Treason of the Intellectuals

Feb 29th, 2008, in Opinion, by

Ross continues to be infuriated by the lovely Julia Suryakusuma, and other intellectuals.

The chattering classes in Jakarta are starting to make themselves comfortable with the worst elements of Islam.

It has to be said that "intellectuals" are at best self-important bores and at worst a social cancer. I make a clear distinction between them and intelligent people, who are useful to work with and often fun to socialise with. Both my descriptions are of course generalisations, and since in the West we have writers and such who have sense as well as brains, the same must apply to Indonesia. But the brightest would probably shrink from using the self-regarding term "intellectuals" anyway. It's usually a self-classification, adopted to facilitate looking down on less pretentious people.

Julia Suryakusuma
Julia Suryakusuma

Having said all that, I suspect the notorious Julia Suryakusuma considers herself an intellectual, since she has even had books published, so she serves as a good example of the pernicious breed that concern me.

Up till now, she has contented herself with traditional left-libbery, notably her pro-PKI gushings and her obsession with sex, which surfaced most recently with a succession of articles displaying a childish glee at talking about one's private parts and a chunk of prose revelling in a deviant jamboree in newly Ruddised Australia.
However, last Wednesday's 27/2 Jakarta Post threw the glove down for those of us who appreciate Western standards.

Julia naturally expressed disapproval of murder (how magnanimous!) but argued that the brutal slaying of the Dutchman Theo Van Gogh was

not surprising

Maybe not, but it SHOULD be surprising to anyone brought up to respect that old adage about disagreeing with others' views whilst defending to the death their right to hold and express them.

Van Gogh's film about Islam may not have been a masterpiece but despite Holland's old Catholic-Protestant rivalries, his country had long been known as a stronghold of old-fashioned liberal values (which are a tad different from modern "liberalism", but never mind.)

He had every right to make his movie and it ill becomes a sympathiser with communism to tell anyone else that we should engage in self-censorship if primitives may get upset by what we think. If we censor legitimate critiques because nasties react maniacally, we are betraying our own Western heritage.

However, let that pass. Suryakusuma got the bit between her beautiful teeth and proceeded to go after Somali-born Hirsi Ali and the Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreem, two women who have striven with fantastic courage to expose the evil that Islamists impose on all members of their sex (note I don't use the drivel-word "gender". We have two sexes on this planet, not the multiple genders favoured by "liberals".)

Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Ayaan Hirsi Ali

I've not got into the Bengali lady's works too deeply, but Hirsi Ali had to hole up in safe houses behind Dutch security forces for a long time, due to vicious and serious death threats, after telling the world what horrors women face in Islamic societies.

Sweet Julia, knowing full well the ordeals these heroines suffered and still suffer, bleats about how Hirsi:

talks of and extols an ideology of victimisation.

What does that mean? Our chatter-princess openly resents Time Magazine's inclusion of Hirsi as one of the 100 most influential figures on the world stage - good vintage feminine, not feminist, jealousy here, surely?

No, for Julia, they "overdo it". So Julia finds it

all very tiresome, and in my own personal experience misleading

It's

shared by few here in Indonesia.

More tiresome surely for the poor woman not far from Jakarta whose little foodstall was shut down violently by Islamist swine for daring to sell food during last Ramadan. Yes, here in Indonesia, and have the cops arrested and jailed the cowardly scum responsible? Or the ratbags in Lombok who terrorised the Ahmadiyah dissidents?

Maybe not as tiresome as being confined by barbarians' menaces for months in a military complex. That's what happens nowadays in decent old Holland, thanks to multiculturalism. But after all, let's not be "misleading". Share the blame around fairly, like Julia.

Christian countries overdo it too.

She cites the Da Vinci Code controversy, but did rabid Catholics threaten to behead the author of the book, as moronic Muslims in Indonesia called last week for the death penalty for Danish cartoonists? (who are not Muslims and therefore not bound by Islamic rules against depicting the Prophet, or do we all have to bend the knee to Koranic strictures?)

Not so far as I've read. The Pope did not issue any fatwas (the death sentences ordered on folks like Salman Rushdie for upsetting that evil old tyrant Khomeini) on those who defamed his Church (and I'm far from being a Catholic, believe me!) No, the days of Christians burning and torturing dissidents ended centuries ago, and savagery is pretty much a non-Christian monopoly these days.

