Category Archives: Human Rights

Stepping Up, Stepping In

Available housing in Europe as of February 2014.

Today the pope called on all institutions under his control to accept refugees fleeing the ongoing horror in the Middle East. Notable in beating the pope to the punch are some EU countries, Germany at their fore. Equally notable in their rejection of refugees is the UK, battling their influx through the only land connection, the Chunnel.

us_wallThe United States, with a rather larger body of water separating it and a frenetic tempest around illegal immigration and religious ethnocentrism, is having little to nothing to do with the millions probably permanently displaced in the years-long battle to eliminate Alawite control over Syria, which has turned into a war against the cancer that is DAESH. To say nothing of Chad, Mali and other African countries where terrorism in the name of religion metastasizes as the ripples of America’s destabilization of a quarter of the world in 2003 continues. America’s avoidance of social responsibility for its previous actions not only shames it, but reduces America’s standing among the nations of the world. If it — we — want to make a difference, we need to be part of the solution to this wave of immigration, not just the instigator. And throwing money at immigration and relocation efforts, while a poor way to do it’s share, would at least show the America is part of the family of nations.

Germany isn’t just accepting newcomers out of the guilt of its post-Holocaust heart: it’s doing it because new immigrants work hard, provide a steppingstone for existing citizens to move up in their professions and generally make the economy larger.

french_ghettosFrance’s immigration experiment has failed for a number of reasons, including treating non-“true” French as outsiders for generation, creating ghettos that surround Paris and other major cities, and a cognitively dissonant government policy of acknowledging Christianity while vociferously suppressing religious expression. Combine the negative birth rate of “native” French and a social system exceeding every other EU country in payer to beneficiary ratio, France is ill-prepared for an influx of even more people of passion about their religion requiring all manner of basic services.

Italy… well, the pope has spoken for his domain, but it’s doubtful the Italians, whose government rivals that of Greece is some ominous ways, can take in massive numbers of immigrants and successfully integrate them into their society.

Which brings me to he most interesting EU country in terms of immigration: Spain. The country has an almost death spiral of rural population, with entire towns up for sale or even being given away as people flock to the cities. It has a very small population relative to the size of the country, and, with its Moorish history, makes it an interesting choice for fleeing Syrians. I propose that EU countries not willing or able to host refugees pay for their relocation, en masse, to parts of Spain, including the rural northwestern provinces. There’s an existing infrastructure, their culture shock can be ameliorated, it’ll be easier to provide social services and it is not the start of a ghetto: it’s a chance for people to start a new life in a less traumatic way. Sure, there are possible issues, but the tragedy of migrant deaths are more pressing than the longer, generational issues of integration of immigrant populations into society.

Housing is available throughout Europe: countries need to step up and bring in the next generation of future, hard-working citizens.

 

Tunisia & The Homicidal ex-Boyfriend

domestic violenceIf I can’t have you, I’ll beat/kill you so no one can have you. This is the insane rationale of men who beat or kill their ex-girlfriends (real or imagined). (If you are in a situation like this, please click here to get help.)

DAESH thrives on fear and chaos, believing their “order” would be preferred to the horrors of random violence.

Tunisia, and all normatively functioning countries, have an invested interest in creating a diverse market of products and services to generate foreign currency: tourism, agriculture, manufacturing. Even if the country is totalitarian, the need for money and trade is critical. The Filipino government depends on foreign remittances from their citizens serving in household and other endeavors in countries around the world. The Mexican economy depends in many parts of the country on those selfsame remittances from illegal immigrants to the United States, sending home money to support their families.

Broken and failed states are only interested in their self-preservation, inhabitants be damned. North Korea exports cohorts of slaves from its prisons (where “crimes” are frequently manufactured, and entire families are sentenced for the purported sins of a single family member) to work in Middle Eastern countries as construction workers. DAESH steals and loots from people that have run from their terror, extorts money for passage into, on, and out of its controlled territory and sells oil to the open market. There’s no real commerce, no industry: there’s only money into DAESH’s bloody pockets.

Depriving a country of legitimate revenue, like killings tourists, gives DAESH and other “angry boyfriend” terrorists a venue to increase their power. For where there is no economy, no markets, high unemployment, fear and anger, DAESH, like a lethal fungus, can take root.

Sunshine (transparency) and cleanliness (rule of law, fairness) are the cure for these situations. But it’s up to governments and rulers to invest in their people, in their businesses and industries, and schools to keep the population involved and interested in keeping the empty hatred of DAESH and its ilk at bay.

