These are the times that try Women’s souls.
Do we really believe in a ‘Woman’s Right to Choose?’ Does that right begin at our Vulva and stop at our Uterus? What do we really think about those women who choose to think differently? Do we believe that their very act of disagreement, even the act of questioning our beliefs, is tantamount to heresy, and deserving of public humiliation, shunning, and physical punishment, even death? Some in this 21st century world do.
Are American women, willing to stop, and really think about what’s right, what is wrong, and more importantly what we are willing to do about it? Are we willing to stand up, and hold the line in a battle that is insidiously encroaching on women’s freedom, not just here in our own America, but for girls and women who are facing unspeakable brutality and oppression in other parts of the World?
Here in the States, we talk a great deal about the ‘right to choose.’ In October of 2012 most women actually take choice in all things, pretty much for granted.
If this were December 1776, Thomas Paine could have referred to most of the current Women’s Movement as “…the summer soldier and sunshine patriot (who) will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country.” He warned that, “What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.”
There was a great cost to those women who fought for the many freedoms today’s women and girls take for granted. The cost of this freedom was not paid by the current generation. Nor was it paid by those of my generation, who burned bras, beat drums, had insults hurled at us as we marched and protested our way into the occasional arrest. Second Wave feminists like Bella Abzug, Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem were writers, journalists, editors, lecturers, opinion shapers and political activists. We litigated. The battles of women’s movement of the late sixties and early seventies were fought in the congress and the courthouse. We second wave feminists did not face the water canon, billy clubs and police dogs our black sisters endured to win their freedom.
The true bill for our freedom was paid by our grandmothers and great grand mothers. It was women like Alice Paul who after being arrested was force fed by three jailers and two Doctors, who held her down while food was injected through her nostrils. Or, Lucy Burns, who with Alice Paul founded the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage, and rallied women to picket Progressive Democratic President, Woodrow Wilson’s White House. Burns, Paul, and many other Suffragettes were arrested and sentenced from two to six months in the District workhouse at Occoquan. The picketers, classified as militants by the Wilson Administration, were hosed down with cold water, force fed, emotionally and physically abused for months. In Britain, thanks to the Liberal Government’s Cat and Mouse Act, Emmeline Pankhurst endured 10-hunger strikes over an 18-month period and nearly died in the process. In both Britain and America the right to vote, control our own wealth and financial destiny, was hard fought and hard won over 60-years of scorn, intimidation and physical harm.
According to the Common Sense of Thomas Payne, these Women, who stood up and would not give in, deserve the love and thanks of the women who followed them and benefited from their sacrifices. “Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.”
In your personal opinion, are we women, graced to see the dawning of the 21st century, still honoring the “glorious triumph” of the 19th and 20th Century Suffragettes?
Or, have the many freedoms we personally have come to take for granted, come us to too cheaply that we esteem them too lightly.
“If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.”
— a Citizen Soldier, preparing to follow Washington into battle
Are the majority of American women willing to avoid the hard choices, and kick the ‘choice can” down the road to let our daughters and granddaughters to deal with the tough stuff we didn’t want to think about, let alone act upon?
How many of us are willing to standup and demand those in charge of this nation’s policies “woman-up” and make the hard choices now — demand leadership now, be present in this world now?
Misogynist anarchists do not value women, period.
It doesn’t matter what language they are screaming at you when they attack. The Middle East is on fire and women’s rights and freedoms are the tinder. Based on their deeds not their words, the Muslin Brotherhood has no problem savaging women. Women in countries controlled or influenced by, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Taliban will continue to suffer if our current Administration doesn’t do something new, like stop apologizing, and lead from the front. As far as woman’s rights are concerned, the headlines are not trending to the success of the “Reset’ of the American Foreign Policy Initiative. If something isn’t working…stop doing it, and change direction.
Another Female Reporter ‘SAVAGELY ATTACKED’ In Cairo’s Tahrir Square
In just the latest case of violence against women at the epicenter of Egypt’s restive protests, Sonia Dridi a correspondent for France 24 TV was seized and “savagely attacked” near Cairo’s Tahrir Square, by a crowd, around 10:30 p.m. this past Friday after a live broadcast covering a protest at the square. A colleague and other witnesses rescued her. Dridi wrote on her Facebook page Saturday that she was “more frightened than hurt” after the attack, and thanked a colleague for helping her escape.