Julia rapidly evolves into a cheer-leader for that silly old goat Williams, the Church of England Primate. He reckons that the basic principle of English law, one law for all and no exceptions, which, however imperfectly applied, remains the pride of its people and the envy of other nations, is out of date, so Brits ought to incorporate elements of sharia into the legal code. Thus they'd have a variety of rules for a variety of minorities (minorities for the moment, though the UK is not so far down the tube as Sweden, where uninvited savages stage demos with banners announcing

Ours in 2030

a realistic boast, given the way undesirables breed like rabbits).

And the quaintly chauvinist punchline has to be that Indonesia is not like other countries - we're in the largest Muslim democracy, where honest women can be dragged off by goons for waiting for a bus after dark, where surveys of opinion, in the Jakarta Post, forsooth, show something like half the Muslim population in favour of stoning for adultery, for God's sake (if it was for corruption, fair enough!) And apostasy may not be a capital crime, but as Al-Qidaiyah's followers are finding, it is tantamount to an imprisonable offence.

Oh no, Julia, not the same, not quite yet...

The virus is not unique to Iran or Taliban strongholds. Western Muslims of the second or third generation, given free education and growing up in western societies, are, in disturbingly large numbers, just as infected, witness the sectarian thuggery in Paris and Antwerp.

Almost all the "representative" Muslim organisations in Britain are up in arms because Gordon Brown, in a fit of what they call "Islamophobia", barred entry to a Muslim cleric who has lauded suicide bombs and declared he didn't give a damn (I paraphrase his words) if women and children were among the victims. But then, they must be "extremists", not the mainstream Julia wants to succour. So where are these moderates?

There are plenty of good, civilised Muslims around, here as elsewhere, but they have yet to out-organise, isolate and crush the rotten elements. Having people like Julia Suryakusuma offer platitudes about how it ain't surprising when critics get butchered does nothing to encourage them.


60 Comments on “Treason of the Intellectuals”

  1. avatar Odinius says:

    Lairedion,

    I’m not putting you into a box, but I think you’ve said some things on here that come across as reductionist generalizations about a pretty diverse faith. I don’t see this is much different from saying all people from place X or race Y are like this or that. That was my point. Anyone who has spent time with Muslims in different circumstances and places knows there is immense variation in practice, religiosity and the politicization of religion.

    You say some very astute things as well, so I’m perfectly willing to take it on faith that your views are not as extreme as I painted them in that last post, but this is how they came off.

    As for the link, Hidayatullah is an fundamentalist group with a strong anti-Western orientation. That they would purposefully negate “moderate” or “liberal” movements within Islam as improper or inauthentic creations or pets of Western interests should come as no surprise. I find MUI’s anti-liberalism statement a better fit for what you are trying to argue, but then you have organizations like this one:

    http://muslimwakeup.com/

    and news like this:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7264903.stm.

  2. avatar djoko says:

    http://www.commongroundnews.org/article.php?id=22584&lan=en&sid=1&sp=0

    So no, I’m not particularly enthusiastic to live together with these kind of people.

    And then?

  3. avatar Ross says:

    “You moron.’ Achmad the Rude Supercilious Expat was true to his word, ‘I’ll get back to the insults later.’ Sooner, to be sure! Sad little chap, really.

    Pity he can only abuse rather than argue. He has yet to justify his doting fanship of Hirsi-bashing Julia, yet he remains verbosely obsessed with trying to confine any debate to his own terms and conditions.
    Sorry, my acronymic comrade, I won’t play games by your rules. Save the lobotomy for those who deserve it, and start by looking in the mirror.

    I gave you a pool of ‘intellectuals’ to check out. (of course there are sound members of the academic/literary community, not least Roger Scruton in the UK but the dominant, prominent element is inimical to the West, and does vast damage to academic freedom)
    Anyway, you haven’t answered the other question that dangles over the blog – are you from England or Australia -your manners confirm you are no pribumi Achmad.
    Another good question is how he gets so much free time to blog away, when I am hastily snatching breaks between serious toil. Is he one of those limousine liberals we read about, the idle rich with nothing better to do than toy with subversion?
    Please enjoy my piece on Pramoedya – he’s a prime example of what’s wrong with ‘intellectuals.’

