responsibility for what your state does. If anything “we” have more responsibility, insofar as “our” states are democratic. This argument boils down to planetary aristocrats looking down at the crimes of the serfs and sniffing! “Look at the dirty peasants!”

    Fuck the Canadians and Europeans who’ve let the US and Britain do their dirty work — the only ones who stood up at all are the French. Not acting also entails moral responsibility, particularly when you hope to benefit.

    Then the inevitable strawman: Their complicity does not diminish ONE IOTA the guilt of those who actually performed the killings and torture.

    Go to hell. No one has diminished Leila’s husband’s responsibility by even an infinitesimal. Not his personal responsibility — but political responsibility is orthogonal to personal responsibility. This is the same kind of right-wing drivel that thinks that one cannot look at the social roots of crime simultaneously with punishing the personal roots. That’s so asinine, it (almost) leaves me speechless.

    Unlike you, I’ll face the fact that my car runs on the blood of men, women and children, that my standard of living depends on children starving on the other side of the world. There’s not a goddamn hope of improving things until Westerners stop being such cowards about their roles in the world political and economic systems.

  150. #150 protocol
    June 2, 2008

    A short description (bet most of you did not know this; from Amazon):

    “oil led the U.S. government to follow the company [AROMCO] to the kingdom. Eisenhower agreed to train Ibn Sa’ud’s army, Kennedy sent jets to defend the kingdom, and Lyndon Johnson sold it missiles. Oil and ARAMCO quickly became America’s largest single overseas private enterprise.

    Beginning with the establishment of a Jim Crow system in the Dhahran oil camps in the 1930s, the book goes on to examine the period of unrest in the 1950s and 1960s when workers challenged the racial hierarchy of the ARAMCO camps while a small cadre of progressive Saudis challenged the hierarchy of the international oil market. The defeat of these groups led to the consolidation of America’s Kingdom under the House of Fahd, the royal faction that still rules today.

    This is a gripping story that covers more than seventy years, three continents, and an engrossing cast of characters. Informed by first hand accounts from ARAMCO employees and top U.S. government officials, this book offers the true story of the events on the Saudi oil fields. After America’s Kingdom, mythmakers will have to work harder on their tales about ARAMCO being magical, honorable, selfless, and enlightened.”

  151. #151 protocol
    June 2, 2008

    Oh, by the way, I wanted to add:
    Plus ša change, plus c’est la mŕme chose.

  152. #152 Mich S
    June 2, 2008

    ahmcguffin – “And if anyone wants to try to help those in Iraq, it is technically illegal”.

    This is really sad, especially in the case of that woman, who was unable to escape and those bastards got her. This is the area that the liberals in this country have to fight for, and our only route out of this mess is to help the oppressed in Iraq.

  153. #153 frog
    June 2, 2008

    Mich – can’t stop typing words, but can’t be bothered to actually say anything. It’s like playing that teenage game over who’ll hang up the phone first.

    Sad, sad little mitch — unwilling to dispute, but unwilling to STFU. Too scared to actually say something? Or has your script run out? Did your buddy who was giving you lines leave the room? Or did your “deep thoughts” run out when your jay burnt to it’s end?

    Go to another blog, plagiarize some more “deep thoughts” and come back when you’re ready to regurgitate some more, mmmkay? It’ll be more fun that way. It’s been more than five posts since you actually responded in any way at all other than to mumble little noises.

  154. #154 raven
    June 2, 2008

    What is even more pathetic, the Islamic societies seem to be going backwards towards theocracy. Many of those countries, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Turkey, etc.. had strong secular movements in the 20th century. Probably as a reaction to theocratic backwardness. Many thought joining the 20th century to be worthwhile.

    Now they are heading back to the Dark Ages. That they never really managed to leave in the first place.

    Not that the USA can feel too superior about it. There is a huge movement among the American christofascists to do the same thing. The familiar litany of evil, JD Kennedy, Falwell, Hagee, Dobson, Schlafy, Robertson etc..They own Bush and the Theothuglican party.

  155. #155 Mich S
    June 2, 2008

    Frog: You keep referring to straw all the time. Make up your are you a frog or a cow?

    Not only reframe words but, put them out of context as well. This is just like the people who led us to Iraq. The only thing anyone is forced to sniff is the stench of misrepresentation that people like your esteemed self create and perpetuate.

  156. #156 Mich S
    June 2, 2008

    There you go again frog the only plagiarist is the one pulling of all those lines from some half baked pseudo-intellectual behind. Making up the wrong hypothesis and offcourse coming up with silly results. And when someone calls out your bluff like a pathetic intertube and like your hero GB start calling the other person stupid names.

  157. #157 JCE
    June 2, 2008

    That will teach me to post after watching too much Penn and Teller. It leadeth me to foolish things, such as feeding trolls. Night, night, froggie. You still don’t speak for me or anyone except yourself and you seem utterly determined to take everything I said in the last post as a personal attack on yourself. It wasn’t (other than the obvious part about shoving it for writing as though the world elected Bush and Blair – nice attempted distraction on that btw). This is what an actual personal attack looks like, in case you didn’t recognize them in your own writing:
    You’re an asshole with an obvious agenda and you aren’t letting a simple request to let me stick with my choice of target alone. You have every right to do that a la free speech, and I have every right to call you an asshole for doing it and drawing me into your global politicization of a thread that for some of us is a place to express how we feel about “honour” killings.

