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220 responses to “A bone to pick”

  1. Mark

    Great post, Kim.

    Another comment worth making is that the Bones of this world, while ostensibly opposing “relativism”, argue in wholly illogical and emotion laden terms. It’s quite right to say that picking on “stonings”, etc, is an Islamophobic rhetorical move. It also enables Bone to ignore the fact that many women in Iran (for instance) are educated and middle class, and elides all concerns that may exist regarding women’s rights with a picture of Islam as somehow primitive. It’s either stupidity or fundamental dishonesty, and the total lack of research that you point to also reinforces this diagnosis.

    As an aside, Feministing’s Jessica is a great vidblogger. Here’s her V-Day entry:

  2. Mark

    The other point that I wanted to make, and forgot to, on that issue is that the concentration on:

    female genital mutilation; or against honour killings, stonings, child marriages, forced seclusion or any of the other persecutions to which women are still subjected.

    ignores the degree to which many of these practices are cultural and really the legacy of pre-modern mores and customs (for instance, “forced seclusion” was a hallmark of classical Greek culture which Bone et al would normally hold up as the quintessence of civilisation) rather then Islamic in their essence. Thus, yet again, the concentration on “barbarism” enables op/edders both to ignore issues of modernisation (and to totally silence the voices of educated Islamic women) and to elide Islam with these reprehensible practices.

  3. Rob

    A tad defensive, Kim? I think you are protesting too much.

  4. Rob

    …thou doth protest…

  5. Kim

    Thanks, Mark.

    Well, Rob, I’m defending feminists against Bone’s criticism, certainly.

  6. Katz

    So, Rob, what is the appropriate level of protest against Bone’s idiotic and unoriginal rant?

  7. Rob

    What does it matter if FGM has pre- or non-Islamic origins? It’s still a disgusting and yes, “barbaric” practice specifically intended to destroy female sexuality by force, and it’s still carried out today under a specifically Islamic justification.

  8. Chris

    Just a thought (which Ms Bone has never addressed) but wouldn’t feminists and other westerners marching against pre-modern practices in the Middle East simply give the anti-western regimes in the area (Iran, in particular, springs to mind) one more reason not to adopt decent policies towards women.

    It seems to me that if anything vaguely resembling gender equality ever comes to the Middle East the force driving it will be economics, it being impossible for state to make really substantial economic progress while excluding 50% of its population from economic participation.

  9. Rob

    Katz, I thought Bone was making a perfectly reasonable and valid argument. I don’t see why anyone is getting bent out of shape about it, and can’t see any reason for a “protest” of any kind.

  10. Kim

    Well, I think she is making a perfectly unreasonable and invalid argument, Rob. As I’ve tried to demonstrate.

  11. Mark

    What does it matter if FGM has pre- or non-Islamic origins? Itâ??s still a disgusting and yes, â??barbaricâ?? practice specifically intended to destroy female sexuality by force, and itâ??s still carried out today under a specifically Islamic justification.

    It matters a lot, Rob, if the intent of talking about it is to make an argument about Islam, and an argument that somehow implies it’s the fault of “Western feminists” that it continues, or that people are not criticising it for political reasons. However, as I’m suggesting, the choice of examples is itself highly political, as is the context for the discussion. I used to give Bone the benefit of the doubt as to whether she was sincere about all this. I’m no longer inclined to, for the sorts of reasons Kim gives in the post. Her arguments are illogical, contrived, tendentious, and directed mainly at striking a culture wars blow. If she’s so concerned about Middle Eastern women, what is she doing about them? Or Albrechtsen? Or is supporting war a sufficient means of demonstrating an alleged concern for human rights? Or a culture war? As Kim said, the feminists of convenience are usually missing in action now when it comes to Iraq. I’d recommend people look at the report linked to. It’s an indictment of any claim that the invasion of Iraq has materially contributed to an improvement in women’s position, and it renders hollow ex post facto claims that that was one of the aims of the war.

  12. Chris

    That being the case Rob I would very much like to hear your explanation of how a lot of sound and fury from the west will benefit women in a part of the world seething with anti-western feeling.

  13. Mark

    And I’ve condemned FGM here, Rob, as has Kim, and others who according to Bone must be seen as being “silent” and in the grips of “cultural relativism”. But what difference will condemnations made in Australia, as Chris suggests, make to the lives of girls and women in, say, the Sudan? Far better, as Kim argues in the post, for Western feminists and pro-feminists to make linkages with Islamic feminists and other human rights activists in their own countries and give concrete moral and financial support, than for any number of prating prattling piffle ridden op/eds to trumpet some faux indignation, whose only point anyway is to intervene in Australian domestic discourse.

  14. Rob

    Well, with respect, Kim, I don’t think you succeeded.

    This was just petty:

    “Now, Bone is supposed to be a journalist, I think.”

    Of course she is. She’s been a professional journalist – and outspoken feminist and multiculturalist – for at least twenty years.

  15. Mark

    Well, then, she’s under an obligation to do some basic research, as Kim suggests, which is not time consuming, to find out whether or not her claim that Western feminists are disinterested in the plight of Islamic feminists is true. Kim’s demonstrated to my satisfaction that it is false. If she wishes to purvey falsehoods, then she can’t fall back on her professional status because she’s contemptuously devalued it in the service of her politics.

  16. Rob

    Bone’s sole crime, in your eyes, Kim and Mark, is that she has said something you disagree with. Having read her stuff throughout her career as a journalist (a journalist, yes!) I’m comfortable with the conclusion that she knows more of which she speaks than you do.

  17. Chris

    It seems to me that in some sections of the Australian community, or at the very least some sections of the Australian, there are people who have become so deranged that they refuse to acknowledge the existence of pragmatism, never mind pragmatic arguments. Instead they accuse anyone who does not share in their blind idealism and belief in the ability of their values to bend the crooked timber of humanity into whatever shape they choose of moral and/or cultural relativism.

    To my mind multiculturalism is the classic of the genre. The critics (who do not include Bone as far as I know) like to suggest that anyone who takes the (conservative) view that people are deeply attached to their traditions and unlikely to relinquish all of them just because some dude in Canberra thinks they should is a cultural relativist.

    Iraq is another good example. Those who were skeptical of the ability of liberal democracy imposed from above to take root in the Middle East were roundly castigated for, again, cultural relativism. Likewise those who did not waste their time denouncing the self-evidently wicked insurgency were deemed to be guilty of moral relativism.*

    The feminists of convenience are yet another example. As outlined by Mark and Kim in this thread the situation in Iraq means that the feminists of convenience don’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to actual, practical things that can be and are not already being done to support feminists in the Middle East. Instead of discussing the barriers to the kind of actions that they seem to want to see taken or promoting actions that are genuinely helpful they just rant about relativism.

    * Those who actually supported the insurgency are deserving of the tag moral relativist or worse.

  18. Rob

    And Chris – so should we be silent in the face of every atrocity perpetrated in the Third World for fear they would like us less for condemning it? I think not.

  19. Chris

    â??And Chris – so should we be silent in the face of every atrocity perpetrated in the Third World for fear they would like us less for condemning it? I think not.â??

    Thatâ??s a fine misrepresentation of my position Rob. I think that where there are actions we can take to help marginalised and persecuted groups in the third world we should take such actions. These can include direct actions like providing financial support or indirect ones like encouraging the Middle East to integrate into the global economy.

    And yeah you can condemn all you want, but donâ??t think it will actually help matters on the ground much and go accusing those who donâ??t join you as being moral relativists.

  20. Kim

    Having read her stuff throughout her career as a journalist (a journalist, yes!) I’m comfortable with the conclusion that she knows more of which she speaks than you do.

    So, the argument from authority, Rob?

    Look, it’s very simple. She claims that Western feminists show no concern for women in Islamic countries. It takes me about ten minutes to find a host of blogs, reports and links to major publications which demonstrate that she’s wrong. Therefore, either she is ignoring the evidence to score political points, or she doesn’t even bother to find any evidence to support her claims. Neither is good.

  21. Chris

    Just to clarify if they don’t like it and it’s not going to backfire on us then do it. What I don’t feel obliged to do is things they don’t give a shit about.

  22. Rob

    Chris, I’m not sure what you mean by “moral relativism”. But, in the frame by which I understand the term, Mark’s 3.27 pm comment is a classic. You don’t like?

  23. Brendon

    Katz:

    So, Rob, what is the appropriate level of protest against Bone’s idiotic and unoriginal rant?

    I’m amazed Bone still has the nerve to publish. Did she do a mea culpa on Iraq yet?

    I have read where she has supported military intervention since the Rwanda wars between the Tutu and the Tutsi that claimed hundreds of thousands of people. Am I missing something?

    Now the Iraq war has claimed hundreds of thousands of people.

    I can’t understand anyone with a feminist outlook (anyone, really) who would support to pre-emptive war.

  24. Rob

    You’re setting up a straw Pamela, Kim. Anyone can cherry pick via Google to demonstrate almost anything. Hell, I could do it to demonstrate that RWDBs didn’t support the war in Iraq. It takes greater depth and broader wisdom, which I admit I don’t possess, to see the bigger picture. I think Bone has both. Yeah, I’d give her that authority.

  25. Rob

    “I’m amazed Bone still has the nerve to publish.”

    Brendon, I’m frankly amazed you still have the nerve to comment.

  26. Chris

    Rob Mark is quite capable of addressing that charge himself but the way I read his comment he was claiming that many of the reprehensible practices which some are want to pin on Islam in fact have deeper cultural roots.

    This does not mean they are justified or that we are not entitled to judge them. A moral relativist response to female circumcision, for example, would be either a straight out denial of our ability to judge along the lines of â??how can we judge what is good for African/Arab/Islamic women?â??

    Alternatively it could take the form of a spurious comparison in which the above assertion is implicit, such as â??we may not like female circumcision but some people think that male circumcision is abhorant.â??

  27. Spiros

    Pamela Bone has terminal cancer.

    It’s not nice to speak ill of the the nearly dead.

    Her (approaching) death-bed conversion to Albrechtsenism is not something that requires analysis. If it gives it her peace of mind, if she thinks it will smooth her passage to a better place, then that is a matter for her. If the Oz editor wants to give her column inches, well, that is his choice.

    That Bone writes unfilleted nonsense is neither here nor there.

  28. Rob

    Chris, but Bone is arguing against moral relativism, is she not? Her sharp remarks about Germaine Greer’s views on FGM seem to indicate this.

  29. Rob

    Spiros, you’re sick, mate. Seek help. Get back under your stone.

  30. Rob

    Also, I understand Ms Bone’s cancer is in remission, Spiros-ghoul, so your ill-disguised gloating at the imminent death of another human being may be misplaced.

  31. Kim

    You’re setting up a straw Pamela, Kim. Anyone can cherry pick via Google to demonstrate almost anything. Hell, I could do it to demonstrate that RWDBs didn’t support the war in Iraq. It takes greater depth and broader wisdom, which I admit I don’t possess, to see the bigger picture. I think Bone has both. Yeah, I’d give her that authority.

    With respect, Rob, that’s rot.

    Change is happening. It would be nice to think the women pushing for change had support. Maybe they do and I just don’t hear about it.

    It takes about ten minutes, as I said to find the support in question, which includes serious reports with much analysis and much reference to the experience of Islamic women, and their voices.

    Maybe my report on the death of Western feminism is greatly exaggerated. I hope so.

    Well, let’s see Ms Bone retract her “report” since it’s so easily demonstrable that she is wrong. The only person she actually mentions in support of her claims is Germaine Greer. There are lots of less high profile women working on these issues, and with Islamic women. It is absolutely not too much to ask Bone to go and find out that this is the case, before she rushes into print. Her so called “bigger picture” is rubbish, Rob. It’s a distorted and ideologically blind picture, and the evidence is right in front of her fingertips, if she bothered to look. It’s not good enough, and your defence of her is totally unconvincing.

  32. Rob

    So what’s your answer to her primary question, Kim?

    “On International Women’s Day, where are the protests in our cities against stonings, honour killings or any other persecutions to which women are still subjected?”

    Where’s the public outrage that attends, for example, David Hicks, who’s suffered far less than these women? That’s Bone’s point: there isn’t the sting of outrage. Why not?

  33. Mark

    Rob, I can’t at all see how you could see my comment as being “culturally relativist”. I’m not implying any form of support for TGM, and as I said, Kim, I and others have condemned the practice in very strong terms. I don’t know whether you saw the recent thread where I got monstered by postmodernists, but my position is very far from relativism of any kind. I believe in truth. However, it aids the cause of truth to point out that claims that particular cultural practices are not primarily religious in origin, because it assists in separating out and rebutting ill informed bigotry and specious argument which contributes to Islamophobia. I have no idea why pointing out that there are cultural practices which differ could be construed as “relativist”. Nor am I in any way implying that because this is a cultural practice, it is in some way therefore exempt from criticism. Quite the opposite.

  34. Mark
  35. Kim

    Where’s the public outrage that attends, for example, David Hicks, who’s suffered far less than these women? That’s Bone’s point: there isn’t the sting of outrage. Why not?

    I answered that in the post, Rob. Public protest usually revolves around issues that have an immediate impact on people within their own national sphere. Hicks is an Australian citizen. We could just as easily point to the horrendous situation in Sudan, which isn’t a political football in the same way that Islamic women are. There are no demos in the streets about that either. There’s some sort of weird assumption going on that if one can’t point to demonstrations or rants, then there’s no concern. But I’d also question (and I think this is what Chris is saying as well) the value of “outrage”. To what degree do loud expressions of outrage assist anyone? To what degree do careful analysis and working out how to take action in concert with people overseas who suffer from these issues assist anyone? The latter is much more valuable than the former. Bone, and you, seem to have formed some sort of mindset where the only acceptable moral yardstick is how loud people shout. That’s just wrong. I have much more respect for people whose quiet work for justice is often untrumpeted than those who loudly trumpet their supposed concern across the op/ed pages as a way of scoring political points.

    And what Mark said about the reason why these (reprehensible and condemned) practices are singled out.

  36. Kim

    I’d also suggest that none of us really know how much David Hicks has suffered. Comparisons of degrees of suffering in order to assess degrees of appropriate outrage really are an odd way of going about ethics and moral judgement.

  37. Rob

    Mark, your position is relativist inasmuch as you are prepared to mitigate the intrinsic barbarity of FGM by reference to its non-Islamic past (whilst ignoring its specifically Islamic justification in the present) to avoid any appearance of being “Islamophobic”.

  38. Rob

    “To what degree do loud expressions of outrage assist anyone? ”

    Well, I’d argue that it got East Timor its independence for a start.

  39. Kim

    Huh?

    That’s nonsense, Rob. It’s not “mitigating”. It’s pointing out facts. And if those facts combat Islamophobia, then all the better. Any sort of bigotry against people on the basis of their beliefs, as opposed to what they actually do, is wrong. Your logic is all askew on this question, I fear.

  40. Rob

    “Any sort of bigotry against people on the basis of their beliefs, as opposed to what they actually do, is wrong.”

    What??

    What you describe is standard operating procedure at LP.

  41. Mark

    Well, I’d argue that it got East Timor its independence for a start.

    Really, Rob? Did Bone write an op/ed?

    Drawing attention to abuses which are not highlighted is worthy. But conspicuous indignation in a domestic political cause is not. it’s interesting to note two things:

    1. Your comment implicitly devalues the contribution of the East Timorese themselves. Similarly, these calls for “outrage” in fact imply that if the West says so, then magically these things will stop. In fact, as pointed out by Kim, none of the claims made in support of the Iraq War being a fight for women’s rights have had any effect, except to expose their own hypocricy. The material situation of women is now worse. Those most able to combat injustice are those who are immediately in a position to do so. Careful support of their aims, as Kim says, is welcome. But ethnocentric assumptions that loud ranting in the Western press either brings change, or is a substitute for the hard work of supporting change, are specious.

    2. We have had discussions about FGM here at LP where I’ve been more than prepared to concede that it is often enforced by people claiming that it’s a religious requirement. That doesn’t make it so, any more than it makes the whole of the Islamic tradition and the billion adherents of Islam guilty of its continuance. It is not relativist to point out facts. You’re the postmodernist, buddy, not me! :)

  42. Mark

    What you describe is standard operating procedure at LP.

    When losing an argument, go meta?

  43. Rob

    “I answered that in the post, Rob. Public protest usually revolves around issues that have an immediate impact on people within their own national sphere.”

    That’s rubbish, Kim. The world-wide protests against Gulf Wars I and II, and those against the French atomic tests at Mururoa 10 years ago testify to the falsity of that claim.

  44. Mark

    In case you hadn’t noticed, Rob, Australia was involved in Gulf Wars I and II.

    Again, I’ll come back to the sort of weird 60s/70s leftism that now has morphed into rightism, why are street marches the touchstone and the lodestar of concern? You could well argue that the sorts of protests being made on the blogosphere against the oppression of women in Iran, which Kim discussed in her post, are much more effective than some derisory demo, because they serve to inform, prompt to pragmatic and useful ways to assist, and so on. As Chris said, why has it suddenly become compulsory not to be pragmatic about human rights issues? If you, Rob, or Albrechtsen or Bone, feel strongly, then there is absolutely nothing to stop you organising a demo, vigil or march. Please do report back as to how it has actually assisted in furthering the cause of human rights, though. Or is it the expression of outrage and indignation that’s the point?

