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September 25, 2010



Lemmon seems not to know what it is she wants to say or to know. When she complains that we don't know what Americans hope to achieve in Afghanistan she becomes quite incoherent. Are we there for the women? Or is it just a spin? she asks. To me, as much as I can figure out what she thinks, her beef is with the women. And it goes like this:

Women are entrusted with the onerous task of the family honour. When they appear to refuse that burden, violence is visited upon them, in some harsh form or another. Now wouldn't it be nice if we could just know about the "respected women" bit? Isn't it totally, like, you know, inconvenient, to know what women under Taliban are really going to suffer?

What a silly silly woman, that one. How can someone like that be entrusted with policy-thinking about Foreign Relations? Scary.


If you have ever seen a video of bear baiting, you can't miss that it is similar to stoning -- the men are standing around in a circus atmosphere. Yes, this is a different culture, but it's a culture of cruelty, and I can't help but think that the hijab is at the center of it. It's a culture of men without women, similar to a prison population.

George S

I don't think Lemmon is quite so gormless. She appears to me to be explaining how the terrible act is seen by those who commit it. The 'respected women bit' is the bit the Taliban thinks, is it not? And of course, that is wrong and terrible. Does she seem to be condoning it?

Similarly, when she asks if it acting on behalf of women is spin, she is talking about what some people might be saying. She is not personally suggesting it. It is not her complaining that we don't know. She says that is what some people think. She quite clearly says that such stonings are likely to be the result of Taliban rule. Nowhere does she condone it or excuse it by referring to respect for women.

The video is quite enough evidence. It speaks pretty well for itself.

She could be more forthright, more condemning. She says the video is consonant with other such videos coming out of Taliban areas.

Mick H

Well, OK - that's a charitable view of what she's saying.

I'm not suggesting she's in any way condoning the actual stoning - of course she isn't - but that phrase, "it's quite positive in that women are respected" seems to me to go beyond simply pointing out that that's how the Taliban see things. She seems to me to be actually making a kind of accommodation with their view on women here: that, yes, it's positive that they treat women with respect, that they honour them, but, you know, they shouldn't do this violent stuff. To me there's nothing positive about this respect. It's a poisonous respect; it's false, it's a lie, it's toxic. It's important not to give any credit whatsoever to that kind of argument about respect and honour.

It's just a throwaway remark, perhaps, and she may not have meant it to come out like that, but that's how I understood her.


I'm not terribly persuaded about how entrenched is that "respect for women" thingy, anyway. After listening to this dude:

"These hadiths provide some of the most decisive evidence that Islam protects women and guarantees their rights. Islam has surrounded the woman with a fence of compassion and mercy. It has shown that the twisted nature of women stems from their very creation. This is how Allah wanted woman to be. Therefore, the husband must adapt himself to her and be patient with her. He should not give her too many things to do, or things that she is incapable of doing. He should not make her do anything that is contrary to her nature, and to the way she was created by Allah."


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