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 Topic: Why They Hate Us by Mona Eltahawy

 (Read 967 times)
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  • Why They Hate Us by Mona Eltahawy
     OP - April 23, 2012, 01:57 PM

    Why Do They Hate Us?


    The real war on women is in the Middle East

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/04/23/why_do_they_hate_us

    Quote
    In "Distant View of a Minaret," the late and much-neglected Egyptian writer Alifa Rifaat begins her short story with a woman so unmoved by sex with her husband that as he focuses solely on his pleasure, she notices a spider web she must sweep off the ceiling and has time to ruminate on her husband's repeated refusal to prolong intercourse until she too climaxes, "as though purposely to deprive her." Just as her husband denies her an orgasm, the call to prayer interrupts his, and the man leaves. After washing up, she loses herself in prayer -- so much more satisfying that she can't wait until the next prayer -- and looks out onto the street from her balcony. She interrupts her reverie to make coffee dutifully for her husband to drink after his nap. Taking it to their bedroom to pour it in front of him as he prefers, she notices he is dead. She instructs their son to go and get a doctor. "She returned to the living room and poured out the coffee for herself. She was surprised at how calm she was," Rifaat writes.

    In a crisp three-and-a-half pages, Rifaat lays out a trifecta of sex, death, and religion, a bulldozer that crushes denial and defensiveness to get at the pulsating heart of misogyny in the Middle East.



    So once again I'm left with the classic Irish man's dilemma, do I eat the potato or do I let it ferment so I can drink it later?
    My political philosophy below
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwGat4i8pJI&feature=g-vrec
    Just kidding, here are some true heros
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBTgvK6LQqA
  • Re: Why They Hate Us by Mona Eltahawy
     Reply #1 - April 23, 2012, 02:04 PM


    I read that earlier. Its very powerful.

    "we can smell traitors and country haters"


    God is Love.
    Love is Blind. Stevie Wonder is blind. Therefore, Stevie Wonder is God.

  • Re: Why They Hate Us by Mona Eltahawy
     Reply #2 - April 23, 2012, 03:16 PM

    I'm surprised the artwork was approved but I like it, on top of an already excellent piece.

    So once again I'm left with the classic Irish man's dilemma, do I eat the potato or do I let it ferment so I can drink it later?
    My political philosophy below
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwGat4i8pJI&feature=g-vrec
    Just kidding, here are some true heros
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBTgvK6LQqA
  • Re: Why They Hate Us by Mona Eltahawy
     Reply #3 - April 23, 2012, 03:37 PM

    Wow, great article. This part really rang true for me:

    Quote
    Just as regime-appointed clerics lull the poor across the region with promises of justice -- and nubile virgins -- in the next world rather than a reckoning with the corruption and nepotism of the dictator in this life, so women are silenced by a deadly combination of men who hate them while also claiming to have God firmly on their side.

    Yes, the promises of justice. I know a handful of women closely (or at least I did) who suffer all kinds of abuse from their husbands. One that I was particularly close with was utterly miserable in her husband's prison, a very strong and intelligent woman struggling in defeat with the unrelenting mental and emotional abuse, possibly physical as well. The only glimmer of hope these women have to keep them going is knowing they will get justice in the next life. I remember one conversation with my friend when she actually came out and said it. The only saving grace to her marriage is that justice will be served in the end. The "true" Islam treats women with kindness and respect, and a Muslim wife should be treated like a queen by her husband. Muslims truly believe this in their hearts. But misogyny runs deep, and everywhere it manifests it is only a symptom of human error. These women love the Islam that affords them their rights, and see the abuse from their husbands as something they must endure as a good wife. He is sinning, or not following the sunnah, he is human. Allah rewards women for remaining obedient, and so they do, counting on their reward for their suffering, and on the punishment in store for their husbands. I used to cling to that comforting thought with her, and it was one of the things that really devastated me when I finally realized her justice, and everyone else's, will never happen.

    "Those who do not move, do not notice their chains." Rosa Luxemburg

    Everything in life
    is a good experience
    or a good story.
  • Re: Why They Hate Us by Mona Eltahawy
     Reply #4 - April 26, 2012, 08:09 AM

    One of the things that was disappointing was the response to this article. The Muslim commenters predictably interpreted Eltahawy's piece as an attack on Islam, seemingly unaware that Eltahawy considers herself a Muslim. Worse, though, was this piece in the Atlantic which has an extremely naive view on Islam. It blames the state of women's rights on colonialism, plus the standard "Islam is diverse" argument, with the implication that only a few Muslim men believe in the "guardianship of women" (qawama), and that really there's this huge majority of liberated Muslim men and women out there.

     http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/04/the-real-roots-of-sexism-in-the-middle-east-its-not-islam-race-or-hate/256362/

    I think dragging out the whole "Islam is diverse" argument, i.e. that you "shouldn't unfairly paint all Muslims with a broad brush," is just a way of  pretending that certain beliefs are held only by an extremist minority. Islam can be diverse in some, often trivial ways, but it also isn't in many important ways, including in the aspects that are uncomfortable to non-Muslims. There are clearly many things on which Islam is not diverse. Islam is not diverse regarding the claim that "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet." Likewise, there are many beliefs that are clearly shared by  the majority of Muslims. One is that apostasy deserves death, or at the very least violence from mobs or your own family. Likewise with the view that men are unable to control themselves sexually and it's not their fault if they harass or assault women; you'd learn quickly if you were a woman traveling in Muslim countries and assumed that "Islam is diverse" and that this is not a widely held belief. The same goes for tolerance for domestic violence, dislike for unbelievers, and support for harsh punishments.

