Guardian writer says “Misogynist violence is unacceptable, but…”

August 4, 2010 at 1:58 pm (Afghanistan, Guardian, Human rights, islamism, Jackie Mcdonough, relativism, women)

The print version of this article is headlined “Not another morality tale.” Perhaps it’s significant that the Graun changed the title on the web / CIF version. IMHO it’s the foulest article ever to appear in the Graun (and that’s saying something). Here’s an excerpt:

“Misogynist violence is unacceptable, but we must also be concerned by the continued insistence that the complexities of war, occupation and reality itself can be reduced to bedtime stories. Consultation with child psychologists apparently preceded Time’s decision to run the image, but the magazine decided that in the end it was more important for children (and us) to understand that “bad things do happen to people” and we must feel sorry for them. The WikiLeaks revelations of atrocities and civilian deaths are evidence of some rather terrible things that are done to people but are bizarrely judged not to provide a “window into the reality of what is happening”.”

Read the rest here; then puke. This is particularly loathsome:

“The mutilated Afghan woman ultimately fills a symbolic void…” “Symbolic”?!? It looked kind of real to me. Maybe she cut off her own nose to spite her face?

It comes as no surprise to discover that the author of this despicable shite “teaches postcolonial studies at Cambridge University.”

And, by the way, it’s not necessary to be pro-war to be revolted by the reality of this image, and by Ms Gopal’s filthy, relativist equivocation: coming, as it does,  from a privileged woman in academia, who stands no risk of having her nose and ears cut off by clerical fascists, even in the foul, racist “West”.


  1. jim denham said,

    I note that Terry Glavin (at has been praising the article “Anti-Orientalist meets Western Feminist”. I should point out, however, that the author of that excellent posting is Rosie B, not yours truly.

  2. charliethechulo said,

  3. resistor said,

    What the pro-war ‘leftists’ fail to grasp is that the wars they support usually make life worse for women, children and men – those that have a life to be made worse of course.

    Glavin uses the photo to attack Wikileaks for exposing the killing of Aghan civilians by the NATO occupiers, saying ‘One Picture Is Worth 90,000 “Secret Documents” Published By WikiLeaks.’

    Glavin is such a scumbag, no wonder Denham sees him as a comrade.

    ‘it’s not necessary to be pro-war to be revolted by the reality of this image’

    No, but only someone who is pro-war would use it to excuse the killing and maiming of thousands of others.

  4. jim denham said,

    Why does it not surprise me that “resister” doesn’t appear to give a toss about the disfigurement of a young woman by the “anti-imperialist” heroes of the Taliban?

  5. Will said,

    Fuck that reshitstirr piece of crap — delete the cunt.

  6. charliethechulo said,

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    Clip | Link KidProQuo
    4 Aug 2010, 5:15PM
    Priya, thanks for responding to comments here.
    You give yourself away with this little piece of absurd reductionism:

    the favoured game in town really is White Men rescuing Brown Women from Brown Men’.

    Who’s ‘crudely reducing to a caricature’ now? Framing your argument in an Imperial/Colonial construct allows you to at once blame the White Man for enabling the problem in the first place, and condemn ‘him’ for ostensibly wishing to alleviate it. You are left in this contradiction of stating that you support ‘Western’ values yet condemning the West itself.

    it sure makes a lot of people, men particularly, feel very good about themselves.

    This is crass. Simplistic racism and sexism explains, for you, why equality is promoted abroad.

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    Clip | Link goldnmiddle
    4 Aug 2010, 5:17PM
    > @ Priya Gopal

    > What I object to is the idea that some kinds of violence, especially those undertaken in the name of benevolence and decency–are more acceptable than others. THAT is moral fudging and I don’t accept that.

    This is a strawman in the sense that apart from absolutist nutters you will not find anybody disagreeing with that statement. To wit, is there a single non-crazy source that you can cite which claims that ISAF connected civilian killings are decent. It is war and it is hell, NOBODY disagrees with that.

    To show how easily a counter strawman can be built, in World War II the Allied powers committed many many many horrors. So given the benefits of hindsight, how would you fight WWII in a benevolent and decent manner. Do tell us.

