Johann Hari has a piece (warning: graphic descriptions) on the way in which Muslim women are abused around the world. One of the most pertinent sections is when he talks about how Britain and the West have being willing to sacrifice the struggle for women’s rights in return for other benefits, whether economic or military:
“Our governments are equally hobbled from supporting Muslim women â€“ for a very different reason. They claim to oppose the Taliban or the Iranian Mullahs because they abuse women. But when it comes to Saudi Arabia, they declare the just-as-vile regime â€œour close friendâ€ and lavish cash on it. Why?
You can glimpse the answer by looking at the little-told story of the writing of Iraqâ€™s constitution. In the original draft drawn up by the Iraqi political parties in 2004, there was a guarantee of equal rights for women â€“ alongside a clause stating that Iraqi oil belongs exclusively to the Iraqi people. The Bush administration panicked. In the bargaining that followed, the US government demanded an opening of the oil fields to foreign companies â€“ and in return they haggled away all womenâ€™s rights, allowing Shariah courts run by misogynist mullahs. While we as a society are addicted to oil, our governments will always put petroleum before feminism. While we suck on the Saudi petrol pump, smearing rhetorical oestrogen onto our bombs looks like an ugly trick.”
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Filed in: 'Honour'-based violence,Current affairs,Sex equality,The World