Not just under the modern-day religion of violence [Updated]

Bird Dog's picture

There's another nation that has a problem with women other than those under Muslim-majority rule, and it's India. Who knew that India ranked worse than Saudi Arabia in the G20 when it came to women's rights. This problem now has a couple of faces, so-far unnamed but both gang-raped.

A 17-year-old Indian girl who was allegedly gang-raped killed herself after police pressured her to drop the case and marry one of her attackers, police and a relative said on Thursday.

It comes as the 23-year-old Indian medical student who was gang-raped on a bus in New Delhi arrived at Singapore's Mount Elizabeth Hospital for further treatment.

A hospital spokesperson said the patient is in an "extremely critical condition" after the attack on December 16.

She was transferred overseas for better treatment.

The 23-year old has since died of her wounds. In the wake of protests, the six who raped the 23-year old have been arrested for murder. In the case of the 17-year old, one policeman was fired and another suspended for their actions. I can't say exactly why, but this sort of reminds me of Malala's story. A girl should exercise free speech or ride a bus without getting shot or sexually assaulted. I'm sure Manish can give his firsthand perspective and tell me what I missed, but it sounds like India could use a little womens' lib.

It could be worse. If you're a gal in Swaziland, you could get arrested for wearing "rape-provoking clothing".

UPDATE: Juan Cole lived in India for a spell and he offers his perspective.

Rape is always about power, not sex. India is a highly patriarchal society. In some parts of India, women’s literacy is half that of men. Marriages are for the most part arranged, and a majority of young men has never been on a date with a woman or have a framework for interacting with strangers of the opposite sex. Because of the high value placed on a bride’s virginity (especially in traditional milieus) and the dangers to a girl’s future if there is a taint on her honor, rape is often not reported, and the men who rape are counting on this reticence to go public.

Sometimes caste hierarchies are at play – low-caste women are at greater risk of being raped. (Classical Hinduism recognizes 4 castes, though there are many sub-castes; members high-ranking castes such as Brahmins and Kshatriyas often can mistreat Shudras and Dalits with impunity. In short, the problem of rape is in part the problem of a highly unequal society where women are low status and often somewhat segregated and disadvantaged. Economist Amartya Sen estimated that because girls are less valued and less well taken care of when ill, there are millions of missing girls in India – girls who died from relative neglect compared to what their brothers got. There is also a growing problem of families aborting daughters once the sex of the embryo is known via ultrasound. In India, typically the bride’s family must provide the groom with many expensive gifts, so that marrying off the girls of the family is extremely expensive and poor fathers and mothers would like to have high-value sons instead.

Also via Cole, progress in Afghanistan. I can't say exactly why, but this video of a potential Taliban terrorism target got to me. That's right, puppy-blending BD got misty.


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Fun & Games & (Real) Torture & Murder...Taliban Edition



[NY Times] ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- They are dead men talking, and they know it. Gulping nervously, the prisoners stare into the video camera, spilling tales of intrigue, betrayal and paid espionage on behalf of the United States.

"I am a spy and I took part in four attacks," said Sidinkay, a young tribesman who said he was paid $350 to help direct C.I.A. drones to their targets in Pakistan's tribal belt.

"Stay away from the Americans," he said in an imploring voice. "Stay away from their dollars."

Al Qaeda and the Taliban have few defenses against the American drones that endlessly prowl the skies over the bustling militant hubs of North and South Waziristan in northwestern Pakistan, along the Afghan border. C.I.A. missiles killed at least 246 people in 2012, most of them Islamist militants.

The militants' technique -- often more witch hunt than investigation -- follows a well-established pattern. Accused tribesmen are abducted from homes and workplaces at gunpoint and tortured. A sham religious court hears their case, usually declaring them guilty. Then they are forced to speak into a video camera.

The taped confessions, which are later distributed on CD, vary in style and content. But their endings are the same: execution by hanging, beheading or firing squad.

In Sidinkay's last moments, the camera shows him standing in a dusty field with three other prisoners, all blindfolded, illuminated by car headlights. A volley of shots rings out, and the three others are mowed down. But Sidinkay, apparently untouched, is left standing. For a tragic instant, the accused spy shuffles about, confused. Then fresh shots ring out and he, too, crumples to the ground. 




Edit: Sorry, I forgot the link to the full and very interesting article.

