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The War of Civilizations: Back to the Future (B)

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There is also a confusing reality: the free world cannot comprehend culturally and internalize politically the contemporary Arab-Islamic strategy, just because we are encountered by their personality paradox with its contradictory faces: on the one hand, a sense of inferiority, flattering and victimology, and an externalized brutal aggressiveness, on the other.

Two Arab sayings represent accurately this double-faced behavior, the duality of Arab-Islamic aggressiveness as compared to their perceived victimhood: a) Darabni wabaka’ sabakani washtka (he hit and cried out, he overtook me and grumbled); b) Bûs Yad ‘Adûwak Idha Kāna Akwa Minak wa-Iqta’a Yadu Lamma Takûn Aqwa Minhu (Kiss the hand of your enemy when he is stronger than you, and cut it off when you become stronger). If we understand, better internalize, these two proverbs, we have a good starter to understand Arab-Islamic political culture.

Why do so many people pretend not to know what they should know about Islam and its unique role in the world terrorism and violence today? Why do so many smear those who speak the truth about this religion and its devout followers? Why do so many ignore the fact that although other religions involve barbaric commandments, none motivates large numbers of its followers to commit atrocities the way Islam does today? We can only speculate on this count. However, just as we have a moral responsibility not only to judge Nazism and its practitioners as evil, and also to judge those who whitewash them as evil; so too we have a moral responsibility not only to judge Islam and its serious cruel practitioners as evil. People who knowingly whitewash evil are by that fact and to that extent evil.

To paraphrase Daniel Greenfield’s “Schrodinger’s Jihad,” the great paradox of the War on Terror is that we are fighting an enemy that does not exist. We are told incessantly by political leaders, academic experts and the media that there is no such thing as Muslim terrorism. There may be a tiny minority of violent extremists, but they are only weeds, a tiny minority of no importance whatsoever. We are told that this tiny minority is no way representative of the world’s billion and a half Muslims. We are told that Islam is a religion of peace and it absolutely against all these atrocities done by the tiny of weeds. Everything we have been told is obviously a lie. And the best evidence comes from the liars themselves. The media is howling that a bunch of cartoonists in Texas were irresponsible for sketching Islam’s dead warlord because they should have known that Muslim terrorists would come to kill them for it. But if the media is right and Islam is a religion of peace, then why should they have anticipated a terrorist attack?

What keeps the lie alive is another paradox. Call it Schrödinger’s Jihad. The more famous Schrödinger’s Cat is a paradox in which a cat in a sealed box with poison that has a 50 percent chance of being released is in an indeterminate state. It is neither dead nor alive until someone opens the box. In Schrödinger’s Jihad, the Muslim terrorist is in an indeterminate state until some Western observer opens the box, collapses his wave function and radicalizes him.

Every Muslim is both a peaceful spiritual person who is eager to embrace our way of life, and at the same time a violent killer who can be set off by the slightest offense. Like the cat in the box that is neither dead nor alive, he is both violent and peaceful, moderate and extremist, a solid citizen and a terrorist. He does not choose which of these to be or to become; we decide what he will be. The Jihadist paradox is that the Muslim terrorist is always defined by what we do, not by what he does. Islamic terrorism does not exist independently of the Western observer. It is not a Jihad with deep historical and theological roots within Islam, but a reaction to our interactions with Muslims.

Leaders believe that even talking about Islamic terrorism ‘summons’ them to being. By admitting the existence of Islamic terrorists, we ‘radicalize’ the Muslims and create terrorists who otherwise would not exist. The real threat is not from the terrorists, it is from the truth. When we tell the truth, people die. The truth turns Muslims into terrorists while the lies soothe them back into non-existence. Underneath all the academic terminology is the dream logic of wishful thinking. If we believe that Islam is a religion of peace, it will be a peaceful religion, and if we accept the reality that it is violent, then it will become violent. Islam does not define itself. We define it however we want. Our entire counterterrorism policy is based around the perverse ostrich belief that Islamic terrorism is a problem that we create by recognizing its existence. If we ignore it, it will go away.

The lies about Islam are sustained by a deep conviction among so-called liberals that the “Other” minorities are not real people with real beliefs and cultures, but victims in a game of power played out in the West. Islamic terrorism is just another step in the progressive pilgrim’s progress. It’s a problem that we caused and need to atone for in our cosmic karmic journey.

