29 April, 2006


Johann tries for a Decca award

Johann Hari has a comment piece in yesterday's London Evening Standard (probably not on line) about the obscene practice of female genital mutilation, sometimes blandly euphemized as 'female circumcision'. He starts off with a graphic description of the process and its effects, and concludes with some light editorializing and moralizing.

The piece is titled "Racism that condemns 15,000 girls to butchery". The "15,000" refers to the number of girl children in London who, according to one estimate, are at risk of being subjected to this savagery, though it is not immediately clear how this number should be interpreted. The "racism" reference, however, is initially puzzling. Johann's piece concludes:
This is happening to girls between the age of seven and nine. Today. Here. Adwoa Kwateng-Kluvitse, the tough, bluff Ghanaian woman who runs the anti-mutilation charity Forward, the source of statistics in this article, says there is "no doubt" that this practice is continuing in London. The British Medical Journal has warned that there "seems to be a conspiracy of silence in medical circles".

Some London girls are butchered in the backstreets, more are sent "home" (usually to a country they have never seen) to be mutilated. Yet some people bizarrely believe it would be racist to harry and hound the people perpetrating this abuse. Even the often-great feminist Germaine Greer has said "one man's mutilation is another man's beautification" and argued it would be cultural imperialism to oppose it.

But isn't the real racism to write off these young girls as aliens who do not grieve and suffer and weep just as much as white girls when they are tortured by their families?

"Some people get caught up in thinking of this in terms of imperialism or relativism or multiculturalism," says Adwoa. "They forget that behind these isms there is a little girl being attacked."

Why aren't we siding with African women like Adwoa and Muslim women like Ayaan who are desperate to stop another generation of girls being crippled? Why is the Metropolitan Police spending its time chasing down casual drug users and not the men inflicting the ultimate misogyny on little girls?

Johann has a problem here. He knows that FGM is barbaric and should be ruthlessly suppressed. But FGM is a practice confined to the African and Muslim 'communities', and as a paid-up member of the Righteous Left, Johann cannot quite bring himself to speak critically of them. Indeed, he seems to require the permission of his Ghanaian contact to legitimize (and to articulate on his behalf) his criticism of cultural relativism.

But in the end, he concludes, the fault clearly lies with White society and indigenous White insitutions for not grappling with the problem. Thus:
But isn't the real racism to write off these young girls as aliens who do not grieve and suffer and weep just as much as white girls when they are tortured by their families?
So it's all our fault again, chaps. Nostra culpa, nostra culpa, nostra maxima culpa. So that's all right then. Forgive me for being a cynical old Hector, but if the Met and social services were really coming down hard on FGM in London, I'd bet Johann would be out there with the other Righteous Liberals and the 'community leaders' screaming "racism" and "cultural insensitivity".

Remember the mutilated and murdered African boy "Adam" and the practice of kindoki? That's gone rather quiet, hasn't it?

Anyway, welcome to the real world, Johann. Hopefully one day soon you'll be able to cast aside your security blanket and face up to it without the need for scapegoats.

The reality is that if medics, police, and social services are leary of dealing with this minority-ethnic phenomenon in our midst, it's because you and people like you have worked so hard for so long to create a totalitarian antiracist culture which makes it at least career-threatening and at worst criminal to even suggest that black and brown people can be guilty of wrong-doing of any kind, let alone evil like this. Tua culpa, my boy, not nostra.

Oh, and the "Decca" reference in my title? I refer of course to the ineffable Aitkenhead, doyenne of Liberal self-delusion, who in this as yet unsurpassed masterpiece was able to admit to the existence of rampant homophobia in Jamaica by contriving to blame it on the British colonial masters.

An excellent harpooning of the egregious Hari!

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