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Author Topic: Judicial gang rape in Western Pakistan -- the aftermath
Pete at Home
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4620065.stm

I've been looking for news on that Western Pakistan case where a tribal court ordered a woman to be gang raped as punishment for her adolescent brother being in the company of women whose brothers had just sodomized him. The news kind of went dark on it for a few years, but here it is. Talk about your judicial culture wars!

Given the facts of this case, I'm all for the death penalty. They imposed rape as the punishment for someone else's "crime," and that crime wasn't even a crime. I hope the rapists and the judges who ordered the rape hang together, and I hope they take pictures. The horror here isn't just the damage they caused this woman and her brother, but the absolute despotism and abuse of power. Gang rape under color of law is a crime against the whole idea of a human community.

[ November 01, 2005, 06:54 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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witless chum
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"Gang rape under color of law is a crime against the whole idea of a human community."

That's about as true a statement as anything I've ever read.

I guess I'd add that this is logical result of treating fellow human beings as property and, while I don't think the death penalty is ever a good idea, let's say I wouldn't up my ACLU contribution over this bunch.

Dan

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Pete at Home
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Makes sense. We should not confine this discussion to "women's issues" here. This whole thing started with the boy getting gang raped, then they hold him prisoner to keep him from reporting. Then some members of the family who weren't in on the gang rape discover him in their house and assume he's improperly with their women folk. So they use the judicial process to lure his sister to court to "apologize," and then gang-rape her with the blessing of the judges.
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Pete at Home
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Come to think of it, I guess this is the case that brings me down on the side of symbolic justice. Usually, with almost all crimes, I say it's really about preventing the person from reoffending, about protecting society from the perp.

But when they use the law to commit an atrocity like this, when it's a crime against all of us, I say hang them high for the whole world to see that we do not countenance this crime that was done in our name.

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witless chum
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Hmm, can't come up with a rational argument for why making an especial example rings bad to me.

I guess that either means you're right, or I haven't thought of why I'm right yet, which is hardly better than being wrong.

I was thinking that what you're calling for is giving a harsher punishment for the same crime than you'd give to a different gang of rapists, but your point, is that it's a different crime because of the perverting the legal system, just like embezzling $100 is judged more seriously when the mayor does it then when the dry cleaner does.

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Pete at Home
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Come to think of it, what I said actually is the law in the US. Torture (including rape) when committed under color of law, is a death penalty offense. That's actually one of the things I learned from reading the infamous torture memo.
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Mormegil
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The buck stops with the courts and government. If someone attacks me on the street, I can fight back. If a cop attacks me, I'm not allowed to fight back.

That's why, when government agents commit crimes against people, they need to be punished much more severely.

A court ordering rape as a punishment? That's a court that should be *destroyed*.

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foliated
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An update on this case:

There was an article in the Washington Post published on 11/4. Don't know if orneryites read it, but I'll post a portion of it here. The rest of it can be found at this website.

quote:
Yet Mukhtar's status has transformed, from pariah to savior and protector. Her modest home has become a shelter for abused women in search of a haven. Her police and government contacts help her mediate on behalf of helpless, landless peasants. Men seek her intervention in land disputes, and parents beg for her help in finding out if their abducted sons or daughters are dead or alive.

After her case gained attention, a female official from Islamabad, the capital, offered Mukhtar a check as compensation for the damage to her family, and to help Pakistan's image.

"Just build me a school. This is too much money for me and my family," Mukhtar said she told the official about the offer of half a million rupees, or about $8,300.

Mukhtar said the official told her she could keep the money and that she would also get her school. Mukhtar bought a plot of land, and the government built not one but two new schools. Mukhtar became the founder of the Mukhtar Mai Girls School as well as one of its 200 students.

It must be weird to be a student in a school that's named after you. But that is her present status, according to the article. I hope the report is true and that things turn out well for her.
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Pete at Home
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Consider also that she's living in the heart of Islamism. Western Pakistan is more dangerous than Afghanistan. Hell, she's practically neighbors with OBL. And it's fortunate that they are doing this themselves, and that the money did not come from the West, otherwise she'd be in even more danger.
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RickyB
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No one's going to bring up the fact that this is th extreme conclusion of being obsessed with governing the sexuality of others?