    Tell you what, sunshine, suppose you tell us what you’ve done to make up for the crimes of your state, whatever that happens to be, other than blathering about them. I promise not to reply to you again. I feel silly enough for having not ignored you in the first place (sorry, all – I helped to feed it).

  158. #158 frog
    June 2, 2008

    Michelle: @108 frog: It’s easy for you to say it’s infantile to hate them, you have a cock.

    ????

    JCE I’m with Michelle (#101) and am angry angry angry. I also don’t give a rat’s gluteals for using “oh we cannot condemn them because we did x y and z a hundred years ago” as an excuse.

    ???

    JCE You’re an asshole with an obvious agenda and you aren’t letting a simple request to let me stick with my choice of target alone

    You have a hell of a lot of chutzpah, JCE.

  159. #159 JeffreyD
    June 2, 2008

    RE #158, “You have a hell of a lot of chutzpah, JCE”, yes, she does. More power to her. Regarding Michelle’s post, I do not agree with it, but it is easily understandable, no need for multiple quotation marks. I do not think possession of a cock automatically makes you side with the perpetrator of an honour killing, assuming I took her point correctly, but her statement is pretty clear.

    Good night all.

  160. #160 Mich S
    June 2, 2008

    JCE said a lot of important, relevant and useful things. But frog had to do his bit. Yes you certainly like to be the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral frog.
    Frog, that is one more thing your hero GB (and his cronies)are good at ….. putting things out of context and using only certain soundbites to fool everyone. You will make your hero very proud!!!
    Keep it going frog!

    And I will take a cue from probably everyone else here and stop this conversation with you.

  161. #161 SteadyEddy
    June 2, 2008

    When will humanity realize that religion is getting a free pass? It’s so fucking obvious… and why didn’t the US/British military provide this woman protection/asylum? So sad.

  162. #162 frog
    June 2, 2008

    JeffryD: I think you meant “multiple question marks”? I think my meaning was quite clear – not that Michelle’s or JCE’s comments were incoherent, but “where the hell did that come from? Judge for yourself”. They would have been called for, if I had made an ad-hominem of the same scale by commenting that “people with vaginas are too hysterical to calmly think the issue out” or some such sexist, moronic, idiotic, uncalled for, irrelevant, mindless, over-broad nonsense — and on top of that, assumed that Michelle or MichS or whoever has a vagina solely based on their opinions (or even more stupidly, their handles). If I had, everyone would be right to attack me mercilessly, and dismiss any of my points as troll-laden lunacy. I gave them more respect than that — but maybe I shouldn’t have.

    A poster’s genitals are about as irrelevant as can be imagined — as a matter of fact I’m a hermaphrodite in the process of being degendered while being subsumed into cybernetic machinery!

    Calling someone an ass or an idiot is perfectly fair — particularly if they are supported by quotations. Saying that someone is somehow on the side of a murderer because they may have male genitalia (and particularly out of reflex rather than some larger argument) is out of bounds. Complaining because you got called on it is just plain sad.

    Are we to dismiss your arguments with a “JeffryD has a balls, so his testosterone leads him to defend others as an alpha-male displacement”? Wouldn’t that be asinine? For all I know, you’re an 11 year old girl in a Nepalese monastery who likes the shape of “JeffreyD”! I let your comments rise or fall on their own merit or lack thereof, instead of throwing out specious, irrelevant and unverifiable insults. I’ll insult you on the basis of their quality, and not on some fantasy I have about your underlying meatspace nature.

  163. #163 Alverant
    June 2, 2008

    BoxerShorts #90. It was suppose to be cold. I hope it doesn’t come to that and I hope they realize what will happen if they keep doing what they’re doing. That’s not to say we can’t use it to our advantage. Start sneaking these women to other countries like the underground railroad then tell their husbands it was an honor killing. They may fall for it and no one has to die. This attrition may work.

  164. #164 Mich S
    June 2, 2008

    Ah! Jeffrey D,

    As you can see the relevance of those 500 nonsensical words to the honor killings in the Islamic world is spot on! Some verbose non-scholar who has the vocabulary, but does not understand reality that is our fellow countryman the dear amphibian.
    Replying to what you said earlier, both Michelle and JCE made a point. And both were totally relevant to today’s discussion. They were stating their opinions, some of it very angrily (Michelle more than JCE). Who can resist that, after what happened?

  165. #165 Monado
    June 2, 2008

    Any woman from one of those countries should be admitted to Canada as a refugee fleeing for her life. Unfortunately, that’s not the case and our backlog for claims is years long.

  166. #166 david UH
    June 2, 2008

    I shed a tear for this poor woman. The USA and the UN needs to provide protection and asylum for people that run away from oppression and violence.

