Thursday, 3 August 2006

The Many Faces of Self-Hatred

This is one of the archived bits I never found the time to translate with so many more topical items around needing to be blogged. Being confined to occasional online access right now, I finally managed to make this "bloggable".

I am not trying to expose the folly of a number of menopausing crones or one attention seeking journalist. That is, so to say, a collateral effect. It isn't even so much about another one of the Evils of Islam. Hell, we have seen much worse! At least the victims I am introducing here don't get their heads chopped off and I suppose that is SOMETHING.

No, this is about a specifically nasty and dangerous kind of political correctness.

I never twigged before that there might be a hierarchy of politically correct values and mantras, but of course there is, and if two of them clash one will be jettisoned and you can bet your right of primogeniture against an old shoe that it's the more contemptible one of the two that will prevail. After all, that's what political correctness is all about, isn't it?

This is, too, about the sad fact that self-hatred may exist at both ends of an argument.

However, earlier this year, I came across what is probably THE dumbest and certainly one of the five most irritating sites in the entire Internet, together with PETA, ISM, Robert Fisk's website and NOW.

What is it about?

It is about, and by, victims of the schemes of "Middle Eastern men". (The victims' choice of words, not mine!)

About 1500 German women approach the German embassy in Tunis every year because they intend to marry a man from Tunisia. The majority of couples wish to live in Germany, but some choose to live together in Tunisia or, as DIE ZEIT puts it:. : "Some couples realise their dream of a life together at the shores of the Mediterranean", which tells us that even newspapers that are read by 99% of all grammar school teachers in Germany aren't immune against slips of taste and particularly not against this pathetic concoction of sun, sand and sex.

Also, the German embassy in Tunisia receives reports of roughly 1600 cases of fraud every year (things in Egypt are not much better). The estimated number of unreported cases is much higher, because not every victim reports the crime, presumably out of shame.

Those victims are almost exclusively women with a few gay men thrown in and the perpetrators local men with whom they had sexual interaction. Sexual interaction that started during holidays in North African countries and ended later with the emotional and financial devastation of the victims.

However, the more brazen ones make their lack of common sense, taste and distinction public and that's where the website 1001Geschichte comes in.

According to this website and the wildly empathetic accounts in the media, those women are neither victims of their own gullibility when they were in too dire a need of a lay and male attention. They are victims of an evil network with almost (some say actually) preternatural powers. This network, if there is one, goes by the name of Bezness. Bezness is the local shibboleth for "business", this particular business being the exploitation and manipulation of sexually frustrated and dim-witted innocent and trusting Western women.

Behind the 1001Geschichte effort is the journalist Evelyne Kern, herself a victim of "Bezness".

The core of the 1001Geschichte ("1001 Tale") website are the stories of those women who have been fleeced in North Africa by local men. Number one of the tales is a summary of Kern's book "Sand in der Seele" (Sand in The Soul), which she wrote following her own experience.

I think an aside is in order here: Mind you, it's not my English that has deteriorated. I translated the German text 1:1 and just tried to avoid potential misinterpretations, which the abysmal German of the original might have evoked. At some points, I sadly HAD to improve it to give the mixed up rot some sense, but don't blame me for the fallacies still rampant there.

If Kern's book is only half as bad as this grotty drivel, there is even more sand in her syntax, grammar and semantics than in her soul.

To convey at least a whiff of the full extent of stupidity, attention-whoring, self-centeredness, paranoia and utter lack of introspection, it was sadly necessary to translate 90% of the text. Don't blame me if you run out of puke-bags.
Sabrina's tale: A marriage crisis and a phase of mental instability [whatever that is…] cause Sabrina to pack her suitcases to let go and relax for a while. She books a last-minute trip to Tunisia and happens to arrive at Zarzis, close to the Libyan border. At the hotel reception she meets the man who changes her whole life. [Yeah! Every woman with class knows that hotel receptions make great pick-up places for husband material!]

As unbelievable as it may sound, this beautiful young man sees her and knows she will become his wife. For two weeks she enjoys his company without him touching her even once. [Obviously a professional!] … Save a single kiss, nothing had happened between them. His unfailing restraint, his perfect manners and his sureness that he wants only her [How does she know?] don't go into her head and still - at the end of this vacation she falls in love with him.

First, Sabrina tries to forget this man but later she happens to [Note the choice of words here: "Sie landet…", she HAPPENS TO ARRIVE, so it's not her conscious decision and not her fault] arrive only two months later again in Zarzis and in his arms. This time she experiences a passion never known before and knows after one week already that he is the man of their dreams.

She now gets finally separated from her husband and drives two months later … to Tunisia in order to live there for a few months. She experiences the heaven on earth and already [sic!] one year later gives up her job as editor-in-chief in the publishing house of her husband [Had the long-suffering cuckold left the job open for her all the time?] and thus her safe haven [Poor old hubby!] and moves with all her belongings to Tunisia to marry the love of her life. She takes almost her entire fortune with her to this country and carries out her dreams of the white house at the sea…

She experiences the Oriental world "pure" [Not on ice or with soda ha ha…], tries to cope with the Islamic culture and feels in no time at home in this strange country.

