24 Jan


We inhabit a crazy world, but not quite as crazy for us in our little island as it is for others. We’ve had our moments, though. We used to burn people at stakes if they disagreed with us – at least, our long-deceased leaders did. But in recent centuries we’ve calmed down quite a lot and gradually accepted that the most useful aspect of being intelligent is to be tolerant. We also admit that of the two sexes the female is possibly the most useful in evolutionary terms and ought to be treated with a damned more respect than they were historically. (Without the egg there’d be nowhere for the millions of sperms to go, and although vice-versa might be true I find it impossible to tolerate the notion of a world without women).

But I note that elsewhere the tolerance light doesn’t shine anywhere near as brightly. I’ve just read that the Indian Supreme Court brought shame on the great country of India by criminalising gay sex. That reeks of intolerance to me, and intolerance it is. And cruelty. Whether we like it or not a natural progression from romantic, idealising and passionate love is sex and to ban it is an act of unbelievable stupidity. What they’re saying is that if a human being was born with an innate desire for a member of his/her own sex then he’s a criminal. He’s being contrary deliberately, it seems. He can help what he does, so it’s a crime and he needs to be locked away for ever. Yet in every society there is a fairly similar proportion of men and women with that basic, innate, uncontrollable and, to them, perfectly natural drive towards homosexual love. I’ll bet there are quite a few in the inner chambers of India’s supreme court. It’ll be them who, afraid they might themselves be outed, have turned the thumb-screws tightest. It’ll be them who are saying “see, I think they’re criminals and because I so publicly and openly say that I think it I’m clearly not one of them”…

I’ve also noted the recent death of the elderly King of Saudi Arabia and that we should all be lowering flags to half mast in order to acknowledge the passing of a great man.

A great man?

Excuse me, but is this the same man who after living for ninety years and being in absolute power for many of them has died without doing anything about the brutal fact that women can be lashed half-way to death because they were silly enough to be raped? Has he spent his extremely long life happy with the notion that rapists can be set free but the women they rape must be guilty even if the intrusion was painfully unwelcome and even hated by her?

And, on a lighter, less painful note, is this the same man who has in no way challenged a system that imprisons women for driving a car?

They say he was a moderniser and we know that that it’s taken the best part of a thousand years for our own society to sort itself out and crawl from the mire and morass of the medieval years, to become almost fair to women as a consequence, so how could he be expected to do it in a single lifetime? How spurious can an argument get! A woman gets raped, so flog her? Administer ninety lashes to her fragile back? Or a woman wants to take a spin behind the wheel of the family car, so lock her away? The man was some moderniser that has left ancient rules condemning women to a medieval life of drudgery and lack of basic freedom in place.

And we are supposed to find enough respect to lower our flags out of misplaced honour for a misogynist who happens to have died?

Ah, but we mustn’t upset the Saudis, must we?

They’ve got the oil.

© Peter Rogerson 24.01.15


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