  167. #167 Mich S
    June 2, 2008

    Let’s build those railroads, give visas, do anything, anything at all to stop women being victimized in that gruesome fashion in that culture or any other.

  168. #168 Ichthyic
    June 2, 2008

    Let’s build those railroads, give visas, do anything, anything at all to stop women being victimized in that gruesome fashion in that culture or any other.

    It always sounds good, but try this on for size:

    A new tribe of natives was recently discovered in the Amazon (no kidding: http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/06/01/america/LA-GEN-Brazil-Indians.php)

    Say you find out that not only is the tribe strongly misogynistic, but that they typically destroy children born with serious birth defects (like say, missing an arm or leg, blind, etc.). They have no problems with this; it’s simply the way it’s been for them for as long as any of them can remember. They are happy.

    without knowing anything about their history, do you conclude that you must do anything within your power to change their society?

    OK, now say you do know something about their history, and how they interect with the local ecology of the area, and it’s obvious that the reasons they are strongly misogynistic has resulted from a necessary division of labor, and there simply isn’t enough food available to them to support children that cannot “pull their own weight” within that society.

    now what?

    do you decide to start subsidizing their food supplies to change how their society works?

    How far do you go? How do you justify your actions in changing how these people live their lives?

    What if their social structure is based more on religious ideology than any relationship to local ecological considerations?

    Would that provide a different set of rationalizations for you as to whether or not interference was warranted?

    Would you proceed even without knowledge of what the consequences of changing the social structure of that tribe might be?

  169. #170 frog
    June 2, 2008

    Icthyic, the essential difference is that Iraq is already part of the modern economic world system. They aren’t a “separate” culture in the indigene sense, but an integrated portion of the West, and they have been going back to Roman times.

    It’s a global economy. Everyone but those Indians and a few Indian Ocean Islanders are part of the system now. There are only a few 100 “others” left.

  170. #171 Mich S
    June 3, 2008

    Icthyic: How far do you go? How do you justify your actions in changing how these people live their lives?

    Meddling in the affairs of other nations/cultures is dangerous, period. However, I would like to make a distinction between meddling and trying to save a human life. Yes, in that case I believe it becomes our concern (and that of any other rational human being). In an increasingly global economy, we have to attempt to get rid of the us and them criteria. Misogyny and honor killings would really make that very hard.

    And no, we cannot solve all the problems in the world, including our own, but we should try to save human lives if that is at all possible.

  171. #172 Ron Sullivan
    June 3, 2008

    News of a woman’s hideously unjust murder* and the comments almost immediately get dominated by a dick-wagging contest. So what else is new?

    Where’s the war? Who’s the enemy?

    And telling me, in effect, that I’m lucky I live in a “Western” democracy where such things aren’t quite socially approved, well, not in most places, well, not in the better social circles, well, not where it makes the news really–that has always sounded like the rhetoric of a protection racket.

    Religion is just another tool of the patriarchy. It’s a very powerful tool, but it’s a tool. You find someone dead with a tool-shaped blunt-force injury across her most vulnerable parts, and you’ll argue about the brand-name of the tool? Yeah, OK boys. Guess it keeps you off the streets.

    Bitter? Yeah. What are you gonna do about that?

  172. #173 Graculus
    June 3, 2008

    And if you think that a moderate religion can ever arise from a religion with such gems as this in its holy writ…

    It already has.

    I take it that you are completely unfamiliar with the Ismailis.

  173. #174 Autumn
    June 3, 2008

    I know I’m going to be taken to task for this post, and perhaps rightfully so, but the issue is the fight against a de facto government by religious leaders.
    Instead of concentrating on offering rewards for the capture of specific criminals (what the American government glorifies with the term “terrorist”), why don’t we offer a bounty for the heads of all Imams in Iraq?
    Hell, most of the “terrorists” would quickly change sides if there was quick cash given to the killers of the religious elite.
    I seriously doubt that any Imam in Iraq is not preaching some kind of “they must be punished” bullshit, be it of the American, Sunni, Sufi, or whatever other kind of call to arms being espoused.
    Let’s make the roving mercenary death squads work for us.

  174. #175 Autumn
    June 3, 2008

    Ooh, ooh,
    I just thought of another addition to my nefarious plan; the person presenting proof of the kill must also present proof of Iraqi citizenship, with those found to be presenting fradulant evidence being assigned a position on our Big Board of Bounties.
    This would encourage the establishment of a governmental infrastructure, as folks would need to be sure of the bounties they could recieve, and would help to stamp out the interference of non-nationals.
    Yes, it’s a sick and disturbing plan, but I do not see how it is not justifiable, and much more likely to lead to some sort of national identity for the Iraqi people as the present plan of “being really sorry for all the torturing, but really hoping you all help us out of your own sense of pride in a nebulous future government, most of which’s representatives are being gunned down on a daily basis.
    The problem is political, but we have to be honest enough to state the simple fact that these people’s political beliefs are fed to them by their Imams. Our enemy is the transmitter of the disease, not the recipients of it.
    Prophylaxis is always better than trying to fix the resulting disease.

