What would it look like if we treated the marginalisation of women the same way we treated apartheid?(29 Posts)
And how would we do it?
On a number of threads recently, I've seen posters refer to the boycotting / shaming of South Africa during apartheid and comparing this to how we treat, for example, Saudi Arabia.
I'm too young to remember apartheid, but should we be doing this? What would it look like? How can we achieve it? What personal steps can I take to make a difference?
It's an interesting question, and one that will likely stir up a shit-storm of claim and counter claim of what exactly was done in terms of international relations between Apartheid-era South Africa and the rest of the world.
I grew up in the 1970's. There wasn't a single, determined, unambiguous opposition to the South African system. Many countries, including the UK, Israel and the USA supported the regime, overtly or covertly. They did it for the usual reasons - trade, influence and historical ties. So I don't think that there is a blueprint for anyone to follow.
If you want to improve the lot of women in the Middle East, I think you need to establish secular regimes, and remove religious influence from government, as a starting position.
Ego, out of the 30 cabinet ministers and attendees in the UK government, ten are women. Do you think that if more women were in the cabinet, and/or if we had a woman PM, that there would be more action from the UK government re women's rights in the countries we are discussing? Do you think that there might be sanctions introduced against S Arabia, for example?
So, would you agree it is less about our leaders being white males, and more to do with the realities of dealing with the world's largest exporter of oil and gas?
You think that having a majority of white males makes our government unaware of the realities of women's status in Saudi Arabia. but you think that a woman PM, or more women ministers, would make no difference.
If being male is important in this context, I don't follow your logic. I think you are trying to reduce this to a gendered conspiracy, when in reality it is far more complicated.
Could we have a big concert? Beyonce could headline. She could do a duet with a holographic Freddie mercury. That would be awesome.
I said in my first response - If you want to improve the lot of women in the Middle East, I think you need to establish secular regimes, and remove religious influence from government, as a starting position.
You then kicked off about white male politicians lacking awareness of the plight of women. I think they know all to well. I don't think their gender is what prevents them from taking more direct action, though, so I am not sure why you brought it up.
Independence from oil would be a big step towards making boycott possible.
We need electric cars - the oil for the things that absolutely need to be made out of plastic should not be too expensive. Maybe there's some oil in the North Sea that would be enough for that purpose.
I personally try to boycott produce from woman-hating countries. Though of course it is difficult.
It's probably best to boycott some chosen, really, really bad countries first. One can in theory boycott all non-European countries, but that would lead to a lack of bananas, and that ... is hard.
I wish we could sanction Saudi Arabia (conquer, annexe and resocialise ideally) but as long as oil is 100% essential to our society (which it is) this is not possible.
But the test ignition of the European fusion reactor was successful, so we're getting closer to the day we can tell the barbarians to go screw themselves.
The things you have heard about - concerts, boycotts, singles etc were all ground roots initiatives.
So if you want to make them to happen, you start or join the groups that are making them happen.
This may be difficult, as the world changed with the Internet. I get a general impression that the sorts of meetings, rallies, concerts, marches just don't happen much anymore.
"I think you need to establish secular regimes"
Yes, it's brilliant being a woman in secular Syria right now. It was also really good being a Kurdish woman under Saddam.
Here's a clue, why don't you find out about what the woman of that country want? Iraqis and Iranians women were non too fond of living under sanctions, btw.
More important than Saudi Arabia selling oil to the west is that the royal house of Saud requires the rest of the world to buy their oil in dollars. They through OPEC almost single handedly maintain the west's and specifically America's hegemony alone by this fact. And for America to service even some of their astronomical debt to the federal reserve bank they need the world to require their dollar currency for the worlds most important fuel resource. Even our own North sea oil is sold in dollars - the Religious conservative gulf monarchies proo up this American tax on world trade. That's why we look the other way when they abuse their own citizens male and female. What's headscarves and hymens compared to that? The south African apartheid regime did not hold even half that global influence, we fear socialists in that part of the world even more. ghadafi and Hussein threatened the west's economy far more by their support of changing the main currency for their nations oil from dollars to the gold standard (ghadafi) or the euro(sadaam).
well, as Ponnti said, OP, you could go and ask the women in the countries concerned, and not just take ideas from middle-class white western women.
