Saturday 3 November 2007

Loyalties, Jihad & Terrorists...

I like listening to Opera. I am listening to Pavarotti right now.
I know some think that he was too commercial. I don't care what they think.

Everything has become so commercialized anyways. What does it matter if one opera singer with an amazing voice joins the club as well?
In any event, the guy is dead. So bless him for what he has left us with...

Is that not the ultimately important thing at the end of the day - what we leave behind...what kind of a Legacy.

What kind of legacy will the misogynists, sectarian, fundamentalist, "Muslim" and Arab men leave behind ?

I actually feel uncomfortable using the word "muslim" because I feel they are an insult to Islam. They have used Islam in the most vicious, ugly of ways...against guess whom ? Women of course.

I need to make an important clarification here --

I am not talking about the legitimate right to Self Defense in the face of external aggression. I am not talking of people who take on a Islamic cloak or who dig into Islamic thought to find the right ideological weapons to fight external aggression.
That, in my opinion is a legitimate right.

Am sure if a crusade is equally being carried out against Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists...They too will search in their sacred texts to find the means to fight the external aggression and neutralize the opponent.

I am not actually referring here to Jihad and the concepts of Jihad as such. Since I find Jihad or Self Defense - because this is what Jihad is in its "warrior" sense - a legitimate right for any opppressed people.

Would anyone call a guerilla fighter a Jihadist/terrorist? Not likely. Yet this is what a guerilla fighter is - a Jihadist. A Resister

This deliberate amalgamation between the right to self defense i.e Jihad and Terrorism is serving a two fold purpose :

1) neutralize any form of Resistance and

2) alienate any support for a resistance movement by purposeful violent actions against innocent civilians. I think Al-Qaeda has done a beautiful job in that sense.

But leaving Al-Qaeda aside, and sticking to the concept of Jihad/Resistance, I have noticed that people carry way too many misconceptions around this word Jihad - especially that it is an Arabic word and an Islamic concept.

The misconception comes from the deep fear and racism that the West holds towards both Arabs and Muslims and in particular Arab Muslims.

And I am a proponent of the belief that both this fear and hatred are deeply embedded in the Western psyche since the days of the Crusades.

Having made this clarification, I would really like to move on to the subject I have been reflecting a lot upon, during these past months.

And this is purely from my perspective - that of an Arab Muslim Woman.

Where I find my loyalties really mixed up is when I consider two things.

a) The particular or should I say peculiar "Islamic nature" of these Resistance movements. I use the word peculiar because I find their overall stand vis à vis women not only off putting and very alienating but also very un- Islamic or anti- Islam. Hence a resistance within myself towards this brand of "Islamic" Resistance.

b) What will a post-liberated Arab country look like and more importantly what role will be assigned to women.

Seeing the nature and contents of the current Islamist discourse especially when it comes to Women, I am left very wary.

Will I personally, as a woman feel liberated after their rightful liberation from the external oppressor ? I am not so sure.

I have a feeling the liberation of any Arab country carried out through an Islamist agenda of that sort- will prove to be oppressive towards Arab-Muslim women.

I already consider the current societies quite oppressive towards Arab women, let alone a society liberated under this particular banner of Islamism

Why do I find them oppressive ?

It is NOT because of Islam as such, but because of Patriarchal interpretations of Islam - an exclusively male interpretation. And this one is a particularly nasty brand of Patriarchy...

Even though I am not AGAINST the concept of Patriarchy in the broad sense.
Just as I am not FOR the concept of Matriarchy in the broad sense either.

For me these concepts are basically useless - but necessary to understand certain dynamics.

Again, it is NOT because I find Arab men particularly more oppressive than let's say Western men. I believe Western men are and can be as oppressive if not more -- even if their brand of oppression may look different but ultimately brings about the same results.

I believe it is a conjunction of a patriarchal culture, combined with a male interpretation of the Sacred text, crowned with a personal psychological narrative that see the female element as 1) a potential danger and therefore 2) something to be controlled.

I do not believe that women, who happen to the mothers of these men, are absolved of any of responsibility either.

I actually believe that they have played an incremental nefarious role in sustaining, maintaining and perpetuating this pillar of Misogyny made of all the above elements.

And for me Misogyny is Terrorism.

And that is why, following my previous post -- I do not only consider myself a non feminist but I also do not believe that women are the eternal victims, the feminists portray them to be.

I will expand more later...