    It just irks me when well intentioned people try to blandly soothe fears by resorting to arguments like "Islam is diverse," "it's just one guy's opinion," and "it's really not about the religion."
  • Re: Why They Hate Us by Mona Eltahawy
     Reply #5 - April 26, 2012, 09:03 AM

    I like the Atlantic article actually. No one's actually refuted Mona's factual claim but her arguement could use some nuance. It's not so much that Islam is diverse its that the Middle East is diverse as well.

    So once again I'm left with the classic Irish man's dilemma, do I eat the potato or do I let it ferment so I can drink it later?
    My political philosophy below
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwGat4i8pJI&feature=g-vrec
    Just kidding, here are some true heros
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBTgvK6LQqA
  • Re: Why They Hate Us by Mona Eltahawy
     Reply #6 - April 26, 2012, 07:27 PM

    hope you don't mind deusvult .. i  posted the picture on TA .. and it made second so far on the big discussions list..
    http://www.thinkatheist.com/photo/political-correctness?xg_source=activity

  • Re: Why They Hate Us by Mona Eltahawy
     Reply #7 - April 27, 2012, 05:17 AM

    Awesome article! Thanks for sharing it with us!  Afro
  • Re: Why They Hate Us by Mona Eltahawy
     Reply #8 - May 08, 2012, 07:27 PM

    A response:

    http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/05/201255134117758375.html

    18:42   Godot   the laffy taffy, and it's many dense layers of rich metaphors - that of asses, and that of candy, and of shaking
  • Re: Why They Hate Us by Mona Eltahawy
     Reply #9 - May 22, 2012, 11:19 AM

    A response - but this time its an excellent and rational response from a Canadian-Pakistani physician:

    Quote
    Misogyny in the Middle East: The Real Elephant in the Room

    A swarm of criticism has been leveled against Mona Eltahawy's recent Foreign Policy cover story on the state of women in the Arab world.

    Some of it has been ridiculous, like Samia Errazzouki's allegation that the cover photo and story was "degrading" to women who wear the niqab (which would be a little like eating a sandwich that's already in your stomach). Some has been reasonable, like from Nesrine Malik in the Guardian, who asserts that no man is born hating women, and the fight should not be aimed at men, but at the patriarchal system that both men and women subscribe to.

    But when I came across Max Fisher's piece in The Atlantic on the "real" roots of sexism in the Middle East (it's not Islam, race, or hate, he says), I felt as if the conversation had gone from merely ignoring the elephant in the room to outrightly denying that it even takes up any space.

    Having spent the first 24 years of my life growing up in Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan as part of a Muslim family, I can't be so simplistic to allege that all of the misogyny in the Arab and/or Muslim world is a consequence of just one or two factors. But I also can't be naive enough to dismiss or even downplay one of the major, central forces driving it.

    Saying that sexism and misogyny in the Middle East has "nothing to do" with Islam (or any Abrahamic religion for that matter) is symptomatic of either denial or fear.

    The Quran is written in Arabic. And the people of Egypt, the largest Arabic-speaking Muslim country in the world, largely believe it to be the immutable, divine word of God -- not unlike most people in other Arab and Muslim countries. The majority of Muslims won't even touch or recite the holy book unless they have done wudhu (cleansing) and/or ghusl (bathing). Women are not allowed to recite it while they're menstruating. That is how much it's revered.

    In that context, cherry-picking favorable passages becomes problematic for true believers. And at various points, the Quran, like the other Abrahamic scriptures, contains passages that are plainly sexist: from advocating beating women (4:34), to advocating sex with female prisoners of war even if they're married (4:24), to instructions on how to divorce a wife who hasn't yet had her first period (65:4), to declaring menstruation an illness (2:222), to making two female witnesses equivalent to one male because "if one errs, the other can remind her" (2:282), to saying straight out that men are superior and have authority over women (2:228, 4:34). And that's just a sampling. The hadith, or traditions of the Prophet Muhammad, go even further.

    The classic response to these kinds of citations is that the passages have been "misinterpreted" and/or taken "out of context" -- which, of course, is a loaded phrase. But metaphorical interpretation is largely a luxury for the well-to-do armchair moderate. Even if this argument had any merit, it simply doesn't work in a practical sense.