  175. #176 mandrake
    June 3, 2008

    We can (apparently) argue all night about us and them and whether they suck worse than us and how we’re complicit – but maybe we can agree on a couple of things.
    1. We are all human and we all have the capacity to do terrible things.
    2. This is a terrible thing.
    3. We should try, at a ground level, to help prevent things like this from happening.
    “Police protection” for a woman in her situation wouldn’t work if the murderer’s claim that the police congratulated him is true. But we have an army there, ferpetesake – how can we get them to help Iraqi women? What if the military provided protection? What if female US soldiers volunteered to protect them? What if US civilians went over to Iraq and stood with them? What if we had a way to expedite escape for women like this?
    Look, I don’t know. I’m just trying to think of immediate and practical answers, rather than chasing my metaphysical tail.

  176. #177 Ichthyic
    June 3, 2008

    But we have an army there, ferpetesake – how can we get them to help Iraqi women?

    no, unless you want your army to stay there forever.

    why?

    Theoretically, were supposed to be training the local police to maintain security, and we can “leave” once that’s done.

    Do you really think that if most of the local police think this kind of thing is just hunky dory that we would get far trying to convince them otherwise? If the vast majority of the populace think this appropriate, can you not see how sticking the military in the middle of this would hardly contribute to “security”? In fact, one could make a good argument that one of the big problems with the idea of “spreading democracy with an army” is just that – you are hardly going to be able to convince the locals your position is superior by invading them. Rome is dead.

    nope. the military should not in the business of social restructuring – it’s even pushing its mandate as it is to require training of civilian operatives to act on its behalf.

    It’s a fools errand. Even if you think in terms of using the military as a “haven for battered women”, you will only end up creating more instability in the area.

    speaking of the (ex)military, what happened to Broken Soldier? I figured he would have something to contribute on this thread.

  177. #178 Kseniya
    June 3, 2008

    I suspect he may be putting energy into other, perhaps more pressing, areas of self-improvement.

    (I, too, miss his presence here.)

  178. #179 Ichthyic
    June 3, 2008

    … every time I think of what we’re supposedly doing in Iraq, I keep hearkening back to an old short story by John Steinbeck:

    The Moon is Down

  179. #180 Wowbagger
    June 3, 2008

    This is one of the saddest things I’ve ever read – the earlier story about her daughter was bad; this just makes it all the worse.

    As a general rule I’m against torture and murder, but I can’t help but wish that the people scum who allowed this to happen are be gut-shot and left to die in the desert. Possibly with the aid of hungry wild animals.

    I can’t begin to explain how much this makes me fear for the future of humanity. How can anyone think this is right?

  180. #181 Ichthyic
    June 3, 2008

    Let’s make the roving mercenary death squads work for us.

    the problem with that, is if you remove the structure provided by the Imams, then you end up with essentially groups of warlords, which is what happened in Afghanistan.

  181. #182 mandrake
    June 3, 2008

    The military as a haven for women? I don’t think I said that… I was just thinking that if we’re acting like a police force, then protecting a citizen against whom there are death threats doesn’t seem like a big leap.
    I don’t think we should have troops there at all, but they might as well actually protect people rather than shoot them. I certainly don’t buy the argument that we’re actually there to help stabilize things, since it’s clear that’s nonsense. It would make more sense if we were sending, say, doctors or construction workers.
    However, are you arguing that we *shouldn’t* protect someone because the majority of people think it’s appropriate she should be killed? I don’t think that the people who hold that viewpoint are going to like us no matter what we do.
    I do agree that fighting for peace is, well, you know.

  182. #183 mister slim
    June 3, 2008

    Mich S:

    Of all the things that Islamists are allowed to do, I find it rather curious that you find this to be the most gruesome. A video was posted on youtube sometime ago where an Iraqi girl was stoned to death on the streets, for falling in love with another “muslim” guy (muslim! not an INFIDEL!). i am sure this utterly horrifying video can still be viewed. Islam is not a religion for human beings. I demand, defend and fight for truth and evolution.

    That girl and her family weren’t Muslim. They were Yazidi, a subset of the Kurds who live in northern Iraq. There are also still honor killings among the Jats in India. I don’t think Islam is wholly to blame here.

  183. #184 johannes
    June 3, 2008

    > Saudi Arabia sells oil to pretty much every country in the world.
    > The folly is to think that America helped the Islamic thugs.
    > Those thugs can sustain themselves without any help. They did so
    > for the last 1200 years.

    I was speaking not of generic Islam but of Islamism, a modern (ideology that was more or less invented by imperial Germany and its Ottoman allies at the beginning of the 20th century, and did not become globally popular among muslims until the Saudis began to sponsor it with their oil money.

    > Our” kind of thinking also helps keep “their” kind of thinking
    > alive. Hungry, poor, desperate people do stupid, insane,
    > criminal things.

    Frog,

    Conformist rebellion against modernity is an upper- and middle-class disease. The poor are cannon fodder at best. At worst they get exterminated (look what the Sudanese goverment does to the people in Darfur). One might argue that right-wing movements like fascism and islamism are actually ways to eliminate people that are so poor that they can’t even be exploited.