The Schrödinger’s Jihad paradox has many other adjoining boxes. Some are filled with dictators and criminals. If the progressive observer can open the box and find the root cause, out comes a good person; if the right opens the box, then out will march the terrorists, drug dealers and warlords. The other side of the rhetoric about oppression and colonization is the conviction that those at the bottom do not have free will. If the mugger chooses to mug, rather than being driven to it by poverty, if Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union gleefully chose conquest instead of being forced to it by Western imperialism, and if the Muslim terrorist is not a helpless victim, but an abuser, then the moral imperative of the left’s worldview collapses in a heap.

If Muslims are real people who are at least as capable of imperialism, racism, slavery and destroying the planet as any Westerner, and who have been doing all of these things a lot longer, then leftists would have to accept that they are tearing down the most progressive civilization on the planet on behalf of ridiculously reactionary civilizations.

The facts are crystal clear: Islam is the embodiment of imperialism and colonialism, by brutally implementing Arabization and Islamization of all the occupied territories from Morocco to North-Western China; Islam is the embodiment of racism, the way it treats the indigenous blacks and religious and ethnic minorities that have become an extinct species in their own territories; Islam is the embodiment of slavery ever in history (see: M A Khan, Islamic Jihad: A Legacy of forced conversion, Imperialism and Slavery in India. Willis, Slaves and Slavery in Muslim Africa. Fisher, Slavery in the History of Muslim Black Africa). Islam ran the wholesale slave-trade in Africa, and the data is horrible: for 25 million black slaves delivered to the markets, an estimated of about 120 million blacks were dead (Peter Hammond, Slavery, Terrorism and Islam: The Historical roots and contemporary Threats.). 80 million Hindus and Buddhists were butchered in India, Turkey, Afghanistan, and along the Silk Route. Slavery and slave trade is still practiced openly in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi-Arabia, the Gulf States, Morocco and Mauritania.

One has always to recall that lies that are based on what we want to be true are the hardest to disprove. A lie that is tied into identity cannot be touched without destroying the entire identity of an individual or a movement. The lies about Islam run into the heart of what the left is. By destroying that which exists, they can bring their dreams to life. The dream is stronger than reality. The real animating force behind al-Qaeda was George W. Bush or Dick Cheney; the true power behind the Islamic Caliphate State is Pamela Geller or the Pentagon.

The Westerner opens the box and the Muslim terrorist comes out. When Western civilization as we know it is destroyed, then the left believes Muslim terrorism will end. Kill the observer and the cat never existed. Destroy the dreamer and the nightmare dies with him. The painful paradox is that the truth is more dangerous than the terrorists. Terrorists can kill the body, but truth can kill the dream.

Indeed, as George Orwell said: there are notions that are so foolish that only an intellectual will believe in them; and the further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it. Therefore, in times when a lie becomes a norm, telling the truth is revolutionary. Vladimir Lenin has added: a lie told often enough becomes a truth. Accordingly, Joseph Geobbels declared: If you lie long enough and no one refutes it, eventually the lie will become accepted as truth. And Adolph Hitler summed it up: by means of shrewd lies, unremittingly repeated, it is possible to make people to believe that heaven is hell and hell is heaven. The greater the lie, the more readily it will be believed.

Even Salim Mansur, an honest and shrewd intellectual, uses Taqīyah or is in deep misunderstanding concerning Islam, or still carries water for Islam, claims, in his “A Ramadan Piece: The ‘Other’ Islam,” there is no political Islam.

Abrahamic monotheism as represented in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, precedes and stands apart from politics as an ethical vision that transcends history. It was a vision which invited people to embrace their common humanity as created and gifted by one omnipotent deity, and to follow a revealed code of ethics for righteous living, holding the promise of peace with an end to interminable conflicts that divided people into warring tribes.

This is totally mistaken. Contrary to his claim, Islam, unlike Judaism and Christianity is above all warlike and conflictual. Islam was founded explicitly as a political religion with the aim to “liberate” the world by the sword and to control it, and remains fundamentally so to this days. Islam is politics and motivates to achieve political means. There is nothing in Islam that is not explicitly political, with the core obligation to subjugate the world to the Sharī’ah. Moreover, the most salient characteristic of Islam today is still and very strongly tribal and clannish. All that is wrong with Islam is this strong sense and motivation of tribalism, as it contradicts all sorts of modernism and human endeavor of freedoms.

Contrary to Mansur’s claim, Islam and reforms are totally incompatible. The Ottoman Empire did not engage in reformism and Europe’s Reformation and Enlightenment did not signal any mirror for the Islamic world to follow this direction. The ottoman Tandhīmāt, were not reforms but ‘arrangements,’ and all failed. Islam before, the Ottomans and Islam after was intrinsically opposed to modern world, and have shown no readiness to follow in the footsteps of the West.

