Tina K. Russell

October 29, 2008

Values

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — Tina Russell @ 5:19 pm

I’ve spoken recently on Ethiopia’s human rights abuses and Somalia’s right to self-determination. In the interest of fairness, here’s what an Islamist court in Somalia has decided to do with all that self-determination:

World Briefing – Africa – Somalia – Rape Victim Executed – NYTimes.com
A woman was stoned to death for adultery on Monday in an Islamist-controlled region of Somalia. Somali human rights officials said the woman, 23, had been raped, but the Islamist authorities determined that she was guilty of adultery.

That’s disgusting. (The article is just one more sentence, but I snipped that because it’s graphic.) This is reprehensible on, like, a million levels. To note three:

  1. The death penalty is wrong. Always.
  2. They say that she was an adulterer. Even if that were true, which I doubt, it is wrong to punish adulterers. Government should not legislate individual choice, or attempt to fix families.
  3. Punishing the victim is wrong.

While the mistake of punishing the victim occurs on many levels in many governments, to punish the victim of rape is to take what is already a crime to an unspeakable degree. To punish her with death is beyond my comprehension. I cannot imagine how anyone who asserts that is moral can claim with a straight face to speak for God.

Jesus, a prophet of Islam, once espoused that “he who is free of sin shall cast the first stone”; and that was about a woman who was actually guilty of what she was accused of. I step carefully when I talk about this because I think stoning her to death would still be wrong if she were guilty. I think it would be wrong if she were guilty of murder. I think it would be wrong if she were guilty of murder and the execution were administered with a lethal injection of painkillers in the most humane way you could possibly think of. It’s clear, though, that the people who delivered, carried out, and supported this verdict have vast oceans of sin in their hearts, given their willingness, their enthusiasm, for such an unequivocally evil act as this. They should not throw stones; and neither should we.

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October 22, 2008

All-Shallow Eve

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — Tina Russell @ 11:27 am

I’ve loathed Eve Ensler for a long time. (Why I dislike her is another, longer blog post. Ask if you want it.) However, I always preface my deep-seated rage against that woman in with flowery language telling of all the good I’m sure she’s done for the world.

Not this time.

Eve Ensler is going to the Congo. To teach them about rape.

wronging rights: Hey Guys, Let’s Clean Out the Old Barn and Put On a Show About Brutal Rape!!
Finally, some urgency! There’s nothing more annoying than a country that has no gumption when it comes to protecting itself from years of the most brutal ground warfare the world has ever seen. Those Congolese people are just so darned complacent about their bodies and livelihoods being brutally attacked at regular intervals! They lack get-up-and-go, that’s their problem! Good thing the nice white lady has arrived to show ’em how it’s done.

It’s fitting for the woman who wrote those famous monologues that she would be visiting the Congo to talk, and not to listen.

(I do ask you to read the rest of the post, as it’s good, but be warned… the paragraph I clipped is relatively tame. The humor on Wronging Rights is brutal, the kind of humor that comes from dealing with horrors like this day to day, rather than merely taking the occasional press junket to the developing world to sell personal-tragedy-themed T-shirts.)

(I’ve always hated Eve Ensler, but now… I really hate her. You might say my hatred of her is a mighty tree, its roots running deep into the ground… its trunk spreading majestically into the heavens…)

October 13, 2008

The Cure for What Veils You

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — Tina Russell @ 10:30 pm

World Briefing – Europe – France – Agency Rules That Burqa Violates Values – NYTimes.com
The French agency devoted to combating discrimination has determined that the burqa, the all-encompassing garment that some Muslim women wear, violates French values and inhibits integration into French society. “The burqa is a sign of the submission of women that surpasses its religious aspect and could be considered as a breach of republican values,” the agency, the High Authority for the Fight Against Discrimination and for Equality, said in a ruling, the daily newspaper La Croix reported Thursday. The decision means that women will not be permitted to wear burqas or niqabs, a related garment, in state-sponsored French-language classes.

I have mixed feelings about the burqa. On the one hand, everyone should have the right to wear whatever they want; I’d think that’s a cornerstone of American, and French, values. On the other hand, I don’t like knee-jerk liberal defense of the burqa because I don’t just dislike it when women are explicitly forced to wear the burqa (as under the Taliban), I dislike it when women are socially coerced or universally expected to wear the garment. So, in that sense, I do feel that the burqa represents oppression of women worldwide. However, I do understand that there are women who wear the burqa of their own free will, without any sort of coercion from outside, and such freedom to wear what you want ought to be encouraged. This French ruling pre-empts women’s right to wear what they want, and that I find distasteful.

I guess what I’m saying that a) I want to go to bat for the burqa because I feel this ruling is unconscionably restrictive, and b) I’m reluctant to go to bat for the burqa, because while I know many women wear it out of free will, I don’t want my (proud!) liberal sensibilities to get in the way of acknowledging that many women don’t get that choice and are forced to wear it through explicit force or through social coercion and expectation.

I wish I could wear whatever I wanted to, but society expects a standard of modesty for me. The burqa is a spectacularly restricting garment, expressing practically nothing of the women behind it. I suppose some women like it that way, and more power to them (or they like the garment for other reasons), but it still represents oppression so as long as women are forced (in any way) to wear it. I think that’s the kind of prejudice, the real threat to women, that this French ruling is meant to oppose, and it’s a shame that for such good intentions the bill is just more restriction of women’s freedoms. I don’t like the burqa, but the whole point of freedom is that I cannot and should not impose my beliefs upon others, and nobody should have the choice made for them beforehand.

October 7, 2008

Teen girl terrorists

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — Tina Russell @ 8:19 pm

(UPDATE: Changed embed link to be less terrible. PBS, get your act together. Sorry for all those afflicted with the autoplay.)

FRONTLINE/WORLD . Rough Cut . Sri Lanka: A Terrorist in the Family | PBS
Inside the life of a female suicide bomber

Vodpod videos no longer available.

This video is heartbreaking in every way you can imagine. I really recommend watching it; it’s really depressing, but it’s also informative. These girls are just like me… and that makes it all the more sad.

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