Friday, May 07, 2004

You've come a long way, baby... *not*

As my 'elegy' post shows, I've been thinking a bit lately about how culture informs a specific worldview: us and them, Christian and Muslim, man and woman... when I run into different perspectives, I try to look at things objectively instead of just assuming that 'our way is the best way', and not let the American worldview they're selling you on TV affect my judgement.Often I can see that there are just many ways of doing things, which means from my point of view the other guy is doing it wrong, but from his point of view, I am doing it wrong. Occasionally, however, I run into issues that I just can't see another way around... some things are just fucking wrong.

Case in point: an Afghanistan village council ruled recently that a rich landowner, whose honor was being threatened by a young (and poor) farmer who was involved with the mans daughter, was entitled to rape the farmer's daughter, who is 16, and daughter-in-law, who is 22, to avenge his honor. This is wrong on so many levels that I think I just had a fucking aneurysm.

It should be noted that over 80% of the women in prison in Pakistan are there because they failed to prove they were raped. if the rape conviction is successful, then legally the women were raped, but if it isn't successful, then the women have just admitted under oath that they had adulterous relations and unless they can prove that they did not have sex with anyone (which is a bit difficult in any court case, but even more difficult when the whole basis of the case is the woman's assertion that she was raped). Remember that this is a society where you can still be sentenced to death by stoning, and that the Islamic tradition treats women as property... women are faced with silence or imprisonment.

There are some other things that happen in the middle-east that I'n not very accepting of: buzkashi, for one. This game, which is to middle-easterners what cricket is to the British, was brought into the middle-east during Ghenis Khan's 13th century hackslashrapeburnpillage tour of the area. The game is a lot like polo... except the tool you hold in your hand is a metal bar with a big meathook on the end, and the ball is a goat carcass.

These guys are starting to strain the seams on my "be open to other cultures" circuits.