 

 

One Doesn’t Make Peace with Objects

“Muslim extremist.” “Infidel.” “Towelhead.” “Crusader.”

Putting labels on people is gratifying: it’s an attack on their honor, reduces the respect due them as humans and, if possible, make them seem less than human, even less than animals.

Labels are chosen carefully. “Dogs” is a great cuss word by Muslims, given its internal Islamic religious denotation — one that is not shared in the same way by the targets of such insults. The label of “pigs” is a word choice guaranteed to anger even a moderate, pious Muslim. Dogs and pigs are killed as a matter of course in religious countries: their connection to filth and disease is something. That list in the first line of this post goes past animal, straight to animus.

Once we reduce a person to an object it’s harder to identify with them. You don’t automatically hate Farah when you pass her in in Wal-Mart or Marks & Spencer if she’s wearing a hijab or a chador. But if I identify that person as a “sand rat” I’d look down at her as a dirty animal, out of place in a brightly-lit store with orderly shelves.

Nazis used this technique with great success to dehumanize Jews, to make it easier for neighbors and business associates to part with Jews who had, up to that point, integrated successfully in Western Europe.

Westerners use it to isolate, vilify and attack those who look different. Fanatics of all faiths brand everyone not fitting their exacting (and sometimes ever-changing) standards. In Judaism, religious extremists slap the label apikoros (apostate) or goy (gentile) on anyone they want to exclude from their self-declared higher plane.

It’s difficult to bargain with lesser beings. One makes peace with enemies, not friends, despite all the protests against talks with Iran, North Korea, and the Afghani Taliban among others. One does not engage in anything but eradicating dirty animals.

A coda: women reduced to body part names are put into the same place. While there are no peace talks expected between men and women, reducing a woman to how she looks or what sex acts she might perform lets men afraid of their dominance feel better about their misogyny.

No Honor in Killing

There are thousands of “honor killings” throughout the Middle East and the rest of the world each year. A man in Hayat Abad (in South Waziristan, Pakistan), for example, who moves in with a woman against the wishes of the woman’s family is perceived to have stained the honor of her family (even if said family has never stepped foot in Amman or anywhere near it). Murders are plotted and occur, and then the woman’s clan settles up blood money for her killing. Or they don’t, in which case a blood feud starts, usually lasting for generations. (For American readers, the Hatfield-McCoy feud lasted just over thirty five years with the killing of about fifteen people, including a few due to a ‘blood honor’ excuse.)

The perpetrators believe that, in killing the ones involved in the loss of honor (something perceived just by them), that the stain is erased. There have been cases of honor killings across the planet, almost always by people strongly connected to tribal influences. I say tribal because honor killings are not part of Islam, nor are they part of any form of Sharia law practiced or promulgated in normative cultures.

Honor killings are more than just anti-Sharia and tribal. They are the ultimate form of abuse of women for their gender. Killing the woman and not the man? After all, in most societies where this practice occurs, women are little more than chattel in the marriage and mating process. Wouldn’t the man be the logical target? But no, preying on the helpless woman, punishing her for having her own say in her life, is the real reason for this behavior. If they can’t be cowed into being proper property, then they have no place, living, in the clan.

Killing for honor is something that has been part of almost every culture. Yes, even American Christians have committed murder in the name of family honor. But again, these acts are about violence against women, not something practiced by any religion. The closer a family is to living in a clan, in time or distance, the more likely this is to occur. It’s the job of societies where law and justice are found at the hands of civil government to flense this primitive form of extreme abuse of women. Or they stand on the side of those whose sense of honor betrays the peace and sanctity of the lives of innocents. Unfortunately for the women of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, their government’s laws exempt honor killings from civil justice.

Notes

  • Here’s a tiny list of the victims.
  • There were a large number of web sites regarding honor killings: unfortunately many of them “blame” Islam for the phenomenon (something that would have greatly surprised the Hatfields and McCoys).

Boko Haram vs. ISIL

It’s odd: one might think that one Caliphate would be enough for the world. After all, who’s the Calif?

Are you Nigerian? Or are you Iraqi/Syrian/Iraqi?

If the former, kidnapping, in case you’re slow on reading the Qur’an, is forbidden. If the latter, kidnapping infidels and selling them for $1,000 a woman is ALSO HARAM!

In either case, I suggest (a) learning the text, and (b) stopping your sins against Islam as a way to cease your dishonoring Islam. As to repairing your honor, I’m afraid I’m not enough of a scholar to suggest options.