    > There is absolutely no evidence that the Taliban represent Afghan culture as a whole which is what both the kinds of texts I am talking about as well as many posters on this thread are arguing. Sorry. The Taliban were created out of the War on Communism and should be understood as the political creation they are, not a cultural phenomenon.

    Islamism is a political AND cultural project blessed by Saudi funding and Wahabi firepower. Evidence of this comes daily in India, in Kerala where the college professor’s hand was chopped off and in West Bengal where lady teachers are being forced to wear Burka. Deoband fatwa claims that Muslim women cannot work outside the house. In my neck of the woods we have school bus full of girls as small as six who are in hijab!!!

    The liberal muslims like Javed Akhtar and Mushirul Hasan are not blaming Islamism on US/West and the BJP, though they do want the Indian govt to support them more whole heartedly. It seems their understanding of the Islamists and the willingness to fight them is more clear cut than the liberal-left forces in the West, as represented by your article.


  7. charliethechulo said,

    Another piece of sanity/decency slips past the Graun’s “moderators”:

    “Feminists have long argued that invoking the condition of women to justify occupation is a cynical ploy, ”

    Who are “feminists”? I am a feminist and I have not argued anything of the kind.
    Kindly speak for yourself…or if appealing to the opinion of others, refer to them concretely.

    To be honest, in this article as in several others, you show that you are not a feminist. Granted, you probably think that you are interested in the welfare of women throughout the world, but this is not a sufficient reason to call yourself a feminist…Pope Benedict could probably sincerely say he was interested in the welfare of women throughout the world…so indeed could Mullah Omar…but this does not make them feminists…For both, even if by their own lights they wish women no ill, subordinate women, and any issues regarding the rights of women, to different, in their view “higher” aims…

    Like these men you have “higher ends” to which the rights of women are secondary…I wish you would come out and say it instead of faffing distastefully with the word “feminism”. What you are, in my view, is what Buruma etc..called an “occidentalist”, – i.e. basically a romantic rightwing radical (yes, there are other forms of rightwing thought than “neo-connerie”), whose world view is defined by Manichean struggle between the evil lying forces of modernity – commerce, cosmopolitanism, individual rights as universals, and the good authentic primordial community of the “non-Western”. Your passions are far more those of a nationalist than e.g. of a socialist or a liberal…hence for example your insistence here that any images showing the “primordial” comunity in a bad light are lying vicious propaganda, even if…er…true.

    My own view, and I call myself a feminist with better reason than you, is a) that concern for the welfare of women was not only not the reason for the intervention in Afghanistan, but also a very subsidiary issue in its justification.
    b) curiously, while the aim of improving women’s rights in Afghanistan may be mistaken and unrealistic, I see no automatic reason (other than your radical rightwing passion) for considering it to be “cynical”.
    c) Whether or not there is a rapid withdrawal, settlement, civil war or whatever in Afghanistan, greater power for the Taliban and other allied warlords will almost certainly mean worse conditions for women…Those who want us to get out of Afghanistan asap (and argue cogently for it) , have a duty to take into account and soberly face the likelihood of extremely savage backlash regression in the field of women’s and human rights. Facing this, rather than fudging this, is all I ask them to do…

    For Ms. Gopal, this isn’t an issue to be faced. Like most right wing romantic radicals, she dreams of a “new modernity” – totally communitarian, totally authentic, totally informed by anti-occidental ethos…
    IUt’s her right to engage in these dreams, but please could she stop using the word “feminist”.
    I don’t mind you arguing this position, but it has nothing to do with feminism and I’d thank you for

  8. A Favourite at Poblish... said,

  9. sackcloth and ashes said,

    My old uni (Durham) has an appeal to support female Afghan students in their post-doctoral studies. It can only accommodate 10 at the most, but it’s a start:

    If there’s anyone here who wants do something tangible to help Afghan women empower themselves (as opposed to posturing scum like reSSiSStor), a donation to this appeal is a start.

