Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Last Word on Ayaan

Asabagna at Afrospear sent this me wonderful quote from Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

It is from a speech she gave on January 15th, 2005 at the Congress of Racial Equality’s 23rd annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., where she received CORE’s International Brotherhood Award.

It's the last word from me on the issues of FGM, Islam and feminism, and cultural relativity.

“Human beings are equal; cultures are not.

A culture that celebrates femininity is not equal to a culture that trims the genitals of her girls.

A culture that holds the door open to her women is not equal to one that confines them behind walls and veils.

A culture that spends millions on saving a baby girl’s life is not equal to a one that uses its first encounter with natal technology to undertake mass abortion simply because baby girls are not welcome.

A culture with courts that punish a husband for forcing his wife to have sex with him is not equal to a culture with a tribunal that decrees a young woman be gang-raped for talking to a boy of an allegedly higher caste.

A culture that encourages dating between young men and young women is not equal to a culture that flogs or stones a girl for falling in love.

A culture where monogamy is an aspiration is not equal to a culture where a man can lawfully have four wives all at once.

A culture that protects women’s rights by law is not equal to a culture that denies women their alimony and half their inheritance.

A culture that insists on holding open a position for women in its Supreme Court is not equal to a culture that declares that the testimony of a woman is worth half of that of a man."