Mansur claims there is the “other” Islam, and that Dīn al-Fitrah, mentioned in Sûrat al-Rûm (30:30) is only of man to know his Creator. However, there is no ‘other’ Islam, written, or recorded, taught or followed, except for the official, the Sharī’ah.

Mansur brings the 1976 Commentary article, “The Return of Islam” by Bernard Lewis, to declare that the title of the essay was unfortunate and misleading; there was no “return of Islam” for Muslims, since at no point in Islamic or Muslim history had Islam been missing, or dormant. Mansur is right in this, however he continues the Taqīyah or obfuscation by claiming it was the return of only political Islam, or Islamism.

This differentiation as if “Islamic” is good and moderate, and devoted to world peace while Islamist is bad and terrorist and therefore does not belong to Islam, is non-existent and it has no corroborations in Islamic Scriptures. There is only one Islam, and it is warmongering and it is political. Mansur also suffers in Lewis’ words the “inability to recognize the importance of the factor of religion in the current affairs of the Muslim world… Islam was associated with power from the very beginning.”

Mansur claim Wahhabism, Khomeinism, Ikhwanism and their derivatives have no answer for Muslims on how to make their historic transition into the modern world, and the modern world until its civilized inhabitants, including Muslims, will obliterate them and political Islam. However, the origins of political Islam is from the first day Muhammad preached for the new religion. They arise from the ‘revelations’ of the Qur’an itself, to embark on wars of Jihad conquest, and to rule the world as the only legitimate religion.

Just another word for Ramadan. In Judeu-Christian mind it is a month of festival, of celebration, a religious month where the believer devotes himself to his Allah in prayer and love with peacefulness. However, this is another example of how Islam is different and above all 100 percent political even more than religious. Ramadan is also called Shahr al-Jihād, the month of Jihad, in which Islam has won many wars against the Kuffār. The most important one was the Battle of Badr, in March 624, the first war Muhammad won against his enemy which marked a historic turning point in the rise of Islam.

The Muslims believe they are blessed in this month to overpower their enemies, and it is Allah’s will they win over and subdue the infidels. Therefore they have a deep religious incentive to fight the infidels with astounding success. One has just to summarize the long list of Jihad violent acts of terrorism during Ramadan every year.

For this year here are the powerful terrorism acts: June 27, four homicide bombings in Mukalla, Yemen. June 27, four homicide bombing along with other many attacks against Christians in Lebanon. June 28, three homicide bombings in Istanbul Attaturk airport. July 1, homicide attack in Dhaka, Bangladesh. July 2multiple homicide bombings in Baghdad, Iraq. July 4, homicide attack in Malaysian nightclub. July 4, three separate homicide bombings in Saudi-Arabia.  

An important saying related to Muhammad is: “when I come to win over my enemies I frighten and terrorize them forty days before I fight them in the battleground.” This strategy was adopted in many wars by Muslim leaders along history. However, it took the Free World too long to recognize the menace and to organize adequate policies. The problem is that Islam uses three different strategies at the same time that intended to achieve gains in different fronts: the violent terrorist arm of Jihad, mainly in the failed third world; the diplomatic arm of Da’wah, to deceive and mislead the prosperous first world; and the social-economic arm of Hijrah, to win over by demography and birth-rate. By that, Islam is a political religion that makes the attainment of political goals a religious duty.

The Free World suffers from mental blindness and amnesia about who the enemy is, but much worse, it has also forgotten who we are and what the hazards we face are. One example of how the Free World articulates its policy of denial has to do with sexual assaults and rapes. A question: what happened after the mass-rape in Germany and other states during Silvester? Answer: nothing. Question: how many rapist went to jail? Answer: none. Question: what was the media’s role in this denial? Answer: 100 percent. There is a huge unprecedented rapes plague, sexual assaults and public molestation in Europe, and they are multiplying faster than tornado and effecting all the society’s branches. This horrific nightmare is one of the well-known deep-used Islamic systematic conquests during its entire history.

Now, why Europe does not to solve these most despised crimes? Don’t they care about their women? Or they do believe that Muslim deserve treating differently? Well, the answer is found in Western intimidations and confusion about this phenomenon they don’t understand. For that, they have introduced new sophisticated inventions, and Scandinavia is leading. Instead of fighting the rapists and send them to prison for a long period of time, instead of acting new laws to answer this abhor reality, Scandinavia authorities are evading it. Sweden’s police chief has announced the new brilliant sophisticated weapon: women are encouraged to wear wristbands reading in Swedish: “Don’t touch me”. “By wearing these wristbands,” Sweden’s police chief said, “young women will be able to make a stand.” Peoples of the world, do you see how much this is an effective weapon? The Emperor’s New Clothes at their best. Applauses are welcome.

