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Iraq's Little Secret

Discussion in 'Channel Zero' started by mental invalid, Oct 2, 2002.

  1. mental invalid

    mental invalid Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: May 11, 2001 Messages: 13,050 Likes Received: 8
    Iraq's Little Secret

    AGHDAD, Iraq — The White House is right that Iraq is by far the most repressive country in the entire Middle East — but that's true only if you're a man.

    To see how many Arab countries are in some ways even more repressive to women, consider how an invasion might play out. If American ground troops are allowed to storm across the desert from Saudi Arabia into Iraq, then American servicewomen will theoretically not be able to drive vehicles as long as they are in Saudi Arabia and will be advised to wear an abaya over their heads. As soon as they cross the border into enemy Iraq, they'll feel as if they are entering the free world: they can legally drive, uncover their heads, and even call men idiots.

    Iraqi women routinely boss men and serve in non-combat positions in the army. Indeed, if Iraq attacks us with smallpox, we'll have a woman to thank: Dr. Rihab Rashida Taha, the head of Iraq's biological warfare program, who is also known to weapons inspectors as Dr. Germ.

    A man can stop a woman on the street in Baghdad and ask for directions without causing a scandal. Men and women can pray at the mosque together, go to restaurants together, swim together, court together or quarrel together. Girls compete in after-school sports almost as often as boys, and Iraqi television broadcasts women's sports as well as men's.

    "No one thinks that sports are just for men," said Nadia Yasser, the captain of the Iraqi national women's soccer team. "It's true that my mother was a bit concerned at first when I took up soccer, but I insisted, and so she accepted it and just started praying for me."

    The point is not to be soft on Saddam Hussein, whose rash wars and policies have killed hundreds of thousands of women as well as men. Iraqi women would be much better off with Saddam gone, and in any case the relative equality of women in Iraq has little to do with his leadership. Iraq has been civilized more than twice as long as Britain, after all (it was old when Babylon arose), and Iraq got its first woman doctor back in 1922. Then the Iran-Iraq war boosted equality by sending men to the front lines and forced women to fill in as factory workers, bus drivers and government officials.

    Still, we shouldn't demonize all of Iraq — just its demon of a ruler — and it's worth pondering this contrast between an enemy that empowers women and allies that repress them. This gap should shame us as well as these allies, reminding us to use our political capital to nudge Arab countries to respect the human rights not just of Kurds or Shiites, but also of women.

    More broadly, in a region where women are treated as doormats, Iraq offers an example of how an Arab country can adhere to Islam and yet provide women with opportunities.

    "I look at women in Saudi Arabia, and I feel sorry for them," said Thuha Farook, a young woman doctor in Basra. "They can't learn. They can't improve themselves."

    At the Basra Maternity and Pediatric Teaching Hospital, 25 of the 26 students in ob-gyn are women. Across town, 54 percent of Basra University's students are female.

    Iraqi women who work typically get six months' maternity leave at full pay and another six months at half pay. Subsidized day care is usually available at the workplace. Female circumcision, still common in American allies like Egypt and Nigeria, is absent in Iraq.

    To be sure, aside from brutal political repression that is gender-blind, Iraqi women also endure groping on crowded buses and an occasional honor killing, in which a man kills a daughter or sister for being unchaste. Honor killings typically result in a six-month prison sentence in Iraq; they sometimes go completely unpunished in other countries.

    A glance around any Baghdad street also demonstrates that Iraq doesn't have hang-ups about the female body that neighboring countries do. A man can travel widely in the Arab world and know about women's legs only by hearsay, but careful reporting in Iraq confirms that Arab women do have knees: In Baghdad I saw women volleyball players who felt uninhibited enough to roll up their sweats.

    So as we invade Iraq for its barbaric and repressive ways, our allies in the Muslim world should feel deeply embarrassed that a rogue state offers women more equality than they do.
  2. ~i~hear~voices~

    ~i~hear~voices~ New Jack

    Joined: Sep 5, 2001 Messages: 31 Likes Received: 0
    copy right first....

    didnt bother to read..to long and i didnt make it past the second grade..:D

    thats my lil secrect...hehe
  3. mental invalid

    mental invalid Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: May 11, 2001 Messages: 13,050 Likes Received: 8
    thank you for summing up everything wrong with 12oz......
  4. --zeSto--

    --zeSto-- Guest

    good find mental !

    here's another little bit on the (alternative) Women's Rights issue.

    HIJAB vs SHORT SHORTS from Vice Magazine

    Lately I’ve started hearing the word feminism being bandied about in the most unlikely of places. The male American politicians waging war on Afghanistan were the most bizarre example. It seems that one of the excuses they came up with to start bombing an already decimated country was to free women from the horrible confinement of the burqa. Suddenly, craggy old white men who never heard the word feminist became inordinately concerned with the rights of women halfway across the world, insisting this cruel injustice be put to an end.

    Truth is, plenty of Western feminists support the idea of Muslim women using a garment to cover themselves. They acknowledge the Muslim belief that “neither sex should be allowed to exploit its own physical features for selfish gain, nor allow others to manipulate their sexuality.” American males may claim to see hijab as the subjugation of the female, but more likely they resent her inaccessibility as an exploitable product, an unknown entity hidden from their gaze and thereby unable to generate capital.