Her colleague, Ashraf Khalil, said the crowd was closing in on him and Dridi while they were doing live reports on a side street off Tahrir.
“The crowd surged in and then it went crazy. It was basically me keeping her in a bear hug, both arms around her and face-to-face,” he told The Associated Press, estimating that at least 30 men were involved. “It was hard to tell who was helping and who was groping her.”
Tahrir Square was the main hub of a popular uprising that toppled longtime Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak last year. Lara Logan, a correspondent for U.S. network CBS, was sexually assaulted and beaten in Tahrir Square. She said later that she believed she was going to die. After being rescued, Logan returned to the United States and was treated in a hospital for four days.
The square has seen a rise in attacks against women since protesters returned this summer for new rallies, including incidents of attackers stripping women – both fellow demonstrators and journalists – of their clothes. No official numbers exist for attacks on women in the square because police do not go near the area and women rarely file official reports on such incidents, but activists and protesters have reported a marked increase in assaults against women. Amnesty International said in a report in June that such attacks appeared designed to intimidate women and prevent them from fully participating in public life.
The Freedom and Justice Party, the political party of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood elected former speaker of parliament Saad el-Katatny as its new leader. He’s considered to be aligned with the more conservative faction of the Muslim Brotherhood, and triumphed over rival Essam el-Erian who is was viewed as more willing to compromise with liberals and leftists.
Saad el-Katatny asserted, “The Muslim Brotherhood established the party to represent the Brotherhood’s political project, which, in the end, will be a wise government that will institute Islamic Sharia Law.”
I can hear you asking, even as I write this; “We are Americans, what does that have to do with my daughter, my granddaughter, and me?”
A decade or so ago, women in Britain, Canada and Australia would have asked the same question. However, aided by ‘Political Correctness’ and self-serving politicians, that don’t look beyond the next election cycle, the proponents of Sharia, who think in terms of decades and centuries, use the West’s weakness to progressively nudge Shiria into the mainstream. Sharia-lite has already seeped into some American Courtrooms.
Women’s right’s activists have warned us, “What isn’t wrong with Sharia Law”
In an UK Guardian article, Maryam Namazie, a rights activist, commentator and broadcaster and spokesperson of Iran Solidarity and One Law for All, reported on the work of Human rights campaigner, Gita Sahgal, and her work to return civil rights protection to Muslin women living in Britain. Under recent report, Sharia Law in Britain: A Threat to One Law for All and Equal Rights, reveals the adverse effect of sharia courts on family law. Under sharia’s civil code, a woman’s testimony is worth half of a man’s. A man can divorce his wife by repudiation, whereas a woman must give justifications, some of which are difficult to prove. Child custody reverts to the father at a preset age; women who remarry lose custody of their children even before then; and sons inherit twice the share of daughters.
Sharia law was “nudged” into respectability in the Commonwealth legal systems. It was sold as a religious freedom that would “only” affect family law.
Having exposed the fact that long as Sharia courts are allowed to make rulings on family law, women will be pressured into accepting decisions, which are prejudicial. The report recommends abolishing the courts by initiating a human rights challenge and amending the British Arbitration Act, as Canada’s Arbitration Act was amended in 2005 to exclude religious arbitration.
The demand for the abolition of sharia courts in Britain, as elsewhere, is not an attack on people’s right to religion; it is a defense of human rights, especially since the imposition of sharia courts is a demand of Islamism to restrict citizens’ rights. Rights, justice, inclusion, equality and respect are for people, not for beliefs and parallel legal systems. To safeguard the rights and freedoms of all those living in Britain, there must be one secular law for all and no religious courts.
The mainstream media in America has ignored the issue thus far, but Paul Strand, CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent, wrote about the growing concern that Sharia law is creeping into America, with some U.S. judges even citing Islamic law in their rulings.
“Sharia takes an entirely different approach to their rights than would the American Constitution or the Declaration of Independence,” explained Karen Lugo, assistant director of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence.
Cynthia Farahat fled Egypt to avoid facing military prison for her human rights work against Islam.