  4. avatar Lairedion says:

    Odinius,

    I particularly like this one.

    http://www.free-minds.org/

    I’ve been tempted to believe their teachings are close to true Islam. But then there’s always another Muslim telling you their teachings are deviant and no true Islam because it’s Quranic only. That’s why I stick to my own view and encourage Muslims to counter these with reason and common sense. And yes, sometimes strong words and some generalizations are needed to make sure people from both sides will stop burying their heads in the sand and face and discuss the real problems.

    It’s good to see the Turkish religious authorities are acknowledging Islam needs modernization and reinterpretation and dare to be critical of it. Society is modernizing and religion cannot answer the questions raised because of modernization if it’s not modernizing and developing too and, in the case of Islam, keeps on sticking with teachings based on a 1400 years old Arabian desert culture. I just find it difficult to understand so many Muslims accept hadith and sharia unconditionally while these are oral traditions and only written down a couple of hundred years later after Muhammad’s death in a period when illiteracy was widespread. Anyone with common sense understands such a process is prone to faults, misinterpretation and mistranslations and needs to be critically viewed and placed into context over and over again as time passes by.

  5. avatar Lairedion says:

    @djoko

    Thanks for the link. As the article is a research concerning the silenced majority or so-called moderate Muslims I’m happy to read this:

    The findings also revealed that Muslims across the world want neither secularism nor theocracy. They want freedom, rights and democratisation. At the same time, however, they claim that society should be built upon religious Islamic values and that the shari’a (Islamic law) should be a source of law. Simply put, the majority of Muslim women and men want rights and religion, and they don’t see the two as being mutually exclusive.

    😕

  6. avatar Janma says:

    question that dangles over the blog

    Oh look! There is a question dangling over the blog! Like mistletoe! Do you think achmad and Ross might have a little kiss under it?

    Janma
    *wondering*

  7. avatar Ross says:

    Hello Janma
    Your name rhymes with Granma and I thus feel inclined to bow to your venerable wisdom, as we little kids did when on that long-departed old lady’s farm in Ontario.
    However, it is a snog too far! I don’t fancy bules, and even less the male variety!

  8. avatar David says:

    Janma is on record as being a Granma.

  9. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:

    djoko said

    The second thing I would point out is that the Prophet’s command for those who left Islam (apostasy) to be punished by death actually has less to do with religion as such, and more to do with the political situation at the time.

    The biggest problem with Islam, aside from its theology, is the fact that since its beginnings and through the ages up to this day it interferes with every aspect of life, from politics to dress code, even the way one has to wipe his/her arse. So don’t be surprised if people with a different mindset are fed up with it and react in a negative way, like

    So no, I’m not particularly enthusiastic to live together with these kind of people.

    Although I don’t consider myself a Christian, at least to my knowledge Jesus made the distinction between religion and politics when the Pharisees came to him with the trick question whether the Jews should pay taxes to the Roman occupiers and he said, after looking at the image of the Emperor on the coin, “Give the Emperor what belongs to the Emperor and give to God what belongs to God”. A clearer message that politics and religion, or state and church, should be separated couldn’t have been given.

  10. avatar djoko says:

    @ dewa

    I agree that Islam doesn’t separate between religion and politics. What I meant is that what was being commanded with regards to punishing apostasy was with regards to a particular political situation (the one at the time of the Prophet).

    Interesting the Jesus quote is brought up so often with regards to religion and politics, as by making that very statement Jesus was in fact being very political by taking the stand he did. The way I see it is that, as its more or less another ideology as well, religion will always inevitably be a factor (either directly or indirectly) in politics. It just becomes a matter of whether it ends up being a good influence (for all the flack it cops, religion does have an awful lot to offer) or a negative and destructive influence.

  11. avatar Lairedion says:

    @djoko

    I agree that Islam doesn’t separate between religion and politics.

    At the same time, however, they claim that society should be built upon religious Islamic values and that the shari’a (Islamic law) should be a source of law. Simply put, the majority of Muslim women and men want rights and religion, and they don’t see the two as being mutually exclusive.

