Saturday, June 25, 2005
Lakotization of the Iraqi Sunni Arabs (Family Disintegration and Whorehouses)
"Unveiling Iraq's teenage prostitutes," by Joshua Phillips, Salon, 24 June 2005, http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2005/06/24/prostitutes/ (from Informed Comment).
Lakotization is that type of network disintegration that can be used to destroy pre-modern networks.
In plain English: To destroy an enemy whose strength is his families, you must destroy his families.
This is happening in Iraq, which is good news. Earlier I blogged about how we have turned Fallujah into an open air prison. Now we are going to the next stage, and destroying the families of the Fallujin.
As we empty our bottle of champagne, Farah tells us her story. Like most of the girls at the Manara disco, she is an Iraqi, a Sunni from Fallujah, one of Iraq's most war-torn areas. She got married in the United Arab Emirates, divorced four months afterward, and found work at the disco through a cousin. She says she's working "just to make some money for my family," who also now live in Syria. Farah says she's the family's breadwinner.
So our attack on the Islamic City-State of Fallujah is the gift that keeps giving
- By divorcing, the woman weakens all the family's bonds
- By becoming a whore, she weakens the family's "morals"
- By becoming the family's breadwinner, she disrupts the power-dynamic of the household
Sunni Arab Iraq is a perfect candidate for lakotization because of its strict taboos. The Sunni Arab Iraq rule-set is brittle, meaning it is easy to shatter.
That Iraqi girls and women are selling sex may not seem shocking, but prostitution is especially taboo for Arab women. "In this culture, to allow your daughter to become a prostitute means you've hit dirt bottom," says Joshua Landis, an American professor from the University of Oklahoma, presently living in Syria. "None of your sisters can get married if it's known that one of them is a prostitute. If there's any public knowledge of this, it's a shame on the whole family." The shame can even lead to "honor killings," in which women are slain by their husbands or relatives for tainting the family name.
In other words, let them pimp their daughters and the family network collapses and turns on itself.
And of all of Sunni Arab Iraq, Fallujah is the best city for lakotization
Hustling has a particularly violent legacy in Iraq. In 2000, Saddam Hussein publicly executed 200 women convicted of prostitution. Prostitution would be especially shameful in Farah's hometown, as Fallujah is considered one of Iraq's more tribal, religiously conservative cities. "Yes, even Sunnis from Fallujah are doing this kind of work, and it reflects the drama of the situation," El Ouali says. "It's provoked by misery and precariousness."
Amazingly, the Syrians are helping us:
But with the exception of Palestinians, refugees are not officially allowed to hold jobs in Syria. For the most part, Iraqi refugees are living off their savings, which are drained by daily expenses. Many are stuck in Syria, as few Western embassies are now granting visas, claiming that Iraq has become a liberated country following the fall of Saddam. With economic conditions worsening all the time for refugees, officials say, it's no surprise that Syria is seeing a rise in child exploitation and prostitution.
The article ends on a happy note for proponents of lakotization
"Every social convention is splitting at the seams because of the implosion of Iraqi society," Landis says. "That place has been blown apart, so all the social barriers have collapsed."
Around the blogosphere: Lakotization gives Echidne of the Snakes shivers. Last Liberal in Central Florida is dismayed. Hijabi Madness gives just the facts.
The moral pathology of Lakotization doesn't need a lot of space. It's almost self-evident that we're going to regret doing this (if we are doing it) later. There are severe practical problems as well.
Who are the Lakota? The fragile, brittle, problematic networks aren't Iraqi but Sunni Arab who are loosely coupled in a sort of network of networks. We're not tackling the problem of these networks but rather destroying one node in that network in a way that is going to strengthen further resistance by the rest of the nodes of the international uber-network.
Lakotization is a mistake morally, it won't work practically, and should neither be advocated, nor tolerated.
Posted by: TM Lutas | Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Forgive the long lag-time! :)
The Iraqi Sunni Arabs are not just "loosely coupled in a sort of network of networks." They are a pre-modern/4G hybrid (http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2005/05/17/pmw_4gw_fusion_ending_the_insurgency.html), similar to the American Christian Right (http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2005/05/17/pmp_4gp_fusion_the_christian_right.html). Breaking the family structure -- both to cut down tribal links and prevent inter-generational feeligns of superiority -- are tools in our 30 year war. We should use them. Or, better, the Iraqis should.
Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Wednesday, October 19, 2005