Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I prefer my culture, thank you very much...

So, does a proper respect for other cultures demand that I acknowledge the culture that produced this story to be equal to, or better than, American culture?
Five armed men burst into the small room and courtyard at dawn, just as 21-year-old, 22-week pregnant, Sunita was drying her face on a towel. They punched and kicked her stomach as she called out for her sleeping boyfriend "Jassa", 22-year-old Jasbir Singh, witnesses said. When he woke, both were dragged into waiting cars, driven away and strangled. Their bodies, half-stripped, were laid out on the dirt outside Sunita's father's house for all to see, a sign that the family's "honor" had been restored by her cold-blooded murder.
...
"From society's point of view, this is a very good thing," said 62-year-old farmer Balwan Arya, sitting smoking a hookah in the shade of a tree in a square with other elders from the village council or panchayat. "We have removed the blot."
...
At their house, Sunita's mother did not emerge to talk. Instead, a young man on a motorbike tried to intimidate the Reuters team into leaving. It turned out he was another of Sunita's cousins, his father and brother held by police. "We are not ashamed of it, absolutely not, we have the honor of doing the village proud," he said. "We would not have had a face to show if we had not done this. It was the act of 'real men'."

So in some parts of India, it is the act of "real men" to gang up on and beat to death a pregnant girl. Thank God for India that they were able to throw of the imperialist yoke of the British Raj!

And let us ponder, one more time, Sir Charles Napier's approach to the culture wars...
"[Sir Charles Napier] also," says Sir William Napier, "put down the practice of Suttee, which, however was rare in Scinde, by a process extremely characteristic. For judging the real cause of these immolations to be the profits derived by the priests, and hearing of an intended burning, he made it known that he would stop the sacrifice. The priests said it was a religious rite which must not be meddled with, that all nations had customs which should be respected and this was a very sacred one. The general, affecting to be struck with the argument, replied, 'Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom. Prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs." "No Suttee," adds the historian, "took place then or afterwards."

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