  45. Rob

    “Really, Rob? Did Bone write an op/ed?”

    No. But 25 years of strenuous and strident international protest did finally pay off — for whatever it will ultimately be worth. International protest by teh Left, be it said. No-one else gave a toss. The East Timorese could never have done it on their own.

    “When losing an argument, go meta?”

    Bah. All that has provoked this post and thread is the typical ideologue’s inability to understand that a person of good faith and honest intelligence can reach a conclusion other than that held by the ideologue. On her record, I rate Pamela Bone much higher than either of you.

  46. Rob

    Don’t be daft, Mark. I know you’re more intelligent than that.

  47. Adam

    Eastern women are not the only ones with an FGM problem.

  48. Mark

    On her record, I rate Pamela Bone much higher than either of you.

    Well, that’s fine, Rob, and that’s your right, but some sort of mystical ability to assess the big picture doesn’t rate with me compared to getting basic facts right, which is the threshold responsibility of a journo. If she asserts that Western women don’t say or do anything about the oppression of Islamic women, and it’s very easily demonstrable that they do, then she is just not meeting basic standards. Thus her opinion, based as it is on a falsehood, is of dubious value too, even if you think she’s reading some sort of ethereal signs of the times. I’m a bit sick of cultural criticism that isn’t grounded in fact. I’m afraid she’s the ideologue here.

    No. But 25 years of strenuous and strident international protest did finally pay off — for whatever it will ultimately be worth. International protest by teh Left, be it said. No-one else gave a toss. The East Timorese could never have done it on their own.

    Well, I shouldn’t have been snippy. But there’s a category mistake here. Regime change is a very different thing from cultural change, as the US has found out. Independence for East Timor is a concrete geostrategic goal. Shifting cultural practices in a pro-feminist direction is a much longer term goal, and contrary to Bone’s claims, feminism has not succeeded in the West to such a degree that there’s no work left to do.

  49. Mark

    Thanks for the link, Adam. The point that Christians and animists also practice FGM in sub-Saharan Africa is an important one.

    Feministing has also pointed to the Western craze for “vaginoplasty”:

    http://feministing.com/archives/006659.html

  50. Pavlov's Cat

    People who ask ‘Where are the feminists, hmm?’ are usually those who assiduously avoid any medium where feminists have any kind of voice — so of course they don’t know what they’ve said, because they don’t know who they are or where to find them. These snipers certainly don’t read feminist (or feminists’) blogs.

    Feminist posts on group blogs are frequently derailed almost immediately, by, say, some bloke popping up to bleat about his browser. Which of course he didn’t do on purpose or anything.

    Bloggers who take a feminist viewpoint on this or that are routinely attacked, mocked, cat-called, ignored, called insane, and, occasionally, requested to display their breasts. Strangely, this tends to wear some of us down.

    Very few feminists have a regular voice, or indeed any voice, in the contemporary Australian MSM.

    And then a motley crew of reactionaries asks indignantly Oh, where are the feminists then? This despite the fact that, here at least, Kim and others have answered this question, complete with links, dozens and dozens of times over the last few months.

    But then, Rob, there is no evidence in any of your comments here that you have actually read Kim’s post. You have not even directly, much less substantially, addressed a single one of the points she makes.

  51. Kim

    Spot on, Dr Cat.

    Bone claims the “fire has gone out of feminism”. Well, who’s wielding the hoses? You’re quite right to point to the denigration that is all too common – however, I continue to believe that it’s worthwhile to engage in spaces like this one on feminist issues, because at least we’re reaching an audience which contains many who are sympathetic to our arguments, and engaging with those who aren’t (who often comment in bad faith and for reasons having to do more with maintaining their own egos) allows us to sharpen our arguments. For me, at least, it helps stoke the fire in my belly. To be a feminist is to have to fight daily, and the ignorance of the Bones of this world only empowers me to want to keep doing so.

  52. Rob

    Of course I’ve read it, PC. I just don’t agree with it. The two things are not the same. And I regard Ms Bone as a feminist. Do you?

    “Feminist posts on group blogs are frequently derailed almost immediately, by, say, some bloke popping up to bleat about his browser. Which of course he didn’t do on purpose or anything.”

    Oh gosh, that’s me again, I think.

  53. Kim

    Well, Rob, as Mark said, you’re the postmodernist, with your Baudrillard and your Barthes. You tend to assume, in classic textualist fashion, that different narratives can be spun without empirical referent. You’ve consistently refused to engage with the evidence I provided that Bone is just wrong. End of story. Entitled to her opinion, etc., but it’s uninformed and falsifiable with reference to the facts. By claiming in the face of that that it’s valid, you paint yourself as the relativist.

  54. Rob

    Oh boy. All you did, Kim, was go for a Google and come up with some references that suited your purpose, which was to (try to) shoot down Pamela Bone. Well, duh. What intrigues me is why you’re trying to do it. Bone is pointing to a universal wrong, a monstrous injustice against women. And yet you, a feminist, are not on her side, and I, a rusted-on RWDB, am. Feed the fire in your belly, sure, if it makes you feel better about yourself. But what on earth is the point of what you’re saying?

  55. Kim

    Sorry, Rob, are you being deliberately obtuse?

    Bone claimed that no feminists spoke out about the position of women in Islamic states. There are some. I found them. Therefore she is wrong. As Dr Cat said, perhaps these women don’t get to write op/eds in the Australian like Bone does, but they exist!

    And however do I get to be painted as supporting a “universal wrong”, a “monstrous injustice about women” when I am arguing in favour of women’s rights in Iran and Iraq and pointing out the practical support many other women in the West have given to these causes. I’ve donated to some of those NGOs, Rob. Have you? Or do you, now apparently the sole feminist on these pages (along with Bone) content yourself with cheering along narratives which appeal to your political views?

  56. Kim

    And in my view, as I’ve repeatedly argued, Bone is more interested in scoring culture wars points than doing anything substantive or positive to redress this “universal wrong”. So to that extent, yes, I’m not on her side.

    Why didn’t she write a substantive column pointing to the issues? With actual analysis and facts? And suggestions for action? Then I’d have some respect for her alleged moral indignation.

  57. Rob

    No, you are being obtuse. It’s quite clear from Bone’s article that she is questioning the lack of public outrage at the tyrannisation of women in the Middle East, the Gulf and North Africa. Where are the feminists, she asks? It’s a good question, and a Google search to throw up some blogs and academic papers is not a good answer. Why aren’t you coming out in support of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the handful of heroic women who are risking and losing their lives to stand up against that oppression? And why in the world do you think it furthers the feminist cause more to bucket someone who knows far more about these things than you ever will, just because she doesn’t push your particular ideological buttons?

  58. Pavlov's Cat

    Of course I’ve read it, PC. I just don’t agree with it. The two things are not the same.

    I didn’t say you hadn’t read it, I said there was no evidence in your comments that you had. The two things are not the same.

    And I regard Ms Bone as a feminist. Do you?

    Well, if she herself asks ‘Where are the feminists?’, then that would suggest to me that she does not regard herself as a member of said group. And if that is the case, then who are you to say you know her better than she knows herself?

    Besides, unlike many, I don’t think it’s at all my place to go around deciding whether other people pass or fail little ideological tests. Feminism is not a contest, not a club, and certainly not a religion. There is no password, no creed and no cutoff score.

    Oh gosh, that’s me again, I think.

    Nice cap, Rob; excellent fit. If you derailed an International Women’s Day thread with a pointless bleat about browsers and didn’t do it on purpose, then it was a stupid (and very revealing) gesture; and if you did do it on purpose as a passive-aggressive way of saying you didn’t give a shit about IWD, then it was a despicable one, and even more revealing.

    And yet you, a feminist, are not on her side

    Oh FFS. See above.

    she is questioning the lack of public outrage

    Begged question: again, for the squillionth time, no such ‘lack’ exists. (Where is Lacan when you need him?)

    Besides, if you’re right and she’s a feminist and she has a regular voice in the MSM, why isn’t she using her own space to express some? I’m now questioning the lack of her public outrage. Money, mouth, etc.

    someone who knows far more about these things than you ever will

    Now how could you possibly know that? And how could anyone possibly think that Pamela Bone outclasses Kim in any way as a researcher and thinker?

  59. Brendon

    Rob:

    Brendon, I’m frankly amazed you still have the nerve to comment.

    Ouch! Is that you, Pamela?

    More Rob:

    No, you are being obtuse. It’s quite clear from Bone’s article that she is questioning the lack of public outrage at the tyrannisation of women in the Middle East, the Gulf and North Africa.

    The “tyrannisation of women in the Middle East” has been bought about in no small degree to the continued corruption of states in that region by European and American colonial policies over the past centuries that were put in place to extract its wealth. How did the current Saudi regime come into power? The Saudi government is one of the most oppressive in the world.

    Iran’s mullahs are a reaction to oppressive American interference. You name a country in the Middle East and its history is full of intervention, war, corruption, and puppet governments set up by foriegn powers like America. This breeds militancy and extremism that is not conducive to a stable society or social equality.

    Bone doesn’t know anything if she thinks yet another oil war will solve this. Blathering on about how intelligent she is doesn’t make you look any too smart.

    Some travelling music:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxjuZ5Ct9wA

  60. Rob

    “Oh gosh, that’s me again, I think.

    Nice cap, Rob; excellent fit. If you derailed an International Women’s Day thread with a pointless bleat about browsers and didn’t do it on purpose, then it was a stupid (and very revealing) gesture; and if you did do it on purpose as a passive-aggressive way of saying you didn’t give a shit about IWD, then it was a despicable one, and even more revealing.”

    Ideologues, don’t you love ‘em.

    Here’s what happened. I loaded a new version of Firefox onto my PC. LP went all weird. Couldn’t see the sidebar, past posts, comments, nothing. Still can’t. Not having access to Saturday Salon, since I couldn’t see it, I chucked an appeal for help into the first LP post I could find.

    I apologised to to Kim for crapping up her thread.

    So much for conspiracy theories.

    Good enough for you, Pavlov’s Prat?

  61. Rob

    Brandon, oh yeah, right, it’s all down to us filthy colonialists. Strnge that we’re the ones that want women to be free and somehow the Islamists just don’t get it.

    “Iran’s mullahs are a reaction to oppressive American interference. You name a country in the Middle East and its history is full of intervention, war, corruption, and puppet governments set up by foriegn powers like America. This breeds militancy and extremism that is not conducive to a stable society or social equality.”

    Funny that it works in Israel.

  62. Pavlov's Latte

    Ideologues, don’t you love ‘em.

    Heh.

  63. Rob

    Right, philip. Well, I’ll just develop my masculinity, OK?

  64. Rob

    Going back to near the head of the post, Mark wrote:

    “Itâ??s quite right to say that picking on â??stoningsâ??, etc, is an Islamophobic rhetorical move.”

    Is it? Maybe it’s a genuine statement of revulsion or something.

  65. Andrew Bartlett

    They mightn’t have held a street march (although it probably wouldn’t have been reported if they had), but in Brisbane 1300 people attended a breakfast organised by UNIFEM to hear Malalai Joya, a twenty-something woman who is the youngest member of Afghanistan’s Parliament, give a very powerful speech about the continuing serious oppression of women.

    The account of her speech on Online Opinion reports her view that

    Women’s rights were as catastrophic as they had been under the Taliban and the number of suicides had never been as high as they were today. She listed examples of recent violence against women and girls, including the case of an 11-year-old who was abducted, raped and then exchanged for a dog. The position of women would never change as long as the war lords were not removed from the political scene.

    According to Ms Joya reported in the Daily Telegraph

    they (the US) have replaced the evils of the Taliban with the Northern Alliance killers who from 1992-1996 did lots of crimes… and now with the support of the US and its allies, under the mask of democracy, have come to power.

    “Life is as bad, if not worse. There continues to be no women’s rights in Afghanistan. In some provinces they ban schools for women and publish leaflets warning them not to go.”

    She is quoted in an interview with the Courier-Mail saying

    Unfortunately after the domination of the Taliban, there are no fundamental changes in the plight of the men and women of Afghanistan.

    “The US and its allies replaced the Taliban with mujahideen who committed a lot of crimes under the name of jihad and Islam and they are continuing to commit these crimes, particularly against women.

    If I’m not mistaken, Ms Joya’s presence in Australia to raise awareness of the continuing oppression of women in her country under its western-backed government was faciliated by UNIFEM, which by anyone’s definition is a feminist organisation (and a bloody big one at that).

    I didn’t see any report of Ms Joya’s various speech in The Australian. Perhaps there was and I missed it. I suppose one could say that, unlike UNIFEM and the thousands of people who attended their functions to hear and support Ms Joya, they just don’t care about women being opressed in foreign countries – however that would probably be unfair. It probably had more to do with the fact that she is very critical of the role of the USA and called on Australia to rethink our alliance with the USA and our approach towards Afghanistan. Still, the end result was her brave message at the Brisbane event about the continuing oppression of women was not given coverage on the following day – the say day Pamela Bone’s article appeared.

    We should be all (not just feminists) be more concerned about abuses of women’s rights (and other human rights abuses) everywhere. But there are plenty of examples of much more direct hypocrisy that could be pointed to than the one attacking selective feminism which some who see themselves as being on the right like to run with – e.g. right wing ‘defenders of freedom’ who drool over greater trade opportunities with China but who will not say a word about the very serious human rights abuses (not to mention the many curtailments on freedom that are part of everyday life in China).

    It can be useful to call for more attention/outrage/concern to be directed towards particular issues, especially ones that are easily ignored – which ones that are overseas tend to be. However, to go from that to condemning a whole group/philosophy/ideology/ for not being outraged enough is usually rather unfair (and selective).

  66. adrian

    No, Rob, judging from your comments on this thread, you need to develop your brain.
    It is you who are the ideologue, and a particularly trite one at that.

  67. Rob

    Thanks, Adrian. I will strive to improve; “endeavour to persevere”.

  68. Brendon

    Rob:

    Funny that it works in Israel.

    Next time I run into a Palestinian woman in Gaza I’ll ask her if you are right about that.

  69. Kim

    No, you are being obtuse. It’s quite clear from Bone’s article that she is questioning the lack of public outrage at the tyrannisation of women in the Middle East, the Gulf and North Africa. Where are the feminists, she asks? It’s a good question, and a Google search to throw up some blogs and academic papers is not a good answer

    Where are the feminists, she asks? Well, they’re on blogs, and they’re working for NGOs, and they’re writing papers that seek to draw attention to the actual dimensions and complexity of this issue, in order to bring about real change. And they’re working in their own immediate sphere to bring about change, through education, through lobbying governments, through meetings, through all sorts of action.

    I’m sorry if they’re invisible to you and Bone.

    And I’m sorry if there’s some weirdassed orthodoxy that you only care about something if you express “outrage” and then march in the streets. Chris said it best early on the thread – whatever happened to pragmatism?

    But the question posed by several commenters remains a good one – why doesn’t she get off her bum and write something positive and constructive, given that she has a much more influential platform for disseminating her views than many of us? Why does her supposed outrage have to lead her to attack others? And to do so in complete and probably wilful ignorance of what real feminists are actually doing?

  70. Kim

    Oh, and thanks, Andrew for that comment. Because of the number of links, it ended up in the moderation filter (and I was watching The West Wing!), but it’s now there above, and I’d urge anyone who might have missed it to go back and read it.

  71. Rob

    Kim, you’re sounding like a bureaucrat. “Writing papers” – yeah, right. Been there, done that.

    As for this:

    “Why doesn’t she get off her bum and write something positive and constructive, given that she has a much more influential platform for disseminating her views than many of us?”

    Well, she just did, didn’t she?

  72. Kim

    No, she didn’t, Rob. The point of her column was to denigrate feminists and the left (and by indirection, Islam).

    I’m not much interested in bureaucratic papers, because that’s not what I’m talking about. What I am interested in are books like the one that Jessica referred to in her video blog, which seek to advance awareness of the situation of women around the world, put pressure on governments, and empower and communicate with women and other human rights activists. And I’m talking about the report released by an NGO about the declining situation of women in Iraq, which has the aim of seeking to redress that.

    You and Bone seem to think expressing “outrage” changes things. Or having demos. Well, I’d have thought the untrumpeted and unglamourous work of many many women around the world seeking to counter oppression was more important than op/ed hissyfits and symbolic street marches.

    And like Dr Cat said, let Bone put her feet where her mouth is. Let’s see her, or you, or Albrechtsen, organise a street march to express your “outrage”. Since that appears to be the only form of acceptable action according to her column. Evidently the hard work many feminists and other human rights activists do around the world doesn’t count. So, go on. I’ll happily post a link to advise any other outraged folk of where to gather.