To add to this infantile, insane and bitter joke, a woman-Minister of the Norwegian Government has suggested a solution to end this plague by exposing another sophisticated weapon: Young Norwegian women are advised not to walk alone in the streets of their own country. Great. These solutions are so successful so that we don’t hear of sexual assaults and rapes in Scandinavia any longer. In the words of Aldous Huxley, facts do not cease to exist simply because they are ignored.

Indeed, here are the brilliant words of Karl Popper, to deeply learn and apply: If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them… We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant.

As Albert Einstein said: the world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything. In Edmund Burke’s version: all that it takes for evil to triumph is for the good men to do nothing. Therefore, according to Thomas Jefferson, the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. To that George Washington added: If freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led like sheep to the slaughter. Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious, according to George Orwell, and James Baldwin added: it is certain, that ignorance allied with power is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.

It was Viktor Orban, Prime Minister of Hungary, to reflect European reality: The face of European civilization… will never again be what it is now. There is no way back from a multicultural Europe. Neither to a Christian Europe, nor to the world of national cultures. On the issue of the mass Islamic immigration to Europe, which is totally political and has nothing to do with welfare, Orban said: The proposal from the European Commission is absurd, bordering on insanity. It is an incentive for human traffickers and will simply tell people: yes, try to cross the Mediterranean at all costs.

It was Sun Tzu who claimed: when you welcome your enemy into your camp, you cannot complain about being destroyed. To that John Howard, former Australian Prime Minister said: once a country allows its foreign policy to be determined by terrorism it has given the game away. Accordingly, Wolfgang von Goethe said: there is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action. If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. These are the words of Thomas Jefferson, and Robert A. Heinlein summed it up: a generation which ignores history has no past; and no future.

Following Newt Gingrich: after Sept. 11, 2001, President Bush told a joint session of Congress: “Our war on terror begins with al-Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.” However, the US has clearly failed to meet that goal.

Confronted with the atrocities in Paris, French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, told his people on Jan. 10. 2015 that they were at war: “It is a war against terrorism, against jihadism, against radical Islam, against everything that is aimed at breaking fraternity, freedom, solidarity.” Yet France, like the US, doesn’t have a strategy for victory.

It has become a horrific apologetic reaction of senior Western politicians who immediately claim that the Islamic Jihadist terror attacks have nothing to do with Islam. When American citizen are killed abroad by Islamic terrorism the typical U.S. State Department declaration is that they have “senselessly murdered.” Is it? American presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, stated in November 2015: “Let’s be clear: Islam is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.” Really?

The failure to protect Western citizens from Islamic Jihadist violence is one of the greatest betrayals in history. Daniel Greenfield noted: the fear of being accused as “Islamophobic” has become the Western greatest existential threat. Moreover, false claims of Muslim victimhood protect Muslim terrorists such as Omar Mateen:

“Muslims are not part of the coalition of the oppressed, but of the oppressors. The sooner we recognize that, the sooner we can deal stop Islamic terrorism and protect the victims of Muslim terrorists. Muslim privilege killed 49 people in Orlando. How many people will it kill next week or next month? How many will it kill in the next decade or the next century? The Muslim genocide of non-Muslims is already happening in Syria and Iraq. Islam has a long genocidal history. And if we continue to confuse the oppressors and the oppressed, the next genocide we fail to stop may be our own.”

On Feb. 22, 1946, U.S. attaché to Moscow George Kennan sent what became known as the “Long Telegram,” in which he outlined the nature of Soviet Union communism with clarity and force. His analysis shaped much of the American transition to a policy of containing the Soviet Union. It is a tragedy that the US has not learned the Islamic treat properly and do not issue an equivalent “Long Telegram” about Islam.

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New Social Compact

Reimagining Governance after Covid-19

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What will it take to rescue the global economy in the wake of COVID-19? Are adjustments, improvements or amendments enough? Haven’t we done this before? Maybe it’s time to rethink this with a mindset, not of ‘starting again’ which would tend to invite ‘again’ thinking, but instead to begin with a completely blank slate – no preconceptions – just goals.

 I suggested a new paradigm, a total reset.

Change most often happens incrementally, over decades, if not centuries and many historical truths define the present long past their relevance. For one, the fundamental principles of our global economy still rest on the agrarian and industrial revolutions. Tilling the soil and staffing factories remain the foundations of today’s economic planning – despite the fact that we have well entered the digital, automated world.

