Some new "old wives' tales"

At the outset, I should admit that I’m skeptical of many “old wives’ tales”, in part because I don’t know if that expression means “old-wives' tales” or “old wives'-tales” but mainly because I doubt the wisdom allegedly contained in many of them. For example, there’s the old wives’ tale: “You can’t teach old dogs new tricks.” My experience is: “It depends.”

I should also admit at the outset that psychology isn’t my strong suit. [I like to say it that way, potentially leaving the impression that I have one or more other strong suits still in reserve.] Yet, if one goes around the block enough times, it’s almost impossible not to pick up a few odds and ends about psychology, useful (for example) in training dogs.

For example, of late I’ve been teaching Heidi how to roll over. My Heidi is undoubtedly the world’s best and smartest dog. [I'd add that she's also the most beautiful, but I don't want to leave the impression that I'm biased.] She's quite old – I’m not sure how old, but probably more than 13 years. Even more than tromping through wild flowers, she loves lawns. When she’s finished sniffing lawns, she lies down on the fresh green grass, and within a minute or so, she rolls over on her back, back and forth, as if trying to wiggle even closer to the great green grass. I know the feeling.

With that introduction, maybe you already see how I’ve been training Heidi to roll over. I take her to the lawn at a local park and without permitting her to go through her sniffing routine, I instruct her to lie down. (She’s good at that: someone earlier in her life took the responsibilities for looking after and training her; now, I just point down, say “lie down”, and she will.) Then, after she lies down, I roll my pointed finger around in a circle and say “roll over” – and sure enough, she does!

As animal trainers advise, I reward her with a treat when she does what I desire and ignore her when she doesn’t. She seems to be catching on. Soon, I’ll try to teach her how to roll over on other than grass (!) and then, how to “play dead”. So, old wives’ tales to the contrary notwithstanding, I say that some old dogs can be taught new tricks, if enough time, patience, and treats are invested.

All of which, I suggest, is relevant to the recent inauguration of a Saudi conference on the issue of domestic violence by the charming Princess of Saudi Arabia, Princess Adella. In her story about the conference in the 2 June 2008 issue of Arab News, Basma Al-Mulaq (who earned her Ph.D. from London University in comparative and feminist literature in the Middle East) wrote the following:
This is a noteworthy and promising event. The importance of this step lies in the fact that the government took the initiative on an issue that directly relates to women – a bold shift in its relatively prolonged and oft-aborted journey toward the reform of women’s rights. This strategy of introducing new policies and legislation would be the ideal way of enabling women in Saudi Arabia to overcome historical impediments to their self-empowerment, particularly since the 1980s. Previous strategies of testing the water and the inevitable subsequent appeasements of so-called “religious sensibilities” have resulted in nothing but the failure to launch any progressive programs. Nor has waiting for the peoples’ consensus on laws relating to women’s rights proved feasible. The hosting of an important forum is a vital step in the thousand-mile road Princess Adella (who is active in philanthropic and social work) and others like her must travel to build up the support and arsenal needed to demolish the high wall of taboos that has for so long surrounded and hidden from view generations of familial abuse. This is because the issue touches upon “shame” and “tradition”, ideologies that have a grip on the Arab mentality. For many years, countless women in the Kingdom have had to mutely endure all sorts of physical and verbal abuse, powerless themselves to protect their children from further abuse.

There is a direct correlation between notions of shame and the prevalence of violence. When a beast is born in the home of a family, rather than proudly fighting or fleeing it, “shame” locks the woman and her children into a silent and futile tussle with the beast, and prevents her from seeking outside help. In Saudi Arabia there have been a few domestic violence victims who have come out of their seclusion and made the headlines in the past few years. Rania, Rahaf, Samirah, Rana and of course Ghosoon are only some examples that are still alive in the collective memory of Saudis.

These women’s dilemmas mirror the near-impossible situation of women in the Kingdom. The story of Ghosoon was just the tip of the iceberg, and if one looked closely at her life, one would see that it followed a familiar pattern with all the attendant pathologies. After her mother was divorced from the father Ghosoon lived with her mother for nine years, after which following the Shariah law, the father won custody over Ghosoon.