  73. Rob

    “And while you are at it,why couldnt you contact the said countrys media and ask them to log on here.”

    phil, I think that’s more of a one for Kim, Mark, et al., not me. But if we’re talking the same language here, and I’m not sure we are, I definitely think President Ahmadinejad would benefit hugely from visiting LP. (He’s a blogger, too.) Do press it on him.

  74. Kim

    I don’t care a fig for President Ahmadinejad. But I’d be delighted if Iranian women logged on here. Because I suspect they know a hell of a lot more about the position of women in Iran, and have a much more immediate interest in it, than Australian culture warriors. Fortunately this post has been linked to by an Iranian metablog, so fingers crossed. It might benefit Bone, and others, if they’d actually entered into dialogue with those for whom they profess to be so concerned. I’d certainly love to.

  75. steve

    If there are big marches then the attendees are attacked as rent-a crowds, lazy bludgers etc. and the same people attack poor attendance as showing no support for the cause.

    Has the thought ever occurred to you Rob that women are maybe working ludicrous hours at present and haven’t got the physical time to devote to causes that they once did?

    We have just clocked up eleven years of conservative Government on the trot and maybe things are not quite the glorious utopia that rightwing propaganda would have us believe Australia is experiencing.

    If you have no interest in feminism then why waste time by commenting on it? Find something that does interest you and devote your time to something that is nurturing to yourself instead of being destructive to all.

    The other option is to write on a right wing blog where you might experience an acceptance of your views. Your views sure as hell don’t seem to be getting anywhere here.

  76. Rob

    Kim, I know I’m dense, but I still don’t see what you’re complaining about. Where’s the white air between you and Pamela Bone? Aren’t you both fighting for the same thing?
    Let’s do it. Let’s all sign the following petition:

    “To the governments of Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Egypt, Iran and sundry others:

    We, the undersigned, unreservedly condemn the practice of female genital mutilation as an abhorrent practice contrary to fundamental human rights and call upon the governments of all states which tolerate such practice to forbid it with immediate effect, and to prosecute its perpetrators, whether in their homelands or their diaspora, as criminals against both domestic and international law.

    Signed:

    #1 Rob
    #2-300,000……”

  77. Kim

    I’d urge people who haven’t read it, to read tigtog’s excellent post on Albrechtsen’s similar column. Here’s an excerpt:

    Itâ??s articles like Albrechtsenâ??s that feed into the social conservative baseâ??s stereotypes about both feminists and Muslims, and donâ??t end up helping a single oppressed Muslim woman. Scolding only makes the scolder feel self-righteous: itâ??s not actually a productive contribution.

    Albrechtsen has much in common with the typical internet anti-feminists who like to argue that Western feminists are so useless, so self-centred, so busy being bleeding heart liberals about Muslims dying in the War on Terror that we are â??throwing Muslim women under the busâ?? in our â??support for terroristsâ?? and ignoring womenâ??s oppression in Islamic nations. They are of course wrong, and hereâ??s why: Western feminists have been well aware of the Islamic feminist movement for the last fifteen years at least, and some of us were even aware of the earlier Islamic feminist pioneers. Thatâ??s a lot more than Albrechtsen, for one, can boast.

    Islamic feminists do not need Westerners to lead them or speak for them in their own countries, and thatâ??s where they are working because thatâ??s where they are needed. They do need the support of Westerners financially and in networking to further their activism, and that is what Western feminists have been doing. The article doesnâ??t mention Australian Islamic feminists, but guess what? They also exist. Did Albrechtsen seek out and interview anyone from any Australian Islamic feminist group before getting up on her high horse?

    Feminists are not the ones who have been ignoring Islamic feminists.

    http://viv.id.au/blog/?p=285

  78. Kim

    Rob, for the millionth time, Bone both simplifies the real issues in order to fit a certain stereotype of Islam and in doing so shows her lack of actual appreciation of the many issues women in Islamic countries face, and also makes her main point a claim (which I’ve shown to be wrong) that “Western feminists” do not do anything to support positive social change in Islamic societies.

  79. Rob

    Steve:

    “Your views sure as hell don’t seem to be getting anywhere here.”

    I’m used to that.

  80. Rob

    No probs, philip. God bless.

  81. Rob

    So who’s up for signing my petition?

  82. Kim

    I’m not, Rob, because I’d prefer to give support to women in countries where this form of abuse is practiced rather than address their governments. Put you money where your mouth is and donate to some NGOs and women’s groups which organise against it, rather than writing petitions. It’ll make more difference.

  83. Rob

    Oh, I’m so disappointed in you, Kim. And you challenging us to direct action and all.

  84. Kim

    I don’t know if that’s meant to be sarcastic, Rob. I’ve referred already to the fact that I give regular donations to a range of women’s groups and NGOs which among other things address the issue of FGM. If you’d prefer to start a petition so you can feel outrage at my not signing it, up to you, mate.

  85. Rob

    No, I think one petition is probably enough.

  86. Rob

    btw, thanks, Kim, you’ve inspired me to take up blogging again.

  87. Rob

    Actually, scrub that, the post was a bit impolite. Sorry, Kim.

  88. Andrew Bartlett

    In case I used too many words in my earlier comment, and obscured the main point I was trying to make:

    Pamela Bone says Australian feminists don’t give a rats about oppression of women in foreign countries – especially Muslim ones it would seem. She specifically says “It would be nice to think the women pushing for change (abroad) had support. Maybe they do and I just don’t hear about it.”

    At precisely that time, thousands of Australian women were turning out at various functions around the country to hear and support an Afghani woman who was talking of oppression of women in her country by fundamentalists (who just happen to be backed by the US and us at the moment).

    More pointedly, were it not for the express support of a major feminist organisation, this woman would not have made it to Australia and her voice, and the many women she speaks for, would not have been heard at all – both at the thousands attending her speeches, and the many more who read stories on her in newspapers other than the one Pamela Bone was writing for. It’s not like they were secret meetings – they got plenty of coverage in other papers and UNIFEM advertised them widely.

    Unless Pamela Bone is suggesting that providing a platform for a woman to recount the direct experience of herself and her country-women – and turning out in your thousands to listen to that experience – doesn’t count as showing support, but 1960s style street marches chanting slogans does, then the whole premise of her article – which was fairly thin even to start with – was being shredded by Australian feminists before the newspaper it was printed in had even finished rolling off the printing presses.

  89. steve

    Which seems to be the major problem Rob? The Damned whores or the God’s police bit. Seems like you have declared yourself one of God’s police by protecting Bones whether she needs it or not. Hope your not raving on here just to prove something to your mother that probably happened twenty years ago and has nothing to do with anyone here anyway.

  90. Katz

    â??To the governments of Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Egypt, Iran and sundry others:

    We, the undersigned, unreservedly condemn the practice of female genital mutilation as an abhorrent practice contrary to fundamental human rights and call upon the governments of all states which tolerate such practice to forbid it with immediate effect, and to prosecute its perpetrators, whether in their homelands or their diaspora, as criminals against both domestic and international law.

    Signed:

    #1 Rob
    #2-300,000â?¦â?¦â??

    Rob has pinpointed the nature of Bone’s faux outrage. He has done that by being less subtle an insinuating that Bone herself. If you like, he has presented bare-bones Bone.

    Thanks Rob.

    But let me explain. You see, in reality, less female genital mutilation is perpetrated in Iran than in the United States.

    And yes, FGM is an abhorrent practice wherever it occurs.

    So why would Rob smuggle the nation of Iran (but not the United States) into his catalogue of vile mutilators? I suggest it is the same reason that Bone has suddenly, post 9/11, found it convenient to crank up her drumbeat of anti-Islamic diatribes.

    She pictures herself as a producer of black propaganda to help rally the troops in the great War Between Civilisations. (The fact that this rhetoric was given a quick spin arund the block by the Bush Clique but then rejected as a headline rationale for the GWOT seems to have eluded Pamela Bone.)

    And in this War, based as it has been on so many lies, Bone asks herself rhetorically, “What matter if a few more are told in pursuit of a good cause?”

    So, yesterday afternoon, I asked Rob:

    what is the appropriate level of protest against Boneâ??s idiotic and unoriginal rant?

    To which Rob replied:

    I thought Bone was making a perfectly reasonable and valid argument. I donâ??t see why anyone is getting bent out of shape about it, and canâ??t see any reason for a â??protestâ?? of any kind.

    I see that Rob’s response has provoked a lengthy correspondence.

    But, you see Rob, both Bone’s argument and your petition are neither reasonable nor valid. They are based on deliberate factual falsifications and they are driven by an agenda based on lies and misrepresentations.

    Why should anyone with a shred of dignity and integrity want to associate themselves with falsehoods, lies, and misrepresentations?

    So the correct level of protest against Bone is a sad shake of the head upon scanning the recherche nature of her column and a quick turn of the page to something that respects truth.

  91. Chris

    Rob you said, quite a way back in the thread:

    â??Chris, but Bone is arguing against moral relativism, is she not? Her sharp remarks about Germaine Greerâ??s views on FGM seem to indicate this.â??

    The Greer comment is ridiculous, just the sort of spurious analogy I condemned a few posts earlier and Bone is right to condemn it. Bone is trying to argue against moral relativism and that is a goal I am willing to support. The problem is that she casts her net much too widely, writing things like:

    â??LET it be recorded that in the last decade of the 20th century the brave and great movement of Western feminism ended, not with a bang but with a whimper.â??

    Not to mention:

    â??The fire of Western feminism has quietly died away, first as a victim of its success, lately as a victim of cultural relativism, of anti-Americanism and reluctance to be seen to be condemning the enemies of the enemy.â??

    In condemning all (or the majority of) feminists this way she is invoking exactly the sort of false dichotomy I criticized here, allowing no space between the poles of her cultural idealism and Greerâ??s cultural relativism for pragmatists (dare I say the pragmatist majority) to sit.

  92. Brendon

    Rob,

    I’ve just found another Middle Eastern state you can include in your petition:

    ISRAEL!

    Palestinian women have borne the brunt of the suffering but their plight has been largely ignored. The multiple violations committed by Israeli forces in the Occupied Territories have had grave and long-term consequences for the Palestinian population and a particularly negative impact on women (as well as children and other vulnerable sectors of Palestinian society), compounding the pressures and constraints to which Palestinian women are subject in the traditional Palestinian patriarchal society.

    http://www.peacewomen.org/resources/OPT/Womencarryburden.html

    I’m sure you will be delighted to add Israel to the list.

    A film by a Palestinian woman on life under Israeli occupation:http://www.wmm.com/filmcatalog/pages/c678.shtml

  93. Rob

    Thanks for the response, Katz — robust as always. But you’re wrong to think I have an agenda in this; it’s one of the comparatively few things I do actually care about. Happy to broaden the petition to others, with the proviso that it is limited to those nations in which FGM has the sanction, explicit or implicit, of the state. I’m not sure the US would qualify.

    Brendon — I think you would be better off addressing your concerns to the PA, who are better placed to address the “pressures and constraints to which Palestinian women are subject in the traditional Palestinian patriarchal society.” I don’t think they would take much notice, though.

  94. Katz

    I’m not sure the US would qualify.

    And neither would Iran, so why mention it?

    But the overriding point remains: just what was Bone up to transforming her pre-9/11 disinterested feminism into a post-9/11 plank of the still-born War Between Civilisations?

    And if you have no satisfactory explanation, then you’ll have to go some of the way towards acknowledging that Kim has made a valid point about Pamela Bone.

  95. Brendon

    Rob,

    no. I’m not referring the structure of Palstinian society. That is another issue you can raise as well in your cause. It is about repression of women in the Middle East, isn’t it?

    Palestinian women in the occupied lands are protesting against Israeli oppression as of today. Why don’t you want to discuss that specifically. About oppressive Israeli policies. Surely the imposition of over 500 checkpoints in such a small area as the West Bank must place a heavy burden on Palestinian women in an already patriachal society.

    I think it would be good to include in your petition, Rob.

  96. Brendon

    But the overriding point remains: just what was Bone up to transforming her pre-9/11 disinterested feminism into a post-9/11 plank of the still-born War Between Civilisations?

    Just another trojan horse – like the crock about democracy – offered up to people of the west to justify neo imperialism.

  97. Rob

    Brendon, does the Israeli state, by word or deed, encourage or permit, whether tacitly or otherwise, the practice of FGM? If so, by all means add it to the list.

  98. Brendon

    Sorry Rob,

    I didn’t make myself clear enough. I meant the issue of the general oppression of women in the occuppied lands to be included in your petition. And that would include the repressive policies of the Israeli government. You were the first to bring up Israel here.

    Unless you are saying that the ending of FGM will solve all the problems. I don’t think you are saying that. So why limit your petition’s subject matter?

    And afterall, this thread is not solely about FGM, as the lead article shows. You seem to baulk at any criticism of the U.S. or Israel. It looks as though you are happy only to bash the Middle Eastern Muslims, and that is all.

    Which I think is a point made about Pamela Bone by Kim.

  99. Chris

    Without getting into any arguments about Israel (and thus derailing the thread) I would make the point that ALL petitions limit their subject matter and that attacking someone for what they don’t discuss rather than what they do is one of the most widely used and least substantial intellectual parlour tricks around.

  100. Kim

    As practiced by Bone, for example.

  101. Nabakov

    “…attacking someone for what they don’t discuss rather than what they do is one of the most widely used and least substantial intellectual parlour tricks around.”

    I notice Chris you’ve carefully avoided discussing who decides the intrinsic value of intellectual parlour tricks.

    One can only conclude that you’re objectively in favor of a room devoid of mental stimuli.

  102. Brendon

    Chris,

    Rob first bought up Israel as a comparison to Islamic states in the region in a reply to something I posted. I saw a deal of irony in that given the deplorable state of affairs in Gaza and the West Bank which has been under Israeli control.

    I’m not trying to segue this off to a Palestinian/Israel debate. Or anything other that which is discussed in the lead post by Kim. Having said that, I have been noticing over the past few years quite a few trojan horses presented at the gates of various groups and movements to entice them to climb aboard the MuslimBasher Express. Women’s rights issues in the Middle East is one, IMO. These are genuine issues, for sure. But for the life of me, I won’t trust anyone who favours war and invasion. Look at what it has bought.

  103. Helen

    This canard is identical in logic to the slur made by other RWDB columnists – that anti-war Australians didn’t march to protest about Saddam’s human rights abuses.

    More than that, Kim – she made that very claim herself. I’ve got the link somewhere in one of my collections-of-links for posts that may or may not see the light of day.

  104. Rob

    Why is it a canard? It’s perfectly reasonable to point to the left’s hypocrisy on these matters, just as it is to criticise the right. Both sides are selectively indignant.

    As an example, the left erupted in international outrage with tens of thousands in the streets when the French conducted their last series of atomic tests at Mururoa 10 or so years ago. But they said absolutely nothing when India and Pakistan did their tit for tat nuclear testing a few months later — atomic sabre rattling by two sworn enemies with a history of going to war over Kashmir. Vastly more dangerous and unsafe than the French tests, yet the anti-nuclear movement in the west said virtually nothing. A polite delegation from Greenpeace to the Indian ambassador in Canberra was all I recall.

    And Brendon, the current deplorable state of affairs in Gaza has been principally brought about by the Gazans themselves.

  105. Helen

    Strnge that we’re the ones that want women to be free and somehow the Islamists just don’t get it.

    That really makes me sick.
    Pro-Iraq warbloggers just want women to be free.
    Tell that to Riverbend (Baghdad Burning), rob – she’s on your blogroll after all.

  106. Adrien

    It’s perfectly reasonable to point to the left’s hypocrisy on these matters

    Yes it is.
    >
    And the Cultural Relativism taken to excess that has been fashionable amongst the (particularly postmodern) Left lately does enter into political/moral inconsistency when it attempts to champion the virtues of emancipating modernist movements like feminism and then to apply Star Trek’s first directive to cultures that can still be generally described as ‘pre-modern’.
    >
    People are right to criticize this.
    >
    And the criticisms don’t just come from the Right and the unaligned but also from the Left

  107. Kate

    Good to see you still here fighting the good fight and making life better for Muslim women Rob by putting us useless western feminists in our place.

    I’m sure you’ll be getting a thankyou card and some flowers delivered any day now.

  108. Rob

    The “we” referred to west, Helen — liberal western opinion. I put that clumsily. And I am not nor have I ever been pro the invasion of Iraq.

    Yes, I know Riverbend, and I like her blog — but she is not without her critics, notably at Iraq The Model, where she’s been accused of being an ex-Ba’athist apologist.

  109. Rob

    Yes, Adrien, I think the most telling and trenchant criticism has come from the left (cf The Euston Manifesto).

    Kate — I don’t make any apology for saying I regard women like Nadia Anjuman, beaten to death by her husband for keeping poetry alive during the days of the Taleban, as infinitely more heroic than self-indulgent western academics like Germaine Greer who would regard her murder, while regrettable, as a “cultural” thing. Or Kim (sorry, Kim), who slated responsibility for her murder home to GWB.

  110. Brendon

    Rob:

    And Brendon, the current deplorable state of affairs in Gaza has been principally brought about by the Gazans themselves.

