Yesterday there was a New York Post article about a waitress.
Bored with her life and fresh off a New Year’s Eve epiphany, a 24-year-old Canadian named Amanda Lindhout quits her job as a cocktail waitress and decides to become a journalist. To get famous fast, she’ll start in Afghanistan,
After a close call or three, she finally falls into a trap she cannot talk her way out of. She is held for years, she is raped and gangraped over and over by people who see a woman as a useful receptacle instead of a person. She and her cameraman are abused, even tortured.
They tell their captors they want to become Muslim and are given Korans and a maddening, illogical tutelage: Yes, the jihadis agree, the Koran forbids Muslims taking money from other Muslims, but this is a special circumstance. Yes, they agree, a Muslim may not rape a Muslim woman, but this is a special circumstance. Yes, a Muslim may not kill another Muslim, but here there may be no choice.
Escape? They did.
They race toward a nearby mosque, screaming “Help me, I am Muslim!” in broken Somali. Everyone in their path turns away: With people this frantic, very bad men are soon behind, and by the time they reach the mosque, their most lethal captor awaits with his AK-47. They barge in, frantic, electric with fear.
The congregation freezes, and the lone woman present hugs Amanda, holding her tightly. A sympathetic worshipper hands Nigel an AK-47, telling him it is “the gun of the Muslim.” Nigel says he cannot kill anyone and gives it back.
An imam must be called, they say, to determine whether these two should live or die. Their captors pull them away, Nigel and Amanda clawing like animals. They are beaten savagely in public and placed in a new home. This one has rooms like coffins, three feet by seven, pitch black, prone to rats.
But this brings me to the point that the article steers clearly away from, with understandable intent. It may be rude, crass and callous to publicly tell a woman who was put through this particular kind of hell that she should have known better. But she should. The middle east has not been shown to be a happy, warm and fuzzy place since Aladdin, and if that’s where you get your idea of how the world works, you are a severely broken person. But even saying this brings up whole, volcanic arguments about blaming the victim and women’s rights. And really what its all leading back to is the cardinal flaw in western civilization.
Inside of Western Civilization we have done a pretty damn good job of protecting our children from the horrors of utter barbarism. We’ve done such a good job, that they in many cases have no real clue that such barbarism exists, and if told will utterly deny that it exists and call you a liar or racist for pointing out it out. This is how such films as 127 Hours inspire not only people to go rock climbing, but to not tell anyone they are going just like the guy in the movie, with similar results! I am shocked to the point of despair that it needs be said: Aron Ralston is not a role model, he was an idiot that missed the Darwin Awards by an eyelash!
Or the free spirit Christopher McCandless, who studies in college that the imperialistic American aggressors have blinded the proletariat and done bad things to all brown people. He believes this so much he walks away from a brought future to be a hippie in the woods, walking across the country. Now before you defend his interestingly long bout of self loathing, I remind you that this idiot dies from starvation, dehydration, and eating poisoned berries. If he were a genius, I am sure he would have found a way to fight against the American War Machine instead of screwing off to the woods, very nearly jumping into bed with an underage girl, and dying like a chipmunk. So… how do the mental giants that agree with Captain Supertramp remember his legacy? They try to off themselves in the same way, at the same place. No, seriously. Some die.
I am often asked why so many of my novels are bloody. Believe it or not, they are not bloody for the sake of shock value, or to revel in the blood like a slasher flick. They are bloody because violence is bloody, and they very often take place in places where there is very little civilization as we know it. They are brutal because they occur at another time and place, and those places are brutal.
Which circles back to my point: I believe we have failed as parents. We must instil in children a sense of wonder, of accomplishment, and of limitless potential. We must also let them know that once you leave the domain of Western Civilization, its sense of right and wrong, its cultural stability, and its mores no longer protect you. This applies in the lawless sections of Detroit or Somalia, or even in the far off reaches of the woods that will kill you as soon as look at you. They need to know that these places exist. We owe it to them to let them know what their forefathers built to keep them safe, and that it doesn’t cover the whole world.