where the writers are
Liberals and Fundamentalists

She is a blonde from Central America. Did she need to be stripped to her waist? As part of an armed gang of robbers, Alejandra Maria Torres could have been arrested. But a mob had gathered, torn off her blouse, poured gasoline over her and lit the match. And stood by to watch. (My apologies for using these pictures, but it is to make a point.)

This is not some backward tribal region. The mob has not been given a name; they are not called terrorists. This happened on Tuesday, December 15, 2009 in Guatemala City.

The figures for this year read: 219 people lynched; 45 of them died.

The lesson here is that cruelty has different dimensions.

The picture of the Afghan woman being shot dead for a ‘crime’ is a potent one.

Here, you can blame the religious law as practised by a bunch of fanatics. The enemy is visible. But has any religious group been indicted for the Guatemalan lynching? Why was the woman's physical humiliation necessary when the crime has no sexual dimension? This is a democracy we are talking about.

In most societies, it is the women who have to bear the brunt of religious laws. All religions have arisen due to wars and been sanctified as such – it could be battles on the ground or battles of the mind. The seeking of supremacy is at the core of religious credos. There are other moral values that come along, but who has the time for them? It is about laws, rituals and a convenient interpretation that grants the male special powers.

A Somali man was stoned for adultery and buried alive. The Daily Mail had the caption, ‘Begging for his life: Mohamed Ibrahim appeals to Islamic militants not to carry out the execution as he is buried in the ground as his villagers are forced to watch’.

This photograph is by Associated Press. Were they invited, too? Could they not have taken along or alerted the Human Rights organisations? Were they too forced to watch?

I would pose the same query to RAWA (Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan)that holds copyright to the Afghan picture. There is no doubt that it works under extremely difficult situations with women in Afghanistan, but why the need to take those pictures? To show the world? Has the world helped in these civil issues? The world is interested in the behemoth of terrorism, not what happens to innocent men, women and children.

The Somali man in this picture does not seem to be begging and his persecutors appear to be talking him into getting buried. This is not to in anyway deny the reality as it happens. This does take place. There are a number of people ready to flex their muscles – weak idiots who do not care about religion but their own invincibility.

Besides, why was a man stoned for adultery? Isn’t this the sort of machismo that supposedly comes with the territory?

And what does one do about the Tiger Woods case? Does not the morality have its source in some early indoctrination?

On the flip side, I have been shocked at comments that say his wife should have known that when you marry a celebrity all this comes with the package and that she has now spoiled his career. The onus is on her. She should have chosen to remain a nanny or must take this in her stride.

Interesting how the liberals speak the language of the fundamentalists.

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I recall that there was a column by an Indian feminist titled ‘Adam’s Rib’. I found it pretty stupid besides being regressive. Around the same time I had a column where I did rather cutting profiles of prominent men. I had called it ‘Eve’s Adam’...I guess I could spare some ribs!