Tuesday, May 11, 2004

OK, shoot me...

Did American soldiers treat the Iraqi prisoners they "humiliated" any worse than the Iraqi prisoners routinely treated their wives?

Innocent people shouldn't be imprisoned and no one should be beaten or raped but the routine treatment of women in the Arab world, South Asia and other "traditional societies" doesn't occasion this level of outrage. To be fair, it's largely because it's routine, and the commonplace isn't news. But there's also the pervasive sense that, even if the more egregious acts of brutality--honor killing, dowery murder and stoning for adultry are deplorable, women can't be "humiliated" because they're accostomed to subservience. Young Arab males are another thing--humiliating a macho man constitutes a grievous harm. No one worries about women--they're used to it.

One of our part-timers, with an MA in philosophy and no prospects, got a job xeroxing. Within 3 months he was put on the management track, not because he showed great promise in collating and stapling reports but because management a manager passing by saw him and thought he would be bored at his job. No one ever worries that women who xerox, staple and collate get bored. Women are used to it--it's just routine.

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