Amazing video about women in Saudi Arabia

Status
Not open for further replies.

Caroline_afifi

New member
My Mum is half Syrian and half English and my husband is Egyptian.
Arab women in the Middle East and in the UK have this in common... they are all different!
None of my friends or family have the same views or thoughts about anything and live in very different ways. Some covered some not. Some swear, some dont... just like women all over the world. Each country has it's norms and expectations and the Arab world is the same. I dont feel any difference from being in our house in Egypt and our house in Liverpool. Men are also men everywhere and the same girlie talk applies too.
 

KuteNurse

New member
In the States, most of the children attend public schooling. I like hearing about all the differences, but when you look at things closely. Things from all over the world are really not that different at all in education. Maybe we should all live in Bulgaria who has the highest level of education from all over and all schools are private. Think of the competition between all the schools and how high they must thrive for higher standards.
You brought up some interesting points. Catholicism is one of the oldest practices of christianity as we know. Priests have been practicing abstinence for as long as Catholicism existed. Hundreds of years. They take a vow of celebacy for as long as they want to be priests. They literally put their lives in God's hands including their sexuality. We are talking about priests molesting children and that is not normal sexual behavior. I do not believe it has anything to do with a priest's sexual drive being pent up, but the repeated behaviors of sexual molestation that perhaps the priest learned as a child himself. Another point of interest is most victims are boys. Most sex offenders have been sexually abused themselves and this is what led them to the problems they have suffered. I am not saying that ALL sexually molested victims are molesters themselves, because many get help and do not repeat these actions, but some are not able to get the proper therapy to heal. We also know that once someone molests children, they will do it over and over.

A few other points of interest I might like to add: If you looked at the ratio of priests who have molested and who hasn't, you will see that the majority do not have these behaviors. It is a small few who ruin it for everyone else. I feel badly for priests, because now sexual molestation is almost a stereotype for them, even though most do not display these behaviors. Also, if you look at society as a whole, perhaps some men do decide to become priests because of they are gay and society did not look kindly upon them and society still has pushed them into a closet where family and members of society are unaccepting of their sexual preferences. I personally believe that God creates a person who they are, straight or gay, it is when a person acts of those sexual drives that makes it a sin. I also know from reading that your sexual preferences are in your DNA. I grew up next to a boy who I played Barbies with, dolls etc. He liked to dress as a girl and play all the things that young girls like to play. To this day, he has gotten a sex change operation and he is now a female.

Another issue I would like to add is: Sexual molestion does not only occur in priests, but in all other forms. Other ministers and religions have reported molestations going on. Some teacher's molest, doctor's have been let go because of molestation. It is not only in priests, but all area's of life. It does not discriminate social status or gender. For instance, look at DateLines to Catch a Predator. It is unbelieveable to think of the number of men who have been caught and prosecuted. To me what is more unbelieveable is that men continue doing it despite that they know DateLine is still out there catching these criminals. I personally knew someone who was caught on DateLine. I had absolutely NO idea he could be capable of doing something like that. He was the nicest person who seemed to have good values. (Obviously now I think differently.) The bottom line is, you never know a person 100% of what they are capable of doing. Sexual molestation is a problem in our world that is running rampant.
 

Aisha Azar

New member
Religion, etc.

You brought up some interesting points. Catholicism is one of the oldest practices of christianity as we know. Priests have been practicing abstinence for as long as Catholicism existed. Hundreds of years.

A'isha writes- Hundreds of years perhaps, but not for as long as Catholicism has existed. Priests, bishops and even some popes had wives and children. then the Catholic Church made a rule about it later.

They take a vow of celebacy for as long as they want to be priests. They literally put their lives in God's hands including their sexuality. We are talking about priests molesting children and that is not normal sexual behavior.

A'isha writes- I agree and it has nothing to do with their sexual preference,
either, but more to do with who might be attracted to the priesthood. there are also priests who fall in love with adullt males and females as well.

