Monday, February 27, 2006
And if you thought that only women fall victim to rape, you are wrong. Some 102 male sexual violence survivors were treated at the Nairobi Women’s Hospital alone in the last three years, while 2,329 female survivors were treated at the same hospital in the same period.
I wouldn't be surprised if the figure for men is actually 4 or 5 times that.Due to the fact that anal sex in Africa is viewed as distasteful and it would be a body blow for a heterosexual African man to be sodomised.Being butt f*cked for a man would be tantamount to great humiliation due to the helplessness and pain involved, men do not handle helplessness very well.Men do not bounce back from trauma as well as women do.It is not unknown for men who have been raped to lapse into deep depression,become drug addicts,alcoholics and even commit suicide.Alot of a man's value comes from his identity and strength as a man.Take a look and you will indeed notice that the men who have lots of ego problems have the roots in issues that define them as men.This can include and is not defined to, power,height,strength, wealth and virility.So to rape a man and make him your "bitch" would be to make him feel like a lesser being.
I remember when gays began to become more open in Nairobi's night life.Friends of mine became hesitant about accepting free drinks from men in the fear that those drinks would be spiked and they would get up being ridden like a horse in a texas rodeo by a 7 foot mandingo and his 4 friends waiting in tow.Stories have been told about a young man who goes to a popular Nairobi night spot and meets a pretty girl who seems open to his attention.He gets seated next to her and they get to talking.Later on he accepts her offer to spend the night at her place.She shows him to the bedroom and he begins to address.He hears some male voices in the house but dismisses it as the affects of alcohol.It is when the door bursts open and a mob of 4 men enter the room that he knows he is in problems.Of course as the story goes the mob have their way with him with the girl filming proceedings.The girl and her crew then go ahead to leave him several thousand shillings for his trouble as they depart leaving him battered and broken.please note the authenticity of this account is yet to be established!
Another hot spot for male rape is the flyover linking Uhuru Highway and the City Centre.Thugs have been known to hide in the bushes waiting for blissfully ignorant passers by, pulling them into the bushes or even to the tunnels under the bridge and gang raping them for hours or even days on end.I can attest to the authenticity of this black spot after having met two women who were raped there.I hear the same has happened to men but there is no way they would ever come out and admit that it happened.I always remember whenever we would go clubbing with pals and would be on our way back we would always hit that bridge at 100km/h so in case the car stalled, the momentum would carry us over and then we would open the doors and run like the devil himself was chasing us!Odeon Cinema in Nairobi downtown and Ngai Ndeithya(sic) in Dagoretti (I think) are also other well known spots where rape is indiscriminate!
So the next time you hear about rape please keep it in mind that men too can be raped !
ps:I am in no way saying that all gay men are man rapists!Au contraire they are not just as not all straight men are women rapists!
pps:Like the Virgins of yore who would prefer to be burned at the stake then sully their godly honor, is the same way I will die before a man rapes me.Death before dishonor!
Why this blog is not going mainstream!
Someone asked me why my blog is not on KBW?An interesting question I must admit.One of the main reasons is that this blog is for me first and others second.With blogging as your audience grows larger you begin to write more for them (so as to keep their attention) and less for yourself.You have seen the rise of the tag, Ask Mr/Ms X and other limelight grabbing shenanigans.I have blogged for a long time with a minimal audience and I don't mind doing it as long as the few who read my blog learn something and we can take part in meaningful discourse.
Secondly KBW is in many ways turning out to be the polar opposite of Kenyan forums like Mashada and Kenyaniyetu.Whereas people in Mashada et al are tearing each other into shredds for any reason whatsoever, bloggers in KBW bend over to please and approve of each other.Disagreement is rare on blogs in KBW even when contentious issues are brought up.Someone told me that this is because dissenting voices rarely speak and those who support do so to keep the blogger in question coming to their blog.I on the other hand do not hesitate to voice my opinion instead of clapping like a seal awaiting a fish from the ring master in the circus.Conflict and criticism can be constructive ; that is something that people need to learn in KBW and indulge in it more.
