Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Beyond Redemption

Nicholas Kristof's op-ed piece in today's NY Times highlights the execrable practice of sentencing a woman to be gang-raped in a village in Pakistan.

This is an abomination. Indefensible [I think] even by the most ardent apologists of moral equivalence in the Ivy League and California. The important lesson reinforced here is that there are systems of belief extant today that are fundamentally incompatible with Western values of equality and justice. Kristof dances around the issue only mentioning 'conservative Muslim society' once and complaining generally about 'gender inequality in the third world'. The truth is where fundamentalist militant Islam flourishes correlates perfectly with where these depradations occur. [This is not to say that it doesn't occur anywhere else.] As long as the West stands for freedom, justice and equality we will be viewed as the enemy to be destroyed because our existence threatens their way of life.

Kristof ends with:
We in the West could help chip away at that oppression, with health and literacy programs and by simply speaking out against it, just as we once stood up against slavery and totalitarianism. But instead of standing beside fighters like Ms. Mukhtaran, we're still sitting on the fence.

On the contrary, unlike most of old Europe, the United States is doing a lot more than speaking out against it. We strike a blow for Ms. Mukhtaran every time we battle against terrorists in Iraq, in Afghanistan and anywhere else. We know the enemy, we have the strength, we just need the conviction to win this war.

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