I do not believe it has anything to do with a priest's sexual drive being pent up, but the repeated behaviors of sexual molestation that perhaps the priest learned as a child himself. Another point of interest is most victims are boys.

A'isha writes- My opinion on this is that, just as females until recently very rarely made the news when they were molested, they are not making the news now. somehow in our society, it seems more okay to molest and rape females.

Most sex offenders have been sexually abused themselves and this is what led them to the problems they have suffered. I am not saying that ALL sexually molested victims are molesters themselves, because many get help and do not repeat these actions, but some are not able to get the proper therapy to heal. We also know that once someone molests children, they will do it over and over.

A'isha writes- It is still something that does not have to be repeated. Most women that I know were at least marginally molested before they reached adulthood, and many were molested as young girls. They did not pass the behavior on or repeat it.

A few other points of interest I might like to add: If you looked at the ratio of priests who have molested and who hasn't, you will see that the majority do not have these behaviors. It is a small few who ruin it for everyone else. I feel badly for priests, because now sexual molestation is almost a stereotype for them, even though most do not display these behaviors.

A'isha writes- That is true, and also we see the same behaviors everywhere in all religions and cultures. In some cultures it has even been okay to have sex with children. I do not know enough about it to say if it is good or bad for them as far as psychologically if it is an accepted social behavior.

Also, if you look at society as a whole, perhaps some men do decide to become priests because of they are gay and society did not look kindly upon them and society still has pushed them into a closet where family and members of society are unaccepting of their sexual preferences. I personally believe that God creates a person who they are, straight or gay, it is when a person acts of those sexual drives that makes it a sin.

A'isha writes- Please do not tell me you buy into that whole "homosexuality is a sin" thing. The same people who invented that used to think that people came out of the semenal stream as complete, tiny, tiny little people,and that masturbating for men was sinful because it wasted those people.

I also know from reading that your sexual preferences are in your DNA. I grew up next to a boy who I played Barbies with, dolls etc. He liked to dress as a girl and play all the things that young girls like to play. To this day, he has gotten a sex change operation and he is now a female.

Another issue I would like to add is: Sexual molestion does not only occur in priests, but in all other forms. Other ministers and religions have reported molestations going on. Some teacher's molest, doctor's have been let go because of molestation. It is not only in priests, but all area's of life. It does not discriminate social status or gender. For instance, look at DateLines to Catch a Predator. It is unbelieveable to think of the number of men who have been caught and prosecuted. To me what is more unbelieveable is that men continue doing it despite that they know DateLine is still out there catching these criminals. I personally knew someone who was caught on DateLine. I had absolutely NO idea he could be capable of doing something like that. He was the nicest person who seemed to have good values. (Obviously now I think differently.) The bottom line is, you never know a person 100% of what they are capable of doing. Sexual molestation is a problem in our world that is running rampant.

A'isha writes- It has always been here and probably always will be, but that is no excuse.
Regards,
A'isha
 

rita.jones56

New member
Unfortunately the problem is only going to get worse though. With the way our culture is set up right now and the way so many kids are being raised, we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of this generation and maybe even make more of them.
 

KuteNurse

New member
Unfortunately the problem is only going to get worse though. With the way our culture is set up right now and the way so many kids are being raised, we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of this generation and maybe even make more of them.
Yes, exactly. Unless proper therapy is received, the problem repeats itself.
 

Mosaic

Super Moderator
My goodness The thread is back! I thought this had disappeared with the crash ... looks like lost threads are slowly finding their way back:)

Good to see some of our more interesting threads turning up again!
~Mosaic
 

charity

New member
wow-wee.

not commenting on goverment-religion, not commenting on sexual abuse, am commenting on original thread.

i'm thinking should i include a warning...ok warning: this may be offensive.
these lifestyle choices are choices they are convicted to. its a CHOICE.



i think many westerners need to take a lesson in modesty and autonimity. i really believe that if a person wants something, they will strive for it. if that means certain freedoms, then they will seek them out. people cannot be "oppressed" without abuse. that is why it is a choice. if peoples were being abused and oppressed for 2000 years, dont you think the time would come sooner or later that they would rebel? just because we cannot see the reasons why it would be a choice, does not mean that it is a forceful way of life.