OK, I will. [Big Grin]

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Kent
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Sex is a side issue. Ownership of female human beings is the main issue.

[ November 18, 2005, 10:57 AM: Message edited by: Kent ]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
No one's going to bring up the fact that this is th extreme conclusion of being obsessed with governing the sexuality of others?

OK, I will. [Big Grin]

Fat chance, Ricky; you're not tapdancing your party tag onto this grave.

Cultural lefties like the SLA had no problem locking Patty Hearst in a closet and repeatedly raping her. Their justifications for the rapes were that party members needed sex, and that was her form of "work" towards the glorious revolutionary cause, satisfying her needs. After all, she was just a bourgois pig, and needed to know what work was about.

So the cultural left too have their dabblings in rape as a form of social justice.

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RickyB
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the SLA ethos was the prevailing social norm where, exactly? And has to do with me how? You crack me up, mate. [Big Grin]
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Pete at Home
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The SLA would have agreed with what you said about the evils of trying to "govern" sexuality. They were all about freeing up sexuality, etc. And yet they, like the Pakistani tribal court, engaged in rape as a form of "social justice."

[ November 18, 2005, 04:53 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
the SLA ethos was the prevailing social norm where, exactly?
You haven't seen their little seven-headed snake lately? The seven principles of the Symbionese federation?
quote:
Umoja-La Unidad-Unity - To strive for and maintain unity in our household, our nation and in the Symbionese federation.
Kujichagulia-La Libre Determinacion-Self Determination - To define ourselves, name ourselves, speak for ourselves and govern ourselves.
Ujima-Trabajo Colectivo y Responsibilidad-Collective Work and Responsibility - To build and maintain our nation and federation together by making our brothers' and sisters' and the Federation's problems our problems and solving them together.
Ujamaa-Produccion Cooperativa-Cooperative Production - To build and maintain our own economy from our skills, and labor and resources and to insure ourselves and other nations that we all profit equally from our labor.
Nia-Proposito-Purpose - To make as our collective vocation the development and liberation of our nation, and all oppressed people, in order to restore our people and all oppressed people to their traditional greatness and humanity.
Kuumba-Creativo-Creativity - To do all we can , as best as we can, in order to free our nation and defend the federation and constantly make it and the earth that we all share more beautiful and beneficial.
Imani-Fe-Faith - To believe in our unity, our leaders, our teachers, our people, and in the righteousness and victory of our struggle and the struggle of all oppressed and exploited people.

Well here you are, Ricky, and a merry Kwanzaa to ye [Razz] http://www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org/NguzoSaba.html
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RickyB
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The web site you linked to does not mention the word "Symbionese". Yet you quoted it. Why?
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Pete at Home
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Ach. I forgot to provide the link to the first quote that does have Symbionese.

And other than that word, it's almost identical to what the Kwanzaa site says. I'm not sure whether Kwanzaa picked up the SLA propaganda, or whether someone in the SLA was a militant Kwanzoid [Big Grin]

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RickyB
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You know what cracks me up, Pete? That as a self-declared communitarian, you should be fairly delighted with the seven principles on that kwanzaa site.

And yes, it is extremely possible that somone into black communitarian politics was in contact or even somewhat influenced by radical left rhetoric in the late 60's and 70's. Doesn't prove a damn thing.

[ November 19, 2005, 06:54 AM: Message edited by: RickyB ]

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Pete at Home
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When did I declare myself a communitarian? There are some things about communitarianism that I like, but I test politically closer to you, Ricky [Big Grin]

I don't really know enough about communitarian politics to say anything. I'm suspicious of Kwanzaa simply because I don't know of any families that celebrate it at all (and we do *not* live in a white neighborhood), and yet every government-supported place pushes it like crazy. I'm suspicious of government-mandated culture. I don't mind government dabbling in it, but outright creating new structures and making major alterations arouses my suspicion.

You're right that the SLA thing doesn't prove anything, but it is funny, and I thought the word "Kwanzoid" sounded funny too. If I knew anyone that actually celebrated it, I probably wouldn't mock it.

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RickyB
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I agree about the...seeming artificialness of kwanzaa, but I just shrug it off. It's a small price to pay, and I'll let some African-American activist pick up this particular torch.
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Pete at Home
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Small price to pay for what, exactly?