Finally some of the opionions here do not go with the progressive liberal flow and are bound to ruffle feathers.As evinced by the blogger whom I clashed with some people get all heated up and don't address the issue at hand and instead come at you with all guns blazing.Much as I can give as good as I get I don't have the time to deal with fanatics.
So please don't look for this blog on a KBW listing anytime soon but thanks for visiting!
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Comment by instigator
February 25, 2006 @ 5:56 pm
Why don’t you start your own blogosphere then where all the posts can meet your standards?The fact is that there is freedom of expression on the net and as a result people will say what they feel, it doesnt make it right but it will happen.As for that blogger who called a woman a bitch here is the definition:
The word bitch — originally used for the female members of the canid species, specially dogs — is more often employed in a figurative sense as an insult for a promiscuous woman, or a malicious, spiteful, domineering, intrusive, and/or mean person
If the coat fits then put it on the person who should wear it as the terminology did suit the situation.
I have read many blogs by women with men being described as dogs,snakes,slime and no-one says anything.People should not dish it out if they can’t take it!
As for the comments about lesbians, like I said this isnt utopia.There are some people who do not like lesbians and think they have some sort of mental disorder that can be fixed by a “dick whipping”.It doesn’t make it right but that blog is the author’s venting ground and even if they don’t write it; they are thinking it.Free speech can be a bitch!(ooops I mean a bother!)
I find it interesting that you do not dare show your identity while posting this comment. Are you scared/ashamed or so lacking in self-esteem? In any case, I know who you are. I know your blog where you write derogatory posts on women. I will only ever engage with you when you dare show your identity. In the meantime, go hide under a rock.
First of all if I was hiding my identity I would not have used my handle and instead left that blank or used anonymous. Anyone who has locked horns with me should know that low self-esteem is the last of my problems. As for my posts none of them are derogatory about women. Women in this case being all human beings that are female. I may have taken exception at how Nini Wacera was dressed and what followed was a discussion with a lady KBW member about what was attractive and what was not.My post was not about how all Kenyan women are unattractive now that would have been derogatory!All my other posts poke fun at Western style feminism ie Sex and the City lifestyle, gold-digging. There are also articles about the negative fallback from the crusade for same sex marriage that may lead to polygamy becoming reality, how the free sex lifestyle is harming women more then they think it is, how Brokeback mountain did little to help gay causes overall and change peoples' opinions.In fact my first post was denigrating men who have children out of wedlock and leave the mother in limbo.Hmmmmm it seems that our dear blogger decided to ignore all that and focus on one post, anyway as long as it met her alarmist ends.
ps: This blogger's profile reads thus-
I am a Kenyan poet living in the UK with dreaming of a time when the cultural, legal and political obstacles that prevent African women attaining economic independence and equality are eradicated. I would like to see the development of gender-sensitive ICT policies leading to more African women accessing and using these technologies.
I on the other hand spent many years working for an AIDS ngo in Kenya that was focussed on low income women and later on men. I worked in HIV/ AIDS education, income generating projects, publicity and even peer counselling. So I have done far more for African women as compared to your dreaming in the U.K and writing blog round-ups; I intend to do even more that is why I am in grad school now.Some people dream and some people work!
ps:Don't land on my rock as you fall off your high horse!
Friday, February 24, 2006
So it seems that a new generation of Kenyans has discovered the jet-set lifestyle!Woo
Hoo!Good for them!
Ogembo is a 27-year-old public relations officer with a marketing firm. He earns Sh80,000 a month and lives with two friends in a three bedroomed house, where he occupies the bedroom ensuite, forking out Sh20, 000 a month for it.
Ogembo would rather die than be seen in a matatu and drives a Mitsubishi Gallant, courtesy of a Sh750,000 company loan. "This is the life, and I'm not dreaming of living it small,"
Firstly seems this lad doesn't seem to know those company loans do add up!If you must buy a car at least raise half of the cash then take the loan.I wouldn't be surprised if he counts his car as an asset when in reality no asset should deppreciate in value that fast.Also the last time I was in Kenya one could rent a whole house for 20k in a good neighbourhood instead of spending all that on renting a house with pals.But if I know Kenyans the way I do it must be due to the fact that the 60k house is in a nice neighbourhood like Lavington or Runda.