and of course there are flaws to any system, discrepancies that in time a culture seeks to ween out but that is with anything.

dont get me wrong, i'm not trying to glorify, in fact that is why i say, when a tradition/way of life no longer begins to work, you will see it change. again this is true with anything.

wearing robes, staying at home to take care of a family, sacrificing some self for your family or faith, does not make anyone primitive or unsocialized. in my opinion it makes them stronger. i mean really think about it, they LIVE by their BELIEFS. we only say we do in america (realize its a generalization, but more times than not this is true, and that is why we see the things we see in america, 14 year old girls dressing/acting likes hoes, women asserting their freedom by jumping from bed to bed, raising fatherless children in front of the television, putting more into how they look than how their families are coming up in the world...just dont get me started. this is what i mean by a lesson in modesty. women in america are probably more enslaved to men and sex than in ANY OTHER COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. we just show it in very different ways, mostly self esteem and cosmetic surgery)

anyway, i have much respect. and though i know for the poor life is much harder, this is always where the casualties are in any culture. this is a dynamic of economics. in time, i'm hoping greater availability to education will help to change this.

hope i havent sounded like a fool and have somehow conveyed what it is i was trying to say.
 

da Sage

New member
wow-wee.

not commenting on goverment-religion, not commenting on sexual abuse, am commenting on original thread.

i'm thinking should i include a warning...ok warning: this may be offensive.
these lifestyle choices are choices they are convicted to. its a CHOICE.



i think many westerners need to take a lesson in modesty and autonimity. i really believe that if a person wants something, they will strive for it. if that means certain freedoms, then they will seek them out. people cannot be "oppressed" without abuse. that is why it is a choice. if peoples were being abused and oppressed for 2000 years, dont you think the time would come sooner or later that they would rebel? just because we cannot see the reasons why it would be a choice, does not mean that it is a forceful way of life.

and of course there are flaws to any system, discrepancies that in time a culture seeks to ween out but that is with anything.

dont get me wrong, i'm not trying to glorify, in fact that is why i say, when a tradition/way of life no longer begins to work, you will see it change. again this is true with anything.
Charity, I see your point, and I agree with part of it. Not all women in Middle Eastern/primarily Muslim countries are oppressed. But their options are limited. What are honor killings (by a woman's family, if they think she has disgraced them by having relations with men), besides oppression? The threat of an honor killing is also oppression. Here in the US, honor killings just don't happen (unless the family involved has relatively recently come to the US). Part of that is our 1st world justice system, but most of it is our Western moral code.

And when you say things haven't changed in 2000 years, so it must be OK...when my mother was young, she was told that she had 3 career options, in case she didn't get married...she could be a nurse, a secretary, or a teacher. That was 50 years ago, and how things have changed since then! I agree that change, rebellion happens because it needs to...but I feel positive change is still happening in the M.E., especially in terms of women's options, and women's right to self-determination.

For example, AFAIK, women are meant to stay home with their families in the M.E. But there are no real options for gay women to lead their own lives - and I'm sure there must be gay women there, too!
 

KuteNurse

New member
Hi Charity,

I have to make this fast because I have to finish getting ready for work, but I would still like to comment. :)

I do not believe it is a choice, at least not in most cases. This is not in regards to all middle eastern countries either. I am referring to the ME countries where it is law to cover themselves etc...In some ME countries it is a choice to follow these practices, in others, the women are forced to do so. I wish I could comment further, but I have to go. I will try to get back here to finish out my statements later...have a great day!
 

charity

New member
my response is in blue.

