September 28, 2014


Why Is The Middle East Failing? Because There Are Too Many Young Men, And No Women (Roger Scruton, 9/28/14, Forbes)

The Middle East is, as we are discovering, not one thing: on the contrary, it is a patchwork of communities whose peaceful coexistence depended on conditions that no longer exist. And many of those communities are in the habit of producing the two greatest scourges of the human race: young men without women, and puritanical rage. These same scourges have visited Afghanistan and North Africa, and they lie dormant throughout the Islamic world.

It is true that in Turkey and large parts of the Levant women have obtained a kind of social equality with men: but it is a precarious equality. Thanks to Atatürk polygamy was abolished in Turkey and women were encouraged to enter public life. Their status as the unspeakable 'secret' was removed, their faces were revealed, their soothing presence was everywhere perceivable. Thanks also to Atatürk the other great solvent of social tension - alcohol - was permitted and, while drunkenness is rightly viewed with anger all across the Middle East, the example of Turkey has helped many of those ancient communities to let their hair down and relax together over a bottle.

Remove wine and women, however, and the tension quickly escalates. This is especially so in societies where the women, although hidden away, are encouraged to have children, and where the quantity rather than the quality of children is the most important sign of status. Just to consider one of the many flashpoints, the median age in Gaza is 18, compared with a world-wide figure of 28 and a European average of 40. We see the result on our televisions. When conflict erupts in an Islamic country and people come out into the streets we witness vast crowds of young men. In Turkey there are women too among them. But Turkey is the exception that proves the rule. The norm is young men without women, their anger fuelled by the anger of those around them, gesturing towards something that as often as not they are unable to describe except in vast, vague and metaphysical terms - the reign of God, the death of the infidel, the destruction of the Other who stands in their way.

Gender imbalance is nothing a good war won't fix.

Posted by at September 28, 2014 8:39 AM

blog comments powered by Disqus