The young girl was physically abused during the course of one year living with her father and eventually murdered at his hands. Although the father and the stepmother were sentenced to death in 2006, one still questions how a father can get away with violently abusing a young girl in his care for so long without any of the authorities intervening. He surely realized that he could act with total impunity, and only when it was too late, and the girl lay dead did the law of the land pass sentence on his crimes. What use to the victim is punishment without prevention?

No one would have known about the abuse endured by Ghosoon if it weren’t for the fact that she was eventually taken to hospital suffering from severe injuries inflicted by her own father in the presence of his second wife. This was in spite of the fact that the young girl’s uncle had time after time reported the incidences of brutal abuse to the police, who refused to take action. This should make the police themselves culpable of and accomplices to this abuse, in the eyes of the law.

Such incidents bring us face to face with issues we might rather ignore: They are discrimination against women in this male-dominated society, and the erroneous interpretation and teaching of some of the Qur’anic texts.

While I find a father’s physical abuse of his daughter abhorrent, I am just as sickened by the hypocrisy discernible in our system based on tradition and honor. The lie must be given to the idea that there is any “honor” in abusing members of one’s own family.

I would suggest then that while the forum is a welcome initiative, addressing domestic violence issues in isolation from other forms of officially sanctioned and systematic abuse of women’s rights will prove futile, because women are trapped in a system that is prejudiced against their needs and rights, and it is only once they can claim these basic rights, without fear of intimidation, condemnation and prosecution, that they will be able to stand their ground and face not only their male abusers but the whole world.
I agree with much of what Dr. Mulaq has written, but not all – for reasons that I’ll mention below. First, though, I want to display an article with which I disagree even more and which appeared (in Arabic) on the reformist website www.aafaq.org. The tremendous website MEMRI provided the following translation of excerpts of the article, written by the “Saudi reformist and human rights advocate” Wajeha Al-Huwaidar:
Last April, a 17-year old Iraqi girl named Du’a Khalil Al-Aswad fell in love with a boy from a different [religious] sect. By this act, she violated the ‘honor’ of the men in her sect, causing them to go mad with the boiling [rage] of hellfire. Their male [egos] swelled like cancerous tumors, and their minds locked into the primitive madness of ‘honor.’

They filled with restless madness, and in order to relive their anguish, they hurried to sentence poor Du’a to death, and then decided to carry out their sentence in the ugliest possible imaginable, i.e., by public stoning. They killed her with the utmost cruelty and depravity.

Du’a Al-Aswad is a victim of the wild male madness called ‘honor.’ This concept is prevalent throughout the Greater Middle East [Al-Sharq Al-AwsatAl-Kabir], or perhaps I should say the Greater Filthy East [Al-Sharq Al-AwsakhAl-Kabir], since it is worthy of this label from every perspective – in particular [when it comes to] the treatment of women. From Pakistan and Afghanistan through Iran, the Middle East, and all the way to Morocco, this entire part of the world [is full of] defeated and dejected men, whose only way to gain some sort of victory is by beating their women to death.

The depraved men who participated in the stoning of Du’a – all of them [guilty of] premeditated and deliberate murder – were raised to believe that the lives of their women are theirs to control. That is why they competed with one another at stoning Du’a, and fought to film her as she gasped out her last breaths. These horrible men conspired to kill a young girl who had committed no crime and hurt no one. Each of them picked up a boulder and hurled it at her. [Feeling] prideful and glorious, they bashed in this young [girl’s] head, and her blood pooled on the ground as she lay there dead...

But killing her was not enough for them. After she was dead, they mutilated her young body, kicking her and piling more rocks on top of her. Then they broke out in cries of ‘Allah akbar,’ and ‘there is no god but Allah’ as though they had just won a strategic battle.

Not one of them felt pity for her, not one of them lifted a finger to help her, and not one of them [even tries to] speak in her defense. They were like the stones they hurled at her – frozen and devoid of all compassion.”

