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Primitive Understanding Of Biology Leads To Primitive Behavior
Time and time again I see that spreading science and reason is the best way to bring the primitive religious fanatics into the future (sorry, I mean, up to the present). Globalization is probably the only way to sneak science and reason into Muslim cultures.

At the moment, though, in Iraq, because of a lack of the most basic knowledge about biology (an ignorance which conveniently serves Muslim notions of women as something more like pets than people deserving rights equal to those of men), rape is sometimes literally murder. Cultural anthropologist Diane E. King writes in the IHT:

In the kind of patriliny found in Iraq, procreation is imagined via a seed and soil metaphor. During ethnographic research I have carried out since 1995, Iraqi Kurds have explained to me their understanding that, during sex, a man "plants a seed" in a woman. This seed is then nurtured in the "soil" of the womb. Only the seed is seen to contribute the essence of the child. I once heard it explained by a proponent of this cultural theory that a child who bears resemblance to his or her mother is a product of a seed that failed to fend off permeation by some of the soil during gestation. This could lead, I was told, to ridicule of the child's father for producing weak seed.

Rape is always humiliating, always a violation, always awful. But under patrilineal cultures, it can also be a tool of sectarian discord and even genocide. This is the case in Iraq, where rape is frequently used as a weapon of sectarian conflict. When a Shiite militiaman rapes a Sunni woman, for example, he is seen as potentially implanting a Shiite individual into her womb. He is causing her to suffer dual humiliations: She is sexually violated, with all of the personal implications that that would carry in any culture. But the rape further serves like a Trojan Horse: Thereafter, an offspring bearing the rapist's identity may well be hidden inside her body, an enemy who will emerge in nine months.

So cross-sectarian rape as a weapon of political conflict hypothetically can force a woman to nurture her own enemy. But in actual practice, this rarely happens. Rather, the tragedy of rape is compounded when a member of that woman's group eliminates her and any enemy offspring through an "honor killing." Honor killings are usually carried out by the father or brother of the victim, although they may be committed by others from the group. Alternatively, the woman herself may commit an "honor suicide."

Honor killings have been on the rise in Iraq. The connection these killings have to a corresponding rise in rapes has not been documented, but there seems to be every reason to assume a connection.

Posted by aalkon at July 9, 2007 9:23 AM


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