Charity, I see your point, and I agree with part of it. Not all women in Middle Eastern/primarily Muslim countries are oppressed. But their options are limited. What are honor killings (by a woman's family, if they think she has disgraced them by having relations with men), besides oppression? The threat of an honor killing is also oppression. Here in the US, honor killings just don't happen (unless the family involved has relatively recently come to the US). Part of that is our 1st world justice system, but most of it is our Western moral code.

i dont know much about the reality of honor killings. i imagine it is as frequent as female babies are killed in china or japan or wherever it is that they allegedly do these things. i'm sure in very extreme families honor killings may have been known to occur but i imagine these incidents are few and far. i dont believe such inhumanity would be tolerated for long, by ANY people.

And when you say things haven't changed in 2000 years, so it must be OK...when my mother was young, she was told that she had 3 career options, in case she didn't get married...she could be a nurse, a secretary, or a teacher. That was 50 years ago, and how things have changed since then! I agree that change, rebellion happens because it needs to...but I feel positive change is still happening in the M.E., especially in terms of women's options, and women's right to self-determination.

i do believe this is true, positive change. i only meant if a way of living was truly oppressive and cruel in time we would see an upheaval. instead we are seeing tweaking of roles and rules and an evolution or progression of what already exists. with the economy and cost of living as it is, it is only a natural progression that ME women will see more positive changes for them. after all think back on our american history, when men were at war and women began to work and to get a feel for work. it changed our whole future, the way women perceive themselves, their family, and their role in the world and at home. its actually amazing how one such detail can change the course of everything.

For example, AFAIK, women are meant to stay home with their families in the M.E. But there are no real options for gay women to lead their own lives - and I'm sure there must be gay women there, too!
baby steps. thats a-whole-nother ball of wax. you may find a culture to be very unyielding as a whole but on a more personal note you may find a bit more tolerance. yea thats a difficult subject and i cant say i have an answer for any of that. its not like homosexuality just sprung up over night, though sometimes i think people act like this is true. so i dont know
 
Last edited:

da Sage

New member
Charity's past post in blue:
i dont know much about the reality of honor killings. i imagine it is as frequent as female babies are killed in china or japan or wherever it is that they allegedly do these things. i'm sure in very extreme families honor killings may have been known to occur but i imagine these incidents are few and far. i dont believe such inhumanity would be tolerated for long, by ANY people.

The baby-killing does happen in China (although more usually, it is baby-abandonment). You might want to read up on China and Japan if you don't understand why this happens in China, and does not happen in Japan. The two societies are very different.

Here is a link about honor killings. Scroll down for the section on Jordan, and read the actual law.
Gendercide Watch: "Honour" Killings and Blood Feuds
The king of Jordan is more progressive than many of his people, and he istrying to discourage honor killings, but it is not a popular campaign.

Some people on this forum have uninformed, reactionary opinions. I have been reading up on the Middle East and other interesting cultures for the past 15 years, and I'm not pulling any of this stuff out of thin air.

Sarah's past post in purple:And when you say things haven't changed in 2000 years, so it must be OK...when my mother was young, she was told that she had 3 career options, in case she didn't get married...she could be a nurse, a secretary, or a teacher. That was 50 years ago, and how things have changed since then! I agree that change, rebellion happens because it needs to...but I feel positive change is still happening in the M.E., especially in terms of women's options, and women's right to self-determination.

i do believe this is true, positive change. i only meant if a way of living was truly oppressive and cruel in time we would see an upheaval. instead we are seeing tweaking of roles and rules and an evolution or progression of what already exists. with the economy and cost of living as it is, it is only a natural progression that ME women will see more positive changes for them. after all think back on our american history, when men were at war and women began to work and to get a feel for work. it changed our whole future, the way women perceive themselves, their family, and their role in the world and at home. its actually amazing how one such detail can change the course of everything.

My point is that there has never been a huge uprising of women across an entire society, even when conditions have been very harsh and oppressive. Even in Africa, where women (and children) are often subjected to virtual slavery, you see small movements, safe-towns -- not a huge, violent uprising of women against the men (and women co-horts) that are responsible. The fact that there is no uprising, does not mean there is no oppression.