Had Du’a been an animal, someone would have [probably] taken notice and tried to rescue her from these inhuman men. But she was a woman, and in the Greater Filthy East, the life of a woman is worth far less than the life of an animal.

According to the norms of the East, [the concept of] ‘honor’ relates only to the behavior of women. Women have become easy prey for men, who murder them in order to restore their threatened sense of honor.

Du’a is a victim of both men and women – she is a victim of her entire society. In a region that fosters its men’s hostility until it becomes a raging demon, [men come to] feel that the women in their family are their property, to be treated any way they want.

[This mentality is common among all Middle Eastern] men – Muslim and non-Muslim, Arab and non-Arab, rich and poor, educated and ignorant, great and small, those living in the West and those who have remained in their homelands – as long as they were raised in this region... that is riddled with the disease of ‘honor,’ or are of [Middle Eastern] origin. [All these men] have the potential to turn into raging beasts, especially if they were raised [to believe that] a woman’s body and [her behavior] in her private life have a [direct] bearing on their honor and on the honor of their family, clan, nation, sect and all their ancestors throughout the ages.

All those who believe that honor [resides] in the woman’s body are potential murderers, and [could] someday murder a woman when their false sense of honor is aroused. All those who agree that a man has the right to murder a woman, or to cause her physical harm [for the sake of preserving] his honor, are potential killers.”

Those who believe that men have more rights than women, and raise their children to believe the same, are raising [more] men who will kill another Du’a in some other place. All those who believe that they have the right to hit a woman in order to ‘educate’ her or ‘correct her ways’ might be involved in the murder or harming of a woman.

Any legislator who passes a law dealing leniently with ‘honor killings’ is just as culpable as those who actively participated in the murder of the victims – [just as culpable as] the murderers who have the blood of Du’a and of other women on their hands.

All governments that discriminate between men and women in rights and duties, that shelter the perpetrators of ‘honor killings,’ and that give men either partial or complete control over women’s lives... collaborate with the perpetrators of these despicable crimes...

On the anniversary of the death of the innocent Iraqi girl Du’a Khalil Al-Aswad, murdered in cold blood and in heinous male ferocity in front of eye witnesses, I say to the women of the Greater Filthy East: “Good for you for managing to raise beasts who delight in harming you and in shedding your blood and the blood of your daughters.” [And] good for the countries and governments that attribute more importance to the lives of animals than to your lives and the lives of your daughters.

“Good for you for defending your beastly men and supporting them on political [issues]. Good for you for supporting their failing movements and wars, and their hostile thinking that allows [them] to humiliate and beat you.”

“Good for you for creating your own executioners, and for supporting and aiding them. You know full well that many of them regard you as worthless beings existing [solely] for their pleasure.”

“Good for you for [tolerating] these inhuman men, many of whom yearn to drink your blood and the blood of your daughters whenever the drums of revenge and ‘honor’ start beating in their rotting and petrified brains.”
For a more recent example of such horrible “honor killings”, one of thousands if not millions, see a 1 June 2008 report at The Observer.

Now, readers might wonder how I could disagree with Basma Al-Mulaq about the desirability of promoting Saudi women gaining “their needs and rights” or how I could possibly disagree with Wajeha Al-Huwaidar for her tirade against the “heinous male [Muslim]… beasts” with their “rotting and petrified brains”. My reason is simply this: what’s important, I maintain, is not the needs and rights of women but their responsibilities. That is, the women (the mothers) are responsible for the results that their girls have been trained to be docile sheep and their boys, mad dogs. Therefore, Muslim women must change: they must take responsibility for training their children differently. In contrast to Basma's claim, no human baby is born as a beast; humans become beasts by training, for example, by beating them.

But again I admit that I lack sufficient competence in psychology to advise Muslim women about specific ways to proceed, save for the following obvious recommendation. Rather than convene a workshop about women’s rights, it would be wise if someone such as the Saudi princess were to convene a series of workshops (for Muslim women, at which the world’s leading psychologists would meet with leading advocates for the protection and advancement of Muslim women and children) to define goals, strategies, and tactics for how to proceed and to develop a series of methods for measuring progress toward identified goals.