Torture works. n/t

mmghosh's picture


freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

For false confessions, sure nt

HankP's picture


I blame it all on the Internet

That's Not the Lesson At All...Understand & Respect Your Enemy



...know what he does, know where his strength comes from, and this is a demonstration of strength by the enemy, but continue to apply the benefits of your asymmetrical advantages.


This torture debate is largely, though not completely, false, a blind alley that I am not sure why we are banging our way down that dark road; it has already been largely abandoned for better resources.


Things are different today, the war is vastly different than it was in 2002 or, 2007 for that matter. Humit is still important but signal intelligence is king now, people are still being killed but it is by drones largely, by us, and Green on Blue infiltration by them...things change and will continue to change.


But Manish's argument that we have to be good so the other side responds in kind is simply false...they other side will never respond in kind, it's not their way.


This was the lesson, emotional, intellectual and military of this link and terrible story.


People should not insist on learning the wrong lesson.




Its not My argument!

mmghosh's picture

Its yours.  Or more precisely, your foundational texts.


My argument is more utilitarian.  If you don't do it, the possibility that your enemies will not torture may increase.  It may not, but at least you are doing everything in your ability to protect your own soldiers from being similarly treated.


Also, its hard to see a highly asymmetrical body count, with high collateral damage as "being good".


freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

No, it's a demonstration of weakness

HankP's picture

it's the same as in the Cold War, if you're strong you don't need to torture. As bad as our foreign policy has been in many respects, we were still far preferable to the USSR in the eyes of non-aligned nations. It's the same with these extremists, if they were truly strong they'd actually attract support rather than having to fake it by publishing the results of torture.


There's a reason they found so many witches in Salem, and it wasn't because there were actual witches there.


I blame it all on the Internet

It's a demonstration of terrorism

Bird Dog's picture

The torture is a byproduct, a sideshow. The Taliban is sending a message to any Afghan or Pakistani, that if they're even suspected of "collaborating", based even on rumor, their lives may get unnaturally shortened. In that regard, terrorism works.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Don't Tell The Dead It Is Weakness...they Can't Hear You...


...they're dead.


In some larger context, I will agree with you but it should be obvious that we are seeing the same thing but though different eyes...I am in the villages, I am these men, living now as these lives must be are seeing the forest and the broader future.


Certainly their ability to terrify is a benefit to to the Taliban, us, not so much.


We are leaving...these men have to stay.



All you are saying here...

(#298531) that terror works. Yes, it does. And so if torture is to be used as a terror weapon, it works too, for that purpose.


But a regime built on terror cannot last. Terror, to terrify, must shock. Terror inflation is required as people become numb to last year's depravity. The regime either consumes itself, or decays into corruption, perhaps both.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

MA, I followed your argument about FPS games

mmghosh's picture

and spree shootings with interest.


What do you think about the near universal dissemination of extreme pornography via the internet?  Do you think it has an effect on violence against women?

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

I don't know...


I'm not sure what you mean by "extreme" pornography.


I have read that some fairly violent sexual behaviors have become fairly common now among teens, (I'm pretty sure it was a piece in the New Yorker), but I haven't really followed the story.


It certainly would not surprise me. Monkey see, monkey do.


Having said that, I am not sure the problem in India originates there (though to the extent that there is access to porn it probably makes things worse). I've noticed that sexual repression is common, just from working with Indians even though I have never been there. Women completely unable to assert themselves in even the mildest discussions, men overtly ignoring them and having a hard time dealing adequately with Western women.


This kind of thing can't be fixed overnight, but it seems like a turning point has been reached. Why now? Can you give us any insight?

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Christmas Time...It's Not Good to be a Christian in Nigeria



Suspected Islamist militants killed at least 15 Christians in northern Nigeria, slitting the throats of their victims, witnesses said.

The attack happened on Friday near Maiduguri, a stronghold of Islamist militants Boko Haram, but details were slow to emerge.

In a second attack, gunmen killed two people, including a policeman, and burnt down government buildings in Maiha, on the border with Cameroon.

No group has claimed responsibility.

In Musari, near Maiduguri, a school teacher told the Associated Press news agency that gunmen had gathered people into a group before massacring them.

The teacher said 15 people had died in the attack; many had had their throats slit.




Yeah, and I know that evil will never win, that it will collapse and crumble on itself.


But I still think it important to to remember the victims that are real people that are thrown on the fires of and breathing while we theorize how the Bad will destroy themselves.


Cold comfort is the everlasting grave.






What is your point?


If you are defending torture you can't talk about victims.


