Monday, September 29, 2003

The Hypocrisy of Multiculturalism – Amina Lawal

I suppose the subtitle to the whole Amina Lawal case, the Nigerian woman who was sentenced to be stoned to death for adultery in an Islamic court, should have read:

"You see, they're not such bad fellows after all!"

Or, at least, this would be what the multiculti crowd would have you believe. The children of Rousseau, who gave us the notion of "noble savages", and whose self-loathing and irrational hatred of "Western" civilization and anything tainted by "eurocentricism is being taught to our children, have been let off the hook by the recent decision by a Sharia court not to have Ms. Lawal buried up to her neck and rocks tossed at her head until she died. Never mind the fact the decision was influenced in part by the attention paid to it by those awful Western governments.

William H. Gass, philosopher and novelist, captures the particular ethos of the multiculti mindset:

“No more than we might expect a surgeon to say, “Dead and good riddance” would an anthropologist exclaim, stepping from the culture just surveyed as one might shed a set of working clothes, “What a lousy way to live.” Because, even if the natives were impoverished, covered with dust and sores;…even if they were rapidly dying off; still the observer could remark on how frequently they smiled, or how infrequently their children fought, or how serene they were. We can envy the Zuni their peaceful ways and the Navajo their “happy heart.” It was amazing how mollified we were to find that there was some functional point to food taboos, infibulation, clitoridectomy; and if we still felt squeamish about human sacrifice or headhunting, it is clear were still squeezed into a narrow modern European point of view, and had no sympathy, and didn’t – couldn’t – understand.”

Ophelia Benson, the editor of Butterflies and Wheels, more precisely focuses on the problem:

In fact, it's quite strange the way a line of thought that's intended to side with the oppressed often sides with oppressors in the name of multiculturalism. A great many practices could be put in the box 'their culture'. Dowry murders, female infanticide, female genital mutilation, slavery, child labour, drafting children into armies, the caste system, beating and sexually abusing and withholding wages from domestic servants especially immigrants, Shariah, fatwas, suttee. These are all part of someone's 'culture', as murder is a murderer's culture and rape is a rapist's. But why validate only the perpetrators? Have the women, servants, slaves, child soldiers, Dalits, ten-year-old carpet weavers in these cultures ever even had the opportunity to decide what their culture might be?"

We have consciences; it is high time we used them rather than consider the "politically correct" response. The unconscionable rightly deserves to be condemned.


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