CJ Werleman notes a selective emphasis on women’s rights by Western liberals, reflecting the Islamophobia of the “war on terror”
â€œI stand by the side of Afghan women who are confronted with violence and insecurity. Who’s with me? â€Tweeted cult Australian actor Hugh Jackman last week.
Undoubtedly, under the rule of the Taliban, Afghan women face injustice, from denying access to education and freedom of movement to imposing clothing restrictions, but it takes little moral courage to dress in Western superiority and at the same time the actions of our “civilizational” Condemn the enemy.
The West’s obsession with saving Afghan women from the Taliban began almost immediately after the September 11, 2001 attacks and continued for weeks after the United States evacuated from Afghanistan. It is unlikely that it will ever go away because the “war on terror” artificially divided the world into two separate spheres – western modernity and thus white feminism versus Islamic fundamentalism and thus theocratic patriarchy.
Can you really bomb feminism in a country?
Both in substance and in substance, Jackman is only repeating what former first lady Laura Bush said in 2002 when she boasted that â€œbecause of our recent military achievements, women are no longer locked in their homes in large parts of Afghanistan. They can listen to music and teach their daughters without fear of punishment. “
“The fight against terrorism is also the fight for the rights and dignity of women,” she said.
But at the time nobody thought of asking Laura Bush why Afghan women did not suddenly throw off the burqa shortly after their “liberation” from the Taliban by Western forces, even though the great Indian writer Arundhati Roy came close to a rhetorical question a few years later, ” Can you really bomb feminism in a country? “
Palestinian-American anthropologist Lila Abu-Lughod drew an â€œimperfectâ€ analogy when she asked, â€œWhy are we surprised that Afghan women have not taken off their burqas when we know for sure that it would not be appropriate to wear shorts? ” in the opera?”
â€œAs anthropologists well know, people wear clothing appropriate to their social communities and are guided by socially shared standards, religious beliefs, and moral ideals, unless they deliberately breach to advocate a point of view or cannot be appropriate Cover up. â€She watches. “If we believe that US women live in a world of choice when it comes to clothing, we just have to remember the ‘tyranny of fashion’.”
‘Talichad’The right-wing extremists Takes inspiration from Taliban takeover
Strangely, almost paradoxically, white feminism is obsessed with what Muslim women are “forced” to wear abroad under the rule of the hyperconservative Islamic theocracy, while turning a blind eye to clothing that Muslim women are required to remove under the rule of the secular Democracy at home.
Show me a Hollywood A-list celebrity who has spoken out publicly against bans on Islamic women’s clothing, including the burqa, veil and hijab, in France, Austria or Switzerland. But among those who supported the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan on the pretext of saving Afghan women from the burqa were actors Meryl Streep, Susan Sarandon and Eleanor Smeal.
Recently, Charlize Theron, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and others jointly signed a letter calling on US President Joe Biden to save women in Afghanistan from “an imminent threat.”
But none of the above bothered to ask why the US didn’t even rebuild a single road during its 20-year occupation in Afghanistan. “By refocusing the debate on women’s clothing, broader questions about the problems of Afghanistan are cleared up – and the discussion is returning to a simplistic dichotomy between Islam and secular modernity,” observes Alex Shams, editor at the Ajam Media Collective.
Deeply rooted in this ‘rescue’ project are everyday Islamophobic tropes, as the Indian columnist Saba Karim Khan notes, who says: â€œSex terrorism had to have a faceâ€, which means â€œthe strengthening of clean links between faith and gender-based violence, the plight of Afghanistan Women reduced to the misconduct of controlling Muslim men â€, with white feminism becoming theâ€œ mandatory antidote to Muslim patriarchy â€.
For this reason, white feminist voices are mostly muted towards Muslim women suffering from oppression and human rights abuses by regimes identifiable as affiliated with non-Islamic faiths, including Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism.
Where is the collective outrage over the mistreatment of Palestinian Muslim women who are routinely physically and sexually abused at military checkpoints, forcibly evicted from their homes and denied freedom of movement by the Israeli occupation?
Where is the collective outrage over the mistreatment of Indian Muslim women who are discriminated against by the Indian government and routinely molested, assaulted and raped by government-sponsored Hindutva thugs?
DO YOU ENJOY THIS ITEM?
HELP US TO PRODUCE MORE
Receive the monthly Byline times Newspaper and help support fearless independent journalism that breaks stories, sets the agenda, and is accountable.
We’re not funded by a billion dollar oligarch or an offshore hedge fund. We depend on our readers to finance our journalism. If you like what we do, please subscribe.
A new report from the Indian news agency Clarion announced that more than 1,000 Muslim women had been turned down by the Bengali Police’s Recruiting Committee for wearing headscarves in the photos attached to their application forms.
These violations of women’s rights are ignored by white feminists and Western news media because they are not concerned with what Muslim women need to remove from their bodies, only what they need to wear.
Worryingly, the West’s fixation on saving Afghan women from the Taliban will inevitably result in public support for policies that continue to harm them, including economic sanctions and other measures to isolate and cripple the Taliban government, the devastating one Impact on the Taliban Afghan women, remembering the US sanctions against the Saddam regime in the 1990s, resulted in the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi women and children.
â€œIn the United States and elsewhere in the West, we are often faced with the wrong choice between interventionism and isolationism,â€ notes Leila Sackur.
Lila Abu-Lughod recommends that we go beyond the â€œrhetoric of redemptionâ€ by first recognizing that Islamic movements, including the Taliban, â€œemerged in a world marked by the intense engagement of Western powers in the life of the Middle East is â€, arguing that a more productive approach is to unravel a worldâ€œ organized around strategic military and economic needs â€.
The next step is to work hard to make our own communities a better and more equitable place for women as we advocate gender equality in all areas and in places, not just where we believe women need to be saved from long-bearded Muslim men.
OUR JOURNALISM BUILDS ON YOU
Byline times is funded by its subscribers. Receive our monthly print edition and help support fearless, independent journalism.
Thank you for reading this article
New for Byline times? Find out more about us
SUBSCRIBE TO PRINT
A new type of newspaper – independent, fearless, outside the system. Promote better media.
Don’t miss a story …
Our leading investigations include Brexit, Empire & the Culture War, Russian interference, coronavirus, nepotism, and right-wing radicalization. We’re also introducing new colored voices in Our Lives Matter.