By Sharon Salomon
Marching for women’s and human rights is noble.
Who wouldn’t want to stand up for women’s rights, freedom of speech and choice, helping those in need of asylum, inclusion and diversity? Women all over the world are feeling warmly connected by this new movement which solidified itself during the original women’s march and continues moving, marching yet again in the #womensmarch2018. We see the connectedness people feel in banding together and standing up for something so important.
The baffling part is that people seem ignorant as to who it is they are supporting.
Apart from the values and principles behind the movement and the march, it is important to be aware: Who exactly is pulling the strings here?
The co-organizer of this march – the woman responsible for rallying up the crowds and support and creating and fuelling this movement – is none other than Linda Sarsour. As Ms Sarsour is an open advocate for Sharia Law (a system unimaginably oppressive, especially to women) it is more than surprising that she should be seen as some sort of a human rights warrior, the ‘Islamic sweetheart of Brooklyn’, and be supported in this way. She is a supporter of ISIS as can be noted by her online salute to the organization, and vehemently threatens anyone who questions any part of Islam, not allowing any openness nor debate under any circumstances. Her threatening tweet saying she wishes she could remove the vaginas of Brigitte Gabriel and Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Ayaan, who is the most courageous genital-mutilation survivor out there advocating against Sharia Law and for women’s rights and calling for reform within Islam) should alone make any supporter of women’s rights step back and examine with whom they stand.
There is simply no way to justify Linda Sarsour and what she stands for.
What does it say about the organisers of the March and their motivations when it supports very dangerous people and provides them a platform? One such example is the convicted rapist and murderer Donna Hylton.
In 1995, Hylton, along with three men and three other women, kidnapped 62-year-old real-estate broker Thomas Vigliarolo and held him for ransom, before eventually killing him. As noted in a 1995 Psychology Today article, when asked about forcibly sodomizing the victim with a three-foot steel pole, one of Hylton’s accomplices replied that “He was a homo anyway.”
Is this a role model for women’s human rights? And yet, Sarsour relishes sharing the stage and international spotlight with the likes of convicted perverted felons like Donna Hylton.
Fools Rush In
So how is it that so many educated, intelligent, western women and men – including the likes of Bernie Sanders, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Susan Sarandon and the list goes on – applaud and stand behind Linda Sarsour and believe she is a peace activist despite clear evidence to the contrary?
How is it that it is so easy to get so many hundreds of thousands of people to support an advocate for Sharia Law, while simultaneously getting them to believe they are oppressed as women, homosexuals or minorities in a country which protects freedom more than most places in the world?
How is it that the behaviour of this movement was such that we even saw parents together with their little girls, children, carrying signs saying “my pussy bites back”? There can only be one explanation for this and that is – FEAR.
It is not unnatural to pander to those who are a threat. It is human nature. The energy of this march is fuelled by the fear, which, if spoken out loud, would be: “Please don’t hurt me! I stand with you!”
We are fearful when we know somewhere inside us that there is a threat that needs to be dealt with, and so we get angry with those who shed light on the problem and #resist them with all our might, convincing ourselves that if those leaders were just ‘nice’ to Iran and co. then the flames would not be fanned, as if niceness from their enemies is what they were after.
This #resist movement (the ongoing campaign to protest President Donald Trump’s administration through online activism, protests, and boycotts) has become more violently reactive, as we saw for example in the riots at UC Berkley. We see a hysteria, sometimes bordering on the grotesque and insane, like the new bloody #VaginaCake trend. Herein lies the obscene danger: reacting with explosive anger and violence to negate opinions one doesn’t like in the name of anti-fascism is, in fact, fascism.
If we are not allowed to openly discuss, criticize, debate nor question certain belief systems and we defend some of the most heinous crimes by turning a blind eye because is it ‘uncomfortable’ or worse, now dangerous, to speak, then we are in serious trouble. Where is ‘Western Civilization’ that ostensibly cherishes freedom and human rights when its people – instead of laying down the law against atrocities or simply against unacceptable behaviour – will embrace the very cultures advocating those atrocities and behaviours while slowly self-destructing. We shall be the pliable tools used against ourselves for our own demise if we do not stand up and fight for real #freedom, however uncomfortable or scary that may be.
Our fear is why it is so easy to rally up feverish anger against a #MuslimBan when there actually isn’t any Muslim ban.
It is so easy to rally up the self-protective anger against the #AntiAbortionBill making everyone think they can no longer have abortions while in fact they still can.
It makes it easy for those with horrific intentions to march through the streets of London declaring our impending destruction and nobody, especially not those who marched, bats an eyelid over it.
Those of us wanting to truly stand for women’s rights and human dignity must be willing to be vocal champions for freedom.
The time has come for us to be #brave and be actual human rights #warriors who stand behind the likes of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and all her courageous partners instead of nervously hugging the likes of Linda Sarsour.
Then we shall truly be #RisingUp.