For example, AFAIK, women are meant to stay home with their families in the M.E. But there are no real options for gay women to lead their own lives - and I'm sure there must be gay women there, too!

baby steps. thats a-whole-nother ball of wax. you may find a culture to be very unyielding as a whole but on a more personal note you may find a bit more tolerance. yea thats a difficult subject and i cant say i have an answer for any of that. its not like homosexuality just sprung up over night, though sometimes i think people act like this is true. so i dont know

Exactly...baby steps is how things have ALWAYS changed for women. Not giant revolutions.
 
Last edited:

belly_dancer

New member
wow... what I THINK (warning... OPIONION ahead) is that most of us even those who are well read, are victims of varying degrees of propaganda... since the beginning of history the ME has been shrouded in mystery & misinformation in the west... our "leaders" telling us "masses" what THEY want us to hear, to keep the distrust going...
re honor killings.. that is a HORRIBLE thing.. & NOT to downplay that... but I would LOVE to see some verify-able statistics comparing women killed by honor killings in the ME.. & women killed by jealous husbands/boyfriends (here in the states).. who get away with minimal prison because it was a "crime of passion" !
 

da Sage

New member
wow... what I THINK (warning... OPIONION ahead) is that most of us even those who are well read, are victims of varying degrees of propaganda... since the beginning of history the ME has been shrouded in mystery & misinformation in the west... our "leaders" telling us "masses" what THEY want us to hear, to keep the distrust going...
re honor killings.. that is a HORRIBLE thing.. & NOT to downplay that... but I would LOVE to see some verify-able statistics comparing women killed by honor killings in the ME.. & women killed by jealous husbands/boyfriends (here in the states).. who get away with minimal prison because it was a "crime of passion" !
I don't put a lot of stock in "leaders". I take everything I read with a grain of salt, and I remember information is only as good as the source it comes from.

I had also thought of that comparison (honor killings by birth family in ME, vs. jealous/angry husbands/SOs in the USA), and I think it's a good one to make. Two things to remember though - we should also get statistics for women killed by husbands in the ME countries, and those countries are comparable in population to individual US states - not the entire USA. A comparison of prison sentences should be made, as well as instances where there is no (or lackluster) prosecution by the authorities. It may not even be possible to make such a comparison, because of how the different countries keep records.
 

belly_dancer

New member
I don't put a lot of stock in "leaders". I take everything I read with a grain of salt, and I remember information is only as good as the source it comes from.

I had also thought of that comparison (honor killings by birth family in ME, vs. jealous/angry husbands/SOs in the USA), and I think it's a good one to make. Two things to remember though - we should also get statistics for women killed by husbands in the ME countries, and those countries are comparable in population to individual US states - not the entire USA. A comparison of prison sentences should be made, as well as instances where there is no (or lackluster) prosecution by the authorities. It may not even be possible to make such a comparison, because of how the different countries keep records.
yeah I thought of all that too.... (that it all has to be skewed so it is percentages, not #'s... etc!) & as if "they" (the leaders in any country!!) would actually tell us the truth.....:(...
 

gypsy8522

New member
Charity, I see your point, and I agree with part of it. Not all women in Middle Eastern/primarily Muslim countries are oppressed. But their options are limited. What are honor killings (by a woman's family, if they think she has disgraced them by having relations with men), besides oppression? The threat of an honor killing is also oppression. Here in the US, honor killings just don't happen (unless the family involved has relatively recently come to the US). Part of that is our 1st world justice system, but most of it is our Western moral code.

And when you say things haven't changed in 2000 years, so it must be OK...when my mother was young, she was told that she had 3 career options, in case she didn't get married...she could be a nurse, a secretary, or a teacher. That was 50 years ago, and how things have changed since then! I agree that change, rebellion happens because it needs to...but I feel positive change is still happening in the M.E., especially in terms of women's options, and women's right to self-determination.


Charity makes interesting points about education, economics and poverty and how all of these things affect the choices we as human beings have. In Maslow's Hierarchy of needs the theory about fullfillment of needs of a human being, you will need to fulfill the first set of needs which are necessities like food, water, shelter, before moving on to the next one.... then comes reading, writing, education and so on... untill we are able to reach the rank of social human relations which you are talking about... things such as morality and problem solving comes last. A lot of people, cultures around the world have a long way to go, as you said in your case it took 50 years. So, change certainly does not happen overnight, it takes a lot of time and work.

