Peculiarly Western

I enjoy reading Terry Glavin’s writing on Afghanistan and his comments in this article by Eva Sajoo are compelling, if too close to the bone for many:

“We also meet Malalai Ishaqzai, an MP from Kandahar whose views differ sharply from those of the famous Malalai Joya. Joya has become famous in Europe and North America for claiming that international troops have made no difference to Afghan women and should leave immediately.

Many other female MPs, including Ishaqzai, disagree. The mother of seven children, she has been winning male votes in a province considered the Taliban heartland. This is surely progress.

Aware of the fading Canadian commitment, she and other Afghans ask why. Glavin’s answer to that question is complicated. He points to a disturbing tendency to see human rights as a peculiarly Western set of values. This belief has the benefit both of allowing us a sense of superiority while simultaneously distancing ourselves from the struggles of others in the name of respecting their cultural customs. As if people in other societies somehow find oppression more agreeable.

(H/T: Norm)


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