Saturday, September 5, 2009

Forced Marriage and 'The War'

Arguably, this is what it looks like to take "the war on terror" seriously:

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has ruled that a family’s threats to force their daughter into marriage if she returns to their native country of Pakistan qualify as “changed circumstances” under U.S. law and warrant a review of the woman’s asylum case ... The court found that any change in an asylum applicant’s home country that materially affects his or her eligibility for asylum is sufficient to qualify as a “changed circumstance” under the law.
Good. If the current war is to have any integrity, or any traction with the everyday lives of people, it needs to come with the recognition that Islamist -- or better yet, whatever-faith-based -- oppression is real and worth combating. In turn, this needs to mean that the judicial, diplomatic, political, constabulary, and other functions of government are attuned to the same recognition.

Whatever else might be said of it, forcing young girls to marry decades-older men, and justifying this, if at all, by pointing to words written down centuries ago by desert-dwelling primitives, contradicts the ideals of self-determination, autonomy, freedom, and equality embodied, in among other places, the US constitution. Showing -- rather than merely asserting -- that this war defends ideals rather than (say) oil entails vigorously defending these ideals in all the contexts where they are subverted and threatened.

(via Bouphonia)

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