    The way I see it is that, as its more or less another ideology as well, religion will always inevitably be a factor (either directly or indirectly) in politics.

    Are these opinions voiced by “moderate Muslims”? If yes, what’s the difference between “moderates” en “radicals”?

    for all the flack it cops, religion does have an awful lot to offer

    Agree, but only for those who are asking for it to fulfill their own needs only….

  12. avatar Aluang Anak Bayang says:

    “Give the Emperor what belongs to the Emperor and give to God what belongs to God”

    Maybe Jesus was frightened.

  13. avatar Cukurungan says:

    Lairedion wrote:
    I particularly like this one.

    http://www.free-minds.org/

    I’ve been tempted to believe their teachings are close to true Islam. But then there’s always another Muslim telling you their teachings are deviant and no true Islam because it’s Quranic only.

    Their teaching is not based on the Quran only but on the corrupted Quran of their own translation. For me, they are more dangerous than any kind of the infidels.

    That’s why I stick to my own view and encourage Muslims to counter these with reason and common sense. And yes, sometimes strong words and some generalizations are needed to make sure people from both sides will stop burying their heads in the sand and face and discuss the real problems.

    I do not think we the main stream muslim is hiding anything, our doctrine is open and can be accesed by anyone and the ball is not with us but in your hand. You might not entuastic to live with us in this same earth while we already occupied many part of this earth surface ..so what you are going to do except crying in the internet.

  14. avatar djoko says:

    @ Lairedion

    Not really radical as such, just a mere statement of fact. As an example, why is it that most Western governments with majority Christian populations still define marriage as being between a man and woman? Why not between a man and a man (some countries increasingly do provide concessions for this, but most still do not recognise it in the institution of ‘marriage’), why not between a man and several women? A woman and several men? A men and several men? Because they continue to draw their understanding of marriage from the Christian concept of marraige which developed throughout their respective country’s development.

    By saying that religion inevitably plays a role in politics this does not always mean the formation of overt theocracies, but merely acknowledges the fact that as part of its historical development a state will inevitably base some of its laws on concepts drawn from religion. Drafters of laws do not do so from a vacuum, and in doing so they bring their own social and cultural backgrounds into the process.

    for all the flack it cops, religion does have an awful lot to offer

    Agree, but only for those who are asking for it to fulfill their own needs only”¦.

    Some of the greatest political movements for rights and freedom have come from deeply religious people – Martin Luther King in the U.S. and Ghandi in India for just two examples. You wouldn’t judge democracy and secularism just on Robbespierre and the French Terror, nor should people really judge religion just on the wildest of Mullahs.

  15. avatar Aluang Anak Bayang says:

    You wouldn’t judge democracy and secularism just on Robbespierre and the French Terror, nor should people really judge religion just on the wildest of Mullahs.

    djoko, what unintelligent statement. Hope you have no Javanese blood, otherwise you are bringing shame to our bloodline.

    When the wildest clergymen of a religious group yelled from the pulpits and called on all their faithfuls to kill non-members; if the faithfuls stand by their religious convictions that it is a duty to do so, THEN WE REALLY DO JUDGE THE TEACHING OF THAT RELIGION.

    NO wildest Buddhist highest monk can stir their followers to kill, simply because it is against their teaching.

  16. avatar djoko says:

    NO wildest Buddhist highest monk can stir their followers to kill, simply because it is against their teaching.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C5%8Dhei

  17. avatar djoko says:

    Or for those in need of a more modern example

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aum_Shinrikyo

    Once again, would you judge Buddhism based on these kinds of things alone? Of course not.

  18. avatar Lairedion says:

    @djoko,

    I acknowledge there are some religious concepts almost all people (even agnostics and atheists) can relate to. Marriage between two individuals is one of them. Keep in mind that marriage between two individuals (at least between man and woman) is a concept accepted and practiced almost worldwide and is not exclusively Christian.

    By saying that religion inevitably plays a role in politics this does not always mean the formation of overt theocracies

    But Islam, as you said yourself as a “moderate Muslim”, doesn’t separate between religion and politics. To me that sounds like a theocracy.