That she is being kept under observation all the time and can't make a single step without her husband or one of his male relatives, she finds comfortable at first because, at that stage, she feels "protected" in this strange world. Only when she starts to contact other German women she finds massive opposition. Her husband shows his true face now.

He tries to lock her up it, beats her up and disallows any contact with other people, except his family. But Sabrina gets her way [!] and shows her iron will [!], even when he chases her away in the middle of the night from the house, barefoot, although it is riddled with scorpions everywhere there. [So that is "her way" she got and the result of her "iron will"?] She runs downhill the stony mountain to his parents and appeals to the faith of his father. [What "faith" would that be? A faith that invites such treatment of women?]

Once Amor understands that her will is stronger than his, he leaves her. [And not because she has outlived her usefulness.] He goes to Germany to work and leaves her alone in the strange country. The few weeks which he spends in his native country every year, he dedicates almost exclusively to his family.

Because Sabrina denies herself to him [a German coy-ism for the fact that she refuses to have sex with him] he becomes now a tyrant. [You don't say! And that when he was a perfectly pleasant, law-abiding, doting husband before.] He assigns his family to make her life as difficult as possible. Their attacks drive her to the edge of insanity and despair - however, she withstands. [Whatever however and why ever!]

Now she is finally playing with the idea of divorce. [Gosh, ALREADY!?]. She trusts the policy of President Ben Ali and the equal rights for women in this country. [As she should, judging from her previous experience.] A lawyer clarifies that a woman remains the owner of what she brought into the marriage and that, in any case, she will get her due in this country. But another year goes by [Yes, you are reading that right!] until she finally decides to make this step. She takes a flight to Germany [And here am I, thinking she was being kept a prisoner.] to talk to Amor about a separation. He begs and cries not to leave him, but all he is interested in is his residence permit, now in jeopardise.

But Sabrina can't go on any longer. She doesn't want to see and hear anything anymore and makes a quick decision to take a flight to her sister in Texas/USA. [Thanks for the hint. Otherwise we wouldn't have known where Texas is.] There, a call from a German friend from Zarzis reaches her. Amor is in Tunisia and does everything he can to blacken her name in Zarzis [Now THAT's mean when she was so fervent about keeping her status among the Zarzisian upper crust!] Her husband has done a real good job and then immediately vanished back to Germany. He did not only steal all papers [which she had for some reason left there] and told all her female friends that he had thrown her out of "his" house because she was unfaithful and that she would never come back to Tunisia because he would make sure that she loses her residence permit. Also, he filed for divorce at his own accord not to lose his face. [And not because she had outlived her usefulness.]

Now the horror begins. [When up to know everything was real fun!] When her father-in-law and her three brothers-in-law twig that Sabrina is not ready to give up without fight, they first suggests that she should marry Amor's brother so that everything remains in the family. [Now for WHAT are they taking her and I have a hunch for good reasons?] Sabrina is speechless, furious and hurls abuse at them. Then she goes to the police, in order to get her stolen car registration documents [Where did she keep them so that they could be stolen?] back, without success. She goes to the best lawyer in town but has to face the fact that he is already working for the family and against her. A Tunisian friend takes her to a female lawyer, who is apparently not yet bought by the family. That annoys the brothers-in-law so much that they come at night to Sabrina's house, torment and abuse her. [Aren't there locks and bolts in Tunisia?] Out of pure fear she finally leaves the house of her dreams and seeks hiding in a garage-turned-dwelling with German friends.

She can just in time get a few personal things from the house, before the family replaces the locks and puts up a guard. Sabrina is able to hide her car with friends, but can't drive anymore, since the papers are missing and in the meantime tax and insurance have expired. [Now she has to walk. That's REAL cruel!] Her husband reports her because of theft of household items and the car. She is fetched by the police and treated like a criminal. Her father-in-law states that it is his house and that Sabrina has only rented it, although she is able to submit all bank documents. However, she is dragged to court six times until the divorce is final and although she explicitly states that she forfeits support but not her personal belongings, the Arab divorce documents say that she forfeits everything. Afterwards, she has to acknowledge that not only the female lawyer whom she trusted and the certified law court interpreter were paid by the family. Additionally, two more lawyers from a neighbouring city try their luck but cannot help her in the end. But Sabrina does not give up. [Wow!] She writes to the German embassy, the Minister of Justice, the Minister of the Interior and even Ben Ali personally. Nobody helps her. Only the fourth lawyer shows compassion. He is a decent man and submits civil action against Amor and his family at court. After twelve more nerve-racking court-cases, which are all held in Arabic, [How unfair! They ought to make German the official language in Tunisia for this valiant heroine!] … (the last one) in November, the case is closed, her complaint rejected without a reason being given. She breaks down, gets hysterics, hits her lawyer and finds herself 10 minutes later in front of the public prosecutor. Crying, she tells him her whole story again. He promises to help her - however, she doesn't believe a single word he says - she doesn't believe anybody anymore. [What a well-timed and clever thing to do!]

