Monday, 2 April 2012

Yesterday's blog post appears to have

caused a little controversy.
First up Donna wanted to know if I had changed the name of the person I was talking about. Of course I had.
Then there was "Martin" - I had not come across him (or her) before - suggesting that the people I was talking about were recognisable and that this was "dangerous gossip".  It was not.
Chris and Ros, regular commenters, knew who I was talking about. Chris knew because his family was involved - and I am saying that with his permission - and Ros knew for other reasons I cannot go into here.
Perhaps though some explanation is due and there is something which needs to be said about my personal blogging rules.
"Amina" actually asked me to write a blog post about the issue and gave me permission to use her circumstances. I altered things sufficiently that, when she read what I had written before I put it up, she sent a message back saying "if I did not know you meant me I would not know it was me".   I was being very careful not to identify her - or breach any confidences. I had her permssion to tell the story.
I will identify people who are in the media. I will identify people who are fellow bloggers in order to direct attention to one of their blog posts. I will talk about my family and friends but I do not mention their names unless they are fellow bloggers known by those names and I sincerely hope I have never embarrassed them!
Blogging should be fun but it is a responsibility too. It is a  bit like newspaper reporting.
There was a little piece in this weekend's "Australian" (our national newspaper) by the columnist Greg Sheridan.  In it he talks about two different views of Mohamed Merah, the young French jihadist.
There is a view in which certain, presumably reasonably accurate, facts have been gleaned from the authorities. This suggests that Merah made certain decisions, that he was not a social isolate. His stepfather has been found guilty of recruiting for a terrorist organisation. His brother is said to be "proud" of Merah's actions. The family is an immigrant family but they appear to have had a support network. The media has mentioned all this and other things as well.
There is another view, from the professor of Islamic Studies at Oxford university Tariq Ramadan. He paints a quite different picture. As Sheridan points out he does not attempt to justify or support what Merah did but he explains it in sociological terms. He suggests that Merah is an "overgrown adolescent" who has been deprived of dignity.
The media is notorious for getting things wrong but Le Figaro, in which the supposed facts were reported, had a good reputation. Such facts can be shown to be accurate. It is more difficult to show that Ramadan's point of view is correct. He is theorising, perhaps even fantasising. Nobody wants the members of their group to appear to have flaws. If they do have them it is better to be able to blame outside influences - in Merah's case this would be French society.
In Aminah's case though who would be to blame? Aminah? Her husband? The way they were brought up? Their religious beliefs? Our society? The way we welcomed them into the community? Something we said? Something the children were taught in school? What?
There is no easy answer but the culture clash, if that is what it is, needs to be talked about.


jeanfromcornwall said...

This is a subject that worries me - the mysogynist attitude seems to be embedded deeper than mere belief in males of some cultures.
Thank goodness this lady's son has seen what is right, but I fear it is going to take at least another generation to even begin to eradicate it.
(One of my words was "tyrade" Spooky)

widdershins said...

Bravo Cat. Proud of you, I am, for speaking out.

Miriam said...

Yes, I think this is a subject that needs to be talked about. Well done for doing so! Perhaps, as in newspaper articles, you should tell us when you've changed a name or other details. Then no one would jump to the wrong conclusions.