Or, how about leading a boycott of oil and gas products? Maybe have a designated week when women (to focus on this specific issue and to stop men sticking their beaks in) abandon their cars, and walk or pedal to work, or at least use public transport. It might seem like a small gesture, but it could generate huge media coverage if whole countries participated.
Although entirely unfashionable I found myself in some agreement with the insufferable Niall Ferguson in his book "Empire". The attempts by the british to outlaw Sati in India and other local "customs" that we perceive as barbaric. In some ways we have come no distance, we still look down our noses (quite rightly in some respects) at the "barbarians" and wish to civilise them. It's a tough sell.
the old colonialism used to be based on spreading the word of the white male God and his white skinned son but the real reason was a singular resource and land grab for riches and might. it was Malcolm X who said "“If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” as near genocide against the Native American was being prosecuted all the papers of the time would carry was tales of their victim's heathen ways and propensity of some in carrying out the barbaric 'scalping' tradition. it was seen as only right and proper to take from such people as they were barely civilised anyway.
now of course it isnt to do with spreading Christianity, the great and powerful threw that under the bus along with the tedious outward piety they had to wear to fake it. now its women's rights that we want to spread around the world.
i dont think our leaders are quiet on the issue of womens rights in such countries- its just that they only mention it when they need to generate the ordinary citizen's consent for another war on the ME or muslim countries. spreading feminism abroad has been co-opted into the white male's neocolonialism these last 15 years as feminism at home has been taken over by the white man's neoliberalism. because lets face it the original 'war on terror' stated goals of eradicating Al Qaeda and their ilk just cant get as much traction for continuous war and regime change as basing it on 'womens rights'. certainly its very hard linking the war in afghanistan and the war on iraq on 'fighting terror' as the latter was led by a secular non religious tyrant who was the scourge of religious fundamentalists in the region. but linking it to their both being muslim countries and so by their inherent nature misogynistic - that was clever. il hold my hands right up and say that was very clever. what other way to justify civilian innocent deaths by drone strikes in the yemen, north west frontier province pakistan, somalia than by saying 'we're fighting misogyny and these people are misogynists'. far easier to get that slur to stick than saying they are militant extremists.
and for sure those afghan, those iraqi, somalian, yemen, NWFP's women were/and are being helped, in the same way you could argue the bible's account of pharoah's order to kill the boy babies and let the girl babies live was also helping to empower women in that community. the children killed in such military action too? well thats down to the sins of their fathers.
but would we justify bombing and killing white racists as we would for muslim misogynists though? wave away their unlawful killing by terrorism either group or state sponsored? if someone was a member of some white supremacist group such as combat 18? or the national front? how about a non violent far right group such as the EDL or BNP? right wing peopled with racists party like UKIP? they may not be nice people, may not believe in the equality of all, (races in this case, not men and women) but theyre not violent. or if they are, its not a life for a life. how about racist police officers? racist judges? racist politicians? as you have the misogynistic equivalents in those countries? would we justify violence against them?
how about the killing their family members? or of their neighbours living next door? guilt by association? which type? blood? by geography? should i be castigated or accused of engaging in apologetics if i mourn their unlawful killing or is that a guilt also?
imagine how crass it was to bring up previous racist comic strips of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists in the time after they were killed by those terrorists for drawing the muhammad cartoons. how it was rightly seen as a way of trying to minimise their deaths for being not nice liberal people as we imagined them to be. that is how i feel about using the 'marginalisation of women' card to justify wars leading to many more deaths of innocent civilians either directly or by the later political instability and chaos that results from regime change.
I doubt the women in Germany could walk home from work in the evening. I'm sure it's not advised by the authorities now.
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