Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Immigrants' Gift

Immigation from Africa and the Middle East continues to enrich the native culture of Great Britain. Among the newest cultural imports the British Isles - female circumcision:

It is known by a variety of names, the most common of which are female genital mutilation (FGM), female circumcision, or simply "cutting" - a word which somehow conveys the raw pain its prepubescent victims suffer.

Most people will be unfamiliar with this practice, which involves removing part or all of the clitoris, the surrounding labia (the outer part of the vagina) and sometimes the sewing up of the vagina, leaving only a small opening for urine and menstrual blood.

It is carried out for a variety of cultural reasons. Such is the secrecy that surrounds the practice that even those aware that it occurs in large swathes of Africa and Asia will be shocked to learn that it is prevalent in Britain.

During a highly disturbing, four-month investigation, however, we uncovered evidence that thousands of British-African girls, in towns and cities throughout the country, have been forcibly "cut".

By conservative estimates, 66,000 women and girls living in Britain have been mutilated. This figure, accepted by the Metropolitan Police, came in a report by a volunteer organisation funded by the Department of Health and carried out with academics from the London School of Tropical Hygiene and the City University.

And thousands more girls are at imminent risk as families club together to fly professional "cutters" from Africa to Britain.

These women "elders" perform the crude operation for up to £40 a time, often on kitchen tables or floors, without anaesthetic, using filthy, blunt knives, razor blades or scalpels.

Many readers will be distressed by our report, but this practice is an abomination which has no place anywhere, let alone in a civilised society, and if it is to be expunged then this is a story that must be told.

One wonders why the Daily Mail fears that its readers will be so distressed that the editors feel it necessary to defend writing the story. Given the state of British culture it cannot be that the editors fear a reaction against the graphic nature of the article. Rather, they probably fear accusations of Islamophobia or racism (the two worst crimes under British law) for pointing out what they need to remind people is a barbaric practice. This is how far the UK has fallen.

The article notes that there are more than 600,000 "ethnic Africans" in the UK. But it doesn't ask why so many Africans were permitted to emigrate to Britain or if their presence is a benefit to the native British people. Given the subject of the article, the answer should be clear. But those are questions that no one in Britain (or the rest of Europe or Canada, or the US) is permitted it ask openly.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Democracy Solves All Problems

The Bush administration has made promoting democracy - interpreted mainly as free and fair elections - as the centerpiece of US foreign policy. To that end it has encouraged the disaster currently unfolding in Pakistan, elected Hamas to power in Gaza, prodded Egypt to let the Muslim Brotherhood into the political process and turned studiously ignored the implications of Latin American voters electing ever more vehement leftists to national office. To the growing list of countries where elections ("democracy" in Bush-speak) may be making a bad situation worse, now add Kenya, a nation whose political and racial fissures may be on the brink of eruption.

Dozens of people, many of them children, were killed when a mob set fire to a Kenyan church today, as the crisis over the disputed re-election of the country's president escalated.
The Red Cross said at least 50 people died as they sought refuge in the church from the violence that has broken out since Sunday's vote.

The blaze occurred in Eldoret almost 200 miles from the capital Nairobi. One local reporter who visited the scene told Reuters: "I saw about 10 to 15 bodies crammed in a corner. They were charred. I could not look at the scene twice."

Reuters quoted a senior security official claiming that as many 15,000 people were sheltering at churches and police stations in Eldoret.
As the violence spread, the government sought to ban a mass opposition rally against Mwai Kibaki's continued rule.

The opposition leader, Raila Odinga, yesterday called for a million people to take to the streets on Thursday to protest at what is widely regarded as a rigged election.

But the authorities said they wanted to block the demonstration to prevent more of the violence that has already led to the deaths of more than 220 people.

Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe told Reuters: "The ban on political rallies is not without reason."

He added: "When people are daring enough to commit crimes against other people's lives and property, it is not likely the police can also have the capacity to organise security properly."

The police said that, as well as the rising death toll, the crisis had seen 33,500 Kenyans forced to leave their homes and 208 properties destroyed.

The bloodshed has exposed underlying tribal tension in Kenya, where Kibaki's Kikuyu supporters - members of Kenya's largest ethnic group - are accused of turning their dominance of politics and business to the detriment of others. Odinga is from the Luo tribe.

The Red Cross said gangs were even checking on the tribal affiliations of aid workers trying to help the injured.

In Nairobi's Mathare slum, Odinga supporters torched a minibus and attacked Kikuyu travellers, witnesses said.

Riots have also been raging in opposition strongholds in western Kenya, the tourism-dependent coast and the Rift valley.

Clearly another example of a people with a "desire for freedom" in their hearts. Contrary to the intellectual pretensions of Mr. Bush and his acolytes, not all cultures - or peoples - possess the same intellectual resources or temperaments, value the same things, or share the same idea of "freedom."