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Thursday, 23 September 2010

Goodness Gracious Me!

I had to stop and adjust my senses. A senior policeman, explaining/excusing why they hadn't prosecuted a Somali for the genital mutilation of his daughter said that there were cultural sensitivities in play here. He went on to say that it was important not to lose the support of the ethic community involved.

Right I thought, so where does he stand on honour killings? Too risky? involves stirring up communal passions?

Female castration is illegal in this country: I think it may very well be classed as child abuse. It's a crime, a child is mutilated but that's not the important concern here. What you have to bear in mind is not annoying the natives!

I'm sure that the senior police officer would like to be able to prosecute the father or family involved; it's just that he and we are so brain washed by the god of cultural diversity that he has to sacrifice helpless children at its altar.

How is that we find ourselves terrorised by this political correctness. Surely it can't be right that a law enforcement officer feels so hamstrung by this mantra that he can't bring himself to enforce a law.

It's a strange world we live in when we rise up in righteous indignation at the mistreatment of children in overseas countries but feel unable to do anything about similar practices in our own country.

We have castrated ourselves: we are fearful of offending; of being accused of not understanding. And we end up being helpless. Resenting our own impotence and being scorned by the very people whom we should be tackling, for our weakness and lack of moral fibre.

I am disappointed by India. To my mind it is a wonder and an enigma. A country of such vibrancy, such colour, such soul, yet brimful of inequality, squalor and poverty. They are such creative people but their creativity took an English bureaucracy and turned it into a monster and in politics, even more so than here, it's not what you know but who your family is that's important.

A country that can mass and provision an army of 100,000 on the Kashmir border, surely has the organisational genius to put on a pukka Commonwealth Games. But the recent photographs and stories coming out of New Delhi suggest that the organising committee are a few paise short of a rupee. Certainly their performance hasn't won them many supporters in the Indian press and wider population. The popular view is that what should have been an opportunity to proclaim India's status as an Asian Tiger has turned out to reinforce the  traditional  view of her as incompetent, lazy and corrupt. People are mad, but only now has the Government been stirred to take any action.

Let's hope they sort it out. Asia needs more than one giant and a democratic, creative, entrepreneurial India is my candidate.



Anonymous said...

I have friends who work with refugees and trafficked women and are probably committed multiculturalists.

I have said to them that I don't think that we should ignore people like the BNP even if they are mostly racist morons - they still have a point, mangled and distorted though it may be. The point is, multiculturalism does present us with real problems, and we should face these without shame instead of trying to paper over them Tony Blair-style.

I say this in all Spock-like rationality; I am notably not patriotic or provincial in my attitudes but I can see that most people are, and they find difference stressful. And there are always forces around looking to exploit this.

Sticking with the Spock-like rationality, I think that moral relativism is a road to certain disaster. Cultural practices may vary but what's right is right. We give up trying to figure out what's really right when we encounter a culture with a divergent view not because morality is really just subjective but because we are not prepared to deconstruct our own moral presumptions in order to compare them with alien moral presumptions. One day morality will be a science - Sam Harris wrote a good book on the subject.

There's no rational justification for mutilating a girl's genitals so it is wrong, period. It causes suffering to a sentient being with no substantial upside. That's not a relative chauvanist cultural prejudice - it's as sure and true as 2+2=4.

Barry Coidan said...

Hear, hear!

Anonymous said...

I had a really disturbing dream last night and I am glad I looked back here and discovered that it arose from this conversation and not from some innate inner Cthulhu. Heh.

Brain, why do you do it to me..?