    Thanks Rob.

    You made the point better than I ever could.

  111. Pavlov's Cat

    I regard women like Nadia Anjuman, beaten to death by her husband for keeping poetry alive during the days of the Taleban, as infinitely more heroic than self-indulgent western academics …

    … some of whom blogged about it when it happened, rather than using it for ideological convenience, well over a year later, by dragging it into a bit of trumped-up yoking-together of two different anti-left positions. Which is, apart from anything else, an insult to Anjuman’s memory.

  112. Rob

    Happy to help, Brendon. Don’t bother to thank me. It’s all in the day’s work for Captain Obvious.

  113. Kim

    Rob, what an unprincipled distortion of what I said.

    http://larvatusprodeo.net/2005/11/15/women-face-exceptional-challenges/

    I think you get some grim sense of self-satisfaction, like Bone does, from running around claiming that only you are truly concerned about these tragic events. Yet, where’s your passion for the oppression of women in countries where there’s not a link with Islam? And when will we see your famous petition take more than hypothetical shape? As I’ve repeatedly argued, the best way to go forward on these matters is to support those who are actually working on the ground in their respective milieux – giving moral and financial support. Grandstanding about your “outrage” might make you feel better, but it does absolutely bugger all to assist the women for whom you profess concern. And you never put forward any structural analysis of what could be done to assist and aid, preferring, it seems, to specialise in the practice of indignation and “outrage”, as does Bone.

  114. Kim

    And let’s make one point about Greer. Greer’s an interesting target for the Bones of this world – same generation (and we’re constantly told by anti-feminists that there are no young women who are feminists – again because they never look for any) and someone whose practice these days is the mirror image of Bone’s – attention seeking and occupying press column inches despite having nothing except hyperbole to sprout. Similarly, we have this obsession with “outrage” and street marches. I normally try to avoid generationalism, but it’s hard not to think that what we have here are internal stoushes between ex-lefties and pseudo-lefties who come from the same blinkered 60s/70s world. That might also explain the very selective engagement that these folk have with anything that doesn’t fit a bunch of dumbassed stereotypes that their mindsets are frozen into.

  115. Rob

    Ah, those were the days, when the great Evil P. was still with us.

    Tell you what, Kim: I’ll put up the petition (a bit amended) at my site, and shoot for 300,000 signatures.

    Meanwhile, you stump up a hundred bucks at some worthy and relevant agency, and if I agree with its aims and “mission statement” I’ll do the same.

    How’s that?

  116. Kim

    Rob, there’s lots of online petition sites which have software already installed to make it easier. J F Beck found one of them for his “We hate Lowenstein” petition.

    On the second suggestion, sure, you’re on. I’ll come back later and let you know my selection.

  117. Rob

    Excellent.

  118. Katz

    Gosh Rob, so many crocodile tears from the Right about the imagined moral shortcomings of the Left (as if the Left were some great shambling multi-limbed beast with a single brain).

    I’d like to have pointed out to me when the Right ever got off its lardy arse to protest anything, at least, that is, since Ratty took their guns away from them and he donned his kevlar vest in order to tell them.

    With so much hypocrisy and evil abroad in the world today, you’d think that the Right would be out in the streets permanently, showing the Left how they are now the moral vanguard of the world.

    Yet the Right never stirs its flabby stumps.

    Oh, the hypocrisy!

  119. Rob

    OK, Kim, I’ve found a site to host the petition. Here are the suggested words:

    Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a crime against women, against humanity and against nature. No appeal to a historical, religious or moral code can justify or sanction this offence, any more than it could justify or sanction the practice of slavery. FGM is the scream the child who cries in the night – the black night that lives at the heart of the souls of men, in all places, in all cultures. We call upon all governments, and most particularly those who give their explicit or implicit consent to this atrocious practice, to pursue and prosecute those who practice FGM, for whatever reason, and for whatever justification, to the full extent allowed by domestic and international law; and, where those laws are lacking, to act in accordance with the principles of freedom, choice and justice that constitute the foundations of the modern world.

    Thoughts?

  120. Rob

    Oh for Christ’s sake, Katz, I’m trying to get some good going here.

  121. Katz

    Why restrict it to female?

  122. Rob

    FGM is the scream the child who cries in the night – the black night that lives at the heart of the souls of men, in all places, in all cultures.

    Substitute:

    FGM is the scream of the child who cries in the night – the black night that lives secretly in the souls of men, in all places, in all cultures.

  123. Rob

    OK, it’s done. I’ll post the details when they register at the site.

  124. Brendon

    I don’t know if Pamela Bone, or anyone else, has addressed the recent case of Sabrine Al Janabi. She has claimed she was raped by Iraqi security guards. And no less than 24 hours later the patron of these men – none other than Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki – smeared her character, cleared the guards, and even offered to “reward” them.

    The case is important because of the Prime Minister’s unusual and creepy involvement, and also because it highlights the powerlessness of a woman in Sabrine Al Janabi’s situation. It doesn’t have to be the Middle East, or a Muslim country. Here is the most powerful person in the land stepping up to call a rape victim a liar.

    Did this not get picked up by the press here because its about a government we are supposed to be supporting? This gets back to Kim’s point of selective and convenient issues over which to discuss women’s rights in the Middle East.

  125. Kim

    Yes, I read about her case, and it’s horrifying not just for her, but for the implications, as you say, Brendon.

  126. Kim

    A bit too rhetorical, Rob, that’s my thought. I’ll put up my NGO donation in a separate post over the next few days.

    Yet the Right never stirs its flabby stumps.

    Whereas I stir my lithe stump, Katz! :)

  127. Katz

    It goes without saying, Kim.

    If Rob believes that empurpled prose is necessary to convince folks to signify their distaste of clitorodectomy, then why leave anything to chance?

    For a ha’porth of tar the ship was lost…

  128. Rob

    Purple prose is my greatest weakness, Katz. I fight against it all the time, but to no avail.

  129. Rob

    Here it is, for those interested.

  130. jo

    rob,

    here are links to NGO’s which are working specifically in the areas under discussion:

    http://www.iwda.org.au/wp/category/project/
    this is an australian ngo which specialises in women’s development in our region specifically

    LINKS to Women’s Organisations working either in the Global South and/or Muslim Women’s groups and/or International Women’s groups:

    http://www.wluml.org/english/index.shtml
    “An international network that provides information, solidarity and support for all women whose lives are shaped, conditioned or governed by laws and customs said to derive from Islam”

    http://www.wluml.org/english/links.shtml
    A WHOLE PAGE of links to global women’s organisations working around the same issues (from the above org. – lots of v.interesting orgs.

    This is a link to an African women’s NGO specifically in relation to FGM
    http://www.rainbo.org/

    International Women’s Rights Action Watch – Asia Pacific
    http://www.iwraw-ap.org/

    http://www.wao.org.my/
    malaysian women’s aid organisation

    THIS IS ANOTHER PAGE OF LINKS – to women’s NGO’s from the malaysian women’s aid org – to more ngo’s – some in malaysia, others international
    http://www.wao.org.my/links.htm

    http://www.unifem.org/
    the united nations development fund for women

    finally, i like this indonesian based NGO – which is the umbrella organisation for hundreds of environmental groups across indonesia – its focus is environmental issues, development and also works in disaster management – tsunami, the recent earthquake etc. a bit off topic – but it’s great to see civil society in action in places like indonesia.
    http://www.walhi.or.id (there is a big english section)

  131. Kim

    Thanks, jo, that’s great!

  132. Kim

    Rob, you haven’t even signed your petition yourself. And why is it only addressed to countries with Islamic governments, pray tell?

  133. informally yours

    In this thread Rob has nailed it and I donâ??t care what side of the fence he normally sits on he is spot on about this. I was sickened by the first 6 lines of Kimâ??s original post and incensed by Markâ??s support for Feministingâ??s criticism of increased vaginoplasty procedures (which I shall deal with a little later).

    Bone has nailed them to the cross on this and they can only squirm and retreat into a defense of their cultural relativism. Rob is correct to expose cultural relativism as it is a huge part of the political malaise of both the left and liberals, but it is also at the very heart of the pseudo-left world view that Kim and Mark hold.

    Bone was clearly bashing the pseudo-lefts, feminists and anyone else that is so confused that they have no solidarity with the oppressed women of the Middle East. How small-minded to complain that on International Women’s Day she reckons there are more important domestic issues and then criticises a woman who does as ranting. It was no rant for it was not overly theatrical, bombastic or in any way over the top. Pamela Bone has not made a good living out of being a journalist because she rants.

    Kim brings her own womenâ??s movement into further disrepute when she pillories Janet Albrechtson for being a â??feminist of convenienceâ?? rather than actually tackling and refuting whatever it is that got up her nose about what Albrechtson is saying.

    My one minor criticism of Pamela Bone is with her faith that the 1995 Beijing Womenâ??s Conference, which I actively boycotted by not supporting funding applications for attendance would produce solid results. I think it was clear then that it would not lead to anything other than the disappointments she now describes. But I admit the hype was difficult to resist. I remember at the time threatening to expose the myriad of money-grabbers seeking funding for it by producing a poster showing with the brave Chinese man standing in front of the column of Tanks saying â??Excuse me mate, is this the way to the Womenâ??s conference?â??

    I distributed this leaflet during IWD 2006, and with pseudo-leftists like Kim and Mark still maintaining the anti-Bush anti-Howard impotent rage (while the Universities and markets are still being bombed by the enemy of the genuine left) Iâ??m sorry I didnâ??t rub your noses in it again this year.

    Like former Age Journalist Pamela Bone, we are mystified as to why more western feminists are not standing firmly against tyranny and lifting their voices in support of the revolutionary attempts to liberalise the entire Middle East. The cultural relativism is simply mind-boggling especially when the position is thinly disguised isolationism.

    Compare this thread with what Kim, Mark and others have been churning out here at LP. The following could have been directed at them and not owenss.

    Your posts are a good illustration of the problem Pamela Bone was referring to.

    You know that if either the jihadis and Baathists or the Shia death squads are successful in stirring up full scale sectarian war and compelling US withdrawal the conditions for women especially, as well as the entire people will be darker for a longer time.

    You know that under those conditions there will be nothing resembling either women’s rights or “due process” and that rape in particular will be widespread and described as “revenge” with the same illogic as the 18 beheadings.

    But that doesn’t inhibit you from endorsing efforts to stir things up as long as it can feed into your primary concern – demonstrating that democratic change is hopeless and will only lead to chaos.

    I hope more media outlets give Pamela Bone much more column space to continue to expose pseudo-leftists and phonies like Kim and Mark. Her work stands out like a massive tree – while cowardly bloggers who vandalise threads and photos (Kim) and rrun from the issues in terror like Mark and others here are mere wind that blows past her.

  134. Kim

    I was wondering when the last superpower would turn up on this thread. I’m sorry, but your tone of outrage is just a little over the top (ie “sickened”). Since your main platform appears to be supporting the Iraq War (albeit from a Maoist perspective), I don’t think you’re in any position at all to be casting stones when it comes to the status of women in the Middle East. You could lay off the ad homina and ad femina too.

  135. Chris

    Bleh. That was pretty theatrical, bombastic and in some way over the top.

  136. Kim

    Not unusual for our friends at the last superpower!

  137. Katz

    Bone has nailed them to the cross on this and they can only squirm and retreat into a defense of their cultural relativism.

    Does this retreat involve the removal of nails?

    If not, how does one reteat while still being nailed to a cross?

    Just being curious.

  138. Kim

    I’m sure Donald Rumsfeld has some sort of high-tech, minimum force commitment strategy to accomplish such a mission.

  139. informally yours

    Kim rather obviously lacks a spirit of international solidarity to criticize another woman for raising international questions on International Womenâ??s Day! She simply cannot justify her position that Pamelaâ??s Bone article was a rant or schtick â?? ie over the top, comic or gimmicky.

    Pointing out that western feminists could do more to assist women labouring under rites of;

    â??female genital mutilation; or against honour killings, stonings, child marriages, forced seclusion or any of the other persecutions to which women are still subjected.â??

    is simply no kind of mistake on the part of Bone.

    My pointing out that Kim engaged in blatant vandalism of a thread, that drew a too mild rebuke from others in the next Saturday Salon (but as yet I’ve seen no apology from Kim) is not an ad hominem attack, it is rather an exposure of what Kim has done and encouraged others to do. I challenge anyone to point out where I have made any ad hominem attack.

    I know that no one person from this site would claim to speak for LP yet when I respond to Kim I am ‘the lastsuperpower turning up’! I have never described myself as a Maoist so Kim is the one who has really launched such an attack upon myself, by groundlessly calling me one and falsely implying that anyone who posts on LS is one. lastsuperpower ‘is a place for people who want to discuss what it really means to be progressive and left-wing in the 21st century – and where we can go from here.’ There was nothing â??Maoistâ??, about what I said; although I see no reason why any left-winger would not agree with me.

    Kim has not openly and honestly responded to any of my points and instead is taking up the method of shooting the messenger for being the wrong colour!

    Kim called my outrage â??over the topâ?? when I said I was â??sickenedâ?? by what I had read – but has not made similar criticism of Helen who said of something Rob wrote that it made her sick! Part of the reason for my disgust was that I am a veteran of several NUS conferences and policy processes and the sentiments reminded me of those expressed by members of the right-wing faction of the ALP students. They were/and probably still are explicitly against international solidarity campaigns, and after the Australian Union of Students (AUS) was crashed and burned they held up the formation of a new national union (NUS) on the basis that they wanted a constitutional bar of international policy.

    As for Katz, whatever mixed metaphors and clumsy sentences, were in my post, people with open minds will not be distracted from my overall argument. I am passionate about this issue and I think genuine people would rather deal with that, than read all the slick sentences of justification for why weâ??ve got to speak in terms of moral or other equivalences between labia piercings and FGM.

    This brings me to the second line of exposure of the cultural relativism being demonstrated in this discussion, this time by Mark as he pointed out that he along with Feministing was against the â??western craze for vaginoplastyâ??. He wrote;

    Thanks for the link, Adam. The point that Christians and animists also practice FGM in sub-Saharan Africa is an important one. Feministing has also pointed to the Western craze for â??vaginoplastyâ??:.

    If you follow the link we are told by Feministing that she is also against labiaplasty and that there is â??no scourge of exhausted pussies needing rejuvenationâ?? and that these procedures are about making the vagina more attractive â?? then links to the site explaining Female Genital Mutilation techniques. (As if that is about enhancement)

    The bottom line is that any woman undergoing a vaginal delivery is a potential recipient of a reconstruction or for laser treatment, or perineoplasty, to help with scarring due to tears during birth â?? Iâ??ve heard some horror stories of women splitting so far they require a colostomy bag.

    Treatment for scarring is not just about aesthetics it is about restoring normal function, securing pain relief , reducing thickened skin, and relieving shrinkage and tightening. So, Iâ??d bet that many of these kind of procedures are being performed not to tighten but to loosen! Even the labiaplasty, overwhelmingly women would not actively seek a reduction for aesthetic purpose but because they are too big which can cause significant problems with dryness and pain. etc

    As well, there is a particularly nasty autoimmune disease in which women and menâ??s genital tissue fuses, scars and shrinks and the changes are so bad as to potentially obscure the clitoris or the urethra causing associated issues. It can also affect the peri-anal region and perineoplasty is sometimes required to restore functionality. (google Lichen Sclerosis et Atrophicus, and or Balanitis Xerotica Obliterans to find out more about this scourge of pussies)

    Katz mentioned the clitoridectamy being objectionable â?? and so it is when it is practiced as FGM but would you rather have a clit job or die of cancer? This procedure is definitely not about aesthetics, it is a procedure generally but not exclusively used to prevent the spread of cancer and these patients can also benefit from laser treatment or reconstruction afterwards. (Thankfully reports indicate that even after this procedure there is still sensation)

    There may be some cases where the penchant in some Islamic tendencies towards FGM is being executed â??medicallyâ??, obviously this ought to be unlawful and definitely not subsidized by government or private health funds.

    I am against all surgery for no good reason, but these genital procedures are very often about women (and men) seeking the return of sexual functioning (and other genito-uro-anal function).

    There is some valid criticism expressed of advertising material by surgeons performing these techniques but she goes from this into an attack upon the individuals who undergo them. IMV she is unable to separate the advertising questions from the actual reason women would seek procedures like this.

    For these reasons this view is very ill-advised and easily becomes a dangerous attack on womenâ??s individual right to determine their need with their Dr for surgical â??rejuvenationâ?? where available. It is â??dangerousâ?? because in this economic rationalist culture arguments like this can be used to restrict subsidized or general access to these often essential procedures. (A similar thing occurs with criticism of the increase in so-called â??electiveâ?? C sections)

    The majority of these procedures are genuine cases of necessity and not aimed at male gratification.

    Despite protestations to the contrary – to equate this as a â??crazeâ?? as Mark does, and as being on the spectrum of FGM which is designed to ensure women donâ??t experience sexual pleasure is the starkest example of relativist thinking Iâ??ve seen for a while.