What do we get out of the government coming down and trying to create a separate culture in one particular group that's already excessively divided from the mainstream?

Look, if this were really an African-American holiday, I'd say dandy, support it. If the government wanted to make up a new holiday just for the hell of it, or to promote communitarian ideals, well OK.

But to for the government to deliberately go out and tell African Americans -- "this is an African-American holiday, even though you've never heard of it," .... isn't that kind of creepy?

I mean, celebrating diversity is dandy. But why go out of the way to increase the gap?

I hope you can convince me, because, sure, some of those principles sound nifty.

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RickyB
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The government isn't trying to create. It's caving to demands and being taken for a ride by well connected pols who are pushing this stuff for reasons of teir own. Governemnt didn't invent kwanzaa, even though it has been maneuvered into being the main purveyor thereof.

Like I said, that's something the supposed constituents of these pols are going to have to deal with. You or me ranting about it is only going to make that day come slower. [Smile]

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Pete at Home
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Oh, I don't see it as an threat, so much as a mystery. It's the purpose I can't figure, other than divisiveness. I'm also curious about how they pulled this off, politically, in case I ever wish to invent a holiday [Big Grin]
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RickyB
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The purpose of the people pushing kwanzaa? Well, discounting those people who really think this is empowering for the minority involved, then the purpose is to carve a niche or fief for oneself, and to take charge of funds dedicated to this issue.
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Pete at Home
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Ah? Is there a federal fund for this?

Do you discout the empowerment story, or do you see an aspect that's empowering?

I mean, if it was a real cultural holiday, then I could see it being empowering to validate it.

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RickyB
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not federal that I know of, but you know...local and whatever. The money comes from somewhere.

I see how it can be empowering if you believe in it. If enough people decide to believe in it, it will be a real cultural phenomenon.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
not federal that I know of, but you know...local and whatever. The money comes from somewhere.

I see how it can be empowering if you believe in it. If enough people decide to believe in it, it will be a real cultural phenomenon.

True. But for now, it seems like cultural imperialism. Like you said, It's ironic that I'd be suspicious, since the values actually described line up with so many of my own. But I'm caught up in two other ironies:
1. A vertical attempt to impose horizontal values.
2. Emphasis of horizontal social capital to a cultural group that has more than enough of it, and that suffers from lack of vertical social capital.

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RickyB
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Mind explaining those terms?
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Pete at Home
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Forget the terms I used -- when I said Horizontal, I meant "Bonding" social capital; by Vertical, I meant "Bridging" social capital.

"Nan Lin's concept of Social Capital has a more individualistic approach: Investment in social relations with expected returns in the marketplace."

Robert Putnam described these in "Bowling Alone."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_capital

quote:
Bonding and bridging
In his pioneering study, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community (Simon & Schuster 2000), Harvard political scientist Robert D. Putnam wrote: "Henry Ward Beecher’s advice a century ago to “multiply picnics” is not entirely ridiculous today. We should do this, ironically, not because it will be good for America — though it will be — but because it will be good for us."

Putnam speaks of two main components of the concept: bonding social capital and bridging social capital. The former refering to the value assigned to social networks between homogenous groups of people and the latter to that of social networks between socially heterogeneous groups. Typical examples are that criminal gangs create bonding social capital, while choirs and bowling clubs (hence the title, as Putnam lamented their decline) create bridging social capital. Bridging social capital is argued to have a host of other benefits for societies, governments, individuals, and communities; Putnam likes to note that joining an organization cuts in half an individual's chance of dying within the next year.

The distinction is useful in highlighting how social capital may not always be beneficial for society as a whole (though it is always an asset for those individuals and groups involved). Horizontal networks of individual citizens and groups that enhance community productivity and cohesion are said to be positive social capital assets whereas self-serving exclusive gangs and hierarchical patronage systems that operate at cross purposes to societal interests can be thought of as negative social capital burdens on society.


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Pete at Home
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I goofed the terminology. What I meant to say was this:

But I'm caught up in two other ironies:
1. A vertical attempt to impose horizontal values.
2. Emphasis of Bonding social capital to a cultural group that has more than enough of it, and that suffers from lack of Bridging social capital.


For the first part, I meant that it seemed ironic to try to use the impersonal government to establish community-centered values.

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