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Multiculturalism: an oppressive type of politics

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I would really like to know what the proponents of multiculturalism, communitarianism and identity politics have to say about these three recent cases:

1) The case of the teacher Gillian Gibbons, who was sentenced to jail in Sudan because she allowed her class to call a teddy bear „Muhammad”. BBC tells you her story here

2) The case of the 19-year-old woman sentenced after she was raped. The woman is known only as Qatif Girl, after the region where the crime took place. „She was initially sentenced to 90 lashes for being in the car of a strange man. On appeal, the Arab News reported that the punishment was not reduced but increased to 200 lashes and a six-month prison sentence. (…) The victim’s lawyer was suspended from the case, has had his licence to work confiscated, and faces a disciplinary session” (BBC). See the whole story related by BBC here

3) The case of Aqsa Parvez, a 16-year-old Muslim girl from Brampton, Ontario (Canada). She was killed by her father because she refused to wear the hijab (the head scarf) anymore. More about this case here

As it is well known, multiculturalism puts forth an important challenge for the liberal theory. According to this ideology, the liberal ideal of treating people as equals cannot be reached by treating people in the same way. This is because there are no universal, “culturally blind” laws: every time, “universal laws” are, in fact, the laws of the majority group (or of one country, or culture), which are forcefully imposed on minority groups (or on other countries or cultures). As a consequence, such ideas as “universal human rights”, or even “human nature”, are culturally-framed: they are Western cultural ideas, and to enforce these ideas on individuals belonging to other cultures means simply to oppress them. According to the proponents of multiculturalism, treating individuals equally requires to treat them differently, to let them live according to their own cultural standards.

Well, as the above three cases show, this is simply stupid (I would have wished to say: “crap”). We really need universal rights. And imposing them on other cultures and countries (even by force, when necessary) seems to be the only way to go, if we don’t like to see such cases happening again.

Written by Andrei Stavilă

Decembrie 3, 2007 la 11:01 am

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