Friday, May 16, 2008

What do men want?

Thinking about girl power reminded me of something recently posted on by Christopher Davis:

Tomorrow I will roll out in a convoy of up-armored HUMVEES heading to a small town in Afghanistan to witness the opening of a school constructed by the Afghan government along with the help of coalition forces. En route, we will see dozens of small children and they will run to the edge of the road and smile and wave. We will wave back and our gunners will toss out small bags containing candy, shoes, pencils, pens, toothbrushes etc. Many of these children will be girls...these little girls break my heart and remind me why I am an atheist.

You see, the school we are opening is for boys only. The Pashtun culture places very little value on women, much less the education of women. So when I see these little girls laughing and smiling, it saddens me because I know I am seeing them at possibly the happiest time in their life. I know that in ten or twelve years they will be someone's property.

They will be wed to some man who will treat them only slightly better than he does his livestock and feel no remorse in doing so. A man who has been taught since he was a little boy that such is the way of the world and such is a woman's place in it...and he has been taught this as part of his religion.

Now I know some wise-ass is going to read this and say "That's not what Islam teaches! Those behaviours are derived from tribal customs, not from the Koran!" I concede that may be true. But for those little girls who will wave at my convoy tomorrow, that bleak future is most likely the only Islam they will ever know.


  1. What do men want??

    Dunno. They puzzle me a lot of the time, I have to admit.

    I do know what the men in this village will never have though.

    They will never have is a woman educated enough to stretch their children’s brains or a woman capable of work and contributing to the family finances. Worst of all though, they will never have a woman; anywhere in their world; who is free enough from fear to be able to be their friend. Sounds lonely.

    The actions of these men anger me (more than I can ever say), but I am also aware that it isn’t not only the women who are diminished by this systematic inequality. Everyone is missing out here.

    Excuse the language, but f*&k cultural relativism.


  2. Yuck.

    A terse, unqualified, desperately in need of a proper unpacking, yet wholly unreserved, "yuck."

    Okay, a little qualification:
    I'm not saying it's the root cause, and I could be guilty of simplistic thinking, but I wonder if at least part of the reason some Islamic countries are so far behind other parts of the world in standards of living is because they treat women like crap?

    50% of the population is unable to add any much needed currency to the rather intellectually impoverished conversation.