Another of these historical, yet increasingly outdated conventionsis the pervasiveness of male leadership.

The position of women has evolved incrementally and at best- unevenly – throughout the world. Although women comprise half the population, the world’s political, economic and social systems continue to be based on designs stemming from and reflecting men’s nature. 

All things being equal, it is very costly to knock down the entirety of something and start from scratch. Perhaps fortunately, the devastation caused by COVID-19 is happening at a time of acute and increasing awareness of the imbalance in society. This offers a rare, first-ever opportunity to revisit the definition of effective.

That is whyit make sense to re-architect these systems now, imbuing governance with a mix of qualities of success that are peculiar to women as well as those of men.An op-ed in the British Medical Journal recently noted that to avoid ‘groupthink’ and blind spots, policy decisions must include representatives with diverse backgrounds.  But during the outbreak of covid-19 the male-led governments of the UK and Sweden relied mainly on epidemiological modeling by internal advisors. Few channels were open for dissenting views. By contrast, Merkel looked to outside sources, beyond epidemiology to medical providers, and as far as South Korea’s successful testing and isolation procedures.

Two notable characteristics of leadership of women leaders during Covid-19 were inclusiveness and compassion: embracing diversity in political institutions and empowering society. In the battle against corona this meant transparency, clarity of responsibility with everything visible – not behind the scenes. It meant swiftly finding ways to allow the populace to become stakeholders in the solution. It included appealing to the citizenry with an executive demeanor that conveyed commitment and a sense that there was a consistent plan of action that demanded civic responsibility while at the same time, leaving the people with a great deal of discretion and personal influence over their own experience. 

Compassion informed a compelling vision presented with warmth. 

Some like Peter Huang of the University of Colorado Law School, have already noted the most important leadership lesson of COVID-19:put more women in charge. But is that enough when the system itself is informed by and imbued with male characteristics, language, energy?

Societal norms are defined and shaped by millennia of men at the helm.  Thus most women remain compelled to conform to the existing framework, created by and for men, to attain and hold their positions. In most cases, that means; act like a man. Adapt to systems where leaders are expected to be aggressive, domineering and cut-throat.

The devastation wreaked by COVID-19 shows that the existing framework is no longer relevant, opening an opportunity to invent something totally new. The virus has created a moment where we can begin to see the possibilities devoid of the limitations of our old ways. The time has come to expand the definition of what is effective and reimagine measures for governance based on entirely new systems that emerge from a cooperative process of creation. For the first time in the history of humanity, society can be built on foundations rising from a fully cooperative process between men and women.  With a clean slate and a balanced – male and female, yin and yang -defined approach, we have the opportunity to do it right.

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Contextualizing the causes of rape: Battle of ‘wrong’ perceptions

Wardah Irum

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The recent sexual assault committed at the outskirts of Lahore motorway has sparked tremendous outrage in Pakistan, from highlighting CCPO’s misogynist remarks, defending him, demanding public hanging, justice for the victim and overall security for women to spreading gender awareness in the society. However, to my utter surprise, the discourse rarely mentioned the perpetrators the way they should have been mentioned. The predominant yet absolutely fallacious focus remained on how ‘rape’ stems out of some ‘sexual deprivation’ or ‘uncontrollable sexual urges’. In other words, rapists seek ‘sexual gratification’ through rape. The problem with this statement is that it minimizes the legal responsibility of rapists and attributes the causes of rape to something beyond their control. Once the legal responsibility of rapists is removed or reduced, then either the circumstances or the victims themselves are blamed for creating situations in which the criminal lose control of themselves for sexual fulfilment. How can one consider and accept this supposed ‘uncontrollability’ of men, when this very society ‘informs’ us that men are more ‘rational’, ‘sound’ and ‘prudent’ while women are ‘emotional’ and ‘sentimental’. In religion and in wider social discourse, majority of leadership and managerial positions are reserved for men because they are considered logical and mentally more stable than us females. How can someone who is allegedly more rational, more reasonable and sensible have no control over their sexual behavior? Have no sense of individual dignity and self-restraint, personal responsibility and moral accountability? If we accept this wrong perception about men’s incapability to control their sexual desires, then, we should immediately overhaul the society and put men into the confines of their homes and must restrict their exposure to public space, because they have no power over themselves. Do you see where this argument may lead if we keep thinking that men cannot control their sexual urges and rape just happens out of lust and sexual desires?

