Sunday, April 13, 2014

The World’s Bravest Woman

I can’t say this any better than the The Daily Beast did:

Why is Brandeis University giving in to the growing hordes who believe they have a right to not be offended?

It is difficult to conceive of a braver woman alive today than Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Born in Somalia, she was subjected to genital mutilation—a practice commonly inflicted on young girls in Muslim communities—at the age of 5. Fleeing a forced marriage, Hirsi Ali eventually made her way to the Netherlands, where she became a member of parliament, defender of women’s rights, and an outspoken (and, at times, unduly harsh) critic of the religion in whose name she was violently subjugated. When a Muslim fanatic murdered filmmaker Theo van Gogh, with whom Hirsi Ali had collaborated on a short film about the oppression of women under Islam, the killer left a note on his victim’s chest warning Hirsi Ali that she would be next.

Hirsi Ali now lives in America, under 24-hour protection. She is a bestselling author, a frequent presence in international media, and a heroic example to women around the world.

But for the mandarins of Brandeis University, Hirsi Ali’s views are unacceptable.

Here's What I Would Have Said at Brandeis

We need to make our universities temples not of dogmatic orthodoxy, but of truly critical thinking.

By Ayaan Hirsi Ali April 10, 2014 Wall St Journal

On Tuesday, after protests by students, faculty and outside groups, Brandeis University revoked its invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali to receive an honorary degree at its commencement ceremonies in May. The protesters accused Ms. Hirsi Ali, an advocate for the rights of women and girls, of being "Islamophobic." Here is an abridged version of the remarks she planned to deliver.

One year ago, the city and suburbs of Boston were still in mourning. Families who only weeks earlier had children and siblings to hug were left with only photographs and memories. Still others were hovering over bedsides, watching as young men, women, and children endured painful surgeries and permanent disfiguration. All because two brothers, radicalized by jihadist websites, decided to place homemade bombs in backpacks near the finish line of one of the most prominent events in American sports, the Boston Marathon.

All of you in the Class of 2014 will never forget that day and the days that followed. You will never forget when you heard the news, where you were, or what you were doing. And when you return here, 10, 15 or 25 years from now, you will be reminded of it. The bombs exploded just 10 miles from this campus.

I read an article recently that said many adults don't remember much from before the age of 8. That means some of your earliest childhood memories may well be of that September morning simply known as "9/11."

You deserve better memories than 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing. And you are not the only ones. In Syria, at least 120,000 people have been killed, not simply in battle, but in wholesale massacres, in a civil war that is increasingly waged across a sectarian divide. Violence is escalating in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Libya, in Egypt. And far more than was the case when you were born, organized violence in the world today is disproportionately concentrated in the Muslim world.

Another striking feature of the countries I have just named, 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.

Editorial Note:  Why do liberals spout off all the time about women's rights, and yet not care about what Muslims do to their women?


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