Along the Tracks

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Beauties with blood on their hands

At least that's the Guardian's take on the Nigerian riots which, some estimates now say, killed as many as 500 people.

According to the Guardian, the Miss World organizers and contestants displayed insensitivity to the Islamists who stone raped women for sex out of wedlock and beat girls who wear slacks in public. The trigger, of course, was the newspaper article which directed humor at the humorless, saying Mohammed himself might have chosen a wife from among the contestants. This, the Guardian says, shows just how out of touch culturally the Western world has become. Small problem: The newspaper is Nigerian, and its writers have had to deal with Muslims, Christians and animists for their entire existence, not just in their writing, but in their daily lives. The newspaper is "Western" only in the sense that freedom of the press and speech are Western ideals. This however, is precisely the Guardian's point:

"Those rioting on the streets of Kaduna were not members of al-Qaida but they had no hesitation in attacking what they see as western values.
In such a world we should think carefully about what values we want to parade."

The principle of relativism in operation - appeasement - could not be stated more clearly.

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