    In a recent interview with Germaine Greer (The Female Eunuch), the old-guard feminist suggested that the real modern feminism is coming out of Middle Eastern and Muslim countries, the only places where average women actually congregate outside of the presence of men and form real bonds of sisterhood. In the West now, she said, women only have any real identity in relation to men, and there is often animosity between women in competition for male attention. Western females are expected to objectify themselves in the most extreme ways, which has everything to do with how men perceive women and nothing to do with the natural woman on her own terms. Women in Muslim cultures consciously use hijab so that they won’t be constantly objectified by men and valued only for male sexual arousal or commerce, and the fact that men and women are segregated in those cultures also allows women a certain amount of freedom to lead their own lives and form meaningful female solidarity. The notion that these women are subjugated and oppressed is coming largely from Western males who are pissed off that they can’t look at their bodies. From the point of view of these men they have no value unless they remove the veils and become objects of desire which can be exploited, or go into male-dominated occupations — like politics — and adopt a Western male consciousness.

    Obviously there are Islamic regimes and governments such as the Taliban, the Saudis, and various North African countries that have used hijab as a pretext to keep women down, to deny them education or even the right to drive — essentially to enslave them. But according to the recent article “Veiled Intentions” by Norah Vincent, this is clearly a perversion of the way that the Prophet Mohammed intended hijab. The main Quranic passage which invokes hijab — Verse 53 of Sura 33 — is merely an entreaty by the Prophet to exclude one of his male companions from his relations with his wife on their wedding night. It is an appeal, if you will, to manners and protocol in a milieu that was undoubtedly rife with machismo. Mohammed, in fact, made very direct statements about the treatment of females, such as “He who honors women is honorable, he who insults them is lowly and mean,” and “Treat your women well and be kind to them,” hardly an unreasonable request. Most importantly, hijab is meant to apply to both men and women who are merely asked to dress and behave modestly — for men to “cast down their looks and guard their private parts” and for women to “cast their outer garments over their persons” so that they “will be more proper” and “be recognized and not annoyed.” Considering the increasing vulgarity and pornographic explicitness of Western popular culture, these demure notions seem decidedly dainty.

    I know what you’re thinking (or at least those of you who know my work): How can a lowly pornographer be defending hijab and critiquing Western sexual exploitation? Easy. Despite the fact that it’s a multi-billion-dollar industry, pornography is still a relatively underground phenomenon, the biggest dirty little secret on earth. Convention dictates that explicit sexual representation remain somewhat veiled and hidden within prescribed standards of taste, allowing pornography to operate almost like an adjunct of the collective unconscious, a murky underworld of desire where people work out their sexual fantasies, no matter how politically incorrect (rape and racially based enslavement are two of the biggies). Although there’s no doubt that women are exploited in the world of porn, its existence is healthy and probably necessary. In my own work, I do shoot naked women in sexually explicit contexts, but in the realm of gay exploitation it has a different dynamic, in fact foregrounding the mechanics of sexual representation. My recent photos of the underground art star Kembra Pfahler lifting her black burqa to reveal the flower of her secret are a perfect example of this. (Besides, Kembra is a sex goddess, and thereby transcends the rules of representation.) The problem is when the hypersexual perversity of the pornographic imagination becomes normalized and exploited by the mainstream, which results not in sexual liberation — as one might expect — but in the reduction of all women (and often men) to so much meat.

    A large part of the Islamic critique of Western culture is based on its overt decadence and flaunting of sexual excess. Early feminists recognized that there will be no revolution without sexual revolution, but in today’s advanced capitalism, sexual liberation seems to be the last thing on people’s minds.

  5. mental invalid

    mental invalid Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: May 11, 2001 Messages: 13,050 Likes Received: 8
    wow shocker someone misinterpreting a passage of a religious text and forging it to accomplish their own ideals......where the hell have i heard that before....oh yeah thats right, every religion!!

    good read zesto.....
  6. --zeSto--

    --zeSto-- Guest

    imagine that !

    and for the lazy people who cant read more than 2 lines....

    ... that's the important part.
  7. Weapon X

    Weapon X 12oz Loyalist

    Joined: Sep 6, 2002 Messages: 14,905 Likes Received: 202
    ^^ that's a cool point, zesto.

    Hey, ain't Bruce LaBruce a gay porn director/star or something?
  8. --zeSto--

    --zeSto-- Guest

    ^ and how would you know that ???
  9. Weapon X

    Weapon X 12oz Loyalist

    Joined: Sep 6, 2002 Messages: 14,905 Likes Received: 202
    shut up! I think I heard that from when Rusty had used him for one of their videos. On muchmusic. That's about as gay as I'll ever get. Watching muchmusic, that is.
  10. Grandola

    Grandola Senior Member

    Joined: Jul 16, 2002 Messages: 1,773 Likes Received: 0
  11. !@#$%

    [email protected]#$% Moderator Crew

    Joined: Oct 1, 2002 Messages: 18,517 Likes Received: 622
    well, we should celebrate all this equality by bumping up the wet tshirt thread...

    americans, aren't we so liberated from the inequalities of the rest of the world.. :rolleyes:

    dubya is hell bent on vegeance
    women's rights don't mean shit
  12. --zeSto--

    --zeSto-- Guest

    haha... I'm only kidding with you.
    He's got articles in all the local free papers (Eye, Vice, Exclaim etc...)
    So I've read some of his shit. He's got a very bitch sence of humour.

    I can read the shit, but I dont know about that Rusty video.... :confused:
  13. Weapon X

    Weapon X 12oz Loyalist

    Joined: Sep 6, 2002 Messages: 14,905 Likes Received: 202
    from a few years back, the one that is filmed in LA, and features this hottie (jokes) in short jean shorts running from the police or something. I think Bruce LaBruce directed it. Whatever - I don't really care for Rusty, although a friend of mine would go to all their shows at the El Mo.
  14. BROWNer

    BROWNer Guest

    right on dood, thanks for posting that.
    it should be known that another demonized
    country in the middle east also treats women
  15. --zeSto--

    --zeSto-- Guest

    damn... I remember that video.

    thanks a lot!

    now I'm going to have to try and forget it again (with some help from the bourbon!)