If you happen to be a Twitter junkie, over the weekend you likely didn’t make it far before running into the #YesAllWomen hashtag. For those of you playing the home game, or are otherwise wise enough–at least in this instance–to forgo social media all together, a brief recap:
Friday evening, Elliot Rodger, 22, killed six people in a rampage near the University of California at Santa Barbara campus after vowing “retribution” for women’s apparent lack of romantic interest in him. By the next day, before the bodies of the dead had even been given time to relax of their rigors, incensed feminists and others churned up the fires of outrage by way of #YesAllWomen, in which the mentally-addled evil of one socially-deprived man-child evolved somehow into an indictment on that ever-present though just-below-the-surface, nagging, brutish, ancient, misogynistic male hegemony.
It’s not enough for murder to be the fault of the murderer. No, it’s has to be all of our fault. Don’t bother leaving your house tomorrow, ladies. We’re out to get you.
Far be it for me, as an established and benighted member of that illustrious band of marauders known infamously as The Man, to lean back in my armchair–that’s apparently supported by the oppression of women–to commentate on the “oppression” of women. Patriarchal privilege is a communicable disease, and as I don’t wish to get any on you, if you want a deeper discourse on the seemingly entrenched plight of women in post-chivalrous America, put on your diving cap and take the plunge into that hashtag.
~ Let us not abandon female oppression wholly, though. Just for the sake of variety, lets push away from the social media squabbling in little ol’ comfy U.S of A–in which the brutal deaths of six people became the “all-about-me” of everyone else in no time flat–and get a sampling of the environment that women in far-flung countries are dealing with. All for the sake of perspective.
While people here at home while away the hours engaging in electronic civil war about the in’s and out’s of alleged and intractable male misogyny, Meriam Ibrahim of Sudan just had a baby.
A happy occasion for women in the US is quite bittersweet for Meriam. Where women here are delighted to have a lengthy pregnancy and painful labor over with, and so begin a lifetime being called “Mom”, Ms. Ibrahim’s pregnancy was her own umbilical to the world of the living itself. Literally.
For the simple “crime” of marrying a Christian Sudanese-American Christian, and converting herself from Islam, she was charged and jailed for apostasy, and sentenced to death. After initially facing international pressure, the Sudanese government allowed her to give birth first before executing her, which is so nice.
They’ll supposedly allow her to nurse for two years, just long enough to get used to her baby’s tiny smile and the idea of living a bit longer with her. Again, so very nice.
Well wait, I missed something. Ah, yes. As the Islamic Court didn’t recognize the legitimacy of her marriage to Daniel Wani, who has lived in New Hampshire for 17 years, and a US citizen for nearly 10, they also charged her with adultery. So, right after she’s formed a bond with her baby, she will be lashed 100 times for having the temerity of being married while Christian, then hanged. Somehow a celebratory birth cigar just doesn’t quite cover all that.
From ABC News:
“The court’s sentence has prompted statements of concern from Western governments and human rights groups.”
You see, they had to say “Western” governments, instead of explicitly “the White House”. Whereas the kidnapped Nigerian girls, who aren’t direct protectorates of the American government, got their very own frowny First Lady with custom hashtag photo, Meriam Ibrahim hasn’t even warranted a grim-faced, “aw shucks” Jay Carney relaying a message from “madder than hell” President Obama, leader of the free world.
Which I’m sure is just bloody reassuring to Ms. Ibrahim. Her marriage to an American citizen–her paperwork languishes in the sclerotic vacuum that is the State Department–makes Meriam a de facto citizen herself, and for her troubles her own adopted government apparently hasn’t placed a rather stern phone call to the Sudanese government, demanding her immediate release the day before yesterday, let alone drawing a hashtag on a white sheet of paper with a $1 Sharpie to show just how much they care.
Ms. Ibrahim’s plight is instructive of, if nothing else, that under this administration if you’re going to catch a spot of trouble overseas, you’re best off being foreign and in large numbers. If you’re a singular pregnant, Christian, American-in-waiting woman facing death for religious conversion and “adultery”, hold your breath and count until 2017. This administration can’t be bothered.
~At least the half-assed humanity of the Sudanese Islamic Court allowed for the birth of Meriam Ibrahim’s baby before hanging her from a gibbet. Not to be outdone, Pakistan’s Mohammad Azeem, along with family members, saw fit to stone his own pregnant daughter to death for marrying who she wanted instead of the cousin her family wished of her.
From USA Today:
“The 25-year-old woman’s father, brother and spurned fiance were among about a dozen male relatives who used bricks and clubs in the so-called honor killing of Farzana Parveen for disobeying her family’s wishes. She suffered massive head injuries and was pronounced dead at a hospital.”
Well. At least he saved on the cost of a marriage venue, right? Somehow, I think Farzana would have preferred from her family a nice china set to having her head caved in and her child aborted. But we men oppress women in the US though, right? Men in this country have the real issues, right? Right?
Do we ever! Over here, an ever-increasing number of even gay women can marry whomever they damn well please, but:
“Every year, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Pakistani women are killed by their families for actual or imagined adultery or premarital sex. Public stoning is rare, however.”
Not rare enough for Farzana Parveen.
Sexual assault happens here. This is not good. Men-children who don’t handle rejection of women well happens, too. This isn’t good, either. But responsibility for the deaths of those six people rests with Elliot Rodgers and him alone, and until the #YesAllWomen in the U.S. looks like the #YesAllPregnantWomen in lands not our own, painting U.S. men at large as potential oppressive philanderers lacks any sense of outward awareness.
When women overseas are being brutally executed for activities that we largely take for granted, frothing-at-the-mouth narcissism found on Twitter sort of pales in comparison. Meriam Ibrahim would gently shake her head at such a fruitless effort. Farzana Parveen can’t do anything at all. But we’ll argue among ourselves anyway.