Monday, 10 December 2007

we need a different plan

I read this article with no small amount of despair. Aside from the fact that this war should never have been, as we are past that now, is what to do in the present. You cannot enforce democracy; it’s rather like that saying from the sixties, “Bombing for peace is like fucking for virginity.” The article explains the present state of affairs – after the “war for democracy”.

“The girls explained that they were Christians and that their faith did not call for headscarves. “He said: 'Outside this university you are Christian and can do what you want; inside you are not. Next time I want to see you wearing a hijab or I swear to God the three of you will be killed immediately',” Zeena recalled. Terrified, the girls ran home. They now wear the headscarf all the time.
In the past five months more than 40 women have been murdered and their bodies dumped in the street by militiamen, according to the Basra police chief. Major-General Abdul-Jalil Khalaf said that some of them had been killed alone, others gunned down with their children. One unveiled mother was murdered together with her children aged 6 and 11.”

Why is it the women and children that are always suppressed first and longest in a society – the answer is simple, they are the most vulnerable and cowards always attack what they perceive to be weaker than they are. Which leaves the question should Britain and the U.S. leave the country (which won’t happen in the case of the U.S. because of the oil), and let it find its own way? I think a country cannot be brought to democracy and freedom unless the population wants that more than life. It is a sad fact but true that freedom comes with revolution and revolution comes with blood. As much as I abhor the treatment of women and indeed the populace in general, I don’t think sacrificing more British lives will save Basra. The only reason Iraq was a secular society under Hussein was by enforcement. If the population wants freedom, and wants a secular society – or just one that is not ruled by militant Islam, they have to fight for it, they have to instigate it.

I see it here in Morocco every day, the fine line that must be walked. Unlike Tunisia where the wearing of the veil is prohibited by law, here it is a choice. But every day it is a fight against the more fundamentalist element to keep that choice, and it is the people doing that fighting. When the bombers in Casablanca were caught, citizens turned them in. That is how you attain freedom. Now I know that Morocco is a monarchy and yes, it is a suppressive regime in many ways still, but when you look at surrounding countries and the countries of the Middle East – it looks pretty good eh?

I don’t know that we should leave the Middle East to ferment and stew in its own juice if they continue to send out terrorists to the west, but barring that… If you look at Iran, yes there is a madman who is presently holding the office of president, but before him there was a movement toward freedom and a more just society – that movement is not dead. Should we not be helping them by whatever means is available to us?

I think this is a fluid situation, one that calls for reassessment on almost a daily basis. If you look at Afghanistan and the fact that the Taliban now holds as much control as it did before the invasion by the West, you have to wonder what we are doing still there? The political situation in Pakistan is becoming more volatile every day. Has anything the U.S. has done helped to defuse that situation? I don’t think we can simply turn our backs on the Middle East, or any Muslim country that threatens the West, but what we are doing now does not appear to be working. I think we need a different plan.


Anonymous said...

I have many friends from Iran - none of whom is a Koran wielding woman hating loon like those which tyrannize the country at the moment. Many Iranians would regard the other throw of Imadinnerjacket as a liberation...

Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

Could have sworn I left a comment.

fake consultant said...

i would suggest to you that a couple of problems are most immediate: the absence of a neutral court system for enforcing laws (particularly laws regulating morality), and an absence of consensus on what those laws might be.

in tribal or "mosque" communities that believe the punishment for blasphemy must be dealt out immediately and locally there will likely be great resistance to the imposition of law from some "outside" authority...particularly since the ability to impose outside authority by definition means the local leadership will be usurped.

there is also the issue of inheritence: the qur'an favors men in matters of transferring family wealth down the generations...and how anxious do you think the current patriarchy is to change that? repressed women keep this issue on the back burner as well.

here's an interesting question: the qur'an directs men to look after the women of their communities, tribes, and families...and yet the men who are supposed to be looking after the victim women are surprisingly quiet and nonresponsive in the face of threats against the women...even in their own families.

this suggests to me that men in these situations might well be more upset about the threat to the status quo that the threat of retribution from god; based on a failure to honor the qur'an's admonition to look after women.

fake consultant said...

a follow up that is more topical to your initial question:

the countries you address tend to have been organized more along tribal than national lines throughout history; and i suspect the problems with "nation building" seem to have a foundation in that history.

the perception that each of the national governments of these countries have been corrupt through several generations seems to be just as important-and tough-to overcome if we really hope to create (or sustain) viable national governments in those three countrries.

lady macleod said...



thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...


I would love to read it.

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...

fake consultant

Good points all, and I don't disagree. There are many things in the Koran that are ignored by the population as well as the militants. Islam is a religion that was born in fire and violence, as was Christianity, and those parts of the sacred teachings of both religions add fuel to the fires of terrorism.

I enjoyed your comments.

thank you for coming by.

Ian Lidster said...

Your point on Iran is well taken and indeed there was a movement towards liberalization there and this should definitely be encouraged. There is also a well-educated sector in Iran, both men and women and they should be appealed to as much as possible.

Also, I think Pakistan is an extremely dangerous flashpoint and should it flare up it will be disaster for that part of the world.

You are so close to all of this in a geographic and cultural sense that I will regularly bow to any wisdom you might have to offer, because I think most of us situated in the west only respond out of naivete.

And, you know, I had forgotten "bombing for peace is like fucking for virginity," even though I am of that generation. Thank you dear, wise and lovely lady.

jmb said...

This whole thing just makes one despair. What is the answer? Yes a new plan is needed but what can it be that will be useful in these situations.
I sure if they didn't have oil everyone would just go away and let them get on with it for there isn't even one answer that would fit all these situations.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

I was horrified by that article. You make many good points. Another is that suppressing religion, as was done in Iraq and in the former Yugoslavia and other Soviet countries, ultimately does harm when the suppression ends because then the fundamentalist crazies seem to take over.

I have no answers for the problems in these parts of the world. The U.S. certainly has done more than its share to fuck it up, but it's not entirely responsible. I struggle to understand the thinking behind those who murder women and children in the name of religion.

Life As I Know It said...

A new plan, yes. But what? What is the solution? Is there one?
Religion complicates things in a such a deep way that I don't know if peace can be achieved.

I have many more words, but this is not the place...

I like coming to your blog b/c it makes me think.

thanks for that.

lady macleod said...

life as I know it

I have no idea what new plan; that's why I turned down that Queen of the World job. Mercy I hope yes, that there is one...

That is quite the complement, that my blog makes you think - high praise. Thank you, and thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...



thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...


I know, but we have to keep looking and we must hold to account those who think the simple and violent answer is the only one. As I know you do..

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...


Thank you dear one, and thank you for coming by.