    Some of the greatest political movements for rights and freedom have come from deeply religious people – Martin Luther King in the U.S. and Ghandi in India for just two examples.

    Munir Said Thalib was also motivated with his Islamic beliefs. Do you see the parallel with Ghandi and MLK? They were all murdered. Struggling for freedom, human rights and righteousness for all people, inspired by religion, is somewhat different than advocating a society built on Islamic religious values and sharia to be a source of law.

    You wouldn’t judge democracy and secularism just on Robbespierre and the French Terror, nor should people really judge religion just on the wildest of Mullahs.

    Statements by “moderate Muslims”, not mullahs:

    They claim that society should be built upon religious Islamic values and that the shari’a (Islamic law) should be a source of law.

    I agree that Islam doesn’t separate between religion and politics.

    @Cuk, I’m throwing the ball back to you. Mainstream lslam is indeed a doctrine, no more criticizing or free thinking, just doing what you are told to do and no if’s, and’s or but’s and we call people who are following doctrines unconditionally, indoctrinated.

  19. avatar djoko says:

    @ Lairedion

    Struggling for freedom, human rights and righteousness for all people, inspired by religion, is somewhat different than advocating a society built on Islamic religious values and sharia to be a source of law.

    Sure is, but doesn’t the fact that those people were inspired, driven and guided by their religious beliefs mean that religion does play a part in politics? The fact that the ideals they are struggling for are not held by religious philosophies alone does not make them any less religious.

    For example if I was to say that the eradication of corruption was an Islamic religious value (that is a value held in the religion of Islam, though not at all exclusively), would you oppose religious groups efforts to eradicate corruption? Because they are ‘advocating a society built on Islamic religious values’?

    Similarly in Australia the Church has a history of speaking out on social issues with political consequences – refugees being a recent example. They too seek a society built on ‘Christian religious values’ in this regard.

    In these kinds of cases I see nothing negative about religion playing a role in politics. What I do see though are attempts to overly ‘secularize’ values which are not just held by secular politics. The anti-corruption example is a good one, god knows how many times for example I have seen the Islamic PKS’ anti-corruption platform in the last election described as ‘non-Islamic’ or a ‘secular’ platform. What garbage. Anti-corruption for me is a definite Islamic value, though what people are failing to pick up in their attempts to neatly sort ‘religion’ and ‘politics’ into two separate categories is that it is not an exclusively Islamic value.

    Where the problem regarding religion and politics does come into play is where exclusive religious values which are detrimental to other groups are being promoted through the political system. It is here I agree with you that the role of religion in politics and the public sphere needs to be monitored, but I feel that the mechanism of democracy usually handles things well enough. As, continuing on the example above, the PKS has found out, and where democracy has succeeded, is that where you promote religious values which are also of great interest and benefit to a broad spectrum of people (ie anti-corruption), then you will see some success, but once you start promoting more exclusive values which are detrimental to other groups (ie the whole anti pornography/pornoaksi thing) you hit a brick wall. Similarly I think we will see that regional heads who have been wasting time applying ‘syariah-style’ laws on dress codes and so on will get some comeuppance at the ballot box.

    The hope here is that people will learn from these failures get back to promoting Islamic values in politics which are broadly beneficial and not just serving a narrow set, not necessarily that religion should be chased out of politics once and for all. Once you start trying to set up hard lines between religion and politics, you’ll see the kind of backlash like has been happening in the U.S. in recent years. Democracy, for the flack it sometimes cops, is an awfully resilient political system, and I think you’ll find it doesn’t need overseers to decide who gets to play. Over time the system itself is quite capable of weeding out those who have nothing useful to contribute to society and rewarding those who do.

  20. avatar Lairedion says:

    @djoko

    For example if I was to say that the eradication of corruption was an Islamic religious value (that is a value held in the religion of Islam, though not at all exclusively), would you oppose religious groups efforts to eradicate corruption?

    No. I won’t oppose these efforts.

    Because they are ‘advocating a society built on Islamic religious values’?

    Yes. Then I will oppose it.