When the US has supported torture, plenty of real people have paid dearly for it.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

You are right, BD.

mmghosh's picture

Indeed we need women’s lib.  And Juan Cole makes good points.


But what are we to do?  With regard to violence against women, our society is in the state that American black slave women or white European working class women were in the 19th century.  You will recall it took a Civil War and 2 World Wars for women to overturn the prevalent conservative patriarchy, get legal and civil rights, a chance for employment and economic independence.


OTOH we are at the beginning of our journey into modernity.  And the death penalty for rapists is no solution.  The vast majority of our rapists are relatives.  Our police, paramilitaries and the Army itself are often the worst offenders.  In fact, the current favourite for the next Prime Minister oversaw a pogrom in his own State in 2002, where rape was used as a political weapon – he went on to win 3 elections after that.

Out of the 17, four were men, eight were women, and the rest were children. After two days the tribals escorted us to Chaparwad village. From here we thought of meeting Manabhai, an old acquaintance. He lives in Panivela. While going there we rested for a few minutes at a tribal hamlet. The place was between two hillocks and a narrow road passed by it.
When we were passing by that road a man came and hit one of my uncles. He fell down and regained consciousness only an hour later. Soon more people came along. All of them were from Randhikpur, my own village. People from Chaparwad gave them our whereabouts.

'Mussalmans are here, kill them, kill them,' they were shouting.
They were able to collect more people from Panivela and Chaparwad. We were too tired and helpless. We didn't have the strength to fight back. Since we were running for cover, we never thought of picking up even a stick. We started running in all directions, but we could not escape. We were 17 and they were more than 25. They had come in a Tata Sumo.

They started molesting the girls and tore off their clothes. Our naked girls were raped in front of the crowd. They killed Shamim's baby who was two days old. They killed my maternal uncle and my father's sister and her husband too. After raping the women they killed all of them.
They killed my baby too. They threw her in the air and she hit a rock. After raping me, one of the men kept a foot on my neck and hit me. They hit me with sticks and stones, then picked me up and threw me into the bushes. I was unconscious. They thought I was dead. But after a few hours I recovered my senses.

Those men were using such foul language, I can't repeat it ever. They were saying, 'Since you have killed our people (in Godhra) we will kill you too. We will not leave any Muslims alive."
In front of me they killed my mother, sister and 12 other relatives. The way we kill animals, they slaughtered us. On the 28th morning my husband and other family members had gone to a village meeting held at the home of a BJP worker. There they had pleaded for protection. All those who raped me and my sisters and murdered them were present there.

Out of 17 only three of us survived -- two small children and me. I have no idea how they managed to survive. There were no Hindu women in the crowd. All of them were young or middle-aged men. While raping and killing us, they were shouting the choicest sexual abuses. When they were raping me I could not even tell them that I was five months pregnant because all the time their feet were on my mouth and neck.
Hindus of all castes were involved. My fellow villagers were part of the crowd that killed my relatives. How can I not identify them? They were all my gaonwale [fellow villagers].

Even after this horrendous event, instead of encouraging women's lib as one should do, our conservatives continue their old tricks - to blame the victim, the wearing of suggestive clothes etc etc.

“Seventeen senior cops of over a dozen police stations across Gurgaon, Noida, Ghaziabad and Faridabad were caught on spy camera blaming everything from fashionable or revealing clothes to having boyfriends to visiting pubs to consuming alcohol to working alongside men as the main reasons for instances of rape. ‘It’s always the woman who is at fault’ was in essence the argument offered by the majority of cops.


Many of them believe that genuine rape victims never approach the police and those who do are basically extortionists or have loose moral values. Others believe that the women from Northeast could never be victims of forced sex as they are invariably involved in the flesh trade. Even more shockingly, some of them are of the view that if a woman has consensual sex with one man, then she shouldn’t complain if his friends also join in. If a woman is doing late hours at the office then she had it coming… and the arguments keep coming.”

Having said this, and not to blame the West, I wonder if what MA suggested about FPS and spree killing in the USA might have a similar relationship between our youth who watch violent Western pornography.  Just as FPS games do not seem to trigger spree killings in mature societies, your more advanced societies seem to be able to absorb the extremely violent pornography inflicted on your women without major repercussions, which our more immature societies may not be able to cope with.  I do not suggest censorship (which would be impossible to enforce anyway), but perhaps your filmmakers could be made more aware of the far-distant effects of their graphically violent imagery towards women?

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

I doubt it needs to be violent to have an effect,


just explicit. The effect is no doubt the same as the video game masacres - objectification of people.