The Forgotten Men

Anyone paying mild attention to the news knows about the Nigerian schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram, and the bluster of Twitter “activism” that followed the story breaking international news. #BringBackOurGirls would eventually culminate in this fascinating display of petulance:

What doesn’t make the headlines or inspire inane Twitter “activism” are the dozens of boys singled out by the terrorist group in previous attacks and burned alive while the girls were allowed to flee. Why did the mass abduction of the girls capture the attention of the sycophantic international drive-by media while the grisly murder of boys did not? What ever happened to “if it bleeds, it leads”? The dismissive counter-argument is that the girls are still alive so there is a chance to save them, hence all of the attention.

That argument fails to explain the lack of interest in the 186 Kurdish school *boys* recently kidnapped by the Islamic terrorist group ISIS in Syria. According to Mustafa Hassan, a boy who managed to escape his terrorist captors, “Ten boys were beaten every day. But most of us were well-behaved, to not get beaten. Some of the boys were crying, some turned yellow with fear. They showed us a documentary film from Iraq: of people being slaughtered.”

These boys are not dead, so there is still a chance they could be saved and brought back to their families. But the West isn’t interested. Why?

“They asked us whether we wanted to join jihadis or not, to join Isis,” Mustafa recalls. “No one did. If the students were loud or chaotic, they were beaten with an electrical cable.”

I think there are several reasons. First is that whatever affects women and girls trumps “if it bleeds, it leads” because humans are more concerned with the safety and security of women and girls; it’s baked into our species to ensure the continuation of our species. Second, due to this preference of concern for women, the West views the tumults and tyrannies of the world primarily through that lens. American Conservatives (more on terms in another post) see Islamic society as one that Oppresses Women, and American Liberals see Islamic society as one that Oppresses Women Because Of Western Intervention, but both agree that Oppressing Women is a big problem in these societies, differing only on opinions of what causes it and what needs to be addressed to make it go away.

Both of these positions are blind to half of the victims, and excuse half of the culprits.

No human society ever in the history of the Earth has existed for the benefit of one sex and one sex only, because both sexes are needed to ensure the continuation of the species. There must be a benefit to both sexes in any arrangement of social affairs for any society to rise above the state of nature. Women in Islamic societies are getting something out of it, they have to be, or that society would not exist. Are women oppressed in Islamic societies? Certainly. But that’s only half of the issue.

The problem of groups like Boko Haram and ISIS isn’t that they oppress women (although they certainly do). The problem is they oppress anyone less religious than them, man and woman alike. Women they abduct, men they simply kill or convert into fellow killers. The kidnapped Kurdish boys are being condemned to death or radicalization, and the West barely even notices, because we are too busy worrying about the Oppressed Women of the Middle East.

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