Friday, September 18, 2015
Men and boys first
The husband and father of the drowned woman and boys whose story sparked western sympathy and support for the Syrian refugee crisis, did not exclude his wife when he said all he wanted was to be with his family. He said 'children and wife' (my emphasis).
Time deliberately left the 'wife' out of the headline, as most all media coverage of the story has done, either not mentioning her drowning - probably as she tried to save her young sons while struggling with excess clothing-drag, because even when you're fleeing by sea woman must be covered up - or mentioning it in passing - 'along with their mother' - to make quite clear that her death is incidental or, at best, secondary to the death of her sons. Females - women and girls - are the second, incidental sex. So what's new.
What bothers me most is that all news agencies seem to know and accept this; to know that the death of young boys and their grieving father is a story, a tragic story, where the death of their mother is not; indeed her drowning detracts from the otherwise tragic story and is better not mentioned at all. That they know this, and would seem to be right, is evidence of the most shameless and widespread misogyny imaginable, worse - when you stand back and try to look ahead to a better world - than the refugee crisis itself, which is caused, after all, by the age-old battle for power, at any cost, between men that renders life nasty, brutish and short.
The Syrian civil war started as resistance to yet another autocratic man who forced his way to power against the will of the people. These power-mad, compassionless men, who also head up repressive religious orders around the world, will continue to find their way to power and wreak misery when they get there, as long as we continue to let them, by not speaking out about the perpetuation of male arrogance and pride by the excusing and reinforcement of misogyny when and wherever we find it, all over the world. We are all refugees looking for a brighter world until that happens.