  140. Nabakov

    “Kim engaged in blatant vandalism of a thread”

    You thought that was blatant thread vandalism? Watch this.

    I’m quite impressed by how informally’s last comment segued so smoothly from old student politics schisms to reviving tired and damaged cunts.

  141. John Greenfield

    Nabakov

    And we are all delighted that you are so revived! ;) )

  142. Kim

    Your entire comment indicates you don’t accord respect to others’ right to disagree with you and be in good faith, and you claim that I’ve pinged you as representative of the last superpower is immediately followed by an assertion that everyone who is on the left should agree with you. And throwing around stupid terms like “pseudo-left” hardly promotes debate.

    My whole point in the post was to argue that Bone is wilfully blind to what Western feminists are doing. That’s been backed up on this thread, ad infinitem.

  143. Chris

    Oh come on informally yours credit where credit is due. Im the one who said you were over the top.

  144. informally yours

    I rest my case. Kim can’t justify ad hominem, schtick or rant.

    Nabakov, Thankyou for the compliment. Also, I am pleased that you’ve noticed the difference between mutilation and rejuvenation of cunts. (Also that John can see the benefits of a revival) But you’ll have to try harder than that if you want to beat Kim’s vandalism record – she disrupted a thread and caused it to be closed for bandwidth reasons by posting a photo saying it was someone she wanted to get up close and personal with!

    Chris I agree, credit/responsibility where it’s due – read it again – you were not the ‘one’ who said it, Kim also said it was over the top. Don’t try and make me appear confused about who is saying what. Do you also think it was over the top for Helen to say what Rob wrote made her sick? Also, since you’ve weighed in don’t you feel a bit compromised by avoiding the substance and churning out one-liners? Lucky it’s going masked here.

    Kim, I am not making wrong claims about what you have done, ‘you claim that I’ve pinged you as a representative of the last superpower’. Well what did you do if you didn’t ‘out’ me when it was completely irrelevant to the argument whether I am with ‘em or not? Did anyone say ad hominem?

    Why would I think everyone on the left should agree with me? This is nothing more than a ridiculous attempt at diverting attention. Using the term pseudo-left seems to have really gotten up Kim’s nose but what pray tell is the difference between me saying this and Kim referring to ‘real feminists’. (Bone not being a real feminist – Albrechtson being a ‘feminist of convenience’ etc) To me there is more theoretical justification for referring to a pseudo-left than to pseudo-feminist since feminism is supposed to be about all women.

  145. Kim

    Two points:

    Your nick links to the last superpower. So I’ve hardly outed you.

    You came very late to the debate, and all you do is agree with Bone and abuse people. Ipso facto, anything you said (aside from questioning people’s bona fides) has already been thrashed out in the extensive debate over Bone’s article.

  146. Kim

    And the final point you make that feminism is “supposed to be about all women” is one of the oldest antifeminist canards in the book.

  147. informally yours

    Yeah right – Like the point i made that there is nothing close to equivalence between labiaplasty etc and FGM was hashed out by everyone else previously, or that my final point was about anything less than making you think about where your own views reflect a similar fault as what you’ve attacked me for.

    Still can’t defend ad hominem, schtick or rant.

    Looks like Kevin Rudd is not the only one with a glass jaw.

    Not the church, not the state, women must decide their fate.

  148. Kim

    I’ve got to go to work, I might get back to you. You should consider that people don’t necessarily have infinite time to respond.

    Not the church, not the state, women must decide their fate.

    How do you square that with Bone’s support for the Iraq War, I wonder?

  149. Chris

    Informally yours while I do enjoy producing one-liners I think you will find I actually have made a substantial contribution to this thread. It pertained to spurious allegations of moral relativism and the culture warrior’s refusal to address pragmatic obstacles to idealistic schemes.

  150. Gummo Trotsky

    Not the church, not the state, women must decide their fate.

    Catchy! What a blast from the past. Personally, I prefer

    1 2 3 4!
    Shouting slogans is a bore!
    5 6 7 8!
    Let’s go home and fornicate!

  151. Gummo Trotsky

    By the way, trying to start a chant on a blog comments thread is the most inept thing I’ve seen all week.

  152. jo

    The fact that Bone actually dates the supposed decline in feminist activity from 1995 and doesnâ??t then correlate it to the election of Howard Govt. in relation to Australian feminists, suggests either, she hasnâ??t thought this through very clearly, or she is being wilfully deaf and blind to what has happened in this country since 1995.

    I was going post a humungous detailed list of the vital domestic issues we having been fighting this Govt on – since 1995 – including industrial relations, medicare, childcare, aged care, public school funding, tertiary sector funding, the institutionalisation of religious groups into our social and welfare systems, plus others â?? all bread and butter issues that directly affect Australian women and their children everyday.

    And lets not mention the total de-funding and abandonment of civil society by this Government, and to add insult – the silencing of dissent by threatening remaining funding and/or changing rules and statutory requirements for even mainstream community groups which advocate for social justice etc, etc.

    And the waste of a whole decade of concerted effort by environmental groups whoâ??ve spent this entire time, just trying to get climate change and sustainable energy policy onto this Govtâ??s agendaâ?¦.

    And of course â?? all the other issues this Govt has presided over which have taken up SO much time â??the disgraceful treatment of refugees, their incompetency in relation to the AWB, Hicks, and of course the insanity of Iraq, etc etc.

    Feminists in Oz have been very busyâ?¦â?¦. fighting a fecking huge home-based 11 year campaign on a hundred fronts – against the most regressive and authoritarian Govt, this country has seen for decades, if ever.

    If weâ??d had a decent Government – or at the VERY LEAST a non-partisan media reporting without fear or favour, and holding Howard to account on so many issues – then I know, I would have had more resources, most importantly financial, for international campaigns like FGM etc – rather than trying to save our own rights at work, our own childcare services, our own public health and education systems from total ruin.

    I hope I’m not speaking for other women here – but this is what I’ve observed for myself – and I also agree with Kim, that the best way to support these campaigns is to support the women directly involved, and not preach at them from 10 thousand miles away.

    AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, ALL OF THIS, IS NOT TO SUGGEST that there just arenâ??t many, many committed feminists and all sorts of activists in Australia and internationally – who arenâ??t working right now on FGM and all other anti-women practices in ALL countries â?? Islamic or otherwise. (see page of links above) And the last thing these activists need to read – is that they ‘dont exist’ from journalists like Bone (as Kim originally posted). Nor did Bone link to any anti-FGM groups.

    So either way â?? Bone and her supporters here, are just wrong.

    Shorter Bone â?? â??durr, what happened to all the Australian feminists since 1995, durr?â??

    (And for her to cast stones at Australian feminists for not doing enough – from the pages of that Rupert Murdoch rag, while taking his filthy lucre, is the absolute zenith of hypocrisy, IMO.)

    **End of rant** phheww.

  153. informally yours

    Not the church, not the state, women must decide their fate.

    How do you square that with Bone’s support for the Iraq War, I wonder?

    A chant from a liberation movement, specifically renouncing the views of the current enemies of all progressive people is self evidently a chant of support for the liberation of the Iraqi peoples’.

    I reconcile a war for liberation with the chant from a liberation movement that could have specifically been written to deal with the current insistence of some Islamists that it is their church that ought to control the state and keep women under the control of men!

    Though I’m an atheist I accept that the vast majority of people in the Middle East are still believers and that they will therefore form believers parties and win democratic elections. I believe in democracy and so I am delighted that the Iraqi peoples’ have devised and implemented a democratic constitution that allows atheists like me the right to be a non-believer, and to own media and form political parties etc. I am determined to encourage and support the Iraqi peoples’ efforts to fight off those who would undo such a constitution.

    However it is in the main Islamists that must reform Islamic countries and though my principle unity is with atheists in those countries I also urge unity with Islamists to defeat Islamofascists.

    To ‘get it’ I suppose that one first has to identify that the principle enemy (Baathism) was not a secular friend to whom women could and should unite with, or excuse, such as I have seen expressed on other threads at this and other sites.

    Iraq under the tyranny was a society where the lawful tyrant beheaded hundreds of women and nailed their heads to their front door!! (the purity campaign) Baathism is the bloody enemy of all humanity. But the likes of Guy Rundle for instance and other pseudo-lefts actually hoped for the defeat of the Coalition forces. Who did he think would win if the Coalition lost?

    I want to turn the question around and ask how do you support women’s liberation and not support the illegal but self evidently revolutionary war of liberation, directed against the ‘lawful’ Baathist tyranny in Iraq and continued against the anti-women elements known as Sunni Jihadists such as Al Qaeda and the equally repulsive Shia death squads?. They are the enemy now. I don’t hold out much hope of an answer as my previous comments and questions remain unanswered.

    Frankly it doesn’t matter if you were for or against action in Iraq, we are there now and the consequences of withdrawal are obvious to most people except perhaps to those who are labouring under their delusions about the way the world operates.

    The notion that either I or Pamela Bone suffer from Islamophobia because we are unrelenting critics of unreformed religious types be it Catholics or Protestants burning ‘witches’ or the current blatantly obvious Muslim reactionaries is stupid.

    … feminism ended, not with a bang but with a whimper.

    To highlight what Pamela is saying along comes the poor over-worked whimpering Jo.

    Apologies if that has gone off topic but i didn’t want to leave it unanswered as it has been quoted previously as criticism of Pamela Bone.

  154. Gummo Trotsky

    Not the church, not the state, women must decide their fate.

    I reconcile a war for liberation with the chant from a liberation movement that could have specifically been written to deal with the current insistence of some Islamists that it is their church that ought to control the state and keep women under the control of men!

    Except that it wasn’t specifically written for that purpose and, furthermore, is totally inapt to Islam. Forthe far from trivial reason that Islam is organised around the mosque not the church. I doubt that the mosque was ever the monolithic institution that the church became in European society in the middle ages – for example Islam in that age had no recognisable equivalent of a Pope.

    All you’ve offered in that last comment is a repetition of dated slogans with an incoherent rationalisation and more gratuitous insults and innuendo for anyone who disagrees with you – totally unconvincing. In my long career as a pseudo-leftist, I’ve met members of ASIO and the police forces who could expound Marxist theory with the same illucidity, incoherence and doctrinaire dogmatism. At least I think I have – you can never be sure.

    Not that I’d accuse you, informally, of membership of the security forces. Ideological stooge of the forces of bourgoise reactionism would be closer to the money. You wouldn’t even have the smarts to infiltrate the spartacist league.

    Oh dearie me, now I’m doing exactly what I’ve accused you of aren’t I? Never mind – sauce for the goose and all that.

    Apologies if that has gone off topic but i didn’t want to leave it unanswered as it has been quoted previously as criticism of Pamela Bone.

    Careful, my disingenuous little pretty, your second face is starting to show.

  155. Pavlov's Cat

    Excellent rant, Jo.

    I never liked that word ‘fate’ in the church/state one. It always sounded to me as though we were all doomed already and were merely demanding the right to choose our preferred death.

    So if we must chant, I propose an alternative:

    What do we want?

    Incremental change!

    When do we want it?

    In due course!

  156. Katz

    Informally Yours,

    I believe in democracy and so I am delighted that the Iraqi peoples’ have devised and implemented a democratic constitution that allows atheists like me the right to be a non-believer, and to own media and form political parties etc. I am determined to encourage and support the Iraqi peoples’ efforts to fight off those who would undo such a constitution.

    Who, precisely, are the “Iraqi peoples’”? It’s such a strange grammatical formulation. Are you conceding tacitly that it is impossible to speak sensibly about the ‘Iraqi people”?

    Which brings me to the substance of this post.

    1. The Constitution was devised in the United States. Neither the “Iraqi people”, nor the “Iraqi peoples” had any input. What, exactly is a “governorate”. Show me where any Iraqi ever used that word before “shock and awe”.

    2. Have you read the Soviet Constitution of 1936? That would have been a very pleasant country to live in. Unfortunately, as we all know now, the Constitution bore no relation at all to facts on the ground. Uncle Joe understood that useful idiots would accept his lies as the truth.

    Is there the slightest indication that the Shiite theocrats of Iraq intend to honour the sentiments of the US-imposed constitution?

    Please confirm your status as a useful idiot by answering “yes”.

  157. informally yours

    Chris, you have made a greater effort in this debate than I gave you credit for. Sorry.

    You agree with Pamela Bone in wanting to criticize relativism but say that her and Robâ??s benchmark is wrong that theyâ??ve made â??Spurious allegations of relativismâ??. Youâ??re splitting hairs to say Rob and Pamela have got their benchmark wrong, once youâ??ve correctly identified the problem of cultural relativism and when it comes to this the pseudo-left are guilty as charged.

    Kim has said;
    â??

    â?¦ none of the more structural issues about the position of women in countries like Iran and Iraq ever get a hearing from the â??feminists of convenienceâ??. Rather, they go for the ideological jugular and cite practices they can conveniently condemn as â??barbaricâ?? to roll in their Islamophobia with their partisan political agendas. Because thatâ??s what all this is about. It has bugger all to do with any real concern with women in Islamic societies and everything to do with scoring culture wars points here in Australia.

    What â??scoringâ?? is Pamela really up to? What are the structural issues Pamela a â??feminist of convenienceâ?? (or worse) has failed to raise? Are honour killings; stonings; child marriages; forced seclusion, female genital mutilation or any of the other persecutions to which women are still subjected considered relevant structural issues to raise?

    Mark agrees with Kim and wrote;

    â?¦ the Bones of this world, while ostensibly opposing â??relativismâ??, argue in wholly illogical and emotion laden terms.

    What is Mark actually saying here? That she is hiding the fact that she is really for cultural relativism? Or hiding the fact that she is really logical by using illogical and emotion laden terms?

    Itâ??s quite right to say that picking on â??stoningsâ??, etc, is an Islamophobic rhetorical move.

    So to criticize stonings means that one is Islamophobic? What a croc. What about women in Iran are they Islamophobic if they â??pick onâ?? stonings? Picking on stonings as a phrase is just another way of saying we canâ??t/wonâ??t judge the validity of the practice.

    As to my sloganising, (not the church, not the state women must decide their fate). I laughed out loud at Gummo Tâ??s follow up attack â?? what a contradictory mix of pedant PCer, and Male Chauvinist Pig he is.

    I am not Islamophobic I am an atheist and thus an Islamocritic. I am unashamedly for the separation of church/mosque – religion and state and against the imposition of Islamic Sharia law. I am unashamedly for women wearing whatever the hell they want and not being ostracized or worse for doing so.

    I am also unashamedly against social relations based upon bride price and dowry and polygamous temporary marriages as administered by the Mullahs. (It is primarily dowry that is the economic underpinning of the continuation of FGM) I am also against the Catholic religion when it tries to ram its moral code down the throats of everyone.

    I support liberation and that means making judgements about what is and is not acceptable cultural practice.

    I condemn suicide bombing;chlorine bombs;flying planes into buildings; bombing market places;panicking pilgrims;University bombings etc and all expressly timed to inflict maximum casualties – any People’s international worth its salt would have had to throw its support behind sending troops to help fight the Islamofascists ie behind the British Labor Party’s support for sending troops and continuing to support their presence until the job is done. The Australian Labor Party has shamefully played opposition games and are all rhetoric, huff and puff on this issue.

    I think Katha Pollitt from TPM Café has given some of the most hopeful commentary for progressives on Womenâ??s Day 2007 here is a short excerpt.

    To end on a hopeful note, over in Brazil, Lula urged men to use condoms. “Sex is something everybody likes, it’s a biological necessity for humans, so what we must do is teach,” he said. “We have to improve the gray matter in people’s brains so they understand that women should be respected.”

    Note to country: let’s find a president who talks like this.
    And one who acts like this: the AP has a story about the extraordinary changes Michelle Bachelet has been able to make in Chile’s highly sexist and socially conservative society. Under her aegis, hundreds of childcare centers and women’s shelters have been opened, women have won the right to breastfeed at work, penalties have been increased for alimony avoidance, and women have been admitted to the naval academy. In a country where women are grossly underrepresented in politics, women now hold half of all top administrative government posts, including the Cabinet. Most controversially, and despite bitter opposition from the Catholic Church, Bachelet has issued a decree mandating local government to offer free emergency contraception to girls and women 14 and older.
    All this in just one year! Let’s hope for more wonders in time for International Women’s Day 2008.

  158. Pavlov's Cat

    Ms Yours, it’s ‘what a crock’ as in ‘what a crock of sh*t’ — nothing to do with crocodiles. Or shoes.

    Don’t be annoyed, I’m just trying to help.

  159. Chris

    I donâ??t think I am splitting hairs at all. The charge of cultural relativism can, and I have argued has been, overused to the point where pragmatists are argued out of existence. This framing of arguments in purely moral terms is not fair to the pragmatists who I believe represent the views of the majority in many cases. It can also have genuinely injurious consequences.

    I would say Iraq is a good example of this. The proponents of the war spent a great deal of time accusing their critics of moral relativism and trumpeting their own righteousness, with few bothering to discuss the genuine obstacles to establishing a liberal democracy in the Middle East. As has been reported here President Bush is still more concern with his own moral rectitude than anything else.

