Wednesday, October 8, 2008

No Patriarchy in Southern Sudan - YET

I'm really tired of typing "When Patriarchy Makes the Rules." Can we just do away with the patriarchy now, please?

From MSNBC comes this tale from Juba, a town in southern Sudan. It seems several dozen women were arrested for "disturbing the peace" by wearing tight pants. Deputy Dawg, I mean Deputy Police Commissioner Raiman Lege said the trousers were just too darned tight!

The women were not charged, and were released the following day without charges (good!) after having been thrown into the back of a truck and spending the night in a Sudanese jail (bad!).

So, whose peace was disturbed? Let's see. The article mentions that south Sudan is a more liberal area than "the largely Muslim north" of Sudan. Juba is indeed in the south. The dateline of the article is quite confusing, since Juba is nowhere near Khartoum, which sits smack dab in the middle of the north, while the story location is "Juba, Khartoum." Northern Sudan is under a combination of British-style common law side-by-side with Islamic law (Sharia). Southern Sudan is nominally different, and is supposedly not required to comply with Sharia Law.

The majority of the population in southern Sudan practice animist or other indigenous religions, with small groups of both Christians and Muslims. Many citizens were angry with the arrest of the women, so one would logically want to know upon what authority the arrests were made. Is Deputy Dawg Christian or Muslim? Is there a "conquer from within" agenda among patriarchy supporters in southern Sudan? Have Sharia/patriarchy supporters infiltrated law enforcement in southern Sudan? Do some of the local religions require modest dress for women? I don't know.

If some law enforcement officials support Sharia, then the answer to "whose peace was disturbed" is: that of the child-like and impulsive Muslim men, who are, as usual, unable to control themselves at the sight of a woman's hips or legs and must be protected like babies from such a sight. If not, then perhaps the arresting officers or whoever gave the order to arrest the women has a problem with self-control and would blame women instead of their own personal failings. Either way it is fortunate that the court released the women without charges, though reprehensible that they had to spend the night in jail at all.

Still - Southern Sudan citizens, while I applaud your attempts to separate yourselves from the northern Sharia-infested legal system, your patriarchy is showing!

Photo credit: The Juba Post online

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