Surely foremost among the tactics to be developed would be to define methods (e.g., by advertising in newspapers and magazines, on billboards, and on radio and TV) to teach as many Muslim women as possible about how to train dogs, children, and men. And in spite of my admitted incompetence in psychology, surely it’s obvious that the basic method is similar for training all such animals: reward what they do right; ignore what they do wrong. In time, to get what they desire, all such animals will learn to obey the women in their lives, because women can provide (or withhold) what such animals desire: love, food, and attention.

Yet, in spite of my incompetence to provide realistic details, perhaps it would be useful if I tried to illustrate potential outcomes of such efforts by listing some hypothetical examples of the types of assessments and recommendations that might be produced by such workshops. In that spirit, consider the following potential goals and possible tactics.

1. Eliminate prejudices against female babies

As the psychologist Lloyd deMause relays, it’s common in Muslim families that: “When a boy is born, the family rejoices; when a girl is born, the whole family mourns.” According to Islamic law, there are legal factors that might stir such emotions (dealing with inheritances), but on the one hand, cultural demands will always, eventually, overcome legalities, and on the other hand, obviously females are more important than males! Thus, any society could continue (and even flourish) if there were only one male for every hundred-or-so females, but any society will quickly flounder if there is only one female for every hundred-or-so males.

Consequently, to counteract the horrible prejudice in most Muslims families against female babies, campaigns should be initiated by Muslim women to celebrate births of daughters. I don’t have sufficient knowledge about Muslim societies or about how to manipulate public opinion to suggest useful details about such campaigns, but perhaps those more competent at the proposed Workshops would consider “spreading slogans” (e.g., maybe in the form of some new “old wives’ tales”) such as “Having a single daughter is more important than having a hundred sons”, “A son means war; a daughter means peace”, “A daughter means life; a son means death”, “Girls are gifts from heaven; boys are punishments from hell”, and so on – guided by the overriding principle that in this case, the end (welcoming equally the birth of either a boy or girl) does justify the means.

2. Rectify imbalances in parental treatments of male vs. female infants

In what is now (as of 28 May 2008) a fifteen part series, the psychoanalyst who writes at the blog ShrinkWrapped has provided the world with a valuable glimpse at “The Arab Mind”. In Part II of the series, he details differences in parental treatments of male vs. female infants:
Arab boys are typically breast fed for 2 to 3 years while girls are weaned after only 1 year. There are complicated reasons for this including the folk mores that support pampering the nursing infant and the belief (which has some truth to it) that the mother will become pregnant more easily (in order to have a son) after the infant is weaned. Arab mothers practice demand feeding. The girl is thus weaned well before the development of significant language and once weaned, her needs are relatively neglected. The young boy, on the other hand, continues nursing until long after the establishment of language. He is able to verbalize his desires and is instantly gratified when he desires the breast, which comforts and arouses as well as nourishes. As per Patai (p. 33) [Raphael Patai, author of the book The Arab Mind]:

"... the verbalization of the one major childhood desire, that for the mother’s breast, is followed, in most cases at least, by instant gratification. And, what is psychologically equally important, the emphatic verbal formulation of the wish carries in itself, almost automatically, the guarantee of its fulfillment without the need for any additional action on the part of the child. This experience, repeated several times a day for a number of months, cannot fail to leave a lasting impression on the psyche of the boy child. It may not be too far-fetched to seek a connection between this situation in childhood and a characteristic trait of the adult Arab personality which has frequently been observed and commented upon: the proclivity for making an emphatic verbal statement of intention and then failing to follow it up with any action that could lead to its realization. It would seem that – at least in certain contexts and moods – stating an intention or wish in itself provides a psychological satisfaction which actually can become a deterrent to undertaking the action that is averred."

