The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Saturday, April 12, 2014


Over the past six months, the Democratic party and their allies on the left have pushed a meme—the GOP "War on Women"—intended to (1) allow their hamsters in the media to focus away from a series of major administration scandals, an anemic economy, high debt, and a disastrous foreign policy and (2) do battle space preparation for their likely presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.

It is therefore ironic that the Islamic activists, left-wing students and academics protested when it was announced that one of the true heroines of the early 21st century, Ayann Hirsi Ali, was to receive an honorary degree from Brandeis University at its 2014 commencement ceremony.

Hirsi Ali has spoken out against Islamist doctrine when no one else would. She has decried the violence of Islamist ideology, with particular emphasis on violence against women. She has lived under the rule of Islamists and their Sharia law, been subjected the death threats and Fatwas, and been expelled from the Netherlands because the government could not protect her. Yet, Islamic activists, supported wholeheartedly by left-wing useful idiots, argued that she should not speak. Being academia, the Left's intolerance won out, and her invitation to the commencement was rescinded. 

Yesterday, Hirsi Ali published an abbreviated version of the commencement address she would have given at Brandeis. Here's an excerpt:
Another striking feature of the countries I have just named [Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon], and of the Middle East generally, is that violence against women is also increasing. In Saudi Arabia, there has been a noticeable rise in the practice of female genital mutilation. In Egypt, 99% of women report being sexually harassed and up to 80 sexual assaults occur in a single day.

Especially troubling is the way the status of women as second-class citizens is being cemented in legislation. In Iraq, a law is being proposed that lowers to 9 the legal age at which a girl can be forced into marriage. That same law would give a husband the right to deny his wife permission to leave the house.

Sadly, the list could go on. I hope I speak for many when I say that this is not the world that my generation meant to bequeath yours. When you were born, the West was jubilant, having defeated Soviet communism. An international coalition had forced Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. The next mission for American armed forces would be famine relief in my homeland of Somalia. There was no Department of Homeland Security, and few Americans talked about terrorism.

Two decades ago, not even the bleakest pessimist would have anticipated all that has gone wrong in the part of world where I grew up. After so many victories for feminism in the West, no one would have predicted that women's basic human rights would actually be reduced in so many countries as the 20th century gave way to the 21st.
So ... here we have a true champion of women's rights talking about an actual, not left-wing fantasy, "war on women." But because Hirsi Ali's arguments are grounded in reality, not fantasy, her views cannot be tolerated by the extreme left. Because she names actual, not imaginary, perpetrators, she must be silenced. Because she has lived the war on women, instead of being coddled in a cocoon of delusional leftist thinking, she must be condemned.

I wish I could say that all of this is shocking. It isn't. This level of intolerance for opposing views is typical in academia. It's also shameful.

UPDATE (4/13/2014) :
Jeff Jacoby notes that the left-wing intolerance leveled at Hirsi Ali was precipitated by CAIR (an Islamist front group that has been discussed many times in this blog over the years). He also notes CAIR is trying to censor a new movie, "Honor Diaries," a documentary that tells the stories of nine Muslim women, "all of whom are passionate about exposing the terrible abuses women and girls in many Muslim cultures suffer in the name of family honor. None thinks such horrors should be excused or neglected out of a misplaced cultural sensitivity or political correctness."

Jacoby writes about the hypocrisy of modern feminists in the United States:
People prepared to label opposition to employer-paid contraceptives a “war on women” are generally much less willing to channel their outrage at the savagery of honor killings or child marriages in non-Western societies. “They fear treading on cultural toes,” says Jasvinder Sanghera, one of the film’s featured advocates. “We’re constantly having to remind them that cultural acceptance does not mean accepting the unacceptable.”
Oh, but it does. In the world of left-wing identity politics, certain cultures can commit atrocities and are given a pass. The "war on women" occurs only in western countries that have tried hardest to remove boundaries and correct inequities. It might be effective politics, but it is profoundly dishonest and monumentally cynical.