    Correct me if I’m wrong but you are trying to say something like this:

    Muslims are advocating a society built on social justice, righteousness, freedom and fairness for all people, regardless their race, religion or no religion, gender, sexual orientation or political view and they’re driven by their Islamic beliefs to try to establish such a society.

    But these “moderate Muslims” from the research are still waving with their sharia to be a source of law. So far the common ground.

  21. avatar Dewaratugedeanom says:

    djoko said

    Sure is, but doesn’t the fact that those people were inspired, driven and guided by their religious beliefs mean that religion does play a part in politics? The fact that the ideals they are struggling for are not held by religious philosophies alone does not make them any less religious.

    I agree that if morality comes into play religion cannot be strictly separated from politics. But the problem still remains that certain moral issues tend to become hijacked by religion and then are viewed as identical with that specific religion, although they surpass religious boundaries.
    This unnecessarily complicates matters because the stance an individual takes vs. a particular moral issue becomes immediately linked to the religion which promotes the same value. This individual is then automatically supposed to be an adherent of this same religion, even if this not the case.
    An example here is the controversy that arose in many Western countries on the question of abortion and euthanasia. Secular groups who were pro-choice had a tendency to classify all opponents in the religious category that rejected abortion and euthanasia on religious grounds, namely Christianity. The result was a polarization of the issue along criteria that in the end had nothing to do with the problem an sich. In the end decisions were taken based on lobbying and the usual wheeling and dealing in politics, disregarding the ethical content of the issue itself.
    It seems when religion gets involved matters easily are taken out of context by all parties, at the expense of rationality, common sense and serenity.

  22. avatar Etsi says:

    Another difficult debate, of a belief and a state. I personally very rarely agree with what Julia says, and don’t find her writings all that amusing, intellectually or otherwise. Yet the same I have to say about Hirsi Ali. I do admire her immense courage to say what she has to say, and do symphatize a lot with the horror that she had to went through… but Julia, and she already said that she is speaking for her own experience, that a lot of what Hirsi wrote in her memoir is indeed an extreme experience of Islam that is (fortunately) not being experienced by muslim women elsewhere. For the infamous women circumcision for example, though it is not a requirement but female circumcision is widely practiced in some Muslim tradition likewise for males. Nearly 80 percent of Indonesian women were circumcised, but none of them were being done nearly how Hirsi was saying how it is being done in Somalia, by sewing the vagina shut. Female circumcision, at least in Indonesia, does not have any effect so as to cause disfunction of sexual organ (or the ability to enjoy sex) nor to prevent pre-marital sex, because that was not the goal with which it tried to attain. The goal of this, such as male circumcision, was health and hygiene. That issue aside, in my opinion striking point from Hirsi’s book are the pressure from zealous patriarch society, callously violent internal conflicts and poverty in Somalia, the very reason why there are hundreds of thousands of another female and male like Hirsis in Somalia, and unlike Hirsi, couldn’t get out from the horror they live with. Her demonising Islam in such a way, in my opinion does not make the plea that she has worked so hard for campaigning, –protection and equal rights for refugee and self determination of women, stronger. Simply because there are many of the 1 billion muslims in the world who does not share the experience that she had. Of course she is free to voice her opinion, and she has openly denouncing her Islamic belief, but there should be enough room for other opinions as well.

    Yes there are moderate and liberal muslims as well, who delight in how Islam value knowledge and thinking processes. Who understands that a practice in a different time frame requires a critical rethinking instead of swallowing a dogmatised practice whole. Shar’iah the Islamic law is applied with careful modification in some modern societies, stoning of people who were satisfactorily founded guilty of committing adultery (it requires testimony of no less than 4 witnesses who witness directly of the act being committed) are basically not practiced anymore, except in a few orthodox countries, such as Nigeria and international campaigns has been done and pressures put to end that hideous one-eyed practice of outdated law. In Indonesia however, in most cases they are fined or in some cases detained awaits trial for moral turpitude (in normal court, with charges in criminal code) and the spouse of whom, if they do so wish, may use this as a ground for filing a divorce. In a part of Indonesia where a Shar’ia law is in effect, in Aceh, adultery offenders are being leashed few times with a thin stick, it won’t cause substantial injury but enough to cause public humiliation. Punishing a person proven of stealing by cutting their hands are illegal, as with any mutilation is a grave criminal offense, they are sentenced to jail according to the law. And Indonesia might be the largest population of muslim in the world, but it is a secular state when it comes to law and politics.