    The Egyptian people have just elected a government where 67% of the vote went to Islamists -- 38% to the Muslim Brotherhood and 29% to the ultra-conservative hardline Al-Nour party. These leaders are not known to interpret Scripture in a metaphorical way -- yet they have the support of a majority of the country. Similar election results have been seen in Tunisia.

    Now, if entire nations of people have been raised to believe that these passages from the Quran are not only immutable and divine, but also that challenging them can be punishable by death -- how unreasonable is it to think that it would have a deep, lasting impact on their attitudes toward women? Would it not be near delusional to think otherwise?

    Clearly, these issues are not unique to Islam. As incidents like the recent walkout of students during Dan Savage's speech criticizing the Bible for its homophobia have demonstrated, we're getting to a point where the fight for basic civil rights and societal progress will necessarily require open, often aggressive criticism of religion. The Torah and Bible are equally rife with misogynistic passages, and the effects are still seen in the U.S. today with the religious right's burgeoning campaign against contraception and abortion rights, alongside other campaigns opposing marriage equality, stem cell research, and teaching proper science in schools.

    However, while criticizing the Bible may score you a scathing headline or two on the Fox News website, rarely will it literally put your life in danger.

    This is why it isn't difficult to understand why Eltahawy went some of the distance (acknowledging a "toxic mix of culture and religion" as an etiology in passing), but stopped short of a potential fatwa risk. It's also easy to understand why Fisher decided to dismiss religion as a contributing factor to misogyny in the Middle East, bizarrely laying blame on the historical colonial rulers of Muslim lands like the Turks, British, and French instead. It is for the same reason that Yale decided to publish a book about the Danish Muhammad cartoons -- without the cartoons; or Comedy Central repeatedly decided to censor images of the Prophet Muhammad on South Park, while letting other religious figures run loose onscreen.

    Clearly, fear is an effective deterrent. And this is exactly how terrorism works: this is how perfectly intelligent, well-read writers, commentators, and broadcasters can rationalize themselves into becoming unaware victims of it.

    This is no replacement for the truth. An argument that takes the effect of a certain dynamic and presents it as a cause sounds circular. Saying "they hate us because they hate us" does not leave a whole lot of room for solutions.

    This fight is going to be harder than that. Mona Eltahawy has done a fantastic, brave thing by starting up the conversation in the way that she did, particularly after the horror of what she went through in Egypt last year. But unless all of the contributing causes are acknowledged and fought -- as dangerous as this may be to do -- these things will continue. If you want to fight patriarchy, but stop short of criticizing religion -- you're not fighting patriarchy. Period.


    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ali-a-rizvi/islam-women_b_1466571.html
     

    "Beauty is truth, truth beauty," - that is all
            Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

    - John Keats
  • Re: Why They Hate Us by Mona Eltahawy
     Reply #10 - May 22, 2012, 11:36 AM


    I'm standing up and giving that guy a round of applause ^^^


    "we can smell traitors and country haters"


    God is Love.
    Love is Blind. Stevie Wonder is blind. Therefore, Stevie Wonder is God.

  • Re: Why They Hate Us by Mona Eltahawy
     Reply #11 - May 22, 2012, 08:18 PM

    The article is good, but I don't agree on a particular point.
    Quote
    The Egyptian people have just elected a government where 67% of the vote went to Islamists -- 38% to the Muslim Brotherhood and 29% to the ultra-conservative hardline Al-Nour party. These leaders are not known to interpret Scripture in a metaphorical way -- yet they have the support of a majority of the country. Similar election results have been seen in Tunisia.

    In Tunisia, the islamist party got less than half of the vote (even though he had more vote than any other party), and is, I've heard, less conservative than the MB, let alone Al Nour. There are fucked up things happening in Tunisia nonetheless, with the trial of those two atheists especially, but I don't think the situation is the same as it is in Egypt.

    But the rest of the article is good, and it's just some detail anyway.
  • Re: Why They Hate Us by Mona Eltahawy
     Reply #12 - May 23, 2012, 08:11 AM

    Thanks for that article, Al Ma'arri.

    Quote
    The classic response to these kinds of citations is that the passages have been "misinterpreted" and/or taken "out of context" -- which, of course, is a loaded phrase. But metaphorical interpretation is largely a luxury for the well-to-do armchair moderate. Even if this argument had any merit, it simply doesn't work in a practical sense.


    YES! <3

    He's no friend to the friendless
    And he's the mother of grief
    There's only sorrow for tomorrow
    Surely life is too brief
  • Re: Why They Hate Us by Mona Eltahawy
     Reply #13 - May 23, 2012, 10:03 AM

    That article is spot on to the T.  Afro. Thank you Pk physician  thnkyu

    "La ilaha illa Allah wa-Muhammad rasul Allah, and everything you say about Islam is taken out of context." ~Billy
    If you enter this world knowing you are loved and you leave this world knowing the same, then everything that happens in between can be dealt with.
    Michael Jackson
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