In addition, we now know that insufficient frustration in early life, i.e., imperfect and occasionally delayed gratification, is an essential component of a healthy character. Children who receive too much gratification, just as those who receive insufficient gratification in early life, are prone to developing narcissistic and borderline character traits, such as, among others, poor frustration tolerance, poor affect control, and over-reliance on the environment to help regulate internal mood states.
In Part IX of his series, the author adds:
The young boy who is always gratified does not develop the necessary ability to tolerate reasonable frustration; at the same time he develops an exaggerated sense of self, a grandiose self. The young girl who is deprived of gratification develops a deeply impaired and damaged self, what has been called in its extreme form “soul murder” and what in more attenuated forms can evidence as poor self-esteem. In the cases of extreme gratification and extreme deprivation, the parent responds to personal designs and needs as opposed to the Western ideal of responding to the child’s infantile needs. Such needs include a deft dosage of deprivation and a reasonable amount of gratification; at the extremes, narcissistic vulnerability is the result.
To correct this imbalance, to avert self-aggrandizing in males and poor self-esteem in females (or in worst cases – and apparently, in perhaps the majority of Muslim cases – to avert pathological narcissism in males and “soul murder” of females), Muslim mothers need help. Again, I don’t know what the proposed Workshops would recommend, but I would have them consider stimulating development of additional new “old wives’ tales” such as: “If a boy isn’t weaned by one, then he’ll be a slave to women’s breasts for the rest of his life”, or “If a girl doesn’t suckle as long as a boy, then her own breasts will never develop”, and so on. And to obvious objections, I’d repeat that, in this case, for the healthy psychological development of both boys and girls, the end justifies the means – since it needs to be understood that, in general, most Muslim societies are so backward that it’s not yet possible to use straightforward (logical, scientific) methods to promote their developments.

3. Counteract the crushing authoritarianism in the Muslim world

For those readers familiar with the emotional phases through which most Western children evolve to reach adulthood (e.g., Erikson’s model of psychosocial development), the inhibitions to which most Muslim children are subjected are shocking. In general, as described by Arlene F. Harder:
Our personality traits come in opposites. We think of ourselves as optimistic or pessimistic, independent or dependent, emotional or unemotional, adventurous or cautious, leader or follower, aggressive or passive. Many of these are inborn temperament traits, but other characteristics, such as feeling either competent or inferior, appear to be learned, based on the challenges and support we receive in growing up.
For Muslim children, the challenges (in particular, the mental, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse) are so formidable and the lack of parental support experienced by both girls and boys is usually so glaring that I expect most psychologists would be astounded if any Muslim ever reaches emotional adulthood.

I’m incompetent to provide a full description. I’d encourage interested readers to study the already referenced articles by “ShrinkWrapped” about the Arab Mind and then compare his descriptions with that of Erikson’s insights as given by the psychologist George Boeree. From that comparison, I suspect that readers will agree that, in every one of Erikson’s “eight learning phases”, Muslim children suffer severe maladaptations: in the “trust vs. distrust” phase of infants and the “autonomy vs. shame and doubt” phase of toddlers, boys are pushed to one extreme (too trusting and too much autonomy) while girls are pushed to the other extreme; in childhood and adolescent years, especially because of authoritarian fathers, boys are again pushed to one extreme and girls to the other extreme of the ranges of “initiative vs. guilt”, “inferiority vs. industry”, and “identify vs. role confusion”, a common manifestation of which is fanaticism; as a result, it’s common to find most adult Muslims in the final three phases identified by Erickson (“intimacy vs. isolation”, “generativity vs. stagnation”, and “integrity vs. despair”) trapped in states of isolation, stagnation, and despair. No wonder that so many Muslims become jihad terrorists.

To counteract such terrible wastes of the potentials of so many humans, perhaps the proposed Workshops could recommend still another set of new “old wives’ tales” and ways to promote their dissemination and adoption throughout the Muslim world. Again I admit that I don’t know enough to make meaningful recommendations, but perhaps the following suggested set might stimulate identifying a better set: “A father who beats his son is a coward and will have a coward for a son”; “A father who damages his daughter’s ego damages his own soul”; “A man who hurts a child will be hated forever.”

