Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes

It's not every day that you expect to be given a lesson in cojones by an actress who went on Big Brother and looks like this:

But that's exactly what happened.

Ace links to this amazing video of Pakistani actress Veena Malik on TV with a mullah accusing her of of being a disgrace to Pakistan. She appeared on 'Big Boss', the Indian version of Big Brother. Part of going on the show was to try to show a side of Pakistan that is pluralist, fun-loving, and accepting of western ideas. This immediately drew fierce responses from the segments of Pakistani society that are murderously dogmatic, have zero sense of humour, and hate the west.

She was interviewed on TV, and confronted by this gibbering buffoon of an imam who claims that she'd disgraced Islam and Pakistan.

But Veena Malik was not going to take that criticism lying down. And she really lets him have it.

I write about this kind of thing on the internet, where nobody cares, behind my pseudonym. She says it on live TV. And gets threatened by the Taliban as a result. Speaking out against Islamic extremism on the subcontinent tends to be a very dangerous idea.

So what did she do to draw their wrath? It must have been pretty bad, right?

As far as I can tell, she cuddled up with some guy on the show.

In case you're curious, that's not a euphemism for having sex in a hot tub. She didn't get naked. She didn't prance around in a bikini. She didn't even kiss him. They snuggled up a bit.

But I resented the feeling that I ought to find this out. Because it's like the people that respond to Salman Rushdie getting threatened with death for writing 'The Satanic Verses' by asking "Well, what exactly did he write?". As if that's the point.

Ace uses the word 'savage' to describe this imam. This may seem like a strong and inflammatory term, but it is the right one. If word 'savage' has any meaning at all, it describes those that would threaten a woman with death for cuddling with a man on a TV show.

Western feminists, of course, leapt to Malik's defense.

Bwa ha ha ha! No, of course they didn't. They wrote another paper talking about why there aren't enough women in engineering.

It is a strange world indeed where the strongest defenders of women's rights against Islamic radicals are conservatives.

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