Political Correctness, Paradox and Silence
When the London terrorist bombings occurred in July 2005, Jack Cashill, author of a penetrating analysis into the radical politicization of Western elites entitled Hoodwinked (Nelson, 2005), made a public bet. He stated that he would personally buy the uncut version of Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, a film he intensely detested, if politically correct spin — of blaming the attacks on America — did not start within a few days of the bombings. Cashill did not need to buy the film — sure enough, the reflex blaming started on cue in various sections of the mainstream media.
PC and the Media
Sometimes, however, there is a clash of politically correct causes and the media are unsure of which PC side to support. This is especially apparent in the recent link between Muslim activists and supporters of left-of-centre causes — Feminism, gay rights environmentalism, and even Marxism. In Australia, Sydney’s Marxist media mantra, the Socialist Worker, has jumped in to express wholehearted support for Muslims, expressing outrage equally for Islamophobia as well as homophobia. Elsewhere, its journalists regularly denounce followers of the great monotheistic faiths of the West, that is, adherents of Judaism and Christianity. In fact, they will never admit that they owe their freedom of expression to the Western culture in which they live.
However, the attempt to join hands in victimhood with Muslims has led to some strange consequences. The New York based Catholic and Family Rights Institute, a small Catholic lobby group at the United Nations, reported in August 2006 that radical homosexual groups tried to gain recognition of their cause in the United Nations, wanting to have homosexuality declared a basic human right. However, the charge against them was led by Muslim countries, some of whom have the death penalty for homosexuals. What was interesting was the lack of “gay outrage” at the Muslim counterattack in any mainstream media. The two “victim” causes had clashed, producing an intellectual short-circuit. The media seemed confused and took the path of least resistance and avoided the issue. Of course the Socialist Worker would not have known where to turn had they run the story. How do Islamophobia and homophobia weigh up on the political correctness scales? Support the Muslims, or support the gays? Basic logic seemed to suggest, even to the PC spin doctors, that they could not support both at once.
The contrast of PC victimhood is perhaps nowhere so visible as in the strange alliance of feminists with radical Islamic groups. When the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict was ensuing recently, British feminist Phyllis Baxter could not; believe her eyes when she saw pro-nuclear disarmament feminist colleagues marching side by side with Muslim supporters carrying a placard announcing, “We are all Hezbollah now.” She said in disbelief:
I could never have imagined that many of the same crowd I hung out with…would today be standing shoulder to shoulder with militantly anti-feminist Islamic fundamentalist groups whose views on women made Western patriarchy look like a Greenham peace picnic.
Writing further on this subject, Pamela Bone, a former 1997s feminist, highlighted the feminist-radical Islam nexus and the strange silence of Western Feminists for their sisters in Muslim countries. Writing in The Australian, she describes a peaceful demonstration of women in Teheran in June 2006 where women asked for the right to have their testimony considered equivalent to that of a man in court. The result was that the demonstrators, most of them women, were attacked with tear gas and beaten with batons by officers from Iran’s State Security Forces, according to Amnesty International. What stunned Bone the most, however, was the silence of the Western feminists where the peaceful demonstration itself was concerned, and their ongoing silence in the aftermath of this well-publicized event. Said Bone:
Do you think women in Western countries marched in solidarity with the Iranian women demonstrators? Of course not. Do you think there are posters and graffiti at universities condemning the Iranian president? Of course not. You know, without needing to go there, that any graffiti at universities will be condemning George W. Bush, not Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Where are the Feminists?
In the same article Bone recounts the almost single-handed fight of a Canadian of Iranian background, Homa Arjomand, to lead the fight to stop sharia courts being established in Canada, She did so with almost zero support from Anglo-Canadian feminists and academics who did not see merit, apparently, in fighting to stop a system which would dramatically curtail their freedoms if it were introduced. This same Homa Arjomand is now running a campaign to stop honour killings in Canada — that is, killings of women some Islamic societies (even in certain Islamic communities in Canada) who are perceived to have lowered the family honour in some way (perception is what counts here) — and again she does not appear to have the support of her feminist colleagues. Bone makes the pertinent observation:
The question is why so many Western feminists do not speak out about the cruelty that blights the lives of millions of women in Islamic countries and would do the same to women everywhere else should the Islamists succeed in their stated aim of creating a worldwide caliphate…The reason, as writer Fay Weldon has said, is that these days racism is a much worse sin that sexism: a consequence, perhaps, of the success of the women’s movement in the West.
Genocide of Females
As strange as the paradoxical silence of feminists may be as regards radical Islam, what does one say when the feminists’ supposed ally — the pro-abortion doctor — kills girls in great numbers? This is the stark reality of gender-selection abortion both in India and China. The report of China’s ongoing forced abortions and in particular abortions of female babies and abandonment of born girls has been reported in the West by Steve Mosher of the United States Population Research Institute and has been met with deafening silence from the bastions of feminism. Not as well known, but equally as horrifying, are sex-selection abortions in India, which have accounted for the deaths of at least 50 million female babies over the past 20 years.
In a rare article in the mainstream media on this politically incorrect subject, Louise Williams of the Sydney Morning Herald of January 2006 observed that this is “the most grossly distorted gender ratio since statistics were first recorded.” This young journalist expressed some authentic dismay but there was none from the feminist commentariat. In fact, it is the Catholic Church’s bishops (not women’s groups within the Church) who are supporting the fundamental right to life of these young girls more than any feminist mouthpiece. Monsignor Oswald Gracias. President of India’s Catholic Bishops Conference and the Archbishop of Agra, expressed his outrage at the widespread abortion of girls, despite the fact that such practices had been outlawed since 1994, calling it “contemptible and condemnable…that females are chosen to he killed.”
Again what is interesting about this Indian gendercide is the whisper-quiet silence of the feminist brigades of the West, who should he sending unceasing calls to end the killing of their own sisters. However, the feminists are truly caught here. If they ignore the sex-selection feticide of their sisters, then they have to take onboard their support for the killing of their own gender, whose killing in any circumstance other than abortion they would wildly protest. However, if they were to protest the killing of the unborn baby girls, they would lose their enshrined PC status in moving away from their dogmatic support of abortion. If they support a ban on sex-selection abortions then they have already been ensnared onto the pro-life side. The continuing feminist silence testifies to a moral failure to face the issue. If they cannot express a wish for their own sisterhood to survive, then what is the point of their thoughts, words or any of their striving?
Political correctness here not only leads to contradictions hut to the elimination of the very group of victims the feminists sought to support. If ever political correctness had met its endgame, this is it.
Wanda Skowronska is registered psychologist working in inner-city Sydney, Australia, schools.