    The sharia banking system is not something to fear of, it is a banking system just with different values of risk and profit sharing and ethical standard in investment compared with normal banking. It is not a mean for muslim to rise to world domination, nor it is to discriminate against others. The Dutch and other international banks are considering sharia service because its a strategy to capture muslims’ market. If it wasn’t profitable the banks wouldn’t do it, and it wasn’t because of the pressures from muslims in any country. The same with halal food providers, if someone is willing to drive a long way to the other side of the city to get halal meat, let them, it doesn’t costs you any inconvenience and doesn’t mean you have to do the same. Needless to say about people who are openly supporting terrorism, muslim or not, dob them in to the police and file a complaint.

  23. avatar Hugh says:

    So the goal of Indonesian Female Genital Cutting is “health and hygiene” and it “does not have any effect so as to cause disfunction of sexual organ (or the ability to enjoy sex)”.

    Does Etsi or anyone else have any evidence to back up either claim? And the testimony of women who have never known anything else does not count, any more than the testimony of men who have never known anything else. And is the custom so benign throughout Indonesia?

    Cutting genitals of children (lacking pressing medical need) is a violation of their human rights (to security of their persons and to undisturbed possession of their property).

  24. avatar Etsi says:

    Hugh

    Yes I was speaking from experience, I was circumcised like most female of my generation. the practice is very common until recently, and unlike varying methods of male circumcision in Indonesia, all of female circumcision was done by medically trained professionals.

    The lack of pressing needs, in my view is exactly the same with male circumcision. Which studies has suggested is highly recommended and have positive correlation with disease prevention. Parents do have a choice, of whether or not to circumcise their male and female children, or to leave it up to them to decide.

    regards, Etsi

  25. avatar Etsi says:

    Female and (male) circumcision aside, how about the important issue implied in Hirsi Ali’s work: lack of education especially for women, discrimination against women (in any terms), civil liberties to be free to speak one’s mind (and respect diversity of opinion that may be said, unpopular regardless) and poverty? Those are the big issues, and it matters. Perhaps deserving robust thought and contributions beyond debating what Julia Suryakusuma think of it, which for all its worth, is just one of her opinion?

    regards, Etsi

  26. avatar Hugh says:

    Etsi:

    The lack of pressing needs, in my view is exactly the same with male circumcision.

    Absolutely!

    Which studies has suggested is highly recommended and have positive correlation with disease prevention.

    Actually, ALL of those studies are faulty in way or another.
    * Penile cancer: very rare, and in old men. More men get breast cancer. Circumcised men do get it – and on the scar, which might tell us something. Penile cancer is rarer in Denmark, which doesn’t circumcise, than the US, which does.
    * Cervical cancer: the most-quoted study was really comparing wives in the Philippines with wives in other countries. Women don’t smoke as much in the Philippines. Other studies found no difference.
    * Urinary Tract Infections. The most-quoted study collected its samples in different ways from the circumcised and from the intact boys, and assumed that any bacteria in the sample meant UTI. Other studies show no correlation.
    * STDs. The most recent study, of 500 New Zealand men followed since birth, found no difference.
    * HIV. The three famous trials were not blinded (everyone knew who was circumcised) or placebo-controlled and were stopped early. In at least six African countries, HIV is commoner among the circumcised men.
    Those are only thumbnails of all the many objections to claims for male circumcision. (See http://www.circumstitions.com for more details.) It is actually performed for exactly the same mumbo-jumbo reasons as the female.

    Parents do have a choice, of whether or not to circumcise their male and female children, or to leave it up to them to decide.

    But of course if they choose to circumcise, the children grow up to have no choice.

  27. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:

    Re circumcision.
    Etsi said

    Parents do have a choice, of whether or not to circumcise their male and female children, or to leave it up to them to decide.

    I don’t understand the logic in this sentence. Does it mean parents have the choice not to leave it up to their children to decide? If the parents do circumcise what choice have the children left?

