I could hardly believe this story:
Raped by her brothers and impregnated, Rofayda Qaoud refused to commit suicide, her mother recalls, even after she bought the 17-year-old a razor with which to slit her wrists.
So Amira Abu Hanhan Qaoud says she did what she believes any good Palestinian parent would: restored her family's "honor" through murder.
Armed with a plastic bag, razor and wooden stick, Qaoud entered her sleeping daughter's room last Jan. 27...
..."She killed me before I killed her," says the 43-year-old mother of nine. "I had to protect my children. This is the only way I could protect my family's honor."[Seattle Times, again thanks to Andrew Sullivan, if "thanks" is the word]
Read the full article, if you have a strong stomach.
Frankly I'll take Dead White Male culture anyday. It isn't actually Dead White Male culture anymore, or course, having been pivotally informed by the Women's Suffrage Movement and the likes of Martin Luther King, though its zygote was dominated by white males for many centuries.
No, what goes by that label has become an engine for learning how to improve people's lives. The real engine is not the culture itself, but the representative democracy system that is at its heart. That is something new on the face of the Earth in the last few hundred years, and it is an innovation arguably more powerful and important than all the technology that has emerged in the same period.
Due to our democracy people can speak their minds without fear, and ultimately move the culture ahead, by means of the constitution that directs the engine, toward greater freedom and compassion for all. Yes, of course, there are terrible iniquities in our world. But merely 150 years ago, many of us in the United States were slaves who could be beaten with a whip at the master's whim. Fewer years ago than that, half the population didn't have the right to vote. Now all adults have that right, women are serving in the Senate and as governors of their states, and it will not be too many more years before one is President. (Britain, of course, has already had Margaret Thatcher.)
Things are not perfect by any means. For instance, our President believes that gays should not be entitled to be married, when it is perfectly obvious, religiously-rooted prejudice aside, that they should have that right as fully as straights do. But that will change. It is completely inevitable. Bush's views on that will eventually be swept away by the tide of our process.
Such changes are never easy. For example, in the U.S. (though not in many other countries operating under a representative democracy), a civil war was necessary to free the slaves. But a process existed which encouraged the necessary ideas to emerge and grow until such a world-changing struggle could occur. The Civil War's purpose was not to free the slaves. But if the ideas weren't extant and well-accepted by most people in the North by the time the war occurred, the slaves probably would have remained slaves.
We have quite some distance to go. But the velocity of forward movement, taken in historical terms, is extremely impressive.
That is why I have come to believe that DWM culture is inherently superior to the fundamentalist Islamic one that is pitting itself against us. Many believe that all cultures equally valid, and that one shouldn't judge another. To do so is arrogance, they say.
But I see our culture as an engine for learning how to improve people's lives and the opposition as an engine for repressing any kind of change, including changes that improve people's lives. That's not a matter of taste or style. That's a fundamental moral difference.
The article quoted above ends:
"My mother did this because she does not want us to be punished by people," Fatima explains with a shy smile. "I love my mother much more now than before."