    Your chain of events – the US destroys benign tiersmondist goverments, people get poor, and thus they become islamists – is flawed. Degenerate socialism is rarely benign – look at Myanmar or Zimbabwe for examples. The only way it can lift people out of poverty is by eliminating itself. This is what happened in China in the eighties and nineties, and what happens in India or Vietnam now.
    The people who work there are exploited, but the solution to that kind of exploitation will be organised labour, not a western world that barricades itself behind protectionist tarrifs and “helps” the poor by taking their jobs away and reducing them to starvation.
    Beside this, there are lots of poor people everywhere in the world, but very few of them are actually islamists. As I have mentioned above, there are more of them among the middle and upper classes.

    I agree with you that people like McNamara were monsters, as were their stalinist adversaries. The US did terrible things to stalinist-governed countries and stalinist rackets, and the stalinists did even more terrible things to the people they ruled. (This said, lots of ugly little colonial wars were better than the all-out nuclear apocalypse Che Guevara was dreaming of)
    But reurgitating stories from the cold war era is not very helpful when analysing the problems of today. Nowadays, we are dealing not with the raise of national states, and the question wether those newly raised states will embrace state or private capitalism. We are dealing with the collapse of states into chaos and warlordism. Looking at Columbia and trying to pretend it’s still 1973 will not solve the problems of today (and even in Colombia the conflict between left and right has degenerated into a conflict between rival rackets of cocaine dealers).

    > The EU program of confederation and absorption of peripheral
    > societies while strengthening their democratic processes seems
    > workable.

    Wow. Making a deal with Gaddafi to detain all the black refugees in his country before they can reach the borders of the EU means “strengthening the democratic processes”? In other words, putting people in camps that are worse than Guantanamo because they are poor and black? And sending the Lybians a load of thousand body bags as a gift – wich means it is perfectly clear to everybody involved that people will be dying.

  184. #185 Nick Gotts
    June 3, 2008

    But reurgitating stories from the cold war era is not very helpful when analysing the problems of today. Nowadays, we are dealing not with the raise of national states, and the question wether those newly raised states will embrace state or private capitalism. We are dealing with the collapse of states into chaos and warlordism. Looking at Columbia and trying to pretend it’s still 1973 will not solve the problems of today (and even in Colombia the conflict between left and right has degenerated into a conflict between rival rackets of cocaine dealers). – johannes

    First, who is this “we” who are dealing with these problems?
    The Cold War and the current “War on Terror” have a great deal in common – in particular, a continued drive for global domination by the US elite. The means by which this is pursued remain the same – military bases, support of pliant foreign governments and attempts to remove recalcitrant ones, the dollar as reserve currency, NATO, the World Bank, IMF, GATT/WTO, the Security Council veto. The chief difference is the (probably temporary) absence of any real rival. “State collapse into chaos and warlordism” is rare, and chiefly affects those in the country concerned and their immediate neighbours. Compared with environmental degradation it is a trivial problem. As for Colombia – hundreds of labour organisers are murdered there every year, by Uribe’s paramilitary allies: that’s where the left-right struggle is, not with FARC.

  185. #186 Nick Gotts
    June 3, 2008

    However, I cannot reason to myself why this sod kiiling his daughter in this gruesome fashion has something to do with America. Poverty in that country is not created by us, but the rich sheikhs who govern them. – Mich S

    Mich, you’re under a misapprehension. This atrocity took place in Basra, Iraq. It is absolutely clear that the most misogynistic forms of Islam have been enormously empowered by the illegal invasion and occupation. Moreover, although I don’t think poverty had any particular role in this case, current and future poverty in Iraq has “Made in the USA” stamped all over it.

  186. #187 paul
    June 3, 2008

    are we confused getting the cause and effect muddled up here ?

  187. #188 johannes
    June 3, 2008

    > but stopping there is like condemning some civilian
    > murders committed by some little Stalinist thug during
    > WWII on the frontlines, and just stopping there flat.

    A rather inapprobiate metaphor, when it comes to muslims in general and islamists in peculiar, because political Islam and stalinism were on different sides of the barricade in WW II.

    > the only ones who stood up at all are the French.

    Yeah, the French (and the Germans) stood up for their third world client dictator, just as the Americans stood up for Somoza and the Russians (or the Cubans who did the dirty work for them) stood up for Mengistu. You rarely meet an American that is proud of Somoza or Pinochet nowadays, except among right-wing fuckwits. And I never met any person from the former Warsaw pact that was proud of Mengistu or Macias, the were-leopard. We will see how many frenchmen are still proud of their nation’s pro-baathist stance in ten years.

    > “State collapse into chaos and warlordism” is rare, and chiefly
    > affects those in the country concerned and their immediate
    > neighbours. Compared with environmental degradation it is a
    > trivial problem.

    Kongo? Iraq? Former Yugoslavia? Lebanon? Algeria? Afghanistan? Pakistan (a nuclear power, lest we forget)? The palestinian authority? Somalia? Kenia? Cote d’Ivoire? Haiti? Who is next – there are lots of countries with millions of un- or underemployed males in their late teens and early twenties, and crappy goverments. Millions have died in Kongo alone – the flagship and the crown jewel of french neocolonialism, so much for European sagacity – and you call it trivial?

