Do "Women's Rights" and "Black Lives" Matter in the Middle East and Africa?

Jack Kerwick
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Posted: Aug 08, 2015 12:01 AM
Do "Women's Rights" and "Black Lives" Matter in the Middle East and Africa?

Feminists and other “progressives” in America cry oppression at the mere suggestion that taxpayers shouldn’t be made to subsidize abortion services.

Black (and non-black) American activists scream that “Black Lives Matter” whenever a black criminal suspect dies in an altercation with police.

In the meantime, there is scarcely a peep from either of these sectors when it comes to the unrelenting brutality suffered by women and black Africans in places under the thumb of the Islamic State.

When I noted this selective outrage to a left-leaning colleague of mine, he responded that the one issue didn’t have anything to do with the other. But this response misses the point for two reasons.

First, if it really is women’s rights and black lives, and not politics, that are the objects of concern, then the “pro-women” and “pro-black” forces should be screaming from the rooftops over the systematic degradation of women’s rights and black lives occurring in places like the Middle East and Africa.

In short, ultimately, we are dealing with one problem: the problem of women’s rights and black lives.

Second, the notion that, in the year 2015, women and blacks in America suffer some sort of systemic oppression courtesy of white men is manifestly absurd. Still, even assuming that it is true, even the most vocal supporters of a mother’s right to kill her offspring on the taxpayer’s dime and the Michael Browns of the world couldn’t conceivably think that the plight of blacks and women in America can be spoken of in the same breath as that of women and blacks in hot spots like Africa and the Middle East.

This being so, the left’s silence on the topic of the latter is that much more deafening given its incessant wailing over the former.

To say the least, this is a curious kind of phenomenon. It raises reasonable questions as to the rationality, values, and motivations of those who, in Jesus’ words, prefer to “strain out the gnat” while “letting in the camel.”

Actually, it is a Republican politician from California, Congressman Ed Royce, who is calling attention to the dehumanization of women and “black lives” occurring under Islamic militants of the ISIS and Boko Haram varieties.

Royce is the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. According to Open Doors, an organization that exists for the sake of serving persecuted Christians around the world, Royce explained that “violence against women is in fact a sinister and calculated strategy that goes to the heart of ISIS’s survival” (emphasis original).

In “forcing local women to marry into ISIS,” Royce continued, “the group expands its demographic base while reducing the population of those diverse communities it seeks to eradicate and replace” (emphasis original).

Open Doors refers to an article published by the Hudson Institute’s Nina Shea. Shea writes that while the crucifixions and beheadings of Christian men have garnered much media attention, the return of “sex slavery” has disappeared from the public’s eye.

A United Nations report released on August 5, 2014, claimed that “some 1,500 Yazidi and Christian persons [in Iraq] may have been forced into sexual slavery.” There may be as many as 4,000 enslaved Yazidis.

Shea informs us of “an entire convent of Syrian Orthodox nuns” that were abducted in 2013 and held for ransom. Just this past March, 135 Christian women and children were abducted from 35 Christian villages in Syria and sold into sex slavery.

“‘Their families,” Shea writes, “‘unable to afford the $23 million ransom demanded, were told by ISIS, ‘They belong to us now.’”

One particularly ominous, heart wrenching account of the kind of brutality that Koranic literalists routinely inflict upon their victims comes from “a young Yazidi woman” who managed to speak by phone with activists from Compassion4Kurdistan: “I’ve been raped thirty times and it’s not even lunchtime. I can’t go to the toilet. Please bomb us.”

Seventeen year-old girls have relayed accounts of how they, along with dozens of other kidnapped females as young as at least 12, were daily beaten, raped, and tormented by their captors—grown men as old as 50—who would refer to them as “war booty” and liken them to “goats bought at a market.”

Others, Shea writes, relay how “girls were separated by eye color” and according to whether they were “pretty” or “ugly.” The “pretty” girls were then given to “high ranking ISIS members.”

Black lives in Africa are hardly doing any better. In Nigeria, the Islamic fundamentalists in Boko Haram are giving ISIS a run for its money in terms of ruthlessness and cruelty.

Open Doors shares “Mercy’s” experience. Mercy is a 24 year-old Christian and single mother whose town was taken over by Boko Haram. Mercy, her baby, and some others ran to the mountains to hide. Still, Mercy would sneak back to her home for food during the cover of darkness. Tragically, her luck ran out one morning and she was captured.

The building into which she was lead contained several other young women and girls who had been there for some time. Regularly, their captors would drag men from the town before the females and “slaughter” them in order to “intimidate” the latter.

Mercy, thankfully, climbed over a barbwire fence one evening while her Muslim tormenters and their captives were in prayer and escaped.

Ladi Apagu, a 16 year-old, escaped with Mercy. Ladi had been held captive for four months. She had been given an Islamic name, but she often resisted saying Islamic prayer. Ladi had been kicked by an Imam when she told him that she couldn’t perform Muslim prayer rituals because she was menstruating.

Today she is has scars on her legs from the regular beatings that were visited upon her. Yet, even worse, Ladi is psychologically scarred. Particularly difficult for her to escape is the experience of having watched many decent men brutally murdered before her eyes for refusing to join Boko Haram.

The next time we hear the by now predictable lamentations over a lack of “women’s rights” in America, or chants to the effect that “black lives matter,” perhaps knowing all of this will help us to keep perspective.


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