The truth is both genders have equal sexual needs and desires, the only difference between them is that society has ‘normalized’ male sexuality and stigmatized ‘female sexuality’. And yes, both genders have equal control over their sexual urges. Rape never happens randomly and just out of extreme sexual urges, remember, it is an act carried out by the rapists intentionally. Moreover, majority of rapists (as various researches shows) have multiple venues to fulfil their sexual needs through extra-material ‘consensual sex’ and prostitutes. Paradoxically, a lot of rapists are married men, and men in powerful positions who have unlimited access to free but ‘consensual sex’. Therefore, we need to reject widespread notions that perhaps sexual impulses are uncontrollable, and because they cannot be controlled, they will ultimately lead to sexual crimes or rapists are essentially some ‘sex-deprived individuals’. The wrong emphasis will lead to wrong solutions to eradicate this social evil.

In this context, it is extremely necessary to understand the reasons and motives behind rape and sexual harassment. Various researches on this subject indicates that majority of rapists are motivated by an impulses of aggression incorporating power, acceptance of violence, revenge and anger. They are also encouraged by a combination of aggression and sexual expression emerging directly from the traditional male sex-role which is why when rapists are asked about motivations, ‘they often indicated that rape most commonly stemmed from a sense of sexual entitlement, and it was often an act of bored men… seeking entertainment’ (Rachel Jewkes, 2010)

Also, Rape is often ‘used’ as a weapon by the rapist to control, violate, and belittle the victim or to compensate for his perceived inadequacies such as lack of power, control, identity, and authority through the act of rape. There are extensive interviews of rapists available, in which, the perpetrators have elaborated how the act of rape was not really about ‘sexual pleasure’ but rather how it satisfied their wish to attain control, spread violence, and seek punishment and domination. Susan Brown miller, a feminist scholar, famously proclaimed that: “Rape is not a crime of irrational, impulsive, uncontrollable lust, but is a deliberate, hostile, violent act of degradation and possession on the part of a would-be conqueror, designed to intimidate and inspire fear…’Moreover, another feminist researcher MacKinnon found out that ‘aggression against those with less power is often experienced as sexual pleasure, an entitlement of masculinity that creates and maintains a sexual/gender hierarchy’. This has been demonstrated through Sanday’s Study on rape that distinguished between ‘‘rape-prone’’ and ‘rape-free’’ societies. Her cross-cultural study found that rape-prone societies were associated with interpersonal violence, male social dominance, and the subordination of women. In contrast, rape-free societies were characterized by respect for female authority and decision making and the near absence of interpersonal violence.

Besides, if we look at the history we will realize that rape has been used as aweapon of war and oppression throughout history. It has been used to degrade women and weak, vulnerable- unprivileged man and their communities and for ethnic cleansing and genocide. In jails all over the world, male rape is pervasive and never even highlighted through ‘breaking news’. In the famous rape case of Mukhtar Mai, the focus almost entirely diverted towards her, whereas her 14 years old brother was, also, a victim of repeated gang-rape by the three Baloch Mastoi men. And let’s never forget that it was the local Jirga who ordered the rape of Mukhtar Mai. How sick is this society where men are not punished for their criminal acts but rather their sisters, daughters, wives and mothers are punished. If a man sexually assault a woman, that man should be punished not woman belonging to his family. There are hundreds of examples where woman and man were sexually assaulted to humiliate or dominate and take revenge or inflict pain and injury either directly on the victim and their family or to disgrace one gender as a whole. Therefore, It can be established that rape has numerous motives as Beverly McPhail, renowned feminist scholar who has done extensive research on causes of rape, asserted that rape is both “a political, aggregate act whereby men as a group dominate and control women as a group,” and “a very personal, intimate act in which the body of a singular person is violated by another person(s).” She asserts further that “Rape occurs due to multiple motives rather than the single motivation… The multiple motivations include, but are not limited to revenge, power/control, and attempts to achieve or perform masculinity recreation or sexual gratification (of violent ‘nonconsensual sex).” 

However, the common misperception in the society is that rape occurs because of ‘uncontrollable sexual urges’, ‘late marriages, ‘broken families’, ‘women not wearing veil’ and the like. The whole notion that the rapists might have felt ‘out of control’ is a gross rejection of the fact that rapists ‘intentionally’ commit assault to ‘control’ the victim. This line of thinking perpetuate the false notion that perhaps man are some desperate beasts and therefore cannot control their sexual urges. Unfortunately, there is a subtle acknowledgment of such wrong, delusionary and misplaced perception in the tone of so many people, who, perhaps think our society is ‘sex starved’. In fact, our society is obsessed with sex and the daily news of sexual assaults are emblematic of this. Men in our society have raped ‘dead females after exhuming’, minors, (both boys and girls) and animals. If this is not obsession then what it is? This doesn’t sound like ‘starvation’.

