A reply to Laurie Penny on women’s rights and war
August 18, 2010 2 Comments
Laurie Penny, true to form, has written a fantastic, detailed blog entry for the staggers today about the hypocrisy of the UK government, or the west in general, using women’s rights as a narrative and justification for war.
I wanted to reply with hyperlinks on the comments thread, but was unable, so I will do so here.
Firstly I wanted to find agreement with Laurie; I’m never quite sure what the criteria for deportation is in our home office, where we deport homosexuals and send them away with the message “just keep yourself quiet now” but give amnesty to others for seemingly trivial reasons. I certainly think the way in which we approach this subject should change.
I also worry that all international campaigns must solely be down to whichever issue gets the loudest shouters; a few people have said on here that people are stoned all the time (which didn’t mean it was excusable, it just meant why do our ears perk up at Ashtani – it’s a fair question; I’ve done the same regarding the Ashtani case ) and their fate should not rest on the fact that governments worldwide have to wait until a shouting crowd overthrows their complacency.
Where I don’t agree with Laurie: as I say I think the system of deportation is mangled, but it would be hard to substantiate the claim that a dismissal of women’s rights informs it, so where I do think there is hypocrisy, it’s achieved by a stupid system that listens to the loudest voice rather than a sexist one.
In our stupid world of binaries I would like to remind us all of two things: just because you were against this war, doesn’t mean you aren’t throwing your weight against laws that are sexist. By which I mean, look at the non-grilling George Galloway, foremost UK anti-war campaigner, gives President Ahmadinejad below ( about four minutes in ) – I seriously question Galloway’s sincerity here, contextualising his question by calling those against the stoning as “enemies”.
The second thing: there is no reason why individuals cannot be for the war in Afghanistan for instance, with, in the back of their mind, women’s rights which should be given to all women, and not just be given importance in the West. A woman’s right is not a decadent thing of rich nations, but should be bestowed across the world, and it will not come from Ahmadinejad and the like.
For the reasons given above, I’m not won over by the article – however I still regard the debate that Laurie is instigating as important.