    And yes, we, all of us, not just the US elites, will have to find a way to deal with those neo-medieval tendencies. Otherwise neo-barbarism will deal with us.

  188. #189 Nick Gotts
    June 3, 2008

    Kongo? Iraq? Former Yugoslavia? Lebanon? Algeria? Afghanistan? Pakistan (a nuclear power, lest we forget)? The palestinian authority? Somalia? Kenia? Cote d’Ivoire? Haiti?

    Of the states you name, only Somalia is currently in a state of collapse – and the USA recently backed an Ethiopian invasion to prevent an effective (though undoubtedly unpleasant) government re-emerging. Such “collapse” as has occurred in Iraq and Afghanistan is of course directly due to being invaded, and both are currently under foreign occupation. Lebanon has just elected a new President and formed a government of national unity – to the obvious dismay of the USA. Algeria has never collapsed, nor has Kenya, nor Haiti in recent times. Cote d’Ivoire has a civil war ongoing, but collapse is overstating it. The Palestinian Authority is not a state. As for Congo, the state collapse there followed decades of gross misrule by a dictator backed by the USA and other western countries as well as France – so “we”, assuming by the use of that term you mean either the USA or western powers generally, bear a large share of the responsibility. And by comparison with what is threatened in coming decades by environmental degradation, particularly anthropogenic climate change, even the 3-4 million deaths in the Congo War may be judged a relatively minor matter (“trivial” was admittedly overstating it). The stuff you hear about “state collapse” is almost entirely a cover for advancing elite interests – as can be seen by the eagerness with which the collapse of Yugoslavia was encouraged; but you’ve obviously bought it.

  189. #190 frog
    June 3, 2008

    Johannes: Your chain of events – the US destroys benign tiersmondist goverments, people get poor, and thus they become islamists – is flawed. Degenerate socialism is rarely benign – look at Myanmar or Zimbabwe for examples. The only way it can lift people out of poverty is by eliminating itself. This is what happened in China in the eighties and nineties, and what happens in India or Vietnam now.
    The people who work there are exploited, but the solution to that kind of exploitation will be organised labour, not a western world that barricades itself behind protectionist tarrifs and “helps” the poor by taking their jobs away and reducing them to starvation.

    I agree. Unfortunatedly, a blog commentary is a poor place to fully elucidate one’s opinions — the question was not whether the Ba’athist regime was benign or not, but whether the US and the West in general vis-a-vis the ME is part of one political system, or whether the Iraqi culture is some kind of independent indigenous development over which we have had very little influence. The fact that our way of life and their way of life have been intertwined for centuries, and “we” have been the dominant partner for over a century to this day is undeniable.

    You invented my “chain of events” — my “chain of events” goes back much farther than 2002! But it is understandable, since the entire argument had degenerated to simple name calling. What else is going to happen when one side of an argument runs out points?

    And of course, the French didn’t act out of some kind of good-heartedness. My argument was a general attempt to question the EU tendency to claim that this entire process has been somehow a US program, and they have kept clean hands. Intent isn’t terribly relevant — the point is that the EU leadership hasn’t acted as independent nations, but as US clients, which is particularly sad because at least in theory they have robust democratic polities.

    The EU clearly has some significant problems — but it still seems to me that in general principle, a squishy sort of confederation is more likely to bring peace and prosperity, than the US’s highly centralized model. Which is funny, as so many things in the US are, since it is the opposite of our self-image, even though a centralized state has been our model for over 150 years now.

  190. #191 windy
    June 3, 2008

    …why this sod kiiling his daughter in this gruesome fashion has something to do with America

    Occupying forces are legally responsible for public safety in the occupied territories.

  191. #192 Ron Sullivan
    June 3, 2008

    Considering the atrocities that have happened to some of our own soldiers at the hands of their male comrades-in-arms, I’d say that establishing the US Army (and/or remaining allies’ forces) as a haven or enforcer of safety for women would be a bitter joke indeed.

  192. #193 Disciple of "Bob"
    June 3, 2008

    @191

    From that, can we extrapolate that if I go for a walk through south Dallas and get stabbed to death for my trouble, it’s the Dallas Police Department that caused it?

  193. #194 johannes
    June 3, 2008

    > Such “collapse” as has occurred in Iraq and Afghanistan is of course > directly due to being invaded

    Iraq yes, the regime might have lurched one for another five or ten years without the US invasion. Afghanistan, no.

    > Lebanon has just elected a new President and formed a
    > government of national unity

    In other words, the goverment and the army have surrendered, because a racket (Hezbollah) has proven to be to strong for them.

    > Algeria has never collapsed

    If a state is unable to prevent the murder of several ten- or hundredthousand of its citizens, it has effectively collapsed. This said, the Algerian state got a second chance because the islamists proved to be so bad that the people flocked to the military goverment as the lesser evil.

    > The Palestinian Authority is not a state.

    Technically correct, but whatever you can call it, it was the entity with the highest number of policemen (or at least uniformed gunmen) per capita in the world, and still it was unable to prevent the Hamas takeover in Gaza.