14 days later she leaves the country, totally without means, humiliated and traumatised and starts to deal with her experiences by writing "Sand in The Soul".
Do you know what annoys me most about that undignified, snivelling, wretched, paranoid drivel? What annoys me most is that the writer is in denial about the fact that right from the start each and every single thing that happened to her was nothing but her very own fault, yet she tries to sell herself as a heroine and martyr (whatever is required) and not as the attention-seeking, whingeing blabbermouth she is. She comes across as a "strong woman" or a "helpless victim", whatever it takes, just not having to acknowledge even a tiny part of culpability in the whole matter.

To be fair, a few, very few, of the many other accounts of the Bezness-victims (at least those I have read - hey, even I have a nausea-threshold!) show at least a modicum of contrition, although, judging from the first, Kern's own, story, they have all been rehashed by her as they have her pathetic "And-then-I-fell-hopelessly-in-love" style written all over them. But it is hard to feel pity for, say, a woman, a teacher, a believer in true love, who intends to spend her old age and her pension and her savings in one of those countries with a man 30 (yes!) years her junior.

I posted a message at the online forum there to the same effect I am trying to convey with this blog entry. (Not nice, I know!) It didn't survive even ten minutes. The site may be ethically and intellectually doubtful, but its security is of Stalinist proportions. Congrats!

When all is said and done, it's all very simple. There is no 'Bezness', there are only dumb women.

Interestingly, the voices critical of Kern, her book, her clientele, and her fight against Bezness are almost exclusively from the do-gooder multi-culti "Islam-Is-Peace"- and "Isn't-The-Orient-Exciting" faction and thus barking up the wrong tree. Kern and her followership are not giving Islam a bad name. THAT Islam is very well able to do itself! In fact, Islam is hardly ever mentioned and it is quite revealing how both, "victims" and their critics, are trying to keep it as far as possible out of the Bezness business.

The clash-of-cultures argument of which Kern's critics are so fond doesn't hold much water either. If folks in the Islamic countries don't like scantily clad women at their beaches - toughsky shitsky. They can always close their borders to Western tourists, then they are not forced to take their money. Not to speak of the utter idiocy of an argument that seems to consider marrying and exploiting those women as a suitable Islamic answer to Western degeneration.

Self-hatred has many faces.

Of course, once stripped off the Islam-implication, the entire "Middle Eastern men" matter becomes intensely racist, but who cares. Female non-culpability can by definition not be challenged and beats "racism is evil" hands-down as a politically correct mantra.

And to end it all on a happy note: Evelyne Kern's introspection through writing worked so well that she is in the meantime married again - to a man from Morocco.


erphschwester said...

ich liebe dieses blog schon jetzt! (obwohl ich es gerade erst gefunden habe.) jetzt ist die zeit gekommen, daß ich wirklich und wahrhaftig - und zwar richtig! - englisch lernen muß, um alles, wirklich alles richtig zu verstehen.

Esther said...

A few questions:

1. How did her husband get a residence permit in Germany when his wife was living in Tunisia?

2. Why did she return to Tunisia after running to her sister in the US? Why didn't she take all her money with her (or did she not have any access to it?)

3. Why don't Tunisian courts have interpreters? European courts offer interpreters (theoretical question, I suppose).

4. What was she doing with another man when she was still married? Though, if she left for Tunisia on her own to begin with, there must have been other issues involved.

5. How many years did she live in Tunisia all together? why didn't she learn Arabic?

The_Editrix said...

Esther, good questions, which I have all asked as well.

I guess that the book explains this that and the other detail, but frankly, neither the style nor the spirit nor the content of the summary encourages me to read it.

But that particular story is only a detail within a larger picture. I am asking myself why women get away with that and in an environment that is usually hyper-sensitive when it comes to racism to boot.

The_Editrix said...

Danke schön! Wir können aber zwischendurch auch gerne in Deutsch kommunizieren.

Dag said...

I think the whole story is funny. I laugh and I slap my forehead. Really, I think of Oscar Wilde claiming that only a cynic can read of the death of Little Nell (in Charles Dicken's novel The Old Curiousity Shoppe)without laughing. Laughable. It's bathos. Some people are born to be ruined by themselves, and that's just too damned bad. But some are so ridiculous one can only laugh as they destroy themsleves.

erphschwester said...

das beruhigt mich sehr, aber auch david (dialoginternational) hat mich schon vor ewigkeiten dazu angehalten, nun endlich englisch zu lernen. dein beitrag war übrigens in dieser hinsicht sehr ermutigend: dich verstehe ich augenscheinlich besser als ihn. liegt´s am geschlecht? ;)

The_Editrix said...

"But some are so ridiculous one can only laugh as they destroy themsleves."

Laugh and cry! They are destroying us all in the long run.

The_Editrix said...

liegt´s am geschlecht? ;)

Gut möglich. (Ohne Scherz!) Ich bekomme von englischen Muttersprachlern männlichen Geschlechts schon mal die Rückmeldung, dass meine Sätze zu lang seien.