4. Stop sexual abuse of Muslim children

As bad as are the physical, mental, and emotional abuses of Muslim children, their sexual abuse is even worse: it’s rampant, it’s a combination of physical, mental, and emotional abuses, and it’s essentially continuous (starting when children are infants and continuing until especially the abused males are sufficiently mature sexually to start abusing younger children). It’s difficult to obtain reliable statistics about the extent of sexual abuse of any group of children: in his online book the Emotional Life of Nations Lloyd deMause provides evidence suggesting that approximately 50% of even Western children are sexually abused (e.g., about 60% of all North American girls and 45% of all North American boys); reliable data for the Near and Far East don’t exist; I expect that essentially all children in these areas are sexually abused; deMause concludes “children who had not been sexually molested by their caretakers were a recent historical achievement, experienced by only a minority of children in a few places in the world.”

In Muslim countries, sexual abuse of children starts when they are infants, by parents (and others) massaging the infant’s genitals “to quieten them”, “to make them sleep”, or in the case of boys, “to make their penises grow longer”. As toddlers, children are used essentially as sex toys by both men and women. In later years, boys suffer painful circumcisions, a huge number of girls are forced to have horrible, criminal, beastly genital mutilations, men use children for oral, anal, and vaginal sex (many apparently preferring to have sex with children rather than with women), many boys are forced into the street to earn money for the family as prostitutes, and a horrible number of girls are sold by their families like cattle. In his book, deMause describes some of the physiological, psychological, and social consequences of such childhood trauma; as a result: “When these abused children grow up, they feel that every time they try to self-activate, every time they do something independently for themselves, they will lose the approval of the parents in their head.” They’re then ripe for picking by clerics, to use as pawns in clerical “holy wars”, so the clerics can continue their parasitic existences.

It will obviously be a horrendous task to correct such abusive behaviors and eliminate terrorism. And although my inclination is to suggest that all such abusive parents and parasitic clerics be shot, perhaps the Workshops can identify less extreme measures. I’m reluctant to suggest that concocting new “old wives’ tales” would be sufficient, but nonetheless, I’ll throw out for consideration a few pithy suggestions: “The man who has sex with a child is a coward”, “A man who has sex with a child isn’t man enough to have sex with woman”, “People who play with a child’s genitals are too afraid to play with their own”, “Any single person who doesn’t masturbate regularly will soon go insane”, “If you love yourself, give yourself an organism; if you love someone else, give your partner some”, “If you’re married and your partner doesn’t frequently tempt you to have sex, then you need to see a marriage counselor or get a divorce.”

5. Transform collective honor into personal honor; eliminate “honor killings”

The four pathologies outlined above are at the foundations of not only terrorism but also the primitive “honor system”, which leads Muslim males to murder "their" women. Because of their poor training by their mothers and their beatings and rapes by those in authority, the majority of Muslim males fail to become individuals. Instead, most consider themselves as just “part of the collective” (be it the family, the tribe, or the ummah). Collective ‘honor’ then dominates, while individual honor is essentially unknown and unfathomable. As described in detail by other authors, instead of a “guilt culture”, most Muslim cultures (like other primitive cultures) are “shame cultures”.

To help more Muslim males to become individuals, it’ll be necessary to first accomplish the four objectives listed above, which, however, will obviously take at least a generation. Meanwhile, for the current generation of Muslim males, given the failures of Islamic laws to stop “honor killings” of women, I would recommend that the Workshops consider establishing a secret network to deliver difficult-to-detect toxins throughout the Muslim world (for women to poison the food of such “heinous beasts”) and consider promoting such new “old wives’ tales” as: “Men who kill their wives or daughters are sick and soon will suffer”, “Men who can’t see that it’s wrong to kill women will soon not see at all”, or “Any man who kills a female family member is finished.

And once again I should probably address the old wives’ tale that “the end doesn’t justify the means”. Certainly that’s true, since the means are ends in themselves. The resolution is this. In each case, it’s necessary to judge which are the most important ‘ends’: the goal for which the means are used, or the means, themselves. And in the cases outlined above, with the goal being to turn Muslim “beasts” into men and to stop them from murdering women, my view is that essentially any means are acceptable, given that the prime moral code for all life is to try to continue living.

