No idea what it’s like

Farah Rahman has a great post on the Amina-Femen-“imperialism”-too busy being awesome thing.

So let’s look at these accusations of ‘imperialism’. Many of those on Facebook (mis)using the word ‘imperialism’ are, it seems, Western-based Muslims who have grown up under liberal laws. They have no idea what it’s like to actually live in a country where you might be forcibly silenced for your politics. In my opinion, you do have to be pretty privileged to cry out the word ‘imperialism’ so often and with such wild abandon. What is really and truly awful is not that some Muslim women feel upset, but how playing the victim can so effectively erase the original victim herself, in this case Amina. There where whole days of outrage and little concern for where Amina was. It turns out she was being tortured by her family, her aunts stripped her naked to force a ‘virginity’ test on her and she was made to recite passages from the Koran against her will.

We need to be very wary of giving political credence to those who cry wolf, screaming ‘imperialism’ to create a smoke screen every time they don’t want to be challenged. You really have to ask the question ‘what are you trying to hide?’ Accusations of racism are becoming a way of demolishing the confidence to show or even feel solidarity with those across national and cultural boundaries (boundaries I don’t happen to believe in). It’s becoming a way of making people feel guilty about caring, of making women feel like they can’t say anything about human rights in another country. It’s a strategy to force silence on those who have something to fight for, like Amina.

Exactly. The right thing to feel guilty about is not caring what happens to women like Amina and girls like Malala. Internationalism is a good thing, and not to be confused with imperialism.


  1. zibble says

    I think it’s the worst sort of imperialism that all those Western feminists are insulting my *choice* to be enslaved, beaten, and molested by my family.

  2. says

    It’s a very effective silencing tactic — accuse someone of being “something” horrid.

    The $cientologists are very adept at this. In any confrontation, within the first 2 minutes you’ll get something like “I wonder what you’re trying to hide. You must be a …(insert slur here).” Pedophile is among the most-commonly used.

    It seems that Muslims have learned at $cientology’s knee. All you need to do to quell any objective look at the evidence is to charge someone with racism/Islamophobia (same thing).

    Heck, I’ve seen this silencing tactic used here. Whenever you divert attention from the argument to the other person’s “motives”, you’re engaging in a silencing tactic. The argument gets derailed while the person defends him/herself against an unfounded allegation.

    With regard to Islam, I always counter with “evaluation is different from bigotry or discrimination.” You’re allowed to oppose overtly evil institutions when you have weighed the evidence. I evaluate the KKK the same way I evaluate fundamentalist Christianity the same way I evaluate Islam (as practiced by what appears to be the vast majority of its adherents) the same way I evaluate the slyme pit.

    Evaluation is different from discrimination.

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