    > The stuff you hear about “state collapse” is almost entirely a
    > cover for advancing elite interests -

    On the contrary, elites could hire mercenaries for their protection, or they can board the next plane into exile in the first world. The common people are the ones who suffer. And capital (an abstract thing that should not be personalized as “elites”) is not always advancing, their are times of crisis, and of retreat.

  194. #195 Nick Gotts
    June 3, 2008

    Iraq yes, the regime might have lurched one for another five or ten years without the US invasion. Afghanistan, no. – johannes

    The Taliban were in control of most of the country pre-invasion. Nasty regime, yes, but collapsed state, no.

    If a state is unable to prevent the murder of several ten- or hundredthousand of its citizens, it has effectively collapsed.

    No it hasn’t. And the military government was probably responsible for a comparable number of deaths as the Islamists.

    it was unable to prevent the Hamas takeover in Gaza.

    Hamas was the elected government. The “collapse” in this case was deliberately engineered because Israel and the USA refused to accept it as such.

    elites could hire mercenaries for their protection, or they can board the next plane into exile in the first world.

    I meant, of course, the elite in rich countries, above all the USA. The “state collapse” rhetoric is used to justify vast military spending, and frequently, foreign intervention.

    You still haven’t responded to my question as to who the “we” is you were referring to as facing the alleged problem of state collapses.

  195. #196 Torbj÷rn Larsson, OM
    June 3, 2008

    Shame. Of course it is misogyny – but the behavior of the locals makes their god out as a godfather:

    The Observer a close friend went to her new address to deliver a message that had been left for her at her front door. It read: ‘Death to betrayers of Islam who don’t deserve God’s forgiveness. Speaking less you will live more.’

    And now take the practice these groups among the locals gets under an occupation and apply to the terrorists that emerge under such circumstances.

    Bunch of fucking barbarians.

    They learned from the best.

    Occupying forces are legally responsible for public safety in the occupied territories.

    Yes. I couldn’t believe anyone would swear off their moral obligation in such an offhand manner! Even less so since the obligation has achieved due status.

    Got me thinking. Since US does these occupations on a regular basis, wouldn’t it be a good thing to do some public education campaigns on it from time to time? It would prepare the soldiers and make their difficult task more appreciated among the public.

    And hopefully it would make people think a little more before they grasp after a terrible burden, that will take years to release for themselves and even more so for the people those daily life they affected so drastically.

    [Okay, that come off all high and mighty. But it is really difficult to not say anything here. And it seems we can all get occupied in spite of international law, if not in practice so in principle. So in principle there are no outsiders here.]

  196. #197 rb
    June 3, 2008

    Good point Jason, rb was actually called for his own persecution to fulfill his persecution complex! Then he can feel self-righteous. He’ll be horribly disappointed when we don’t give him what he wants.

    wrong. What I was pointing out is that moderate theists do nothing different than secular atheists. they allow people to exist and do their best to stop tragedies like what happened in this story by holding out to the extremist that they are idiots and not correct in using their god to justify such horrors. In other words, even dawkins, the militant atheist, is really a moderate. so why place blame only on moderate theists?

  197. #198 Torbj÷rn Larsson, OM
    June 3, 2008

    @ DoB:

    From that, can we extrapolate that if I go for a walk through south Dallas and get stabbed to death for my trouble, it’s the Dallas Police Department that caused it?

    So you don’t think the Dallas Police has the responsibility to protect and serve citizens, find and arrest your killer, et cetera?!

    Please tell me you are trolling.

  198. #199 windy
    June 3, 2008
    Occupying forces are legally responsible for public safety in the occupied territories.

    From that, can we extrapolate that if I go for a walk through south Dallas and get stabbed to death for my trouble, it’s the Dallas Police Department that caused it?

    You might want to brush up on the concepts of “cause” and “responsibility”. They are not the same.

    That said, we might recognise that no force can perfectly prevent crime and ask if the Dallas Police Department makes the people of south Dallas safer if not completely safe. Hopefully, yes.

    Now imagine that Mexico invades Texas to protect its freedoms. Fairly or not, the protection of the citizens of Dallas is now also their responsibility. Due to chaos caused by the invasion stabbings reach unprecedented levels. The new government, generally perceived as cronies of the Mexicans, lets your murderer go free and says “it’s part of the culture here to stab people”. Mexicans say “they were stabbing each other before, it’s not our fault”. Do you see any problem with this?

  199. #200 Jason Failes
    June 3, 2008

    200.
    No one predicted this.

  200. #201 Nicole
    June 3, 2008

    Oh goodness, what a horrible story! It makes you sick…

    I only got through about half the comments, when there was a debate over the “us vs. them” mentality and such. I’d like to rather uselessly throw in there that the Muslim world was becoming far advanced in literature, mathematics, science, and more while Christian Europe was huddling in the Dark Ages. So clearly, the particular brand of religion alone cannot be the reason for cultural backwardness. Islam in its earliest days even improved the legal status of women, ahead of its time in the world, even though still a far cry from equal rights.

