Oh, it was a challenging evening. I went to see the film The Honor Diaries, which takes a relentless look at the notion of “honor” in tribal societies and the ways women (women’s bodies) pay the price for a family’s honor. It looked at honor violence, women being beaten, raped, disfigured; honor killings; and Female Genital Mutilation. I was in a hall filled with young women at a local college (and why weren’t young men required to be there?).
At the end of the film, which was attended by one of the women who was in the film’s roundtable, there was a Q&A. Part of the discussion about the film beforehand had been whether it was Islamaphobic. The speaker, a Muslim, is very clear, as are most of the women in the film, that they are working on civil rights, not (yet) on Reformation of Islam.
What is true is that many of the people there had to struggle with the notion that this was other… other than us. The violence in these countries is extreme and horrific. But it is supported by our lack of connection to people we understand to be completely different from us.
All that day, I’d been struggling with evidence of diminishing rights here in the states. Lack of access to birth control and abortion, rising rapes, death threats to young women taking what some men perceive as ‘their’ power. Comparable violence? No. but on the continuum? yes. And I believe the lack of focus on these problems is rooted in the same dismissal of women’s value. In those countries women are seen as having half the worth of a man. Here, at least financially, we’re pretty clear that we’re 78%. But any diminution of human value allows such atrocities to continue.
Women need to see this connection and be outraged. So do our Brothers, Fathers, Husbands, Friends.
So what does Peace need? The awareness that there is no Peace (and that we’re part of the problem). Justice. And a flat out commitment to bringing Peace through addressing (stopping!) the injustices.
It’s all very complicated. and so what?