  28. avatar Etsi says:

    What I mean is that parents can choose to make that decision for their children (circumcise or not) or they can choose to let their children make that decision for themselves when they’re older. Parents can’t choose both.

    Parents do make choices for their children I think, that is why we have a concept of responsible parents. In this regards, I do not have any resentment for their decision to circumcise me, doesn’t do me any adverse impact. And I know of some men (european descent, non-muslim) who were circumcised when they were baby, glad they were and couldn’t think of doing it if they were older. In the end, its a personal choice and preference. And as with any medical intervention (pressing needs or not, such as cosmetic surgery and other enhancement) there’s always a risk involved of a complication.

    Now would appreciate if we can go back to the topic, there is another thread discussing this theme in Indonesia Matters I believe. My earlier post was taking an example of which experience of Ayaan Hirsi writing that is experienced differently by other people, in relation to Julia’s writing on the subject.

    regards

  29. avatar Etsi says:

    HIV. The three famous trials were not blinded (everyone knew who was circumcised) or placebo-controlled and were stopped early. In at least six African countries, HIV is commoner among the circumcised men.
    Those are only thumbnails of all the many objections to claims for male circumcision. (See http://www.circumstitions.com for more details.) It is actually performed for exactly the same mumbo-jumbo reasons as the female.

    See this link of an article of the New York Times regarding the study and judge for your self http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/13/health/13cnd-hiv.html

    It’s a National Health Institute study two clinical trials of nearly 3000 men in Kenya and 5000 in Uganda. Grouped by circumcised and uncircumcised group, all were tested HIV negative at the start and retested again regularly. At the time the clinical trial was stopped after the data stabilise, the result is

    * in Kenya 22 out of 1,393 men who were circumcised contracted HIV in comparison with 47 of the 1,391 men who were not circumcised, a 53% reduction in new HIV cases
    * in Uganda the reduction in circumcised men is 48%

    A previous trial in South Africa funded by the French government shown a 60% of reduction of new HIV cases among circumcised men.

    Circumcision does not make you immune to HIV however, just help to make it less likely. AIDS activist are divided regarding this, but health aid organisations and state governments are willing to tap into this as preventive strategy in reducing new AIDS in Africa and elsewhere. Divided as it is, it is far from the mumbo jumbo Hugh was mentioning.

    regards,

  30. avatar Hugh says:

    Etsi:

    What I mean is that parents can choose to make that decision for their children (circumcise or not) or they can choose to let their children make that decision for themselves when they’re older. Parents can’t choose both.

    Sorry, but that is not a helpful way of putting it. They can choose to cut part of their child’s genitals off or not. Only in the second case does the child have any choice left. Since it’s the child’s genitals, and that of the man or woman s/he is to become, and virtually nothing life-threatening can occur before adulthood as a result of being intact, the second choice is obviously greatly preferable. Circumcision itself has risks (up to and including death). And very, very few adult men or women choose to have part of their own genitals cut off, suggesting that talk of “choosing for the child” is double-talk for “doing what I want to the child”.

    HIV: Yes, those are the non-blinded, non-placebo controlled (i.e. less than ideal) studies I am referring to. I do not rely on the New York Times, but on the published scientific papers themselves.

    * in Kenya 22 out of 1,393 men who were circumcised contracted HIV in comparison with 47 of the 1,391 men who were not circumcised, a 53% reduction in new HIV cases

    Yes a huge-seeming relative risk reduction. An absolute risk reduction (from 3.4% to 1.6%) of 1.8%, and it would take 30 circumcisions to prevent one HIV transmission, other things being equal. But they are not equal: 126 circumcised men (9.1%) were “lost from study” and finding you had contracted HIV after a painful and marking operation to prevent it would be a powerful inducement not to go back. The other studies are similar. The studies ignored non-sexual transmission, very important in Africa.

    Yes, campaigns to circumcise are going ahead, regardless of the facts. In Rwanda 95% of men are circumcised already, and still they going to try and mop up the rest. That can never be cost-effective, and since 3.5% of circumcised men there have HIV compared with 2.1% of intact men, it could be counter-productive. Mumbo-jumbo with a scientific gloss is still mumbo-jumbo.

    I’m happy leave it here unless someone raises more “facts” that need answering.

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