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Fundamentalism's War Vs. Women

3:06 short essay Mp3

4:41 long essay Mp3

FUNDAMENTALIST WARS AGAINST WOMEN
=======================================
[Col. Writ. 12/25/04] Copyright 2004 Mumia Abu-Jamal

   As we look at the world today, at the expansion of Empire, and the rapaciousness of capitalism, at the spreading infection of what is fast becoming a tortuous, global, religious war, we see the growth, and the hardening of fundamentalism.  And what is the first thing that
fundamentalists do?

   They wage war against women.  As always, women and children are the greatest casualties of war, because wars are fought against civilian populations.

   The firebombing of Dresden by the allies is but a mirror of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

   But, I don't mean that.

   I refer to the instinct, both in the West as in the East, for fundamentalist social forces to reach out and restrict the rights of women.

   In Iran, women were forced, by political agencies, to wear the uniform of the veil, after the rise of the mullahs.

   In Sudan today, rape of indigenous women is a weapon of war, as well as sexual and ethnic slavery.

   In Saudi Arabia, it is illegal for a woman to drive a car, and the dreaded Mutawwa'in (secret and morality police) intimidates, detains, and tortures both Saudi citizens and
foreigners with impunity.

   Here in the U.S., women are relegated to the lowest paying jobs, and among the poor, there is a war against their very ability to exist and live decently.  There is an illusion here in the West, that if a woman can wear a sexy dress she is free.  But in a society where the
dollar rules everything, and the educational system (at least at the elementary and secondary levels) is a sham, sex is just another commodity.  I don't know about you, but when I see strip clubs, nudie bars, and Hooters on every corner, the first thing I think about when I consider the young women who work there ain't freedom.

   That's like calling prostitution a kind of 'freedom.'

   Is this the hidden vision that the U.S. and Britain wants to export to the benighted natives of the Middle East?  Is this their idea of freedom and democracy?

   Every empire that has ever existed has used sweet words to justify their conquests and occupations of foreign territories.

   Rome claimed to be bringing "civilization" to the"hardy race of savages" it found in Spain, Gaul (or present-day France) and Britain (Edward Gibbon, *The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire* (Abridged) (Penguin Classics, 2000), p. 27].

   Many of those same people, and other European states claimed they brought "civilization" to colonies in Africa and Asia, and yet, in a century, they brought little more than disarray, confusion, oppression, and death.

   Today, the U.S. Empire echoes its antecedents of history, claiming to bring to the benighted natives of Afghanistan and Iraq, "freedom" and "democracy", while holding hands with allies like Saudi Arabia, and the Emirates, where women are treated as perpetual children, who need permission slips to leave their homes.

   The empires of  yesteryear used sweet words to cover up foul deeds of conquest, and exploitation. Rome ransacked the known world to feed the greed, and sate the appetites of its ruling families.  The historian Edward Gibbon writes:

      But it is no easy task to confine luxury within   the limits of an empire.  The most remote
   countries of the ancient world were ransacked   to supply the pomp and delicacy of Rome.
   The forest of Scythia afforded some valuable   furs.  Amber was brought overland from the
   shores of the Baltic to the Danube; and the   barbarians were astonished at the price   which they received in exchange for so useless   a commodity.  [Gibbon, *The History of the   Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire*   (Abr'd) (London: Penguin Classics, 2000),
   p. 60].

   The U.S., and its corporate princes, thirst for the oil of the Middle East.  They could care less about democracy, or the rights of women.

   They care about the Rights of Capital.

Copyright 2004 Mumia Abu-Jamal


Copyright 2004 Mumia Abu-Jamal


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Submitted by: Sis. Marpessa

Text © copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.