Without Fear, Favour or Affection

A few weeks ago I commented on an article in which Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel said that “Multiculuralism is a lie.” The main thrust of my argument was that: “Newcomers to Canada, immigrants and refugees are, of course, welcome to retain all the customs that conform to “our laws, values and traditions,” but they must discard the rest.”

But it’s hard to do and it is, apparently harder for us to ask or tell people to do …

Consider this article from The Telegraph which describes horrific sexual assaults in Britain, in 2014, and very recently, in Köln (Cologne) Germany. The author, journalist Allison Pearson, explains:

“On New Year’s Eve, in the precincts of the beautiful, twin-spired cathedral, up to 1,000 men of Arab or North African appearance sexually assaulted and robbed women who were enjoying the festivities. Around 100 complaints have been made to police so far, including two cases of rape. Eighteen-year-old Michelle said she and her friends were surrounded by 30 men, who molested them and then stole their belongings. Michelle said the men looked angry.

And there is the crux of the problem. If you are doctrinally commanded to cover up your women then the sight of a woman like the lovely, blonde Michelle, who is both uncovered and happily self-confident, provokes temptation, and this makes you angry. That anger is not directed where it should be – at yourself or at a belief system which forbids a woman to move and dress as she pleases – but at the temptress. (Just as it was in early Christianity.) In order for male pride to be salvaged, the temptress can be humiliated and terrorised, thus restoring power and dominance to where it properly belongs – the man.

This puts a liberal western society, which values women’s rights, and admits men from countries that don’t, in a bit of a bind, to put it mildly. It’s difficult to raise the issue without being howled down by cries of “Islamophobia”.

Shamefully, it took several days for the German news media to mention the Cologne assaults. As for the police, they issued a comically self-satisfied report saying that a jolly, peaceful time had been had by all. Apart from the girls who had fingers stuck in their most intimate parts, presumably.

It soon became impossible to ignore the gravity of what had happened. Even then, the authorities’ default position was denial. On Tuesday, Henriette Reker, the Mayor of Cologne, made a statement which I sincerely hope will haunt her till her dying day. Asked how women were supposed to cope with this menace, the mayor proposed a new “code of conduct” for young women and girls “so that such things do not happen to them”. In particular, she suggested that women maintain an arm’s length from strangers.

Shamefully, it took several days for the German news media to mention the Cologne assaults. As for the police, they issued a comically self-satisfied report saying that a jolly, peaceful time had been had by all. Apart from the girls who had fingers stuck in their most intimate parts, presumably.

It soon became impossible to ignore the gravity of what had happened. Even then, the authorities’ default position was denial. On Tuesday, Henriette Reker, the Mayor of Cologne, made a statement which I sincerely hope will haunt her till her dying day. Asked how women were supposed to cope with this menace, the mayor proposed a new “code of conduct” for young women and girls “so that such things do not happen to them”. In particular, she suggested that women maintain an arm’s length from strangers.

Politicians and journalists had previously been reluctant to address stories about rape and child abuse in German refugee camps, where unaccompanied women are apparently seen as “fair game”. Reporting the mistreatment of women is seen as playing into the hands of a Right-wing agenda and stoking ethnic tensions. It’s hardly surprising that the government’s first reaction was to pretend it simply wasn’t true. Remember what happened last time in Germany when there was demonization of “the other”?

We saw the same pattern of denial in the UK when there was widespread sexual trafficking of young girls in towns such as Rotherham and Rochdale by gangs of mainly Pakistani origin. Attempts by nervous police and social workers to excuse the misogynist attitudes of the perpetrators – “It’s their culture, isn’t it?” – led to hundreds of young girls being raped, ignored and even blamed for their own suffering.”

We, the big “we” that is society at large but which is most visible in elected leaders and officials appointed to positions of authority,  are afraid to be labelled as as “right wing bigots” so we ~ they, our leaders and opinion makers ~ excuse or try to explain away barbarism.

Now, I’ve said, more than once, that I found our, Conservative, “barbaric cultural practices” campaign trick amateurish and counter-productive …

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so am I being two-faced? No, not at all. We already have a good, solid criminal code and, heaven knows, a zillion “help lines,” which we need to use. We don’t need to single out one or two “barbaric” practices, cultural or not; we ~ through our mayors, chiefs of police, provincial attorneys general and crown prospectors ~ need to enforce the laws we already have on the books. We need to investigate every complaint, without fear, favour or affection, as the RCMP say. The fact is that “black lives do matter” but a brown skin or the status of newcomer is not a shield behind which one can hide when a crime has been committed. Crimes must be investigated, charges need to be laid, prosecutions must be vigorous and lessons need to be taught and learned.

But, before that can happen we need to lose our fear. We need to stop being afraid of strangers and newcomers who, in the overwhelming majority of cases, are people just like us and who are, mostly, eager to adapt to our society, to fit in and to be productive. But we must also stop being afraid of demanding that everyone, including newcomers, respect our socio-cultural norms and values ~ and they don’t include sexual abuse of anyone.

We also need to stop favouring this, that or the other group because of language, skin colour, religion or sex. Real conservatives are for equality, not special privilege.

If we are to be guilty of anything it ought to be affection for the laws and customs that we have developed, and which we are constantly, incrementally, changing, to make our society “better” for everyone. The very foundation on which our civilized society rests ~ more important, even, that liberal, electoral democracy ~ is respect for the rule of law … respect for all the rules and laws, by everyone, regardless of race, colour or creed.

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