Anne Applebaum has a great piece today on the ridiculous events surrounding the naming of a teddy bear in Sudan. She highlights the failure of Westerners–and the National Organization for Women in particular–to soundly condemn even this most outrageous situation:
NOW’s refusal to tell Fox News that it supported Gillian Gibbons probably had less to do with politically correct anxieties about Islamic culture than it did with fear of being perceived — in any manner, however distantly, however improbably — to support George Bush’s war on terrorism. In fact, there is no logical reason Fox News and the Sun newspaper should have been any louder in their condemnation of the Sudanese regime than NOW and the archbishop of Canterbury: Here was a situation so thoroughly ridiculous and so completely unacceptable that it clearly offended Western values, however you want to define them.
Is NOW so anti-Bush that they can’t also be anti-throwing a woman in prison because she named a teddy bear Mohammad? It appears so. It would be laughable, but it is actually a real shame. The feminist movement has a real role to play in bringing awareness of the rlack of rights experienced by women around the world, particularly those in radical Muslim countries. They spend so much time here in the U.S. fixating on exactly how many women are playing soccer compared to how many men; too bad they can’t turn their attention and resources to where they are really needed.