From all of which, maybe it’s now obvious why I disagree both with Basma Al-Mulaq (about the desirability of promoting Saudi women gaining “their needs and rights”) and with Wajeha Al-Huwaidar (for her tirade against the “heinous male [Muslim]… beasts” with their “rotting and petrified brains”). First, and in contrast to what Basma Al-Mulaq suggested, women aren’t entitled to any rights. Jefferson’s flowery language notwithstanding, people aren’t “endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights”. Instead, people must always wrestle what they consider to be their rights from whoever claims to have the power to withhold them.

Also, what Basma neglected to emphasize is that women have a huge responsibility, laid on them both by nature and by history. Nature provided women with what men and children want – even “need”; therefore, women have the potential to control both their men and their children. Further, history shows that competent women have exercised such control. For example, if Muslim woman would read the Epic of Gilgamesh (e.g., the version written in Babylon by Sin-eqi-unninni approximately 2200 years before Muhammad was born and about 1200 years after Gilga had died), then they’d see how, approximately 5,000 years ago, the Temple priestess Shamhat used her “womanly wiles” to civilize the “beast of a man” Enkidu – all with the approval of the chief cleric of the city of Uruk, namely, Gilga’s mother.

As for Wajeha Al-Huwaidar’s mistake, it’s not that I disagree with her descriptions of the “heinous male [Muslim]… beasts” with their “rotting and petrified brains” or even with her “good for you” sarcasm of “the women of the Greater Filthy East… for managing to raise beasts who delight in harming you and in shedding your blood and the blood of your daughters.” Instead, I disagree with her implicit method for trying to improve Muslim societies. To train animals, such as dogs, children, and men, it’s essentially pointless to scold them for failing to do what’s desired; such animals seek to do what the trainer desires (because they seek the favors that the trainer can bestow), but generally, they’re too dumb to understand why their favorite person sometimes scolds or even punishes them. An effective trainer essentially ignores bad behavior and rewards good behavior. Thus, I wish that, instead of her writing her rant, Wajeha had written in praise of those who are trying so hard to civilize the Muslim world.

Recall that the first civilizations (those in Mesopotamia and Egypt) were created by women, by overcoming patriarchal tribalism. But because of overpopulation (that is, inadequate birth-control methods) and resulting wars, males regained control – and cemented their control by retaking control of the priesthoods, which then claimed control over their society’s culture. Thereby, all clerics of the world became women’s enemies: the clerics, with their linear, hierarchical, left-hemisphere-dominated minds, try to gain (and in the case of Islamic clerics, have gained) control over their society’s customs, replacing women’s natural, holistic, compassionate worldviews with the clerics’ rules and regulations as specified in their “holy books”. Muslim women should realize, for example, that the clerical fools who have specified 70 rules and regulations for urinating and defecating almost certainly never once changed a baby’s diapers.

Therefore, Ladies, it’s up to you. It’s your responsibility – to your children, to your societies, and to the future – to regain control of your culture. Wrestle that control from the damnable patriarchs and clerics in whatever way works. If you’d ask me, I’d recommend that you both use available birth-control methods to take control of your reproductive powers and utilize your innate resources to train your children and retrain your men (and if necessary, to incapacitate the “heinous beasts” who are beyond training). Eventually, with your animals trained, I suspect that, if you just roll your fingers, the clerical dogs will roll over.

Be forewarned, however, that unless you are patient, persistent, and diligent, the parasitic clerical dogs will just pretend to be dead. Therefore, as you progress, work to entirely eliminate all clerical parasites from your societies. For example, instill your children with the new "old-wives' tale": "All clerics are the scum of the Earth."

In summary, I'd recommend that old wives, young wives, and all Muslim women frequently repeat the line from the poem praising motherhood by William Ross Wallace (1819-1881), "The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world", and act accordingly, as the rulers that Nature gave them the responsibility to be.


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