    As has now been repeated over and over again there was nothing like a decent plan for post-war Iraq. This is a criticism made by both supporters and critics of the war. I would suggest that part of the reason for this was the Bush Administrations refusal to listen to pragmatic voices rather than those beacons of â??moral clarityâ?? (including Bush himself) who told brainless sweets-and-flowers stories about being greeted as liberators.

  160. informally yours

    Thanks Pavlov’s Cat. No offense taken. I thought it didn’t look quite right and then thought it doesn’t matter – but of course it does matter if you are trying to make argument and headway in academic circles. BTW how about we organise an Adelaide Grogblog maybe after the current festivities?

    Chris, I have refrained until now from dealing with the question of Iraq in detail because this is a thread about International Women’s Day and the Bone article and so want to stick to the topic – you’re not dealing with the substance of what I or Pamela Bone has said, you’re throwing issues around in a way that deflects because your argument that its about pragmatics is going nowhere. If you engage with what I have said rather than avoiding it or excusing the problem when you see it you can make a significant contribution to the debate, however despite your efforts you are not yet doing so.

    But you are on my side like it or not.

    This war must for purely pragmatic reasons be fought until democrats are victorious despite the protracted nature of it. Defeat is not an option! People’s attitude to the original military action in Iraq is of no consequence now. After the three elections of 2005 there was a line drawn under the ‘old war’ and also of the anti-war arguments. Iraqi politicians now run a democratic country (at war with three anti-democratic forces) and at the heart of the Middle East that is a revolution that is affecting the entire region. Here is a quote from a debate that patrickm had on bradblog back in December 2005.

    This is good stuff. Whatever the protests are about, they are not going to substantially change the result of the election.

    A government of national consensus will be formed after some weeks, or months of negotiations and the current hysterics about Iraq just becoming a theocracy of the Iranian type will be shown as just uninformed reaction.

    The situation is very much one of ‘steady as she goes’ across most of the country, with the Kurdish peoples’ leading by example, as they continue to develop their security through maintaining the Peshmerga, thus maintaining all their political freedoms while they continue the process of modernizing their culture.

    Nobody will be imposing anything on the Kurds, and they would be protected by the international community if anyone tried to. They are the rock of the bourgeois democratic revolution in Iraq.

    But IMV Baghdad ultimately decides the issue of democracy in Iraq. By that I mean that it is like New York in the US during the civil war. In the immortal words of Rhett Butler ‘there is not a cannon factory in the whole South, all we have is cotton, slaves and arrogance’.

    The industrial power of the North was always going to dominate once things got rolling.

    The big cities dominate around the world. London dominates England despite the cultural upsurge from Liverpool in the sixties. Have a look at a map of the world; size really does matter.

    So, if the religious goons oppress people (which they tend to do) where they live, then the people being oppressed will eventually run-away to Baghdad; or if they have to they will run-away to as far as Arbil where the goons won’t be allowed to follow. The big city will generate the cultural norms for the whole country (eventually). But it may be that Arbil acts like Yenan did in China for some years of this struggle.

    However as the ongoing struggle for democracy unfolds it will be protracted and multifaceted. It will take a decade or more before the full impact of the liberated youth in particular starts to flower. But the flowers will be across the entire Middle East not just Iraq. It is all coming into play, and people should ‘cast away illusions and prepare for struggle’.

    The left has been swamped and confused by muddle-headed pseudo-leftism for decades and this thread demonstrates exactly what Bone was trying to explain. Anyone that had anything to do with the genuine left would just laugh at the idea of gradual incremental change being sought from the Baathist tyranny. It almost requires people to be brought up in a Western bourgeois democracy to talk such twaddle. Presumably we would require the Baathist regime to only behead 190 women in 2007 and 180 in 2008 and 170 in 2009. Progressives are in a war with fascists that are prepared to use tanker loads of Chlorine FFS. Just as WW2 was not a matter of shutting down gas chambers one by one but of total unrelenting war until the enemy of all decent humanity was completely defeated so to this war.

    Katz you are wrong. Go back to the Baathist invasion of Kuwait and you will find that Saddam called Kuwait the 19th province of Iraq. There were these administrative divisions in Iraq.

    Constitutions do matter and the Iraqi people made theirs and approved it in free and fair elections. Forget the Soviet example, but yes you are right it was a great Constitution and little wonder those fantastic revolutionary people and country could defeat the might of the Nazis – that swept away the French and all the others in months. Think about the USA. Here is what patrickm had to say in the same debate about the question of democracy in Iraq.

    Your notions of what the USA is sounds more like a country that dropped from heaven rather than one formed from a revolutionary struggle against British rule.

    That new country formed by the activities of the revolutionaries like the slave owner Jefferson, would be almost unrecognizable to you and totally unacceptable.

    It required the huge undertaking of the Civil War to drag many more people to the realization that ‘We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal.’

    This was not the end of citizens having to be forced by governments because the reality was still bestial conduct requiring ongoing struggle and culminating in the mass movement of the 1960’s. Whole sections of the country were forced to change by the federal government.

    The United States were anything but united and many paid with their lives, not least the brave Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and all the thousands of others.

    At all stages, the USA was supposed to be a democracy while people were being shot through the head trying to make it a reality.

    Iraq will go through the same process but it will thankfully be far quicker. We should not doubt that when we have been witness to such massive changes.

    Actually this is what has been happening since humans came down from the trees.

    What was forced on the Confederacy after an invasion and occupation does qualify as democracy, and so does what just happened in Iraq, where over 90% of the people have been liberated and have voted themselves for a constitution that is democratic; both of us would come up with a better constitution no doubt (but by the same token we wouldn’t tolerate a slave owner like Jefferson either).

    Anyway thanks for giving me the opportunity to demonstrate that the coalition lives being lost in Iraq are not being lost in vain – unlike the lives of the women undergoing FGM.

  161. informally yours

    Just wondering if I’m being moderated – or if a recent response has been lost in the ether and i need to re-do it? It did briefly appear on the roll can anyone let me know please.

  162. FDB

    What do we want?

    Incremental change!

    When do we want it?

    In due course!

    Genius.

  163. Katz

    Ah, yes. Silly switching of the subject.

    Katz you are wrong. Go back to the Baathist invasion of Kuwait and you will find that Saddam called Kuwait the 19th province of Iraq. There were these administrative divisions in Iraq.

    It is clear that you have gone in desperate search of the term “governorate” and came up empty.

    This is what I said:

    What, exactly is a â??governorateâ??. Show me where any Iraqi ever used that word before â??shock and aweâ??.

    Yes there were provinces. Never denied this.

    But what is a governorate? This is a political question, not a geographical question.

    We could stop calling Victoria and Queensland states of Australia and begin calling them the caliphates of Australia. Geographically, we’d have a fair idea of the location and dimensions Caliphate of Victoria.

    However, politically, would the Caliphate of Victoria make any sense to you?

    Of course not.

  164. Katz

    PS, in confirmation of the above info, I came across the meaning of “Iraq”.

    Iraq = well rooted.

    Says it all, really.

  165. Chris

    Umm Im not sure what makes you say my argument about pragmatism is going nowhere. I have seen nobody directly attempt to justify arguing in a way that ignores pragmatic concerns. Rob (I think) suggested we should condemn dodgy practices in the third world wether those in charge in such countries care or not, but thats hardly a knock-out blow to my argument.

    I was not trying to change the subject by mentioning Iraq. Much earlier in the thread I offered two examples, aside from that of Bone and her view of feminism, in which I see pragmatic ideas as having been ignored. These were multiculturalism and Iraq.

    In my last post I wanted to explain how this was not just abnoxious but materialy harmful in some cases. Iraq was the best example I could think of, since of the three examples I mentioned it was the one where the moralists had got their own way.

  166. Kim

    Governorate, I think, Katz, is a term that was used under the Ottoman Empire.

  167. Katz

    I see…

    So the neocons of the PNAC, in pursuit of their “beacon of light” in the Middle East, adopt a defunct term from the Ottoman Empire, whose imperialist connotations no doubt irriated the hell out of Iraqi nationalists.

    Quaintly, in the context of the overall fiasco, this makes sense.

  168. Kim

    They may have adopted the term from reading about the first excercise in neo-colonialism – the British post WW1 invention of Iraq.

  169. John Greenfield

    Katz

    Just like “Palestine” is a defunct term of the British Empire, eh? ;

  170. John Greenfield

    Katz

    The admintsrative divisions of the provinces of the Ottoman empire were known as vilayets, within which were sanjaks.

  171. tigtog

    Just like â??Palestineâ?? is a defunct term of the British Empire, eh? ;

    It was a defunct term of the Roman Empire long before the Brits got their mitts on it. To the Romans, Jesus was a Palestinian.

  172. John Greenfield

    tigtog

    You are being just as irrelevant as you are wrong. I am too tired to give you a history lesson now. You shall have to wait for morning. But please spare us all more “Palestinian” porn. I am quite sick to death of hearing about them

  173. Kim

    Yes, and they’d be sick to death of hearing from you too, if they didn’t have rather more pressing concerns to occupy them.

  174. Katz

    Just like â??Palestineâ?? is a defunct term of the British Empire, eh?

    That doesn’t even make good nonsense.

    The British Mandate of Palestine was a product of the League of Nations.

    This is what the Zionist Organization’s Chaim Weizmann reported to his colleagues regarding the existence of Palestine:

    There are still important details outstanding, such as the actual terms of the mandate and the question of the boundaries in Palestine. There is the delimitation of the boundary between French Syria and Palestine, which will constitute the northern frontier and the eastern line of demarcation, adjoining Arab Syria. The latter is not likely to be fixed until the Emir Feisal attends the Peace Conference, probably in Paris.

    If Weizmann could admit the existence of an entity called “Palestine” why can’t JG?

    The term was in fact first adopted by the Romans. By 1948 the overwhelming majority of the population of the British Mandate of Palestine accepted the existence of an entity called “Palestine”.

    Many of these persons were soon expelled from their own property.

    Britain’s major contribution to the term “Palestine” was to accept its extinguishment through the termination of the British Mandate of Palestine in 1948.

  175. tigtog

    You are being just as irrelevant as you are wrong.

    The region has been known as variations on Philistia/Palestina/Palestine since before the Philistines thrashed the Israelites in 1050BCE. The Philistines were more closely related to the Phoenicians of Syria than Arabs from the Arabian peninsula, but millennia of interbreeding has rendered that distinction moot. The name Palestine comes from the Philistines – Goliath was a Palestinian, and as Galilee and Judea formed part of the Roman province of Palestina, then Jesus and all the apostles were considered Palestinians by Rome.

    Your analogy to a term foisted upon Iraq by the Ottomans much more recently is a poor one.

    I am too tired to give you a history lesson now. You shall have to wait for morning.

    Oh, I can hardly wait. Do you get up early? I do, and will await your insights keenly.

    But please spare us all more â??Palestinianâ?? porn.

    Cite, please? I have never posted porn, Palestinian or otherwise.

    I am quite sick to death of hearing about them

    Then why did you bring them up? Everybody else was talking about Iraq.

  176. j_p_z

    tigtog — close, but not quite exactly. The region was indeed, as you’ve noted, known for long stretches of time as some variant on “Philistia,” after the Philistines; but in Jesus’ time it was still “Judaea,” as in the Kingdom of — a client-state arrangement which the Romans granted it in lieu of outright provincial status, very rare at the time for a nation conquered by Rome to retain (hence all the ill-will directed at guys like the Herods, etc etc). The Romans deliberately re-named the place “Palestina” once again, to spite the rebellious Jews after the last failed rebellion in which the Temple was destroyed (viz. to politically erase the word “Judaea”); but this was a few generations after Jesus, whom the Romans would probably have called a Judaean, a Gallilean, or more probably a Nazarene (that’s what the Roman Pilate in fact literally called him ["I.N.R.I"]). The word “Philistines”/”Palestinians” is old, but not constant; or, singing:

    They’ve been going in and out of style,
    But they’re guaranteed to raise a smile.

    Nor does it refer ethnographically to everyone who happens to occupy the real estate at any given moment. Indeed, was Pilate himself a “Palestinian”?

    Consider the Britons (Brittani), who were/are emphatically NOT the same as “Englishmen,” and who predate them in those islands by millenia.

    as to “The Philistines were more closely related to the Phoenicians of Syria than Arabs from the Arabian peninsula, but millennia of interbreeding has rendered that distinction moot.”

    That’s a handy bit of legerdemain. More exactly, millenia of interbreeding _brought on by the Arab invasion and conquest_ has rendered the question moot, by replacing the ethnographic Philistine identity with an Arab one. Bitter but not historically unusual — see Britons/Englishmen, above; or Ainu/Nihonjin, &c &c — as Stevens once said, “Pages of illustrations.”

  177. tigtog

    j_p_z, you are a pedant after my own heart! I got my dates out by about a century, true (confusing the tetrarchy incorporation in 6CE with later events).

    Serious history wonkery follows: when the Romans defeated the Hasmonean rulers of independent Judea in 63BCE, they chose to to favour the Judeans of the region over the Hellenic peoples, seeing as their domination of Greece was only a century or so old, thus they recognised the client kingship of the province of Iudaea. (Hellenic colonisers had called the region Syria Palaistina since the conquest by Alexander in 333BCE, continuing on from Persian/Babylonian administrative districts dating back to 722BCE.)

    However, the Romans always referred to Samaria, Idumea and Galilaea and Palaestina as regions distinct from Iudaea proper even when Herodians ruled them, and significantly kept the trading cities of Palaestina (the Gaza strip) for themselves outside Herodian control. The Hellenised peoples never stopped calling the region Syria Palaistina, as they regarded the Judean kingship as a quaint relic and a reactionary imposition.

    After the Bar Kochba revolt, Iudaea, Samaria and Idumaea were incorporated with Palaestina to make a single large province, for which the Romans chose to use the Hellenic name Syria Palaestina. So although they were suppressing the name Iudaea to spite the Jews, they weren’t reviving a long defunct name to do so, merely choosing to emphasise Greco-Roman traditions (since enough time had passed to safely fuse Greek/Roman cosmopolitanism) over Jewish traditions.

    Then the Byzantines just decided to call the whole extended area Palestina.

    As to interbreeding, there was plenty going on amongst all the peoples in the region over the millennia, not just Phoenicians and Arabs. There were all those colonising Babylonians, Persians, Greeks and Romans, too. Palestinian is as valid a term for the descendant peoples as Anglo-Saxon or Anglo-Celtic is for the British, if not more so.

  178. John Greenfield

    tigtog

    It is quite a hoot that the only part of your post you did not plagiarize from Wikipedia is the Tetrarchy of 6 CE. You are only nearly three centuries too early, but you are getting warmer. Try the Cambridge Guide or Pliny or Tacitus for your next bash. Also, might be nice if you stopped ignoring the Muslims in your historical howlers.

    I will weigh back in when you have sharpened your game.

  179. Brendon

    Informally Yours,

    I believe in democracy and so I am delighted that the Iraqi peoples’ have devised and implemented a democratic constitution that allows atheists like me the right to be a non-believer, and to own media and form political parties etc. I am determined to encourage and support the Iraqi peoples’ efforts to fight off those who would undo such a constitution.

    Article 2 of the Iraq Constitution:

    First: Islam is the official religion of the State and it is a fundamental source of legislation:

    A. No law that contradicts the established provisions of Islam may be established.

  180. tigtog

    the only part of your post you did not plagiarize from Wikipedia is the Tetrarchy of 6 CE.

    Do try and support that with a blow by blow comparison, won’t you?

    You are only nearly three centuries too early, but you are getting warmer.

    Which bit is three centuries too early? Don’t leave a girl hanging.

    Also, might be nice if you stopped ignoring the Muslims in your historical howlers.

    Why? Even if you ignore the Babylonians, Persians,Hellenes and Romans using variations on Philistia/Palaistina, the area was incontrovertibly known as Palestine by the Byzantines before the Muslims ever existed.

  181. jo

    tigs,

    you just don’t know who yer arguing with……. you’re up against……da dah…the

    2005 Mitchell Mature Age Student Prize Winner – for the best performance in a Level 1 History course by a mature age student in the Bachelor of Arts program, at UNSW ……….say hello – Mr John Greenfield. (worth $250 bucks!!)

    Is this bitchslapping? are we having fun?

    Seriously John, congratulations and hope that Level 2 went just as well. (Better than Most Improved.)

  182. patrickm

    The way this thread has been hijacked into a strange historical discourse on Palestine is very interesting. In the end both sides (those supposedly in favor of the Palestinians and those ‘against’), do not appear to be even aware that ending of the Zionist 40 year failed war for greater Israel is now on the top of the U.S. agenda. U.S. national interests now require it.

    The former U.S. policy of backing the Israeli settlers and the ongoing occupation has been reversed by GWB. The Israelis are being told that time is up. It’s time to go back to the 1967 borders (basically as unofficially negotiated at Geneva). Judea and Samaria are about to be ‘abandoned’ and a Palestinian State with its capital in Jerusalem is coming into being.

