June 18, 2006
Somalia: Islamic Courts & Women's Progress
A quick note on a interesting arty in The Washington Post on the role of women in backing The Islamic Courts movement that seems to be well on its way to taking power in Somalia and displacing the "secular" warlords.
If there is one item that most at once irritates and amuses me about Western and American commentary specifically is the weird gullibility in the usage of "secular" versus "Islamist" - although in a sense it is relavatory of why secularism has or is failing in the MENA region and many parts of the Islamic world - where "secular" seems to mean "any corrupt bunch of idiots presently in power who are not overtly and ostentatiously 'Islamist' in political orientation."
If this is the "secularism" being offered, and indeed backed by the West and America specifically, does anyone think it should be suprising that, whatever bitter individuals like Hirsi Ali Magaan say for the consumption of the fearful Westerner, secularism is losing ground?
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ya abu l-maal,
i remember having fierce debates in '95 with an afghan friend of mine (a woman) about the taliban's ascendance. i argued that while they were ending the rule of the warlords, they were also establishing a very tight islamist political and moralist system in the areas they took over. my friend, a "westernized" young woman who'd grown up in nyc, said "yes, that might be true, but you don't understand - after 15 years of war, peace is more important."
of course, somalia and afghanistan are not the same. in somalia, even the traditional view of women in the society was/is not as strict as in afghanistan. but i think what is comparable (and also to situations in other areas ravaged by long-term conflict) is that an exhausted population will, at some point, get to a point where it will welcome ANYone bringing peace & stability.
Posted by: raf* at June 18, 2006 06:12 PM
beggars can't be choosers.
Posted by: Klaus at June 18, 2006 08:34 PM
in bad times, people fall under the conservative influence. nothing new here. just look at the USA post-9/11.
You arent sure these women are more considered about the burkah? LOL
Posted by: Bikhair at June 19, 2006 04:17 PM
i'm afraid i did not understand your comment.
seems to be a good week for articles about somalia. here's the next one, this time in the NYT:
In Somalia, Islamists begin cultural assault
Posted by: raf* at June 19, 2006 04:31 PM
"...will welcome ANYone bringing peace & stability."
What is a society without the above? Certainly not one that can rebuild and move on. The smartest thing anyone can do in a country is bring back stability, so the roads, water, agriculture, and everything else can follow. It shouldnt be viewed as some awful resignation of their future.
Posted by: Bikhair at June 19, 2006 08:50 PM
to escape the dreadful stench of the hundred-years-flower, Krusty the Clown dives into a mound of dung. 'Ah, yes! That's mildly better.'
Posted by: Klaus at June 20, 2006 12:58 AM
there really is no situation to which "the simpsons" doesn't have an answer. BRILLIANT!
thanks for the explanation. obviously we all agree with the general idea (must have peace to rebuild). the thing is, the taliban did not have the internal professional capability to rebuild anything - even though they certainly had access to $$$ - & the lot of the afghan population was not improved at all, not even on the basic economic/social level.
and i wasn't commenting on the fact that people in afghanistan (or now, somalia) think that way. but in '95 i'd been discussing it with a young afghan woman who'd grown up in nyc, studied at nyu, etc.
and SHE (a) couldn't conceptualize the full meaning of a taliban take-over of afghanistan (or even parts of it) for the people living there and (b) put high hopes in it.
a (not 100% similar) anecdote from palestine in '98 (the "good old days" when the p.a. had just taken control over gaza & the 7 cities in the westbank & everyone was optimistic about the oslo accords): i was talking to a shopkeeper in nablus about the situation & he said, "it was better under the israelis." i was surprised, and he explained, "well, yeah it was an occupation, but at least we had work and could export to israel and there was no violence. now the economy is going down the drain and we have a corrupt regime & we still don't have a free society." - on that note, the palestinian elections didn't deliver a pro-hamas, but an anti-fatah vote.
and similarly, in somalia, the people aren't happy about the islamists taking over - they're relieved that the warlords are gone.
Posted by: raf* at June 20, 2006 03:37 AM
This is probably not the right place for this, but I couldn't believe y'all hadn't discussed the Haifa Wawa song video yet. C'mon, dissect it, shred it!
Posted by: SP at June 21, 2006 11:32 AM
well, yeah it was an occupation, but at least we had work and could export to israel and there was no violence. now the economy is going down the drain and we have a corrupt regime & we still don't have a free society.
Sounds awfully like post-Soviet pensioners reminiscing about "the good old days" under Brezhnev.
Posted by: Eva Luna at June 21, 2006 12:24 PM
SP: thanks for the soft-core porn. just the pick-me-up i needed this evening.
Taht amrak, Drdougfir, though I was thinking more gender analysis/Haifa competing with Nancy to make a social statement while still looking fetching/the regular presence of kids and family themes in Rotana clips, etc. But soft core porn is legit too, I suppose.
Posted by: SP at June 22, 2006 10:45 AM
saw the video. 6 minutes of my life i'll never get back. that's one of the most boring vids ever. you OWE me.
if you want to start a discussion ... well ... how about ... uh ... START it?
Posted by: raf* at June 22, 2006 12:44 PM
Boring? I thought that was hilarious (unintentionally of course).
Why do you suppose Haifa did the Hot Single Mom story in the video - is she trying to make some sort of social statement? I remember hearing recently that she had made a big deal of getting an HIV test and saw herself as spreading awareness about AIDS...
Is she playing Devoted Mommy or infantilized sexpot?
You see a fair number of family-themed stories in Rotana clips (kids, good daddies, even one memorable, clumsily-produced video clip that shows a woman rejecting a suitor for the sake of her young son and years later the son realizes what a sacrifice she made out of her devotion to him, etc). And you see a lot of sex kitten stuff. I can see the independent appeal of either, but a combination?
(You may say I'm reading too much into it and sometimes a video clip is just a video clip. And you may be right)
Posted by: SP at June 22, 2006 04:32 PM
I think you may have hit upon one of those dualities that plague the arab world; Things which might seem at odds to the casual observer but which are completely compatible to the one doing the deed.(cf. leb tart prudes, seeking US citizenship, hijab with loud makeup, etc) In a way this is the defining characteristic of arab society.
Posted by: Ali K at June 22, 2006 10:44 PM