However, there are a lot of different reasons to why this positive change is not taking place and is hard to achieve at this moment, (besides the honor killings and gay rights issues, these are just two of hundreds), I think as soon as we come to realize these problems it is when we will start to see a change. For instance, I personally think that change is near to impossible as long as there war mongering countries illegaly invading other people and trying to take over their land and resources, and like I said there are priorities in life, that differs from one person to another, so when people are more concerned about finding their daily bread I don't think it is the appropriate time, nor are you in position, neither will it make any difference to try to teach them about womens or gays rights issues, because you are speaking from two different levels.

It is nice that you are talking about the different options and freedom you have as oppossed to the limited choices of others. But, have you tried to remind yourself how this freedom came about? It certainly wasn't "free", and unfortunately 9 out of 10 times it came out of oppression and/or at the expense of another's freedom. As to the "Western moral code" well , before let me first comment on the honor killings issue since you brought that up, these crimes seemingly most prevalent in Jordan and from what I know they average between 20-25 cases a year. Of course, the way it is reported in the Western media however, it makes it sound like there are 20,000 cases like that a year! Please don't think I am justifying these crimes, but it just amazes me all this sudden interest from sources that pretend to care about these 3rd world nations. Do you know what amazes me more than anything else? The fact that there are now close to 3 million dead Iraqis- mostly innocent mothers and children- because of an unjustified war based on greed, deceptions and lies. Back to the Western moral code... there are some good things, like the ones you mentioned, as well as some extremly terrible ones, some which from my point of view, I think are completely demeaning to women and the human race in general. e.g. many of the world's cultures, especially the more tradional ones, are not yet ready to adopt the Jerry Springer society... they have accepted many aspects of Western society, as you can see they, as much as they can, are trying to find common aspects that are compatable with their own culture and aspirations, but there is also a point to draw the line. Now, what have you done on your part to assimilate to their culture or way of thinking? Did you learn their language? I'm guessing a big NO. Because most if not all of them can speak english. Therefore, I don't think you or anyone has the right to tell someone they have to change their culture, unless of course, you are 100% open to letting them change yours! I also think that Change should start from within, we cannot force others to change, and unless people speak up and change their mentality first, everything will stay the same.

The only thing we can do, if we TRULY want to see a change in others, is by providing them with REAL opportunities, not just sit back and complain about the high Euro and gas prices, then speak about the less fortunate while criticizing their so-called miserable, un-civilized lives just to make ourselves feel more humaine. Sorry if this turned into a rant, just my two cents.
 

belly_dancer

New member
It is nice that you are talking about the different options and freedom you have as opposed to the limited choices of others. But, have you tried to remind yourself how this freedom came about? It certainly wasn't "free", and unfortunately 9 out of 10 times it came out of oppression and/or at the expense of another's freedom. As to the "Western moral code" well , before let me first comment on the honor killings issue since you brought that up, these crimes seemingly most prevalent in Jordan and from what I know they average between 20-25 cases a year. Of course, the way it is reported in the Western media however, it makes it sound like there are 20,000 cases like that a year! Please don't think I am justifying these crimes, but it just amazes me all this sudden interest from sources that pretend to care about these 3rd world nations. Do you know what amazes me more than anything else? The fact that there are now close to 3 million dead Iraqis- mostly innocent mothers and children- because of an unjustified war based on greed, deceptions and lies.
(Gypsy's above quote edited to point I want to reply to (not that her whole post was not spot on!))...

re: the honor killings... if those statistics are correct (& I suspect/ed as much) as horrible as that is.... as a society I would 1st want to correct the ills that cost 100's (& BEFORE even the 100's.. those that cost 1000's) of lives.