Later on this Sunday night, he takes me to his digs in Sirikwa Estate. A flight of stairs past the sitting room, which they all share, opens to his bedroom.It's an all white, but expensively furnished affair—there is a king size sleeping couch bought in Egypt, a 29-inch plasma TV, a leather rocking chair and a home theatre system. And that’s it.
Of course it's all white because there is nothing hanging on the walls!Sleeping couch?I think a bed would be in better taste!Seems no recreational reading goes on in this lad's life as it seems he has no desk in his room.And why the hell did he have to buy a bed ooops I mean sleeping couch made in Egypt?I have seen some very unique and tasteful furniture made locally.
"Living here means no relatives ... I care only about my lifestyle, friends and career," he says, fishing out a bottle of Famous Grouse brandy from a section of the wardrobe that he has turned into a cellar.
Yes freedom does rock but the fact that you now keep a bottle of brandy under your coats and jackets does not turn it into a cellar, just a wadrobe that you keep alcohol in.I used to do the same thing in my room when I was 18.Buy a wine rack if you want to look classy!
The yuppies were chauffeured to schools that were previously whites-only such as St Mary’s unlike their parents — the proud Alliance, Mangu and Machakos School types.
Stop playa hating on Saints you loser!Saints has as much pride and heritage as those other schools.Damn seems some people just can't let shit go!
"Ours is a generation of movers," says John Kiarie, (KJ) an art director at Ogilvy and Mather advertising, "and most of us would rather park a Range Rover outside a servant's quarters in Hurlingham, than live in Buru Buru or anywhere East of Uhuru Highway. Some have to fake it, till they make it."
Someone please, please explain the logic of that to me!First of all I have explained to you how a car isn't an asset!In fact the more expensive it is the more of a liability it is!Then again better an SQ in Lavington then a house in South B.
Fake or real, there are unwritten rules of membership to the yuppie set. You have to earn a salary the length of a KRA Pin Number, live in a leafy suburb, run a fuel guzzler or one or two showy souped-up cars, banish any traces of your mother tongue in your English and have a reputation for free-wheeling spending. A sharp fashion sense completes the requisite image that ensures steady invitation to Nairobi's A-list parties.
Does Kabete count as a leafy suburb?My jalopy used to drink fuel like a fish and had loads of unique add ons aka pirated spare parts (am I in?).I don't have any traces of my mother tongue in my speech not out of choice and not because I fake it. I am eloquent but will by no means fake a weng; I used to laugh my head off because so many Kenyans suck at this.Keep it real!As for free wheeling spending why should I pay more if I can get it cheaper elsewhere?Only pay top dollar if you can't get it elsewhere!Fashion sense is relative...please refer to earlier post.
In Nairobi, you are defined by where you work, your knowledge and whether you are progressive.
This may be the case for many but I am not defined by what I do, where I live and what I know.Those should be a small part of who you are and not the grand total!As for progressive, free wheeling consumerism with no regard for tommorow really isn't if you ask me.
If you treat your feet to Sh20,000 Remron or Clarks shoes you are doing badly.Socks at Sh2,500 and a shirt for Sh5,000 are considered a fair deal.
A simple rule of thumb I follow.Unless you are buying a one off pair of dress shoes for a big occasion,a pair of shoes should never be more then 5-10% of what you make at the end of the month.So if you make 200k buy shoes for 20k at the very most.Shoes are not neccesities and shouldn't make a dent in your budget.Besides trends come and go, so you dont want to be left with some expensive duds in your wadrobe!If the shirt is by a company like Arrow then that is allowable in terms of cost but socks for 2,500?!WTF do they walk for me?They look no difference from those I bought for 20/= at the bus-stop on the way home!
According to Teddy, you will hardly find them in discos or open-air concerts. They also go out of Nairobi to, say Naivasha or Olepolos in Kajiado, for a "loose-mbuzi-thing," meaning, a goat eating party out of town.
Out of town plans do rock!I remember going to Olepolos on many weekends!
