Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Opposing patriarchal murder is "orientalist"

Jews sans frontieres says:
"A friend of mine told me that Peter Tatchell was again at the Free Palestine demo yesterday. Apparently he was with a group of about thirty people (with a police escort) bearing placards saying 'Stop the Honour Killings'. The expression 'honour killings' is usually used to refer to domestic murders of women deemed unworthy. It's used by western Orientalists to suggest that there is something worse about this than the two women killed by men every week in the UK. So why is Tatchell using the expression to condemn the killing of gays in Palestine? And why does he see fit to demonstrate against Palestinians at a Free Palestine rally? When he first invade the demo last year he bore a placard with the inane slogan 'Israel stop persecuting Palestine - Palestine stop persecuting queers'. Now by conflating homophobia in the third world with extreme domestic violence, and putting as orientalist a spin on it as he could think of, he's crossed the line from seeking to embarrass Palestinian officialdom to full-blown anti-Arab racism and Islamophobia."
So, Jews Sans Frontieres (henceforth JsF) thinks that to use the words 'honour killings' by definition (at least 'usually') makes you an 'orientalist', by definition means that you don't care about domestic violence committed by white people. This is obviously absurd. Surely anyone with a working moral compass should oppose domestic violence and murder, whether it is committed in the Arab world or the western world. Drawing attention to domestic violence in Arab countries does not detract attention from domestic violence here.

I hear the term "honour killings" primarily from feminists rather than, say, from Tony Blair. I googled the term, just to check. The first hit was from Gendercide Watch, who campaign against the killing of women across the globe not just the Arab world - current news items draw attention to Russia, the former Yugoslavia, Congo and India - as well as Sudan and Iraq. And when drawing attention to "gendercide" in Iraq, their source is OccupationWatch.org, the anti-occupation group. The second hit came from Spotlight, an anti-zionist outfit. The third hit is Kurdish Womens Action Against Honour Killings (KWAHK) (although maybe JsF thinks they're orientalist too, because they call for a secular Iraq). Then we get to an Aljazeera item on Palestinian women decrying honour killings. And so it goes on...

Previous: Boycott latest, Jews for Justice for Palestinians on the Academic Boycotts, "Anti-Zionists" left and right, Chomsky, Shahak and Said, Izzy-Pal, Palestinian "resistance" celebrates Catholic homophobe, Vice and virtue commando in the Gaza Strip, BobFromBrockley: The identititarian logic of multiculturalism.

Tags: , ,

No comments: