Monday, April 02, 2007

Xenolexaphobia

Dear Indigna,

Recently an Aryan German judge in Germany denied a "speedy divorce" to a German-born Muslim woman who was savagely beaten by her Moroccan husband, on the basis that wife-beating is "common" in Moroccan culture and the Quran specifically condones wife-beating.

Whaaaa?

Frightened Wife
Munich, DE

Dear "Wife,"

What kind of xenophobic bigot are you? How can you say that German law trumps the law of the culture that the predecessors of the husband of the person in question come from? For example, in the Code of Hammurabi, the losing plaintiff in a lawsuit should be put to death. Would you deny this satisfaction to the descendant or family of a descendant of a Babylonian? Similarly for "thousands of years" in ancient China the entire family of a criminal would be put to death. Don't we owe that much to a crime victim of Chinese ancestry?

Suppose you are sentenced to death in the United States and your (or your blood relative's) forefathers came from either Great Britain or France. Ought you not to be judged by the Laws of William the Conqueror, rather than the barbaric laws of the U.S.A.? W. the C. forbade execution, decreeing rather the far more palatable punishment that the felon's "eyes be put out and let him be castrated. And this command shall not be violated under pain of a fine in full to me" (or, since he's been dead for like, 950 years, to Queen Elizabeth, I guess. Or would she have to share it with Tony Blair, or something? Or might it be payable to French PM Dominique de Villepin? I smell a lawsuit!).

And how about if thy Jewish neighbor hath spotted thee a fiver now and then? Or even given you a mortgage on your house? If you are of English extraction, ought not that Jewish debt (but none of the others, of course) be discharged upon thy death, per the Magna Carta?

What about this guy Warren Jeffs, the polygamist who is being prosecuted--I mean persecuted, of course--for marrying his 10- and 12-year-old daughters to 65-year-old "elders." Who are we to trample on his free expression of religion? Not to mention free commerce--the guy has, like, 50 wives! Do you have any idea how many children he probably has? Neither does anyone else, but no one seems to want to take the boys off his hands so he has no choice but to foist the girls off onto willing partners, and basically no one is interested once they start to "develop," if you know what I mean. It's both a religious and business transaction! What's not to like?

Think about it. Ought we not all have the right to be judged by the laws upon which our forefathers' forefathers' culture was based, no matter how ancient and "inconvenient"? Sure, some of us have "cultural backgrounds" that encompass two, three, ten, even dozens of other cultures. Don't you think the first job of a judge should be to parse all those strands and cherry-pick which bits of each ancient legal system (there really aren't that many, if you go back far enough) should supercede the contemporary law of the nation in question?

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