    In a short period huge numbers of Palestinian prisoners will be released. In a prisoner exchange allowing Marwan Barghouti http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marwan_Barghouti to take the leadership position in Fatah and move the Palestinians forward with a reformed Fatah. Next election, I will bet that the reformed Fatah will return to the government benches.

    Fatah, the party of Arafat (and joint co-founder Abbas) is now the ‘moderate’ partner for peace that the U.S. and Israel has ‘always wanted’. This is not a defeat for post WW2 U.S. policies in the region. OH NO. This is just the madness of GWB since 9/11 and the abandonment of those ‘sound policies’ that whoops led to 9/11. Remember the moderate regimes the U.S. allies, (both tyrannies) of Egypt and Saudi Arabia produced the terrorists.

    The war cabinet debates and strategic decisions to back democratic revolution (rather than to talk about it but in reality to be the biggest obstacle to it) have subsequently led to the so-called ‘disasters’ of Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon; Libya renouncing WMD programs; the routing of the Taliban in Afganistan; the recognition of the problem of Islamic fascism by the Pakistani and Indonesian governments; the liberation of the Iraqi peoples’; and the ruling elite’s panic is palpable in Jordan; Egypt; Saudi Arabia; Syria; and Iran. (where the Mullahs are truly hated by the youth, and it is a very youthful region, and so won’t last long either).

    The 40 year goal of the U.S. to bring a Palestinian State into existence on the lands known by the Zionists as Judea and Samaria is curiously coming about during the time of GWB but reading this thread one would think that there is nothing to see here except the ruins of ancient history. Like the Policeman calling for the onlookers to move along. Instead of analyzing what’s going on right now when Bone is calling for a defense of the democratic revolution in the Middle East and criticising the silence of the feminists in the face of that revolution this thread just confirms her proposition almost post by post.

  183. Nabakov

    “The way this thread has been hijacked into a strange historical discourse on Palestine is very interesting.”

    Oh yes, very interesting.

    Let’s get back OT and show eachother up by demonstrating who conspiciously cares more about the fate of beleaguered women in benighted cultures.

    So far, I feel it’s neck and neck between Informally’s pompous and disingenuous rotomontades and Rob’s farcially cynical petition which even he (at this time of writing) hasn’t even bothered signing himself.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better example of people picking a position just because someone else picked another one.

  184. John Greenfield

    patrick m

    My patience with you “Palestinian” porn merchants has expired. There is no, and never has been any, “1967 border.” Further, the so-called “Palestinians” do not have any political rights vis-a-vis Israel’s borders. Nor do they deserve any.

  185. John Greenfield

    Well jo, now that you know what you are up against, I am sure you will breathlessly await my every pronouncement! :) ) And thank you for the good wishes.

  186. GoAway Please!

    “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better example of people picking a position just because someone else picked another one.”

    The (Janette) Howard government might be a better example ?

    Apologies for being off the P.Bone topic, but I am compelled to add that the difference between FGM and labioplasty is: anaesthesia, choice and sterile environment.
    The presence of those 3 elements is why we tolerate mammoplasty and rhinoplasty and all the other plastys, because
    … it is not WHAT you do, but HOW you do it.

    (Although in the case of FGM, the WHY indicates fear on the part of the do-ers.)

  187. patrickm

    Brendon; You have to be pretty disingenuous to try and pull a comment-free two quote post implying that your position requires no explanation but is self evident from the comparison of the two quotes, when the very next two paragraphs you omitted from the â??proof quoteâ?? disproves oneâ??s entire attempt at fraud.

    Here they are.

    First: Islam is the official religion of the State and it is a fundamental source of legislation:
    A. No law that contradicts the established provisions of Islam may be established.

    B. No law that contradicts the principles of democracy may be established.

    C. No law that contradicts the rights and basic freedoms stipulated in this constitution may be established.

    There will be a mystery prize for posting other sections of the constitution that guarantee (in theory) the right to have no religion, and to own media, and to form political parties and all of these other basic rights (previously absent under the lawful tyranny) that make living under a democratic constitution worth defending against chlorine and university bombers etc.

    Now the curious thing is that just about everyone posting on this thread would probably have known that Brendon was not making an honest point, as most people would have had a look at the Iraqi Constitution at some stage. Yet people remained silent while Brendon was so brazen.
    Isnâ??t this another example of the silence of the feminists that Bone is exposing? Isnâ??t this just a dose of anti-Islamic fear mongering? What would people expect from an Islamic country in this period?

    Constitution’s can and will be amended over time but if basic bourgeois freedoms are now in place where they previously werenâ??t then isnâ??t this a case of â??What do we want incremental progress. When do we want it? In due course!â??

    However the revolutionary ‘incremental progress’ came about it is there now and the feminists here are not defending the progress of their sisters and brothers. They are silent still. There is instead a pointless wringing-of- hands and lamenting that war brought the liberation rather than it arriving as an incremental achievement of freedom granted to the Iraqi people by the now annoyed â??nationalistsâ?? constituted as Baathists, Jihadists and Shia Death squads.

    Yet that is the nature of change. Incremental changes develop a chicken in the egg. No amount of changes will hatch a rock or an unfertilised egg.

    The notion that liberation could be achieved without an armed struggle is a lie. It is a dangerous lie that would disarm the masses in the face of the enemies of all progressives. The Iraqi state must develop a powerful armed force that is able to fight and defeat those who would slaughter the masses. There is no going back sought in pcâ??s formulation. There is no support for Jordanian, Saudi and Iranian â??nationalistsâ?? who are killing people in Iraq.

    Perhaps Brendon, who is clearly familiar with the Iraq Constitution will grab the mystery prize by listing all the other relevant passages that informally yours has alluded to in her statement of support for the Constitution of Iraq.

    As Pamela Bone said â??Change is happening. It would be nice to think the women pushing for change had support.â?? They do among the open and honest left. Itâ??s just, as this thread has demonstrated, that the pseudo-left has for decades swamped the left and many people canâ??t tell the real item from the fraud.

  188. Katz

    sections of the constitution that guarantee (in theory) the right [to anything]

    Couldn’t have put it better myself PatrickM!

    How ’bout this one?

    Who is going to decide which laws are “unIslamic” and which laws are “undemocratic”?

    The Supreme Federal Court Article (90): 1st – The Supreme Federal Court is an independent judicial body, financially and administratively, its work and its duties will be defined by law. 2nd – The Supreme Federal Court will be made up of a number of judges and experts in Sharia (Islamic Law) and law, whose number and manner of selection will be defined by a law that should be passed by two-thirds of the parliament members.

    Article (91): The Supreme Federal Court will have the following duties: 1st – overseeing the constitutionality of federal laws before they are issued

    I notice that expertise in secular humanism doesn’t seem to be a necessary qualification to be a member of Iraq’s Supreme Federal Court.

    So, the Maoists and Pamela Bone are prepared to die in a ditch for — wait for it — Sharia Law.

    How ironic.

    How risible.

  189. Gummo Trotsky

    Given the current state of the Iraqi body politic, as entertaining as I find all this point scoring on the constitution, it’s nonetheless completely moot.

  190. Katz

    Too true Gummo.

    You are referring to the dire situation that is arising because of the high likelihood that Bone’s and the Maoists’ program for Iraq will fail.

    On the other hand, I’m talking about the utterly untenable situation that will arise in the highly unlikely circumstance that Bone’s and the Maoists’ program for Iraq will succeed.

    Either way, they’ve lost.

    Thus the deep irony and and bitter risibility.

  191. j_p_z

    Well, at least all of these quotations from the Iraq “constitution” have demonstrated one thing; it wasn’t written in America.

    We write *much* better constitutions than this horseshit.

  192. wbb

    The Iraqi state must develop a powerful armed force that is able to fight and defeat those who would slaughter the masses.

    Fantastic proposition for a country gripped by civil war, patrickm. We don’t have an Iraqi state yet. We have Kurdistan and a southern Iraq under various Shiite militias control and a US policed (badly) center writhing in agony. And we don’t have “the masses”.

    We have a number of factions trying to get a war on – the only think stopping them is the other war going on between ex-Baathists fighting Mujahadeen over who gets first crack at the infidel/Uncle Sam.

    Iraq is so not a case that can be reduced to mindlessly simplistic terms of the masses versus “those who would slaughter” them.

  193. patrickm

    Chris: as a materialist, I’m also against idealist schemes and believe that we ought to work from the material circumstances. So here we agree – yet at this point our policies seem to be poles apart.

    Why is your argument going nowhere? Your position regarding pragmatics leads to exactly the same problem as attempting to operate from principle only, namely – what does one do, when there are conflicting principles, or in the case of pragmatic considerations conflicting realities? (and there usually always are). Neither of these approaches is by themselves enough.

    Obviously neither of us is really saying that one ought to ignore principles, or ‘pragmatic’ considerations – the important thing is that both approaches (as total approaches) are limited in being a guide to possible best courses of action.

    You argue that cultural relativist is an overused term and that pragmatically people don’t want to change and that it is therefore a waste of space to try and make them change. Yet this view does not conform to the reality of even the last ten years, let alone the last century or last thousand years. Chris you have a very gloomy view of humanity and future possibilities.

    Anyway once you have lost the debate about the entry to the war in Iraq – pragmatically isn’t it necessary to move on and see the new reality/ies, and that is, that defeat is not an option and that it is necessary to support the troops by not contributing to white-anting the current action? (unlike Vietnam where progressives sought the defeat of ‘our’ troops).

    It appears to me that you have failed to take into consideration the most important pragmatic considerations involved in starting the war, and hastening the modernization of the Middle East. There was always going to be a war to rid Iraq of a minority, of a minority group lording it over the vast majority. (Note to end of history advocates watch this space.)

    The U.S. realists, those who presented themselves as pragmatists had turned out to be bankrupt.

    Iraq is but another ‘front’ opened in response to 9/11. It is a pragmatic battle ground of choice in a wider conflict. Put all the declaratory policy aside and consider what the actual national interests of the U.S. are and what is really being addressed by ridding Iraq of rule by tyranny.

    The terrorists that were given safe haven in Afghanistan were bred in Egypt and Saudi Arabia and Yemen etc, all tyrannies! Attacking all of these countries as some form of frontal assault would not have produced the positive region changing results whilst the Baathist regime was theoretically left in place in Iraq.

    By ripping out the heart of tyranny and reaction in the Middle East and assisting the Iraqi masses in building their new country (no matter how long it takes) a revolution will have been launched that has predictable results for the entire region with respect to the generation of terrorists of the Al Qaeda variety. They will be dried up by the people of the Middle East as they battle against the autocrats and theocrats.

    This war in Iraq is not about regime change, it is about region change and so far it is working. The enemy is desperate and fully revealing why there is no choice but to fight it and destroy it root and branch. The U.S. military has been revealed as useful (but in need of reform) while the people of the region are decisive. The whole region is seething and pregnant with the change that you claim is unwanted by the masses. You are demonstrably wrong. As the Maoists say; ‘Nations want liberation, countries want independence and the people want revolution.’

    Contemplate the booming conditions in the Kurdish region of Iraq where many of the most advanced sections of the Iraqi people are retreating to. Only a few years ago the old U.S. ally Saddam was gassing them. Iraqis threatened by the more backward elements have no friend or ally in the pseudo-left.

    Those who are fighting against the new democratic Iraqi government such as Baathists, Jihadists and Shia death squads are referred to as nationalists by Katz while she campaigns relentlessly to get the Coalition troops who are defending the people of Iraq out! Rather than realize that it is the people of Iraq who will determine what is to become of their country Katz thinks that the existence of the differing peoples’ confirms that the U.S. ought to break the country up.

    Katz holds the Government of Iraq that asks for continued assistance in waging this war and transforming Iraq in contempt and presents it as a theocracy administering Sharia Law. President Talabani and the reality of the Kurdish region and what his Presidency means for those who would ignore the constitution are completely ignored.

    Meanwhile the vicious product of the Al Qaeda generating Madrasses from Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan etc that encourage intentional bombing of the masses on a daily basis are only to be fought – apparently by the unarmed and divided Iraqi peoples’ (I wonder why Al Qaeda has a policy of dividing the Iraqi peoples’ and slaughtering the Shia?). No Western troops ought to fight unless the enemy comes to New York, or Madrid, or London, and Bali or Sydney apparently.

    Chris you say that one ought not take actions where the consequences may be negative, (materially harmful) ie protesting about women’s status in Iran for instance is likely to result in the regime either being more likely to do nothing, or worse. Or that the Iraq war is causing more problems than it is fixing for Iraqis, the coalition and neighbouring countries and therefore ‘pragmatically’ we ought not to have done it. Yet the enemies of modernity and Western bourgeois democracy hate us quite enough and that precedes any involvement in Iraq.

    If we took action on the basis of the possible unintended consequences we would not be able to think straight to get anything done. The disaster that the ‘precautionary principle’ is would unfold in all its paralyzing ‘glory’.

    The point is not to look at the world as a photo but as a complex series of processes and a new and complex series of processes were bound to unfold once 9/11 demonstrated to the entire world that realities (which had been unclear to many before) were thus birthed.

    For mine, the tendency to label oneself as a pragmatist is an ideological tool that really masks the class contradictions within society – much as the way the appeal to having the ‘common sense’ position does, but for the sake of advancing this discussion I’ll go along with its use as a useful political term.
    However, your posts reflect a meta form of pragmatism which is not in the final analysis very pragmatic at all.

    You are also idealist in the philosophical sense in that you are beginning from ‘principle’, or theory and not from the material conditions which in the case of the Iraq war relate to issues such as a prior invasion of Kuwait, UN sanctions not working, Saddam Hussein not abiding by agreements made at the conclusion of the Gulf War Mk1 when the realists sold out the Shia and Kurds and the Baathists took full advantage and slaughtered them. etc.

    No wonder the U.S. is hated all the policies previously pursued by the realists and supposed pragmatists have caused the world’s people to disbelieve the new policies.

    Revolutionaries are operating here in a very pragmatic manner. Leftists are uniting with ‘right-wingers’ like GWB and Blair and Howard to defeat fascists. Only the pseudo-leftists are sticking to their ‘theories’, despite reality junking them before everybody’s eyes. After doing their best to damage the war effort against the fascists in Iraq by presenting these murderous thugs as ‘understandable’ nationalists – who can doubt the reactionary nature of the silent pseudo-left?

    Here at this site it has been stated that it is Islamophobic to criticise anti-woman practices in Islamic countries and yet they will not accept that an elected government of an Islamic country will seek to mention their God in the Constitution and this is supposedly Sharia law.

    As an atheist this is not to my taste but as the constitution guarantees freedom of religion I accept that this opens spaces for alternate beliefs including my own. There is no shame or contradiction in accepting the outcome of elections even if they are not to our own persuasion. The contradiction is in the positions expressed by opponents of Bone’s position.

    It is necessary to do more than just outline one’s support for the right of ordinary people to get on a plane and have a holiday or visit their far away family without the fear of being hijacked or flown into a building. It is pragmatically necessary to fight back at people/political tendencies that go about bombing trains, and market places.

    It is anti-proletarian strategy and objectively anti-proletarian to make excuses for this behaviour or fail to fight it (the silence of the pseudo-left). However it is essential to deal with the ‘pragmatic’ root causes. We cannot chase and kill an endless stream of mosquitoes so it is fundamental to any pragmatic approach to deal with the argument that Mark.. etc ran from. see the posts around 9 January 2007 at 10:34 pm

  194. informally yours

    Whoops identity stealer again. The above post was not patrickm but the yours informally truly. Sorry Folks.

  195. Katz

    It has become clear that Informally Yours and PatrickM share a computer terminal. Is Pamela Bone holed up in the Great Leap Sideways People’s Collective too?

    For the record:

    1. IY has mischaracterised my position completely. I have favoured the retention of COW troops in Iraq on this very blog. In fact, I have criticised the COW for not being fair dinkum about their military commitments. I have argued that Iraq is being dismembered for US domestic political purposes in that Bush can neither commit deeper nor leave without destroying his “legacy”.

    2. I have never called for the partition of Iraq. IY is indulging in confabulation driven by ideological blindness. It would be immodest for me to do such a thing. My only aim here is to use the Iraq fiasco as part of the proof that Howard deserves to be defeated politically by members of his own party immediately, or failing that, to be defeated electorally at the earliest posssible opportunity.

    Are members of the Great Leap Sideways People’s Collective fed according to the length of their posts?

  196. Katz

    We write *much* better constitutions than this horseshit.

    So, j_p_z, how long after the acceptance of the Constitution of the New Iraq* did you change your mind about the wisdom of Bush’s Awfully Big Mesopotamian Adventure?

    *Sorry, I know I’ve linked it before, but as a symbol of bone-headed blindness stupidity and arrogance one cannot surpass the Grand Old Flag of the New Iraq™ ((Designed in the US).

  197. Kim

    Sorry to tell you, j_p_z, but a lot of it was drafted by Americans. Check out Stanford Prof and Condi friend (and now war opponent) Larry Diamond’s book – he was involved.