  10. Will said,

    off this particular topic but something else to do what you can:

    Rabar Hamad’s case

    …is currently with solicitors and there may be a possibility that he will have to go for a judicial review without any legal aid. Therefore, he is going to need a substantial amount of money to pay for this, in the region of £3000. If you are able to donate any money then please do. Donations can be made through Paypal, to

    For anyone wishing to donate who does not have a Paypal account, they are free and quick to set up by going to the Paypal website.

    Help fight the forced repatriation of Rabar Hamad to Iraq, where both his parents were murdered. He has been told that as of the 5/8/10 he will be homeless and have no money.

    The background: Rabar Hamad is 16. He was forced to flee Iraq following the murder of both parents in an explosion targeted deliberately at his home., leaving behind Pawar, his nine year old sister. Pawar is now hidden in Iraq and he has had no contact with her for 2 years. He arrived in the UK after a long journey hidden near the wheel arch of a truck. On arrival, aged 15, he was age assessed by a social worker as an adult and lived in a hostel for a year with no understanding of English and unable to read any of the Home Office papers which arrived or to properly feed himself.Following a tribunal hearing , he was then correctly age assessed as a minor by a doctor and placed in a children’s home where he has thrived. However, Wigan Social Services failed to notify the Home Office of his change of address and he was judged to be an absconder. The social worker and her line manager who did this no longer work at Wigan! A representative from Wigan suggested this may be to do with incompetence. Because of the confusion, the Home Office have said all his evidence is unreliable. Anyone meeting Rabar would know he is not 20, as claimed by the Home Office. He is a sweet, kind and quiet boy with many friends at school. he is talented in football, having trialled for Fulham and Bury. He had almost no education before entering the UK and now is working on GCSEs including English. He recently achieved a pass in a piece of course work on Macbeth. No easy task. If he is returned to Iraq his life would be in danger. At school he has made huge progress and is now doing GCSEs.

    Petition is located at and facebook page

    Please help in any way you can. Spread this out and send messages of support to Rabar on here. He is very depressed and needs your help. Also if you would like to, you can post notes or cards to Rabar Hamad c/o Breeze Hill School, Roxbury Avenue, Oldham OL4 5JE

  11. johng said,

    So its revolting and relativist to believe that the war in Afghanistan was and is not being fought to liberate women, and that there is no evidence whatsoever that it is likely to end this kind of violence against women?

    I’d have thought it was simply a statement of the bald truth.

    The main significance about Time putting this on the front page is that its an indication that the US is leaving. They tend to print photos like this just before they fuck off so as to leave no doubts who the good guys are. It usually also involves intensification of the air war.

    Peace with honor that sort of thing.

  12. sackcloth and ashes said,

    Mr ‘No PhD’, basic reading comprehension seems to be beyond a SOAS dropout like you, so I’ll make this clear. No one has ever claimed that the US/NATO mission in Afghanistan is all about women’s rights (that’s what’s known as a ‘straw man’ – the standard copout of lesser intellects like yours). However, if the ISAF mission fails, Afghanistan’s principal victims will be those unlucky enough to be the wrong gender.

    That position should be indisputable to anyone who gives a fuck and who knows what they’re talking about. Which rules swuppie scum like you out on both counts.

    And with regards your bleating about civilian casualties in this conflict, I don’t recall cunts like you protesting about the deaths of innocents prior to October 2001. I don’t recall our contingent of sanctimonious wankers uttering a peep of protest over – to take two examples – the slaughter in Mazar e Sharif in 1998, or the Taliban’s ethnic cleansing of the Hazaras. So would you kindly take your sermons on this subject and shove them up your arse. Because that’s where they belong.

  13. Will said,

    Gameboy likes to pretend that he is some sort of clever person — yet it is quite clear to everyone that he is incapable of holding two thoughts in his head simultaneously. He has a talent for making history walk on its head and not on its feet. He is not only an imbecile, he is fuckking well an impotent fuckking tosser with a tiny penis that he pokes around in a wishful way inside a dead mouse heated up in a microwave. When something real happens, something on the fuckking ground, where real fuckking struggles take place, far apart from the clash of symbolic protest that gameboy CUnT loves, it’s fucking lost on Gamebot/Gameboy because it doesn’t fit into easy pre-ordained rationalizations sent to him by his thick fuckking Cent Comm overlords. The right can’t claim such a barbaric act (the nose cutting off of a human being’s face) as progress in Afghanistan, and the left certainly can’t blame it on the invasion.

