Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Bhutto, Women, Islam, & True Freedom

Pamela Bone at The Australian asks, "ARE women across the world mourning Benazir Bhutto?"
"I know I am a symbol of what the so-called jihadists, Taliban and al-Qa'ida, most fear," she (Bhutto) wrote in her autobiography, Daughter of the East. "I am a female political leader fighting to bring modernity, communication, education and technology to Pakistan."

Yes, fear is the right word. The fear of women, of women's freedom, and most of all, of women's sexuality, runs through Islamism. It is a large part of Islamist hatred of the West. "The issue of women is not marginal," writes the Dutch scholar Ian Buruma. "It lies at the heart of Islamic occidentalism (anti-Westernism)."

It is the "deep, ignored issue", writes Paul Berman, author of Terror and Liberalism. Why, I wonder, is it mainly men who are making these points? Read all of Bone’s article, Assassinated because she was a woman.
One may speculate with more than a little certainty that Muslim women generally are disregarded by feminists in the West because of the primitive Sacred which is at the heart of Islam. The victims enter this realm of mystification and their voices are not heard, their plight not seen, their number uncounted. As Gil Bailie points out, "myth doesn’t answer questions. It extinguishes the mental vitality to ask them," and "to mythologize is to leave out or obscure the things that would lead to contrition."

This anthropological fact about the primitive Sacred leaves many, like the journalist above, in a state of complete bewilderment. Why? For the simple reason that an understanding of cultural anthropology as explicated by René Girard thematizes human motives and behavior in ways that college professors who teach a rigidly, one might say fundamentalist, social science simply cannot grasp.

Girard plumbs a wisdom about human nature that goes far beyond the secularist version. Girard's "mimetic theory" substantiates and serves the Catholic Church's anthropological understanding of culture, knowing that sin is at one with the bloodthirsty nature of fallen human nature, demanding ever more victims in its satanic origins. That western feminists cannot grasp the significance of Benazir Bhutto's assassination -- any more than they are able to grasp the servile state of the role of women in Islam -- isn't surprising. What is is that Ms. Bone can ask why they can't.

As a rule, it should be noted that the ability to see and hear the cries of the victims of the primitive Sacred is directly proportionate to one's being affected by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the treasure vouchsafed in the Magisterium of the Catholic Church (and to lesser degrees the christianities downstream from It). The greater the influence by the Gospel, the greater one identifies with the Lamb Slain Since the Foundation of the World, Jesus. The lesser the influence, the more one is apt merely to have one's victims chosen for one by the mimetic forces swirling around and to continue the "eternal return" engendered by the primitive Sacred. The former is true freedom. The latter is the same old same old.

The choice, as they say, is yours.

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