Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Feminism Will Save the Muslim World

The connection between feminism and democracy is long established. John Stuart Mill wrote about equal rights for women as a necessary condition for liberty and prosperity. Many of the leaders of the American Abolitionist movement and the organized labor movement in the 19th century were women. The leader of the democracy movement in Burma (admittedly not a Muslim country but that isn't really the point) is a woman. Benazir Bhutto has become a kind of martyr for democracy in Pakistan. Now it is women who are taking the lead - and the brunt of the violent response - in Iran.

Muslim theocracies and fascist dictatorships from Burma to the Pushtun tribal areas along the Pakistan-Afghan border to Iran to Saudi Arabia have in common their oppression of women. The sight of thousands of educated, women, defiant and demanding to be heard in Tehran must have Muslim fundamentalists and other tyrants from the Straights of Malacca to the Maghrib shaking in their kaftans.

Feminism is probably our best bet for checking the popularity of Al Qaeda and related ideological movements. While I think the US should tred carefully in the short term with regards to Iran, we should make the liberation of women a major strategic priority in our foreign policy.


The Law Talking Guy said...

What about the gays of Malacca?

Pombat said...

LTG: a quick scan of Wikipedia hasn't enlightened me - context please?...

(my only comment at this time is that gay rights have typically followed on from women's rights / feminism, but there's nothing to stop them from happening at the same time)

RbR: I think you're right. You're all familiar with my grumpy views on the inherent patriarchal structures of many religions, and that's what we're seeing in the leadership of these countries. The daft thing being just how determined and formidable a force women can be once they see a better life, for themselves, their children and all their countrymen.

With Al Qa'ida, again, equality for women can only help. My theory here is that one of the recruitment bribes used is that of getting seventy-something virgins to do your bidding in paradise. In a world with full equality for all women, this concept just doesn't wash - men who see women as their equals in all areas simply can't view women as paradise slaves.