    Further to these *thoughts* I am here relaying to you thick fuckking tossers and in order to make concrete the ideas contained in my ruminations — a while ago in Iraq — one Nahla Hussein, the leader of the women’s league of the Kurdish Communist Party struggled for women’s rights in Iraq in the tinderbox of Kirkuk, that is, up until she was beheaded by a group of men who entered her house.

    See here:

    The motivations of her attackers are not clear, perhaps they were/are connected to some of the Sunni ‘militant’ groups, perhaps right-wing Kurds, I don’t know. But…can you imagine? Fighting that hard, among a sea of fundamentalist and nationalist militias…not only for your rights but for the Kirkuk referendum. That was the one which was about reinstating Kurds expelled from Kirkuk during the Anfal campaign. She was a communist, obviously a proud one. Not many seemed to mourn her though. Everyone at the time was too busy being caught up in the ‘shoe thrower’ al-Zaidi’s gesture. One which I appreciated at the time, but I ask you, who threw shoes at Nahla Hussein’s murderers? The answer is no fuckker did. Not a single fuckking cunT.

    Gameboy — thick and a tosser.

  14. Will said,

    “Graun’s “moderators”:”

    yes — this is another bugbear — the randomness of it all is wot annoys more than anything else. they are fuckking thick YOP schemeie cunTs (except not as smart or as intelligent as Yop schemie cunTs). Anything critical (for example) of That really fuckking stupid cujnT Sunny Hundal is automatically binned if you are on their “to be wary of” hitlist.

    They need a good hosing down with acid and have their fuckking noses cut off. Thjat will teach them.

  15. Will said,

    I recommend myself.

  16. Will said,

  17. johng said,

    Oddly sackcloth and ashes I doubt very much that you even knew anything about Afghanistan before 9/11…I doubt very much that you made any noises about any of these things. Those of us on the left certainly did. As to your contention that a US pullout would be bad for women, that I precisely do dispute. The claim that the US presence is today good for women has no empirical basis whatsoever. Its not as if people like you could care less anyway. All your concerned about is your own sense of righteousness.

  18. resistor said,

    Sadsack writes,
    ‘No one has ever claimed that the US/NATO mission in Afghanistan is all about women’s rights (that’s what’s known as a ‘straw man’ – the standard copout of lesser intellects like yours).’


    ‘The prime minister’s wife, Cherie Blair, has spoken out against the repression of women’s rights under the Taleban. ‘


    ‘Mrs Bush used her husband’s weekly radio address to rally support against the Taleban.’

    ‘The Taleban regime “is now in retreat across much of the country, and the people of Afghanistan, especially women, are rejoicing,” Mrs Bush said. ‘

    Do you mean straw women?

  19. jim denham said,

    “Do you mean straw women?”: you wouldn’t care either way, would you, resister? Oppressing and terrorising half the population is a small price to pay in the great anti-impewalist struggle against the Great Satan, Little Satan and The Zionist Entity, isn’t it?

  20. sackcloth and ashes said,

    ‘Oddly sackcloth and ashes I doubt very much that you even knew anything about Afghanistan before 9/11’

    I knew enough to know what the Taliban were like.

    ‘…I doubt very much that you made any noises about any of these things. Those of us on the left certainly did.’

    The fuck you did. I don’t remember any protest marches organised to highlight the plight of the Afghan people – at least not before October 2001. None of you scum gave a damn about them then, and nothing has changed over the course of the past nine years.

    As for ’empirical evidence’ as to whether the lot of Afghan women has improved since 2001, I suppose you could always search the stats on the provision of education, health care etc. I suppose the fact that women have the human rights (right to employment etc) that they were denied prior to late 2001 might register as well. I suppose also the fact that the main threat to the rights and the well-being of Afghan women consist of the type of filth that mutilated the girl on the front cover of ‘Time’. Your solution is to hand the country back to them, and forget about what happens next.

