Wednesday, September 3, 2008

"So we will build a gallows..."

In a new series, we are addressing the cultural phenomenon of honor killings.

Many people in the West are afraid to confront the violent cultures that commit these and other atrocities; they are afraid to tell them that they must change their murderous ways.

Rather than admit they are cowards, and that they fear they will be the next victims of this kind of violence, these people in the West mask their fear behind multiculturalism, trying to convince people they are open-minded instead of terrified by a culture of abusive bullies.

In a comment to Karo-Kari, Part 2, Anticant hits the nail right on the head:

The complacent attitude of some modern 'multiculturalists' in the West towards these and other primitive barbarisms astounds me. Apparently any atrocity is considered OK by these folk so long as it's a cultural or religious custom.

Fortunately the British Raj was prepared to be more culturally imperialist: there's a nice story that when the advocates of Suttee [widow-burning] defended it as their cultural custom, the British commander-in-chief replied: "Very well. Follow your custom. We also have a custom. We hang those who kill unlawfully. So we will build a gallows alongside your funeral pyre, and when you have burned your widows we will hang you."

To turn your head the other way and pretend nothing is happening while innocent people are brutally murdered is all it takes to perpetuate the killing, and thus to be an accessory to the crimes.

Right on, Anti!


Important update:

"It is not solely cowardice."

I stand corrected. Please see Anticant's comment to this post.

1 comment:

anticant said...

It is not solely cowardice. There is a lot of post-colonial guilt involved. Indigenous white British people are being taught [mistakenly, in my view] to feel that they should apologise for past injustices, such as the slave trade.

Of course it took a very long time for past generations to recognise that slavery was wrong - the Roman Catholic Church defended it as a "Christian" institution until as recently as 1965 - and it took more than a century after your US Civil War for black civil rights to become more acceptable in the USA.

But we are none of us responsible for what our forebears did: it is our personal and social duty to take responsibility for what we and our generation does. And it is more important to teach our children not to commit future wrongs than to make them feel guilty and apologetic about past ones.

As for "multiculturalism", there is growing revulsion against its unforeseen consequences in the UK, but as yet no articulate political voice shaping an alternative policy. This is a challenge the Conservatives need to face up to, as the extreme right fringe parties are racist and thuggish.

Being opposed to multiculturalism does not mean lacking respect for, or tolerance of, people of different ethnic backgrounds, cultures and religions who have come to live amongst us - but it does mean being clear that we expect them to respect our traditions and culture as well as their own; and that there must continue to be a single rule of law and obligation for all our citizens, of whatever background.