Melbourne’s Royal Women’s Hospital employs a female genital mutilation liaison officer; an essential requirement in a modern multicultural city, I suppose. The subject arose during debate with Lefty Kim, who’d earlier criticised mutilation victim Ayaan Hirsi Ali (“Her view on Islam is too much coloured by her own experience …”). Now behold Kim’s opinion on Islamic girl-cutting:
It would also be useful to know more about what sorts of methods those working against the practice in Australia are using. It would seem to me counterproductive to have loud denunciations of it – the key thing should be to convince people it is wrong.
You’d think if there was one issue on which a Western feminist might be moved to loud denunciation, it’d be the genital mutilation of little girls. But no; this instead turns out to be an issue (one of the few) about which the likes of Kim are inclined to shut the hell up. In the rock-scissors-paper hierarchy of the modern left, sensitivity to Islam trumps clitoral scissors every time. From the same thread, here’s another leftoid view:
I don’t agree that demonising [Hirsi Ali’s] ex-coreligionists is the most ethical or the most pragmatic response to undertake in the aim of ensuring that it doesn’t happen to other little girls anymore.
They’ll happily demonise conservative politicians over industrial relations laws – a preferred description is “brutal” – but show them genuine brutality and this bunch of pikers suddenly wants to be all “ethical” and “pragmatic”. And then they clam up in fright:
I think keeping [the comments thread] open at this time serves no productive purpose whatever. If any one has a new perspective on the issues, and wants to engage in a genuine debate about the best way to address FGM without descending into a political stoush or vulgar abuse, then they’re welcome to email me …
Read the entire thread; you’ll find more aggressive exchanges at a gamer noticeboard (for that matter, read Kim’s original post, in which the isolated example of Islam-dominated Algeria is held to be proof that liberal secularism isn’t “a necessary precondition for women’s path to equality”; Brisbane is a hot place to wear a freedom sack, but Kim seems to be, er, warming to the idea. She may be interested to learn, by the way, that Islam was introduced to Algeria by colonising invaders).
Gaia forbid that debate about razor-wielding girl-choppers should become unruly; somebody’s feelings may be hurt. Meanwhile, the swords are out in Gaza:
A Muslim extremist group threatened to behead female TV broadcasters if they don’t don strict Islamic dress, leaving the women terrified and marking a further downward spiral in Gaza’s anarchy. The threat to “cut throats from vein to vein” was delivered by the Swords of Truth …
It would be counterproductive to have loud denunciations of this – the key thing should be to convince people it is wrong.
UPDATE II. Ayaan Hirsi Ali in Sydney last night:
I am not a Muslim because I lost respect for the book and its author and his messenger. I lost respect for them because of their bloodthirsty demands to kill and hate. I now feel the common humanity with those I once shunned: the Jews, Christians, atheists, gays, sinners of all stripes and colours.
Full report here.
UPDATE III. Late Monday night, and doubtless following a blizzard of emails between herself and Lardo Prodo czar Mark Bahnisch, Kim responds:
I don’t want to re-open the debate.
Why would she? There should be a mercy rule in some blog disputes.
I do want to clear up some misconceptions about what I was arguing, which wouldn’t have arisen had people been reading for meaning and context.
Our fault. Right.
Firstly, some seem to think I was downplaying Ali’s own experience. Perhaps I should have made it clearer that I had no intention whatsoever of minimising her pain and suffering.
Well, there was that line about Ali’s “view on Islam” being “too much coloured by her own experience”.
Secondly, her experiences do not put her beyond criticism … But to subject her views to reasonable criticism is not the same thing.
Kim should review the left’s complaints over criticism of Cindy Sheehan.
Those who would seek to silence her through threats and intimidation are acting in an evil and abhorrent fashion.
Although it doesn’t rise anywhere near to the level of threat or intimidation, Kim’s initial post concluded with a line suggesting she’d be quite happy to see Ali silenced:
It should be long past time that we take the blinkers off and start asking exactly who and what aims the rhetoric employed by [Hirsi Ali] serve[s].
The woman’s a Bush puppet! Kim continues:
Thirdly, my criticism of “loud denunciations” of FGM (and I fail to understand why some commenters believe that to use an acronym is to downgrade its horror) does not mean that I don’t believe that it should be denounced by all reasonable and compassionate people.
But just not loudly.
What has been entirely overlooked in much of the criticism of what I have written is that I’ve consistently argued that people who are as horrified by FGM as I and many other feminists are have chosen to do something practical about the issue by giving financial support to women working in African countries who are working within their own communities to convince others that the practice is wrong and abhorrent (as I said in my original post) and should cease.
While not denouncing it with any volume.
I believe that Ali does useful work in highlighting the horrific realities of FGM, as I said on the original thread …
But not, tellingly, in her original post.
… but I believe that the best step that can be taken to work against it is to give support to those who are best placed to do so where it occurs, not to politicise the issue.
The left politicises every other issue; why not this one? Where are the demonstrations?
FGM is also practiced by some Jews and Christians, and I don’t think that the cause of opposing its continuance is at all served by turning it into a religious or a political issue.
A note I made to myself yesterday: “Any response from Kim will include comparison to other religions.” If female genital mutilation was practiced overwhelmingly by Jews and Christians – and I’m not convinced it is practiced by those groups in any significant number, if at all – you could bet your life Kim & Co. would make it a political and religious issue. She’ll remain quiet about it from now because it’s predominantly an Islamic issue. I’d be surprised if she ever wrote about it again.
Page 1 of 1 pages
Commenting is not available in this weblog entry.