    As for reSSiSStor, it might help to remind him that Cherie Blair and Laura Bush were not actually in executive positions of office. But then why should that little shit care about the facts.

  21. maxdunbar said,


    The stated goal in Afghanistan is to prevent al-Qaeda from forming a base in the country.

    But as Jim says, you couldn’t care less anyway, could you?

    You are a twat of Eagletonian proportions

  22. charliethechulo said,

  23. resistor said,

    Max Dunbar writes,


    The stated goal in Afghanistan is to prevent al-Qaeda from forming a base in the country.

    But as Jim says, you couldn’t care less anyway, could you?’

    The stated goal? So if Blair and Bush say something – that’s good enough for gullible Max, who can probably believe six impossible things before breakfast. The stated goal for the invasion of Iraq was to remove WMDs that didn’t exist.

    Here’s a link to similar photographs of mutilated women that you won’t see on the cover of Time magazine. The difference? The perpetrators were the NATO forces that Max supports (but won’t join).

    ‘Over 147 innocent civilians, many of them women and children, were massacred when US war planes bombed villages of Gerani and Gangabad in Bala Baluk district of Farah Province on May 4, 2009.’

  24. charliethechulo said,

    The totality of what passes for “thought” in resister’s sick, fascistic “mind”:


  25. charliethechulo said,

    Resister and other Taliban-supporters should listen to this:

  26. maxdunbar said,

    Resistor – I think this forum is more on your level of debate:

  27. jim denham said,

    Shuggy’s good (as usual: we must add him/her to the blogroll):

    “I doubt I can add anything original to the debate/furore surrounding Ms Gopal’s appalling screed for Comment is Infuritaing but like most bloggers my view is that while novelty is certainly desirable, its absence isn’t going to deter me from venting my spleen. So here it is. Let me try it from this angle…

    Operation Active Endeavour is NATO’s only active anti-terrorist operation invoked under article five – the clause in the original settlement that commits member states to the duty of ‘mutual defence’. Its original purpose was to patrol the Mediterranean to detect and deter terrorist activity, with an obvious and explicit focus on the transport of WMD. NATO claim, and most observers agree, that one of the unexpected side-benefits of this has been that the enhanced security has had a positive impact on trade and economic activity.

    Now, if and when Operation Active Endeavour is terminated, I think I should be able to ask the question, “What will become of the vessels accustomed to safe passage?” without the following assumptions being made: that I think this was the original justification for this operation; that I think this is a sufficient justification for the continuation of this operation; that I assume all acts of piracy or trafficking have been eliminated by said operation.

    And so to the war in Afghanistan. Ms Gopal considers it positively immoral for the hacks working in Time Magazine to draw anyone’s attention to the Stone Age brutality of the Taliban towards women – because the only possible motivation that anyone could have for doing such a distasteful thing is to shore up support for an increasingly unpopular war.

    I have to say I am growing more than a little tired of those internet sages who describe the war in Afghanistan as ‘unwinnable’. The actual situation is this: regardless of whether the war in ‘winnable’ or not, Washington and London has decided that this country is not worth the blood and treasure that has been spent on it. It is in realisation of this that Time poses its question and it should be permitted to ask it without the avalanche of sneers from people who despise the system that made their miserable lives possible.

    The analogy with the Mediterranean operation isn’t quite fitting because one assumes that while the people who were originally the targets of Operation Active Endeavour aren’t necessarily the same as those engaged in acts of piracy, those hacking the noses off young women are one and the same as those whom the ISAF are currently fighting in the battlefields of Helmand.

    To argue that this shouldn’t have been attempted in the first place, or that it should no longer be done now, is one thing. It is quite a different matter to suggest that the freedom that is at stake – for girls to go to school, for example – is as trivial as a bikini wax.

    NB: In the interest of deterring superfluous comments, I should clarify:

    1) I supported the invasion of Afghanistan.