I "lived" thru the almost "big one" in '89... (the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in CA)..... what a JOKE.... I am sorry, but even at the time I thought that...
we are sooooo f'ing privileged here in the states... & our media is sooooo... I don't know?...... bored??? they devoted like 2-3 whole days to covering the same bridge(s)/ same caved in brick bldg./ same collasped 4 plex/ same burning church/.... well aside from a ton of collapsed chimneys & a 2-5 day power outage (& free meat & ice cream given away in line at the local safeway)... there were simply NOT that many people affected (in relation to most "major" disasters world wide)... I mean LESS than 200 people died (I distantly knew one, & had friends who were close to 2 others).... & YES it is horrible for those 200's friends/relatives (& if one of my children had died there... maybe I would still be freaking out)... BUT THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS.... there is at least one earthquake a year with 10's of THOUSANDS of casualties (not to mention all the other ways people are dying off in droves... like say... WAR??.... GENOCIDE???....simple HUNGER?)
I mention that because it is ONE of the ways I PERSONALLY KNOW the media has SOOOOO changed the perception of what actually happened (I had relatives calling from back east thinking CA had dropped into the ocean!)

here is a VERY interesting book to read *******************************

"CITY OF WIDOWS... an Iraqi Woman's Account of War and Resistance" by Haifa Zangana...
****************************************************************a reminder that the West... in the past 15 years or so (or let's just say the last year even) may have killed off more ME women than probably all the honor killings EVER!
 

da Sage

New member
Charity makes interesting points about education, economics and poverty and how all of these things affect the choices we as human beings have. In Maslow's Hierarchy of needs the theory about fullfillment of needs of a human being, you will need to fulfill the first set of needs which are necessities like food, water, shelter, before moving on to the next one.... then comes reading, writing, education and so on... untill we are able to reach the rank of social human relations which you are talking about... things such as morality and problem solving comes last. A lot of people, cultures around the world have a long way to go, as you said in your case it took 50 years. So, change certainly does not happen overnight, it takes a lot of time and work.

However, there are a lot of different reasons to why this positive change is not taking place and is hard to achieve at this moment, (besides the honor killings and gay rights issues, these are just two of hundreds), I think as soon as we come to realize these problems it is when we will start to see a change. For instance, I personally think that change is near to impossible as long as there war mongering countries illegaly invading other people and trying to take over their land and resources, and like I said there are priorities in life, that differs from one person to another, so when people are more concerned about finding their daily bread I don't think it is the appropriate time, nor are you in position, neither will it make any difference to try to teach them about womens or gays rights issues, because you are speaking from two different levels.
I have not mentioned women's situation in Iraq here, nor in occupied Palestine/Palestine Israel, for that exact reason. War, and the deprivation that accompanies it, tends to erode women's rights and freedoms in the lands where it takes place.

But not all countries in the Middle East are engaged in war, and one of the wealthiest countries has some of the greatest restrictions on women. So I have a hard time "justifying" those restrictions in Saudi Arabia with poverty.

It is nice that you are talking about the different options and freedom you have as oppossed to the limited choices of others. But, have you tried to remind yourself how this freedom came about? It certainly wasn't "free", and unfortunately 9 out of 10 times it came out of oppression and/or at the expense of another's freedom. As to the "Western moral code" well , before let me first comment on the honor killings issue since you brought that up, these crimes seemingly most prevalent in Jordan and from what I know they average between 20-25 cases a year. Of course, the way it is reported in the Western media however, it makes it sound like there are 20,000 cases like that a year!
I know all about how freedom wasn't free...I had to sit through those stupid history classes on "Manifest Destiny". I thought it was idiotic drivel then, and now I understand that's just another term for propaganda.

It's not so much the crimes, it's that they aren't prosecuted. And Jordan has approximently twice the population of my metropolitan area. If there was one honor killing in my area, we would write the killer off as crazy - and lock them up. If there were several honor killings, not only would the alleged killers be prosecuted, there would be multiple public campaigns against the practice.

Please don't think I am justifying these crimes, but it just amazes me all this sudden interest from sources that pretend to care about these 3rd world nations.
I really can't be responsible for the media. I seek out information in many places; is it my fault the American media has seized on this?

