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Posted in: World Events, Islam

Published on Sep 24, 2009 by Phyllis Chesler

Written for Pajamas Media

A UN State of Mind

Where Tyrants Are Literally Never Stopped


We live at a moment in history when tyrants hold forth with none to stop them. Ahmadinejad-the-Monster held forth in all his western-suited glory at the UN and so did the terrorist, Gaddafi. No one at the UN stopped the Libyan madman from speaking well beyond his allotted 15 minutes. If the UN can't even do this, can you imagine them actually stopping a genocide or a terrorist plot in process?

If they can't or won't, why are we funding them? Why do they exist?

The American President has decided to "engage" with the UN and with the world of tyrants. Perhaps he can, perhaps he thinks like them. Me—I have an increasingly hard time dealing with their righteous arrogance and post-colonial resentments, not to mention their demonization of Israel. For example, let me share two recent conversations with you.

In retrospect, both conversations were a little like talking to Red Guard Maoist youth leaders in 1949 in China.

The first conversation took place in Rome at the international conference I attended. In my speech I referred to "third world" countries. Immediately afterwards, a young woman in a business suit (pants and a jacket) started following me around. She was from South Africa and was pleasant enough but strangely persistent. She said: "We do not say 'third world.' That suggests that one world is 'first' and the others, last, or lesser. We would like you to say 'developing world' instead. Isn't that more hopeful?"

Said I: "You make an interesting point and I actually agree with you. Going forward, I might do as you suggest."

But she was programmed to go on, to wear down, force concessions, so that everyone will think exactly as she does. She was not used to easy victories and did not seem to hear or believe me. She continued explaining why 'third world' was a derogatory phrase and not a good post-colonial way of thinking.

I repeated that I agreed with her. When she continued to press on, I backed away. Afterwards, I thought that she had shown very little respect for one of the keynote speakers (myself) whose presentation had just excited a good deal of interest. Ah–she was psychologically programmed to go after those in positions of authority.

The second conversation took place in New York City. I was interviewing a college graduate for a potential position. One young woman identified herself as a feminist—but then quickly told me she was a Muslim and that some of her female relatives wear hijab and that their decision was a private one that no government should abrogate.

I agreed with her but said that the matter was exceedingly tricky.

Said I: "One does not want the government mixing in matters of religion or telling women what to wear but as long as Muslim girls and women can be killed for refusing to wear hijab, how can we as feminists fully support it?"

Throwing all caution to the winds, I referred her to my website and recommended some books including Nonie Darwish's Cruel and Usual Punishment, and a new and rather elegant little book by Marnia Lazreg titled Questioning the Veil. Open Letters to Muslim Women.

I should have kept my mouth shut. I should just have asked her what computer skills she had and let it go at that. I actually tried but she thought that I had to understand exactly what she thought. Thus, I got to hear it all. She had absolutely no fear, no hesitation. Just like the South African in Rome, she did not particularly respect speakers, potential employers, authority figures. We are all equal—right? No one is "first," we are all the same—right? The world is a perpetual classroom and we must all be indoctrinated—right?

How wrong this is.

Here is how the second woman sounded:

She: "Muslim countries are suffering from post-colonial troubles. Given the long history of Western imperialism and colonialism, it is not surprising that there is such poverty and tyranny."

I: "Some of the barbarism is indigenous, Western imperialism did not cause Islamic gender apartheid, did not create the practices of arranged child marriage or polygamy."

She: "But every culture is sexist. What we as feminists must do is deal with the sexism in our own countries, not interfere with other countries."

I: "I once beleived that too and it's a valid point. However, this is not the historical moment for isolationism. That would betray every feminist principle of universal human rights. Actually, I see the most profound danger coming our way, coming to you, who have escaped from a Muslim country. If we do not stop jihadic terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism, we will all end up wearing hijab, being controlled by a dangerous brand of fundamentalist Islam."

She: "The Bible is very violent, very sexist."

I: "Yes, but that was then, now Jews and Christians don't stone women to death. They don't launch Holy Wars against civilians in the name of religion."

She: "But Western imperialism did just that when it plundered and destroyed Muslim countries."

I: "You have a point. But, if we're talking about imperialism, we have to talk about it all. For example, for 700-800 years, Islamic imperialism genocidally exterminated Hindus, forcibly converted Christians and colonized the entire Christian Byzantine Empire….even today, Christians are being savagely persecuted in Muslim countries and Arab and North African Jews have all been exiled."

She: (Without pausing) "But the Quran gave women property rights for the first time in history. And it is really a peaceful religion. People don't understand that."

This went on for quite awhile. I had a hard time stopping her. She was well schooled in anti-colonialism, post-colonialism, Said's "Orientalism," false moral equivalencies, an almost automatic prejudice against western imperialism and a blind spot about any other kind of colonialism or imperialism.

This is precisely the way so many young and educated people sound. And, they share these views with everyone, including potential future employers, and at great length. As if any other view would be dangerous to hear.

As my readers know, I have written hundreds of articles and two books The New Anti-Semitism and The Death of Feminism which examine the consequences of this kind of education. It inevitably leads to thinking like a United Nations careerist. America and Israel are always to blame, Jew-hatred is legalized, the Jewish state demonized, while all other tyrants, terrorists, massacrists, and master propagandists are honored, and never, ever interrupted.


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