“I’m here in America on exile for standing up for basic human rights and basic values under Sharia law,” she said. “I lived under Sharia law all my life. I just came to America six months ago.”
From her experience, Farahat summed up Sharia’s treatment of women as “oppressive” and “violent.”
“It does not identify women as citizens. And some jurists in Sharia law do not identify women as human beings,” she explained. “Some jurists would go so far as defining them as livestock.”
It is critical that America’s women understand the stifling effect Sharia law would have on their unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
“The women living in Sharia are often in polygamous marriages, often in marriages where they do not have freedom to pursue their education or pursue a career if that should interest them,” Lugo said.
The panelists also noted that Islam is far more than just a religion, and the Koran commands the whole world must come under Sharia law.
“They say Islam is religion and state,” Farahat said.
“It encompasses every aspect of one’s life,” Lugo added.
Some 5,000 Muslim women die in honor killings every year, which Islamic extremists declare imperative.
Sharia insists women have guardians, and some Islamic countries view them legally as perpetual minors, never as adults.
The Muslin Brotherhood, with an army to enforce their tyranny, has declared that they have a divine right to control, to bind all women, in all cases, to Islamic Sharia Law. If being bound in that manner, is not slavery, and then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth.
Forget about Binders, Free Birth Control and Big Bird, there is a real war on women, and if you think this stuff couldn’t happen here; that our Constitution will protect us, think again.
Although many Americans may think that phenomena such female genital mutilation, forced marriages and so-called “honor killings” exist only overseas, social service agencies, educators, and a growing number of law enforcement personnel know differently. According to a survey the Tahirih Justice Center conducted of more than 500 social service, religious, legal, educational and medical agencies last year, 67 percent responded that they believed there were cases of forced marriage occurring among the populations they serve, but only 16 percent felt their agency was equipped to deal with the situation.
So-called “honor” crime is rooted in a global culture of discrimination against women, and the deeply rooted belief that women are objects and commodities, not human beings entitled to dignity and rights equal to those of men. Women’s bodies, particularly, are considered the repositories of family honor, and under the control and responsibility of her family (especially her male relatives). And large sections of society share traditional conceptions of family honor and approve of “honor” killings to preserve that honor.
That’s the narrative that is used to justify these brutal attacks on women and girls, but here are the facts:
- The UN estimates that around 5,000 women and girls are murdered each year in so-called “honor killings” by members of their families
- “Honor” killings are widely reported in regions throughout the Middle East and South Asia, but these crimes against women occur in countries as varied as Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, Sweden, Syria, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, and the United States.
- Like other forms of violence against women, “honor” violence against women may be considered a form of torture, whether enacted by the state or by an individual.
- While “honor” crime is committed predominantly against women and girls, “honor” crime is also on the rise against LGBT people, particularly gay men
- In many countries, the punishment for “honor” crimes are inadequate or non-existent—laws either do not recognize “honor” crime or have insufficient sentencing for such crime. And in countries where laws have been passed to curb “honor” crime (for example, in Jordan), such laws often go un-enforced.
- According to the Iranian and Kurdish Rights Organization, “Honor Killings are on the rise”, especially in Europe and the US.
- Make no mistake: there is no honor in violence against women, and no cultural, social, or religious belief is ever a valid reason to commit violence against women, or deprive anyone of their fundamental human rights.
- The murder of women in the name of “honor” is a gender-specific form of discrimination and violence and should be regarded as part of a larger spectrum of violence against women, as well as a serious human rights violation. Violence against women in a global epidemic, and it affects women in every country, at every level of society.
- The continued coverage of the case of Noor Almaleki reminds us that women across the world—including our own country—are at risk of such types of gender-specific violence. But so, too, should countless attacks on women’s rights that are part of a culture of discrimination against women.
- Any attack on women’s human rights threatens to reduce women to objects or devalue them as less than fully human, and as such, aids and abets in a global culture in which such horrific violence, as happened to Noor and as happens to countless women, is not only possible, but is all too common.
There is Real War on Women
We need to stop being distracted by side issues. Free birth control is not more important than women and girls living free from fear. Contact your Congressional Representative, Senator and the White House to demand that the American State Department stop supporting the people and policies that enable the increasing brutality towards women and girls. Learn more about violence against women as a human rights issue and take action on behalf of women around the world.