Do you know what amazes me more than anything else? The fact that there are now close to 3 million dead Iraqis- mostly innocent mothers and children- because of an unjustified war based on greed, deceptions and lies. Back to the Western moral code... there are some good things, like the ones you mentioned, as well as some extremly terrible ones, some which from my point of view, I think are completely demeaning to women and the human race in general. e.g. many of the world's cultures, especially the more tradional ones, are not yet ready to adopt the Jerry Springer society... they have accepted many aspects of Western society, as you can see they, as much as they can, are trying to find common aspects that are compatable with their own culture and aspirations, but there is also a point to draw the line. Now, what have you done on your part to assimilate to their culture or way of thinking? Did you learn their language? I'm guessing a big NO. Because most if not all of them can speak english.
First Middle Eastern people are starving and uneducated, so they can't be expected to think about western-style feminism, and equal rights. Now "most if not all of them can speak english"? Which is it? You can't have it both ways.

And no, I have not learned to converse in Arabic, Farsi, or even French. I'm not very good at languages, but that doesn't keep me from trying them (I am very impressed with your skill, if English is not your family language). The only Middle Eastern language I've attempted is Arabic, and I haven't gotten very far with that.

As far as assimilating to a Muslim outlook (not necessarily Middle Eastern, as we have more Somali here), at one time I dressed conservatively for my work specifically with the Muslim clients in mind. I typically wore ankle-length skirts, and elbow-length (or 3/4 length) sleeves with no cleavage. This was in an under-air-conditioned building in August, and it would have been more comfortable to wear less. I was a sweaty mess by the end of every work day.

I have acted as a chaperone for a female Muslim friend, who wanted to take drum lessons from a male drummer.

I have refrained from referring a male friend of mine to a particularly excellent belly dance class, just because there is a Muslim woman in that class. I would hate to see her lose her safe space (and I'm equally certain he would hate to have his presence become an issue).

I read articles and books about the Middle East, and many other parts of the world. I took college courses on the history and literature of the Middle East. I have had conversations with complete strangers about the flaws in their ideas about the Middle East.

However, I DON'T feel I am assimilating to Middle Eastern culture (unless eating loads of hummus will do the trick). I am just satisfying my curiousity, and trying to be respectful of the Muslim people in my life. I haven't really felt the need to do anything differently in deference to the atheist or Christian Middle Eastern people I've known. I did learn (when I was 9 years old) that Jewish Turks don't like to be told they look like gypsies. It was years later, before I found out why.


Therefore, I don't think you or anyone has the right to tell someone they have to change their culture, unless of course, you are 100% open to letting them change yours! I also think that Change should start from within, we cannot force others to change, and unless people speak up and change their mentality first, everything will stay the same.
How exactly would you suggest I might change my culture? Unfortunately, I don't control the culture I live in; bumper stickers, open dialogue, and letters to politicians only go so far. I don't think I'm the most typical American, and while many American stereotypes apply (mostly mono-lingual, privileged, arrogant), others are not as accurate (stupid, ignorant, a blind follower, "Jerry Springer" ill-spoken and slutty).

The only thing we can do, if we TRULY want to see a change in others, is by providing them with REAL opportunities, not just sit back and complain about the high Euro and gas prices, then speak about the less fortunate while criticizing their so-called miserable, un-civilized lives just to make ourselves feel more humaine. Sorry if this turned into a rant, just my two cents.
Most of the change will have to come from within. But the restrictions on women make me angry (I am also angry that Turkish women cannot wear moderate hijab to Turkish university, FYI), and I'm entitled to say so.

I don't think I'm any better than the average Middle Eastern person, or Muslim person. I do think I'm better than someone who kills his child, or someone who chooses not to prosecute that murder.

And if I were humane, I'd be volunteering right now, instead of bantering on the internet.
 

jenc

New member
Please don't post in pale blue especially on the orange. I had my nose on the screen and there are people out there who see worse than I do
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top