    Informally yours, if you’re going to accuse people of not engaging with you, let me give you a few reasons why:

    (1) On this particular thread you came very late to the debate, and I felt that I had justified my position, and that it had run its course. The fact that it had is probably why the discussion veered off, though you contributed to that as well.

    (2) It’s a blog! People aren’t going to wade through comments that are 1000 plus words long. Try to express yourself concisely.

    (3) The general ideological narrowness of The Last Superpower doesn’t lend itself to any debate. There’s nothing that anyone could say that would shift you, since you’ve made up your mind that we’re “pseudo-lefts” and that Bush is carrying out some sort of historical teleological mission. Assertions of faith don’t make for debates.

    (4) The combination of attacking others for being allegedly blind to suffering (in the face of evidence presented that Ms Bone is just flat out wrong) while prattling on about “democratisation” and “revolution” while condoning if not cheering on enormous human suffering is deeply unappealling. All this nonsense about the Iraqi “masses” ignores basic facts like 2 million of them having already left Iraq, with the UN predicting that another million will leave this year. That’s fifteen percent of the population.

  198. Katz

    Thanks for the heads-up on Larry Diamond Kim.

    Here is the transcript of a speech he made lamenting his role in US manipulation of the Iraqi Constitution.

    I particularly like this bit:

    And I can tell you that one of the things I most strongly objected to in the making of the interim constitution, for which I was an advisor, was the repeated insistence on the part of the United States that Iraq write into its interim constitution a provision that would enable a treaty, for example, a treaty granting permanent military bases, to be approved by the lowest possible threshold imaginable. Initially our position was, signed by the prime minister should be good enough. Then when the Iraqis, one of whom was a lawyer trained in the United States who has taught law in the United States and understands our constitutional system well, said, “Well, you have two-thirds vote of the Senate to ratify your treaties. That sounds like a reasonable threshold,” there got to be an interesting pushing and shoving match between the Iraqis and the United States. They said two-thirds, we said simple majority. It went back and forth down to the final night of the writing of the Iraqi interim constitution. And guess which vote was enshrined into the Iraqi constitution? Simple majority.

    How do you like your horse shit fixed?

    On the canard of US non-meddling in the Iraqi Consitution…

    Case Closed.

  199. Gummo Trotsky

    (4) The combination of attacking others for being allegedly blind to suffering (in the face of evidence presented that Ms Bone is just flat out wrong) while prattling on about â??democratisationâ?? and â??revolutionâ?? while condoning if not cheering on enormous human suffering is deeply unappealling…

    (5) Those long prolix posts are full of revealing and amusing little parapraxes (Freudian slips), such as the one Katz has already picked up and a lot of obvious self contradiction. For example:

    Your position regarding pragmatics leads to exactly the same problem as attempting to operate from principle only, namely – what does one do, when there are conflicting principles, or in the case of pragmatic considerations conflicting realities? (and there usually always are).

    Conflicting realities? That sounds a little difficult to square away with your avowed materialism. Still, I guess it spares you the odious task of actually arguing cogently and concisely with the “pseudo-left” – if they disagree with your long-term vision for the global proletariat, it’s most likely because they’re living in the wrong reality.

    You argue that cultural relativist is an overused term and that pragmatically people donâ??t want to change and that it is therefore a waste of space to try and make them change. Yet this view does not conform to the reality of even the last ten years, let alone the last century or last thousand years.

    Sorry, you can’t have it both ways – you can’t assert the existence of “conflicting realities” in one sentence, then go on to argue from a dialectically material “historical reality” later on. You tossed that reality out the window to make the point-scoring easier for yourself. You can’t have it back now.

    Only the pseudo-leftists are sticking to their â??theoriesâ??, despite reality junking them before everybodyâ??s eyes.

    No, you still can’t have it back. Sooner or later, you’ll have to learn to take care of your ideological toys. Particularly this dangerous little idea of “conflicting realities”:

    If we took action on the basis of the possible unintended consequences we would not be able to think straight to get anything done. The disaster that the â??precautionary principleâ?? is would unfold in all its paralyzing â??gloryâ??.

    The point is not to look at the world as a photo but as a complex series of processes and a new and complex series of processes were bound to unfold once 9/11 demonstrated to the entire world that realities (which had been unclear to many before) were thus birthed.

    There’s a pretty obvious self-contradiction embedded in those two paragraphs. In the first you assert that to take action we need to forget complexity – focus on the goal, lest we paralyse ourselves with what ifs (what if an aggressive military campaign in Iraq scares the shit out of the other declared members of the “Axis of Evil” and they start developing a nuclear deterrent, for example). Those can be dealt with in the usual Maoist fashion no doubt – apply the barrel of a gun. Then it’s all “hey, youse guys need to see the complexities, the wonderful world of out of control possibilities that has emerged, all waiting to be shaped and guided towards the end of achieving a global dictatorship of the proletariat. You need to deal with the new realities.”

    Sorry, I don’t think you’re mature enough to be playing with this “multiple realities” thingy. It better go back to the ideological toy-shop until your world view’s a bit more coherent.

    Maybe that’s something you can work over at tedious length in one of those discussion threads you’re so fond of linking to.

    As for your concluding sentence:

    We cannot chase and kill an endless stream of mosquitoes so it is fundamental to any pragmatic approach to deal with the argument that Mark.. etc ran from.

    Oh grow up, fer cryin’ out loud.

  200. informally yours

    Gummo – I ought to have written ‘realities’ and used quotation marks on every occasion but I would have thought it is self evident from the overall argument. What I was attempting to do was to use the concepts that Chris has used and to show their inadequacy.

    What I refer to as ‘conflicting realities’ is of course competing class interests and perspectives. There are of course perceived ‘realities’ but let us not go there in this thread. I felt sure you would have picked me for saying ‘pragmatics’ rather than pragmatism but maybe you are not such a pedant after all.

    The two paragraphs you highlight to throw up purported contradictions do not equate with what i actually said and so your reading of what you think I am saying namely that I argue that one has to reject complexities is wrong.

    Gummo you are the only one talking about the global dictatorship of the proletariat not me. I have used the term as a perfectly valid reference to the working people of the world – you know the one’s who have to go to work every day in fear that their train is going to be blown up. So it’s on to Kim and then back to the kitchen and the toy shop for me then.

    Kim I have not attacked you for being blind to the suffering of others. I have criticized you for being interested only in domestic issues on International Women’s Day – and I have defended Pamela Bone’s perogative to use her ‘soap-box’ to raise these concerns when given the opportunity on IWD. (I had expected some slight self-criticism and to then move on but No you’ve dug yourself in and then deeper and deeper.)

    I have also asked you to justify your ‘criticism’ of me namely that I made an ad hominem attack upon yourself. You have not done so. I’ve further asked you to justify calling Pamela Bone’s article schtick or rant and as yet you have not done that either, but rather merely waited a few days for things to hopefully die a quiet death and then to proceed with your continued attack upon myself and your justification as to why I am not worth engaging with.

    You’ve repeatedly criticized me for referring to the pseudo-left when you much more destructively refer to other women as the equivalent of pseudo-feminists. (The feminists of convenience etc)

    And come to think of it is you and other poster’s here (particularly Nabakov) who have referred to my being disingenuous with my concerns for these issues, and it has been specifically stated that Pamela Bone doesn’t really care either but is merely point-scoring on domestic culture wars. So Kim it is you who have attacked myself, and not I who have attacked you for being blind to the suffering of others.

    I not only have not attacked you for the above but I do not believe it of you or of anybody else even my political opponents. (or even my political enemies) I am not saying that you don’t care but arguing quite specifically that you’ve got your priorities wrong.

    I am at present a machine gun keyboard because I chanced upon your IWD post and thought it lacked solidarity and insight into what IWD is about – but what has kept me pushing it is that a few weeks ago I saw a film called Kandahar by Iranian Director Mohsen Mahlbaf and there is a scene in it where Afghani refugees in Iran are being repatriated, and there is a line of young girls who are receiving a lecture that went something like this –

    Girls this will be your last day of school because when you get home you won’t be allowed to go to school – but don’t worry because the international community knows about your plight and will come to your aid – But if they don’t then you may like to think of yourselves as ants and then your room will seem much larger.

    In the face of that I can’t sit by and say that talking about domestic child care issues is more important than talking about what the left can do to make sure that those little ants can become women fully grown.

  201. Mark

    I have criticized you for being interested only in domestic issues on International Women’s Day

    That’s most disingenuous. The whole point of the post is to draw attention to the commitment to international issues many feminists have.

    I’ve further asked you to justify calling Pamela Bone’s article schtick or rant

    Read the post, and the first 150 or so comments.

    You’ve repeatedly criticized me for referring to the pseudo-left when you much more destructively refer to other women as the equivalent of pseudo-feminists. (The feminists of convenience etc)

    So Janet Albrechtsen is a feminist?

    In the face of that I can’t sit by and say that talking about domestic child care issues is more important than talking about what the left can do to make sure that those little ants can become women fully grown.

    What the left can do is stop supporting wars, which create immense suffering for women and children, in some misguided and arrogant notion that the West can liberate people, while of course those who cheer on war pay no price themselves, except morally.

    You may demean people for attempting to influence situations in which they actually have some scope to intervene but I don’t.

    Does your concern only come into play when women are being oppressed in Iraq or Afghanistan?

    Are you concerned, for instance, about the many women who are victims of rape, amputation, torture and dispossession in Somalia? Or Rwanda? Are you concerned about women sold into sex slavery from Moldova? Or only if there’s some US response that can be dressed up as a step along the road to some sort of socialist utopia?

    Do you advocate anything other than imperialist war as an adequate means of response?

    You might care to reflect on a position which seeks to justify aggressive and destructive war out of a putative concern for human rights, or in the name of abstractions.

  202. Rob

    What’s happened to phil’s comments on this thread? I thought he was interesting, if a bit confusing.

  203. Mark

    Wouldn’t have a clue, Rob.

    What’s happened to your petition?

    You didn’t even sign it yourself, I observe.

  204. Rob

    Hmm, more disappearing comments from LP. As for the petition, I assumed I’d signed it by writing it.

  205. Mark

    You’ve been promoting it heavily, though?

  206. Rob

    I haven’t promoted it anywhere. Why don’t you sign it? Be TEH FIRST!

  207. Mark

    Because I disagree with the wording for the same reasons others gave, Rob.

    I thought you were saying you felt very strongly about this issue and that was the reason why you drafted the petition?

  208. Rob

    btw, informally yours, if you’re hanging about, I thought your contributions to the thread (returned to after a long absence — I don’t get around the blogos much these days) were most thoughtful and insightful. Thank you. Don’t worry about getting bucketed by the collective; it happens to the best of us.

  209. Mark

    Nice to see a moment of solidarity between you and the Maoists, Rob.

    Anyway, so I’d better be off, I’m supposed to be having a blogging hiatus!

  210. Rob

    Because I disagree with the wording for the same reasons others gave, Rob.

    What were they again?

  211. Rob

    And I’m still waiting for Kim to come up with an organisation that worthy of 100 of my hard earned.

  212. informally yours

    Yeah Rob, i noticed that the counter was at 203 and then it went to 199 comments at about midnight – and has again jumped to 205.

    Mark did you read my comments about FGM? Of course i have concerns about other aspects of women’s lives under patriarchal societal organisations please stop raising all these red herrings about what i have not dealt with and tell me whether you still think FGM is the same as labiaplasty etc.?

    So who is the feminist of convenience Mark or Janet?
    This is getting too silly for words.

    The whole point of the original post is to rag Pamela Bone and the media and say there are much more important bread and butter issues to talk about. eugh eugh eugh

    eugh eugh eugh This site is so-called left and yet it rags socialism and communism and left terminology every chance so what kind of left is it? Ohh that’s right it’s a long time since the ALP removed any references to supporting a socialist agenda so i suppose you’re much closer to the ALP than i realised.

    ‘What the left can do is stop supporting wars’. (that hurt women and children) how facile does it get? I don’t support war. I support some wars. I don’t cheer them on. I hate war and killing. I want all societies to advance to the point where war is no longer necessary but until that day there will regrettably be wars that must be fought. Iraq is one such war – Vietnam was not.

    Re-read the original post Mark and take another think about what you were cheering on.

  213. Mark

    Rob, I thought that was the point of the list Jo posted.

    And I’m sure if your memory doesn’t serve you, you can read up the thread.

    I want all societies to advance to the point where war is no longer necessary but until that day there will regrettably be wars that must be fought

    And, I’m sorry, informally yours, how does claiming this war “must be fought” differ from actively supporting it and all its violent and destructive consequences? Does it somehow absolve you of considering the price others pay?

    Look, I’ve never in my life claimed to be a socialist of any sort. But I’m afraid that the pro-war Last Superpower crowd, are far less representative of left opinion than most of us on this blog. And certainly of socialist opinion. If your response to this blog is to say “eugh eugh eugh”, then nothing is compelling you to come here.

    You haven’t answered my questions about whether or not your concern for human rights is restricted to areas where the US is fighting wars that you believe are historically necessary? What is the actual reason for your support of the Iraq War? Is it really a humanitarian impulse, or do you share the view characteristic of the Last Superpower crowd? Those aren’t necessarily hostile questions, but you’re quick to seize the high moral ground. If you’re so concerned about fighting “fascists” then why exactly is it that you’ve singled out these ones?

    And incidentally, you repeat all the same canards that the right do – despite or because of your supposed “united front” of convenience with Bush. To oppose the Iraq War is not equivalent to supporting Sunni (or Shia) violence. I defy you to find any comment I’ve made on this blog which could be reasonably interpreted that way.

    And I’ve re-read the post, and I’m still confident your interpretation of it is selective.

    Anyway, I’m meant to be taking a break from blogging, and I also share the views of others as to why fundamentally it’s a waste of energy engaging with people whose views are solely ideological and not amenable either to reason or moral questioning.

  214. Mark

    Mark did you read my comments about FGM?

    No, I’m sorry, I haven’t, but the reason for my absence from this blog has been time pressures.

    all these red herrings about what i have not dealt with

    Bone’s whole argument is a red herring about what people “have not dealt with”, surely?

  215. tigtog

    Yeah Rob, i noticed that the counter was at 203 and then it went to 199 comments at about midnight – and has again jumped to 205.

    No conspiracy. I only just noticed that philip travers has been linking to a large public corporation’s main page as his homepage in every single comment he’s made here. That’s link-spamming. Seeing as his comments are so long and tend to disrupt threads anyway, I wen’t back through comments and deleted all his long posts, and I stripped that URL from the very few short ones.

    And I’m still waiting for Kim to come up with an organisation that worthy of 100 of my hard earned.

    Rob, jo linked to a whole slew of organisations in this comment upthread on 12 March 2007 at 9:59 pm. Kim endorsed her selection in the very next comment. That’s over a week ago.

  216. informally yours

    Mark you are again seeing equivalences where there are none. There is nothing comparative in criticising me for what i have left out and what Pamela Bone did in making a straightforward criticism up front.

    I don’t suggest conspiracy theories though i can see how it could be imputed but thanks for explaining the policy.

  217. Rob

    Equality Now looks like the sort of group I’d be OK supporting. Rainbo looked very worthy too but I didn’t see a donations facility there.

  218. John Greenfield

    Kim

    I am being sincere when I ask you this: why this obsession with deriding Janet Albrechtsen as ‘Number 1 feminist of convenience?’ As I said on a previous thread, I challenge any LP woman to put her â??feministâ?? credentials against the married, Ph.D-holding former corporate-lawyer, who is now one of Australiaâ??s most highly-paid and influential journalists and ABC board-director while she raises a young family; Janet Albrechtsen (or even Miranda Devine if you prefer).

    I would imagine that all the women (and men) from Wollstencraft to Wynhausen, from Stein to Steinhem would be tickled pink at the progress that personages aux Albrechtsen et Devine represent in the advancement of feminism.

    Why the hate campaign?

  219. tigtog

    It is perfectly possible to admire the achievements of somebody while disagreeing with their opinions. I can admire Margaret Thatcher’s achievements while detesting her ideology, and I do. And at least Thatcher never claimed to be a feminist while promoting policies that made it financially much more difficult for other non-upper-class-women to emulate her achievements – she was an unapologetic believer in her own exceptionalism.

    High achieving women who self-identify as feminists yet whose only writings on feminist issues are to scold other feminists for not meeting their particular purity tests are parasites on feminism. They have reaped the benefits of it, yet now berate it. They are defending the privileges they now hold by attempting to discredit feminists who want to reform the inequities which benefit these high-flying women while oppressing other women.

    Senator Bartlett showed that there was a well-publicised and huge meeting on IWD to listen to an Islamic feminist speak of issues facing Muslim women and how Western feminists could help. That Bone didn’t know about that event says volumes about her commitment to the feminist movement compared to her lip-service to feminist solidarity by pointing to her own high-achiever status. Albrechtsen and Devine do just the same. Why shouldn’t feminists feel hostile towards them?

  220. Kim

    What tigtog said.

    And I think this thread has run its course.