    2) I have never, ever, accused anyone of being a fascist for taking the contrary view.

    3) I haven’t changed my mind about 1).

    Anyone unhappy about any of the above, particularly 1 and 3, is cordially invited to kiss my ass.

    See also: Shiraz Socialist, Norm, Flying Rodent, and Chris Dillow.”

  28. skidmarx said,

    I have never, ever, accused anyone of being a fascist for taking the contrary view.
    Not like here.
    I have to say I am growing more than a little tired of those internet sages who describe the war in Afghanistan as ‘unwinnable’
    Tired because it’s the truth? Or has General Denham finally hit on a winning tactic?
    Time poses its question and it should be permitted to ask it without the avalanche of sneers from people
    So it’s OK to question the motivation of those opposing the war but not those supporting it.
    those hacking the noses off young women are one and the same as those whom the ISAF are currently fighting in the battlefields of Helmand.
    It’s the whole country ISAF are occupying, and making those who hack noses off more popular by that occupation. Just as the Soviet occupation gave rise to the Taliban first time round.

  29. Shuggy said,

    Tired because it’s the truth?

    No. The point I was making was that whether it is winnable or not is irrelevant since Washington and London have obviously decided it isn’t worth it, even if it were winnable.

    So it’s OK to question the motivation of those opposing the war but not those supporting it.

    I was making it clear that I was not one of those who imputes fascist sympathies to those who opposed the war. I appreciate some did but I rather get the impression that it tends to be the opponents of the war who are quicker to make bad faith allegations. I would say that, I suppose, but the article that prompted posts like mine and the one above this thread is essentially one big fat imputation of bad faith, it seems to me. In any event, if you read a little more carefully you’ll see the question as I posed it could be asked by someone irrespective of their actual position on the war.

    It’s the whole country ISAF are occupying, and making those who hack noses off more popular by that occupation

    Despite everything it seems a majority of Afghans fear the Taliban more than the ISAF. Moreover, even if this were not so, the notion that ordinary people cannot oppose the occupation without collapsing said opposition into the whole business of hacking off noses is grotesquely absurd.

    Finally, thanks for your kind words, Jim – I appear to be already on your blogroll.

  30. skidmarx said,

    Much of what needs to be said is here.

    Trying to briefly address your points one by one:

    1. It’s obvoiusly still relevant to Jim Denham, who still wants to denounce as a fascist anyone who thinks the war isn’t winnable. Also if the war is lost, it will end up in a deal with the very Taliban that those anti-war are claimed to support. Also why mock them as sages if they’re right?

    2. This does seem reminiscent of Tony Blair’s suggestion that people should disagree with him about Iraq, but they shouldn’t question his propriety. When the war is sold as a hunt for Bin Laden, but is nothing of the sort, as one to create democracy, when it is nothing of the sort,etc.,etc., one big fat imputation of bad faith seems to be called for, especially when even those like yourself who aren’t describing all the opponents of the far as borderline fascists or worse are mocking their arguments as “sneers”.

    3. First point, possibly true, but not the point. Because the Taliban resist the occupation, they get more popular.
    Second point, the collapsing all opposition to the occupation into support for the Taliban is something supporters of the war do.

    Thank-you for the polite tone of your reply.

  31. resistor said,


    Published on Saturday, July 31, 2010 by Feminist Peace Network
    CIA Document Calls For Using Afghan Women as Messengers to Humanize the War
    by Lucinda Marshall
    The August 9th issue of Time Magazine, with a cover picture of an Afghan woman, horribly disfigured last year because of the Taliban, is meant to pull at American heartstrings as it asks what will happen to Afghan women if the U.S. withdraws from the country. It has caused considerable comment in numerous publications and blogs (see below for links), including on the Feminist Peace Network blog.

    Several serious issues have been raised: first that this appears to be a reduction of facts to support the war effort, and secondly that it is yet another callous use of women’s lives to justify war. Reading the article in full (and I’ve seen a copy of the print edition), as well as the excerpt online, one is left wondering if the article is simply a piece of military propaganda.

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