by Azra Naseem
For a place where all things pig is a big ‘Haraam, haraam’, the Maldives seems to be breeding a shocking amount of male chauvinistic pigs these days. Their numbers and presence have increased markedly since the coup on 7 February.
Maldivian women became a bold and vital part of the pro-democracy protests led by MDP, and has presented some very difficult problems for movers and shakers in the new regime:
- Religious extremists see it as a kick in the teeth of their long campaign to turn Maldivian women into ‘submissive maidens of abject modesty’;
- Coup-leaders see a very vocal and visible loss of support;
- It is harder to find international support for a regime that brutalises women – they have to be removed from the frontlines of protests. All the easier to shoot, gas and violate the rest.
Hence a very public campaign to ridicule women who join politics by painting them as brainless harlots and MDP whores.
This [women as politically active citizens] is not about political empowerment of women. If this was about empowerment, if this was about their development, what they should have been taught is etiquette. [My emphasis]
In other words, women should not be out rallying for democracy, they should be at finishing school, learning to embroider their buruga.
That’s what Dr Afrasheem Ali, a pro-Sharia MP educated in the Islamic University of Malaysia, former member of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) with oversight of the judiciary, had to say about women in politics.
Dr Afraasheem compares the lot of ‘The MDP Woman’ with that of women in pre-Mohammed Arabia. In graphic detail, he explains that women of the time were used ‘only for sexual gratification, only for sexual gratification’ and then ‘thrown away’ by the barbarian man. This is the relationship between MDP and its female supporters:
This is what we are seeing now. Women made to do all the hard work. If they are in front [of protests?] nobody else can confront them. They are made to say all sorts of things. And when women begin to chatter excitedly, the country begins to look as if in turmoil. It is for this reason, with specific reason in mind, that they have made these women come out and pull these stunts.
The reality is, here MDP is degrading not just Maldivian women but women of the entire Islamic Ummah. This is extreme cruelty against women.
He, and his boss former President Gayoom, says the good doctor, pulled the ignorant barbarian Maldivian woman by the hair so they could, at least, attempt to achieve some semblance of equality with ‘The Educated Maldivian Man’.
See! The difference! There is tangible proof! In our thirty-year government…in Gayoom’s government, the respect there was for women! Taught them [women] from zero to ministerial level—we brought them to that level before giving them ministerial positions. [As opposed to men who were born educated and carrying a ministerial portfolio?]
In the Majlis [Parliament], we allowed women to study to the same level as a man, then, then, did we gave a woman the position of an MP.
Dr Afraasheem’s sexism is not an isolated case. It’s the official message of the new regime: “Women in politics is dirty”. You can interpret it any way you want: it’s dirty for women to be in politics? Only dirty women are in politics? Either way, it’s meant to hurt.
Here’s Red Wave Saleem, another MP, freshly cleared of several charges of corruption by a court that cannot be trusted, repeating the same line: women marching for democracy are the same as women f***ing for money.