The major problem emerges with patriarchy and how ‘sexual violence’ has been normalized and accepted. Yes, our society has stealthily ‘accepted’ sexual violence when majority of populace of Islamic republic chants in unison the notions of ‘chadar and char devari’ to ‘save’ women from sexual harassments. Ironically women are not even safe in their homes or in some cases in their graves, and don’t forget a huge number of girls and minors are raped by family members. Such mentality forgets to look at the causes of rape, ending rape culture, and correcting male behavior, instead it just loves to assume as if ‘chadar and char devari’ has saved and protected women. Our society has accepted and normalize sexual harassment when films and media is blamed for spreading vulgarity and spoiling the young generation, as if before the advent of social media and films, rape cases were non-existent. Our society has normalized sexual harassment when male children are brought up differently than females and when the family and educational institutes do not inculcate gender sensitization in students. This very ‘Islamic republic’ tolerate sexual violence when women are routinely given rape threats but law enforcement agencies rarely take actions; when rapists are not punished and roam freely. When criminals committing domestic violence, acid attacks, honor killings go unpunished. Every time when women is stared at by men in streets (even if she is wearing burqa) , when she is groped or touched in public, in schools, universities, offices and she remains silent out of fear of retaliation and humiliation and cannot hold the culprit responsible, this ‘rape culture’ is nourished and strengthened by ourselves. Moreover, the extent of hypocrisy that is maintained through this rape cultureis such that perpetrators are virtually ‘morally acquitted’ of their heinous crime. For the most part, there is a little reference towards them being ‘real culprits’. Our society has attached no stigma no disgrace towards the offenders of sexual violence, staring, catcalling, eve teasing and the like. Instead, it dearly devotes all its energy towards ‘disgracing’ and ‘dishonoring’ the victims and their family. We never shout out and label the perpetrators as ‘disgraceful’, ‘dishonorable’, ‘criminals’ and of course ‘sinners’ as well. This society tell victims that how they are ‘disgraced’ or have ‘lost their honor’ by the sexual assault whereas in reality the victim is innocent and mazloom. The victim’s human rights are violated and s/he is oppressed, and who is oppressed cannot be ‘dishonored’. It is only the oppressor, the criminal who is disgraced and dishonored by his crimes and sins.  But have we ever, collectively and vocally, renounced and stigmatized the rapists in particular and perpetrators of other acts of sexual harassment in general? Would it be wrong to say that staring, catcalling, abusing, eve teasing etc. by Pakistani men have actually become our ‘national character’ and majority of man are not even sorry for these shameful and inhumane acts. The day when sexual harassment is removed in all these forms at grassroots level, heinous crimes like rape will tremendously reduce as well.

To add insult to injury, the clergy (the Mullahs, the Allamas) has all the time in the world to ‘preach’ and perform their ‘religious duties’ during Ramzan and Moharram, and who, vociferously condemn ‘bad behavior’ in women, suddenly disappear from the scene when incidents of sexual harassment occurs. No ‘jaloos’ or ‘rallies’ by these religious leaders are organized to denounce the crime committed largely by individuals from their gender. Of course they can’t come out and condemn such crimes as most of these religious figures are themselves involved in such crimes and the others simply do not bother about the societal problems because their sole responsibility is to strengthen and disseminate their respective sectarian believes through Mosques, Iman bargahs, jammatkhanas and madrassahs. Because, they are very part and parcel of patriarchal society and all the notions of male superiority and domination have given them tremendous advantages in their personal and professional lives.

Nonetheless, it is their moral responsibility to ‘educate’ the masses (particularly males) that how grave a ‘sin’ rape is (and a crime against humanity in both national and international law), that how God has ordered men to ‘lower their eyes’ and guard their modesty. In the common discourse all the notions of modesty and chastity are only confined to women, as if God has given men the ‘freedom’ to do as he pleases. The truth is modesty (sharm-o-haya) is compulsory for both men and women as God has ordained in verse 24:30 ‘Tell the believing men to lower their gaze, and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.). That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do’. Have you ever noticed that most of the time no one talks about this, people only talk about how only women need to veil and act modestly, and if they don’t ‘behave’ this way, it is the God given right to men to sexually harass them.

