Saturday, January 21, 2006


SC&A have pointed out to me this article from about the rise in Palestinian "honor" killings. It interestingly links the building of the Israeli "wall" to prevent suicide bombers from entering Israeli land, as the event that may be associated with this increase in violence against Palestinian women:

When Israel began erecting a separation barrier in late 2003 to protect its citizens from the seemingly endless procession of suicide bombers, Palestinian society responded by redirecting its destructive urges inward. All revolutions are said ultimately to turn upon themselves and devour their own children. And, when suicide bombing became an increasingly difficult means of enhancing family prestige, Palestinians shifted the focus onto their female offspring to restore the balance.

Suicide bombings in Israel had developed into a bloody and lucrative industry for Palestinians who carried out 39 attacks in 2002. But, since Israel began constructing its anti-terrorist fence, the Palestinian human-bomb industry has been reduced to bankruptcy by producing only 11 attacks in more than two years.

Honor killing, on the other hand – which has always been an integral aspect of Palestinian life – began gathering momentum. With horrifying zest, weapon-wielding fathers, brothers, uncles and sometimes mothers, hunt down their daughters and sisters and commit shocking acts of violence for real and imagined immoral transgressions.

The Arab motivation for murdering their own daughters flows from the same cultural wellspring that produces suicide bombers. The defensive form of honor, called ird, is consumed with female sexual purity and manifests itself in the murder of its own to restore family honor, whereas the offensive manifestation, sharaf, requires positive actions implemented to heighten social status and increase family honor. As Palestinian society retreats from its failure to infiltrate the daily life of Israeli citizens with death and destruction, it compensates by killing its own and depositing ird in its honor bank.

Honor killings of women are all too common in Arab culture in general (not just the Palestinians); and importantly, this behavior is not dissuaded by the tenets of Islam. If anything, Islam today encourages and validates the Arab male's fundamental belief in the inferiority of women--primarily as a method of proving their own masculinity and rescuing them from the crisis of personal and cultural humiliation they find themselves in at this point in history.

I discuss shame, the Arab psyche and Islam in some detail here.

In Arab/Islamic culture, women are one of the primary instruments of achieving honor. Hence the bizarre and distorted attitude that the culture has toward women and the exaggerated means by which "honor" must be maintained. So strong is the cultural pressure, even some women buy into the delusion (as eloquently demonstrated by Dymphna in this post).

Part of the psychology of this complicity on the part of women (you hear about mothers encouraging the deaths of their own daughters; or even killing them themselves) are the dynamics inherent with identification with the aggressor.

Additionally, women may actively encourage their children to become suicide bombers and act out violently against the Jews in order to protect themselves from becoming the focus of that same violent aggression. This is not dissimilar from the reason some mothers consciously and unconsciously avoid noticing incest in the family; because--as bad as incest is for the children-- one consequence is that it keeps her from having to deal with sexual attentions from her spouse.

David Gutman states in an excellent piece from August, 2005 (also from
the Arab world has stunted the female half of its brain pool, while the men acquire instant self-esteem not by real accomplishment, but by the mere fact of being men, rather than women. No wonder, then, that the Arab nations feel irrationally threatened by the very existence of Israel. Like America, the Jews have brought the reality of the liberated woman into the very heart of the Middle East, into dar al-Islam itself. Big Satan and Little Satan: the champions of Muslim women.

From a psychological perspective the freedom and empowerment of women in Islamic society are absolutely critical for ultimately winning the war on terror and halting the increasingly virulent aspects of both Arab and Islamic culture. It is the women who have the key to this, because they are the one's responsible for the earliest environmental influences on children--influences that will impact the child throughout his or her life. If the culture has little respect for women and regularly demonizes, debases or humiliates them, that will have a profound generational impact.

Women subjected to institutionalized, societal abuse--such as what we saw under the Taliban; and what we see to a greater or lesser extent in almost all Islamic countries--where physical abuse is sanctioned; where women are sexually demonized; where they are deprived of education, as well as physical, social, economic and political freedom) are hardly in a psychological position to be able to provide effective "nurturing" to children.

Women whose own aggressive impulses have been savagely constrained by society and who have few options to sublimate those impulses, are at grave risk of encouraging aggressive and violent "acting out" on the part of their children on their behalf-- especially the male child who must be seriously conflicted about his love for and identification with a lowly-regarded woman.In other words, such women will hardly prevent inappropriate aggression in their offspring, when such aggression vicariously meets their own needs.

And the male children will have to assert their separation and distance from the debased female that is their mother, as aggressively and violently as possible.

This is one important reason why encouraging women's rights around the world--and particularly in the Islamic world-- should be one of the highest priority items in US Foreign Policy.

The residue of the Women's Movement of this country could be at the forefront of promoting international freedom and justice for women by loudly and clearly denouncing the abuse of women under Islam and within Arab culture. Instead they are usually running around academia whining and swooning about their so-called "oppression" by people like Larry Summers and carrying on with silly little demonstrations against the one man who is actually doing something for women in that part of the world.

Meanwhile, the UN appeasement of the degradation and murder of women in the Arab/Muslim world continues unabated. Why should they intervene when the UN's own "peacekeeping" troops have participated in the same barbarities. Anyone who thinks that the UN is a force for good in this world, better think again.

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