Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Getting Boned again by The Oz's token feminist?

Allegedly leftwing feminist Pamela Bone has published yet another column for The Oz featuring her usual simplistic mantra that those representing the left/liberal side have jumped into bed with the Islamist lunatic fringe. Here are a few snippets ...

Why is scarcely a word spoken by liberal commentators about the treatment of women under the Taliban rule - child marriages, stonings, absolute exclusion from public life - that Hicks wanted to fight to uphold?

Why are Muslim feminists derided as apologists for imperialism, or "neocons"? How in the world did the Left allow feminism to be hijacked by the Right, when it was always the Left that fought for women's liberation and the Right that resisted it?

It’s a message that no doubt enables allegedly conservative editors and commentators to triumphantly sneer. And why shouldn’t they? Each time Bone repeats her mantra, we all forget how, for decades, it was conservatives using this Islamist fringe to fight communism.

Those were the days when that famous Saudi dissident’s name was really Usama bin Reagan, when he and his henchmen could commit plenty of 9/11’s provided they were targeted at the Soviet Union.

They were also the days when Saddam Hussein was the West’s best friend to the extent that even Donald Rumsfeld was happy to shake his hand and encourage him to use weapons of mass destruction on Iranian troops and citizens. Indeed, for at least one survivor of these attacks, Saddam’s hurried execution means the other guilty parties will again get away with murder.

Bone’s latest piece: “Why are Muslim feminists derided as apologists for imperialism, or "neocons"?”

Bone needs to do some traveling. Perhaps she can arrange something through the Australia-Indonesia Institute. Jakarta , capital of the world’s largest Muslim-majority state, is only around 7 hours away. She can visit private Muslim universities like Paramadina University and meet Muslim feminists working without interference as lecturers.

Bone might also consider going to the women’s studies section at the State Islamic University at Yogyakarta where Muslim feminists are writing and publishing freely.

She might even care to read Australian Muslim feminist author Hanifa Deen’s riveting book The Crescent and the Pen: The Strange Journey of Taslima Nasreen. I’m reading it right now. It’s excellent stuff. Reviewing the book for The Oz, one Canberra-based Muslim feminist writes

Bangladesh has a vibrant feminist movement, but Nasreen presents herself to the world as the lone voice of dissent.

The reviewer describes how Nasreen’s well-meaning sponsors from the left-liberal European literary establishment got their hands burnt in assuming she would be another

... made-to-order heroine of free speech against Islamic primitivism, “the female Salman Rushdie”.

She concludes:

[A]s the West steps up its campaign for ideological dissent in the Muslim world, this is an immensely timely reminder that dissidents tend to be unruly beasts rather than plaster saints.

In other words, Pamela, an anti-Islamist fruitcake is still a fruitcake and hardly worthy of support from anyone, whether on the left or the right.

© Irfan Yusuf 2007

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wali said...

Excellent post.

Peter said...

Yes Madhab I lived in Jakarta for years and what you say is correct. However the cradle of Islam is in the Arab states and the rosy picture you paint of Indonesia is hardly the situation in Saudi Arabia for instance. Sure, it varies in many Muslim states but you will agree that Indonesia is more the exception than the rule.

Irfan said...

Peter, Indonesia is the world's largest Muslim country. It's hardly an exception. You'll find similar situations in Turkey, Bosnia, Albania, Malaysia, Brunei and numerous other countries.

Hardly 15% of Muslims live in the Arab world. And Saudi Arabia is hardly a typical Arab country.

The situation isn't perfect at all. Far from it. But Bone and others should stop making things sound worse than they are.

There are plenty of female dissidents in the Muslim world. Many go on to lead countries.

Anyway, enough for now.