When will “progressive” Westerners accept the fact that not all people and all cultures are the same?

by Phyllis Chesler

Hamas/Iran/Qatar’s barbarian butchery of Israelis on 10/7 and what is now happening in Gaza is far bigger than the Middle East.

A third World War is underway—and has been for a long time. Secular-socialist Westerners have absolutely refused to accept that it is a religious war, and one being waged against infidels and Western civilization.

It may start with the Jews but it never ends there.

However, many “progressive” Westerners, including those who spent six months demonstrating in Israeli streets, refuse to believe that Israel is facing a religious war being waged by a barbaric death cult. Stubbornly, they assert that it is all about Bibi—and about territory, colonialism, racism, apartheid, and imperialism. This refusal to see reality, to understand that not all cultures are the same, is not new.

Once, long ago, I was held captive in Kabul by my Afghan husband, a sophisticated, “westernized” man whom I had met at an American college. Once back in Afghanistan, he became another person.

Without warning, he expected me to live in purdah, in a polygamous family, which included my mother-in-law, the first of three wives, a woman who tried to force me to convert me to Islam and who then tried to kill me.

Airport officials had removed my American passport, (“a mere formality, Madam”), and I found myself back in the 10th century with no exit out.

I learned the hard way that the Islamic East and the Judeo-Christian West really are very different.

Long before the Taliban came to town, women in burqas were forced to sit at the back of the bus and were rudely pushed to the back of the shopping line when any man, usually a male servant, came to make his purchases.

I was horrified by this and by child marriage, polygamy, purdah, burqas, hijab, the mistreatment of servants, and rumored honor killings. When I said so, my Afghan family mocked me as an “hysterical” American overreaction to what was a normal and perfectly acceptable way of life.

It was for them, but not for me, and not for anyone who had grown up in America, the land of libraries and liberty.

I nearly died there. However, I got out and lived to tell the tale. It was a story that no one wanted to hear.

No one at college, including the professors in whom I had confided, wanted to grasp what I was trying to say.

Afghanistan is a wild and tribal place, a land of men who live to fight, kill, and die; a country of men who hate women and who love boys.

It is important to understand that Afghanistan was never colonized by the West. Therefore, the Afghan history of gender and religious apartheid, extreme but normalized cruelty, illiteracy, poverty, the power of the mullahs, was—and alas, still is—their indigenous culture.

Years later, my views were confirmed by M.H. Anwar’s Memories of Afghanistan and by Edward Hunter’s The Past Present, both of whom described savagery, extreme misogyny, and the tyranny of illiterate mullahs, mobs, and Kings, at least before they were exiled or assassinated.

Remember 9/11? Please realize that Bin Laden was thrown out of Saudi Arabia and Sudan, but welcomed by Mullah Omar in Afghanistan where he hatched his 9/11 plot.

Today, too many Westerners still refuse to understand that Islam has, once again, become Islamism; that jihad does not mean a spiritual “shaking off,” but means killing the infidels and doing so in the creatively demonic ways perfected by the PLO, Al-Qaeda, ISIS, the Taliban, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Hamas. Islamism = jihad terrorism. Jihad Islamism, as funded by Iran and Qatar, and by Soros and the Rockefeller Brothers.

We have just seen the most barbaric assault on Israeli civilians by Hamas. They live-streamed it. They called home to boast about their bloody deeds.

And how has the West responded?

Many have blamed Israel—for having “colonized” Gaza, a territory that Israel evacuated in 2005. Mobs all over Europe, Russia, and North America have blamed the victim, which is psychologically and politically easier to do that confront the evil of terrorism, or admit that one lusts for Jewish blood.

Western politicians and iconic journalists have cautioned Israel not to “retaliate,” and have successfully negotiated to resupply (an already well-supplied) Hamas, and in the name of “humanitarian aid.”

Activist and student mobs all over the world have called to “free, free Palestine, from the river to the sea” which is tantamount to calling for the extermination of the Jewish state. Israel, of course, begged Palestinian civilians to flee the north before Israel invaded. Hamas blocked roads and shot down those civilians who tried to do so.

While there are some exceptions, too many Muslims in the West and their left-wing allies seem excited by the sight of Jewish blood, Jewish body parts, Jewish headless torsos, Jewish blood, Jewish pain. Their insufferable chants of “liberation,” and “freedom from occupation,” are meant to disguise their insatiable blood-lust.

By now, we know that at least 10,000 American troops have landed in Saudi Arabia, that Iran’s Hezbollah has launched at least 17 rockets at American ships in the Mediterranean, and that Hamas/Hezbollah have murdered 33 Americans. Hamas has also taken hostages from 41 countries. There are also 600 American citizens who are trapped in Gaza.

When will “progressive” Westerners accept the fact that not all people and all cultures are the same? That as critical as they are about America’s imperfections and historical crimes, that Muslim countries also have a long history of colonialism, imperialism, conversion via the sword, black slavery, white slavery, and gender and religious apartheid, etc.

To expect such a culture to “redeem” America’s sins is lunacy.

We live in an era of derangement. We are doomed if reality does not triumph.

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9 Responses

  1. Dear Ms. Chesler:
    I remember your writings from years ago, relating your experiences as a muslim bride in Afghanistan; they were most illuminating, and I continue to find it a puzzle that feminists in the West seem to have to idea of the condition and treatment of women in the Islamic world. It’s a stretch to women in the US to feel oppressed when considering the lives of Muslimas. Unfortunate for your cause, I am a conservative gentile Christian.
    Please continue to spread the truth; your witness and voice are needed more than ever. I am grieved to the heart about the atrocities in Judea; may light perpetual shine upon the deceased victims, and may the wounded recover and those in captivity be released soon. We are in the early stages of a world war, and we need to wise up before jihad comes to all our doors.

  2. Brilliant, Phyllis. I am going to forward your article to everyone I know. Please send it to NY Times, WSJ, etc. Yes, it is unlikely such a pithy article about the hypocrisy of the world will be published, but it needs to be read by any remaining thoughtful and moral people, if any such people still exist.
    Bonnie Pollak

  3. I read your memoir several years ago and absolutely agree with your premise that all cultures are not the same. I lived six years in Iran, married to an American educated Iranian. My passport was confiscated by Iranian officials. After six years, I was arrested and placed in a prison for morality crimes. Mercifully, at my trial the judge ordered my deportation (without my two sons) which most likely prevented my premature death. By some streak of fate I ended up living in Israel for fourteen years where I enjoyed freedom and safety as a woman and as recent convert to Christianity. I even lived a few years in the Arab village Al Azaria, better known in English as Bethany. There was no oppression of Arabs by Israeli police or army. Now, in my old age, I firmly stand with Israel and all Jews world wide. I love and respect my two sons, raised in Iran but now living in America, who are not Shiites nor Sunni, who respect all people. Keep up the good work defending truth and sanity in a world teetering on the brink of disaster.

  4. Excellent article, Phyllis. We are not all the same, but somehow we westerners––unlike others––assume we are. And I’m not sure it’s just progressives either.

    Where does this assumption come from?

  5. Because they’ve been educated for 50 years to believe that culture is at one and the same time universally fungible and yet all are of the same worth on all points, and it is racist to deny either of these absurd contentions. They’ve also been taught that all people want the same things in every aspect of life and differ on nothing, and yet that it is racist to give them those things.

    They clash with one another so all those contentions cannot be all true. But they can be, and are, all false.

  6. Excellent Phyllis. Right on target.
    Your efforts over the years have always been appreciated . Our children and grandchildren must now understand the threat you have inderstood for so long.

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