    Without religion, I think that there would be another invented reason used to justify “honor killings.” It is irrationality and barbarism in general that we need to combat. The religions themselves would be thrown out with all that by necessity!

  201. #202 Aquaria
    June 3, 2008

    100 years ago women were not wearing burkhas here.

    I’d rather have a burka than a whalebone corset and hoop skirts. At least a burka is comfortable!

  202. #203 Ichthyic
    June 3, 2008

    Iraq yes, the regime might have lurched one for another five or ten years without the US invasion. Afghanistan, no.

    afghanistan fuck yes.

    you seem to forget there were OTHERS who invaded the place before we did.

    or did you somehow seem to think that a country basically controlled by squabbling warlords is “stable”?

    that place is a total mess.

    what on earth made you think otherwise?

    seriously, I’d like to know what news sources have been talking about how “stable” Afghanistan is these days, or in the last 20 years, for that matter.

  203. #204 Janine ID
    June 3, 2008

    Ichthyic, Afghanistan has been a battle ground for Western powers for two centuries now. Just check into The Great Game.

    As an interesting historical note about literature, Dr Watson was a veteran of the Second Anglo-Afghan War.

  204. #205 johannes
    June 4, 2008

    > The “state collapse” rhetoric is used to justify vast military
    > spending, and frequently, foreign intervention.

    # 195

    Warlords exist. Period. And the state is in retreat even in wealthy western countries, and even in those segments that used to be the core of the state’s monopoly on power, like the armed forces. Remember Blackwater. If this looms large enough to scare people into denial, well, that just proves how frightening it is.

    > or did you somehow seem to think that a country basically
    > controlled by squabbling warlords is “stable”?

    > that place is a total mess.

    > what on earth made you think otherwise?

    Ichtyic,

    Nothing. This is why I called it a collapsed state in the first place. When I wrote “Iraq, yes, Afghanistan, no”, I was reacting to # 189, who seemed to have claimed that both Iraq and Afghanistan were reasonably stable before the US invasion, which I considered wrong when it came to Afghanistan, because there was still a civil war going on with the northern alliance, and because the Taliban themselves were little more than an unstable alliance of warlords.

  205. #206 Nick Gotts
    June 4, 2008

    Re #205 Johannes, I did not say Afghanistan was “reasonably stable”: I denied your assertion that it was a “collapsed state”, because it wasn’t. Up to 1999, Unocal was heading a consortium negotiating with the Taliban government to build a gas pipeline through the place – you don’t do that with a “collapsed state”.

    “the state is in retreat even in wealthy western countries, and even in those segments that used to be the core of the state’s monopoly on power, like the armed forces. Remember Blackwater. If this looms large enough to scare people into denial, well, that just proves how frightening it is.”

    The state in rich western countries has retreated in some ways (privatisation, deregulation, pornography), advanced in others (numbers imprisoned, surveillance, attacks on trades unions and civil rights). Basically, it has retreated in regard to interfering with the ability of the rich to get richer, but elsewhere the picture is much more mixed, and I’d say on balance it has increased its power. The USA is relying on mercenaries because the political cost of reintroducing the draft is too high, but the mercenaries can operate exactly as long as the state allows.

    Oh, and the “If people deny it, that just shows how true it is” argument (does this fallacy have a fancy Latin name, anyone?) is really, really, lame. Generally used by Christians (“Atheists don’t really disbelieve, they are just angry with God”) and Freudians (“You only deny my analysis because of your neuroses”).

  206. #207 Vaal
    June 4, 2008

    My goodness, I have only just seen this. It is absolutely disgusting. “Death was God’s punishment”. I am profoundly upset at this poor brave women’s foul murder and the odious mind set that approves it in the name of their vile non existent God.

    Even Shakespeare could not have thought up anything as sad and tragic. I sometimes despair of the human race. Religion really is the curse of humanity.

    I sincerely hope that the murderers and the wretched husband and sons are bought to justice. Hanging is too good for them.

  207. #208 DSKS
    June 4, 2008

    New Iraq exit strategy:

    Grab the women and leave!

  208. #209 Ian Pollock
    June 6, 2008

    The really horrid thing about this story, or at least one of them, is that Rand, the young girl, was killed for literally nothing. She was just an innocent young kid with a crush. Her father might just as well have killed her for breathing. In a way he did; at bottom he killed her for being alive.

    I can’t stop thinking about this for a couple of weeks now. Maybe it’s because it combines an act of revolting evil with the most hollow, stupid, pointless motive one can think of. And a young victim who by a slightly different geographical fluke might’ve been born as a niece of mine, and received gentle teasing for her little crush in place of brutal murder.

    I truly hope that justice will come to that putrid “father”. Death, at any rate, will do eventually, and it’s just too bad he won’t be there to learn anything from it.

    And what the hell am I supposed to do? I’m a human, I want to do something! But this is the Middle East. Nothing works, but doing nothing doesn’t work either. Is the rest of the world supposed to just wait 100 years with crossed fingers?

    (Incidentally, if anyone knows anything about the charity mentioned in the article, please drop me a line at ispollock@gmail.com)

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