Sorry to disappoint you, God has not bestowed any such right to men, He has, explicitly, ordered men to guard their chastity, but majority of the men in our society have ‘completely’ forgotten and neglected to safeguard their modesty (Sharm-o-haya). In fact, if society had taught this sharm-o-haya to our men, sexual violence would not have become endemic and gender equality would not have become so hard to achieve. Therefore, if we really want to become a civilized and progressive society we need to inculcate this fundamental principal in our men with the same emphasis, because they are fully accountable and responsible for their actions. It is about time that we change our focus from ‘victim blaming’ (or women blaming) to ‘reeducate’ men in our society. To achieve this, we have to break the cycle of patriarchic values and advocate the absolute inviolability of individual dignity and equality of human beings. Don’t wait for the society to miraculously change, start with the person in the mirror.

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New Social Compact

Women Lead More Humanely During Times of Pandemic

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Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway. Photo: Wikimedia

As insignificant as it may seem to apologists of patriarchal social structures, it is evident that at least during the first phase of the pandemic, nations governed by women have witnessed a lesser number of deaths. This is not to suggest that women inevitably become better leaders in situations of crisis. The challenge ranges from reforming labour markets to waging wars, but the observation is still worth contemplating over, nevertheless.

There is surely a risk in devising these kinds of conclusion even though they sound feminist, for they perpetuate the gender-stereotype that kindness is inherently a feminine trait, which goes on to strengthen the socially enforced gender-based roles that have more to do with our mindsets than biology, but in an age when presidents such as Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro have gone berserk with their politics of toxic machismo, women seem to be treading the path during times of crisis with a lot more calmness and precision.

While Trump and Bolsonaro might be indulging in faux masculinity and denying the severity of the issue, Jessica Ardern, prime minister of New Zealand, has been addressing people of her country via social media in a tone that is informal and yet reassuring and convincing.

Erna Solberg, prime minister of Norway, which has reported 264 deaths, told her country’s children that it is alright to feel scared during unprecedented times such as these. Such a response takes a person’s vulnerability into account while retaining their confidence and faith in the ability to tide through difficult times.

Perhaps more leaders should wield such empathetic approaches that acknowledge people’s apprehensions, fears and vulnerabilities and infuse faith in them without making them feel as if their pain is rendered unseen. Such an approach is more sensitive from the perspective of mental health too.

In a new global analysis, Supriya Garikipati at the University of Liverpool and Uma Kambhampati at the University of Reading have compared the 19 countries being led by women with their neighbours considering a cluster of influencers such as population, economy, gender equality, openness to travel, health expenditures and proportion of elderly people. They had to exclude Taiwan, a country run by a woman, from the research as it is not a member of the United Nations.

They reached an unequivocal conclusion. Countries governed by women literally suffered half as many deaths in comparison to the countries suffered by men. This is partly because female leaders ordered lockdowns much earlier, and “flattened the curves” of outbreaks in their countries. Ardern for instance, implemented a second round of lockdown in her country after a new cluster of cases had emerged following 100 days of no local transmission at all.

One possible reason, as many studies corroborate, is surely that women tend to be more risk-averse during such situations of crisis. But it is not simply a choice between more or less risk. It is also a choice between what to risk and what not to, and up to what extent. So the difference in the approaches of male and female leaders, as observed by the authors of this study, was that women took less number of risks with lives and more with the economy, and men took more number of risks with lives and less with the economy.

Of course, there comes a time when death and economic losses get intertwined together.

Women also, as per the observations, tend to communicate with people differently. For long, it has been hypothesized that men in positions of leadership tend to be more autocratic and directive, while women more often adopt democratic and participatory approaches to leadership. This conjecture has been hard to prove, but researchers are still examining the supposition that women bring more empathy in their decision-making process and accord due importance to emotional information while arriving at a conclusion.

Clearly, an interpersonal, empathetic, and participatory approach does more to heal distress and steer forth a nation during the trying times of a pandemic. This requires a leader to build and maintain a consensus that the threat anticipated or observed is indeed real, that sacrifice is vital to protect others, and that public health considerations deserve to be accorded a greater priority over individual liberties and privileges during times that are anything but normal.

Men who are still attracted to traditionally masculine approaches towards situations of crisis that seem to heighten anxiety with their unflinching narrative of heroism and do little to bring relief on the ground; might find such approaches built on empathy and consensus building difficult to imbibe.

Meanwhile, other more tolerant and progressive leaders, both female and male, could surely learn from such lessons and infuse more empathy in their approach. While individuality and talent trumps gender, and it is not to be assumed that all women leaders would be embodiments of sensitivity and temperance, a lesson could surely be taken from observations such as the ones evident during the first phase of this pandemic.

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