Tamasha, which was heaved out of the larger Buffet Park bar and restaurant, is one such joint.Save for the music, service and somewhat classy clientele; there is nothing out of this planet about this members-only pub.
My point exactly so where do these clowns get off charging membership fees!Asshats!
We drive to Alfajiri in Kilimani (you can't reach it by public means), which, alongside The Hood and Casablanca in Hurlingham, Choices on Baricho Road, Club Qatika, Mercury Lounge, Thesaurus, Sohos in Westlands, Havana, Club Sikiliza, Kengeles, Cafe Creame, and Chillers are for the well-heeled.
The only joints in that list I never experienced were Thesaurus and Mercury lounge; some are too over hyped if you ask me!But for some of these joints you do have to be well heeled!I recall paying 80/= to buy a soda for a date, let's just say her aspirations to being a teetolater ended with that round!
And when a little broke, in-house bottle parties, come in handy. And when bonding, they mostly discuss themselves, the sexes, where they will party next, their careers and international sports like Formula One racing and the English Premier League, with a fleeting mention of Kenyan politics.
Is it just me or if you are young and are making money you become more andmore apathetic to the political situation in Kenya?
Aren't women ingredients in this veritable cocktail?
"They are," says, Esther Mumbi, 25, director of Touch Up, a wedding and events management company, "and they prefer hanging out in pricey places with men who have made it. They also seem to have warped priorities. Some live in a Sh40,000 apartment yet they earn Sh60,000. So even for them, it's an image package of who you are and where you live and whether you are part of the MBA movement."
So men no money, no company!Another rule of thumb!Rent should never be more then 25% of your total earnings!Otherwise how will you meet your other expenses and save.Talk about literally working to pay the rent!
Does this mean they don't invest?
Lutta says bright ones are risk takers who invest at the Stock Exchange and in real estate. But if you talk of investing in a matatu or a shamba, you are considered a "zack" (old fashioned).
"Men invest in mutual funds, unit trusts, investment clubs or a plot in Kitengela or Athi River. The same applies to the women".
Mumbi thinks not: "Most of them hardly save. I know some who casually blow away their Sh150,000 salaries and are heavily in debt. While their parents were content with a Sh600 Sanyo radio, these ones spend Sh90,000 on home theatres just to impress their peers. The wise women don't need men to bankroll their lifestyle. While their spending is conspicuous, they also invest in shares, treasury bills, offshore trading, or have money saved in a fixed deposit account.
The jury seems to be out on this one.But as far as I know most of them don't save.I know many cases of people who had to move back home when the companies they were working for downsized.On the other hand I do have some friends who are making a killing in the stock market, so I guess only time will tell.
Being city people, yuppie weddings are not communal affairs. These invitation-only parties are preceded, not by old fashioned bachelor parties, where the bridegroom and his bosom friends cleared crates of Tusker in a smoke-filled bar with matronly bar maids, streetwise ruffians and drab music.
Yuppies do them in stag night parties, where the stag service providers are hired for Sh30,000, with a Sh5,000 non-refundable booking fee. Now these stag parties are held in exclusive villas for that last beer blast with the boys.
I have attended one or two of those weddings and I must say they are a blast!But as for those stag parties I really have to track some down when I go back on vacation!
"Money," says Mumbi, "is what matters to most of them. They are go-getters who want the best cars, clothes and jobs. They want to get a name in society and be the best in what they do. Their jobs define them too, which is why they flash out their business cards before they have told you their second names."
Money is a good thing but it is not everything!And as I said earlier, I will not let my job define me!
Wannabes aspire to be in the league of the high rollers but their ambitions are cut short courtesy of insufficient income and responsibilities from the extended family.
"A wannabe says Kiarie," is that fellow who hangs around this lot, but his bills are mostly taken care of. He is also given a lift to his parents’ home where he lives in the extension."
A wannabe could be paying for his siblings’ school fees, so he mostly hangs out at the end of the month.
Wannabe women, I learn from Mumbi, spot common perfume scent and in their creased attempt at fashion, they buy clothes from Moi Avenue stalls.
Question is when the "wannabe" makes it will he/she still support their extended family or become as selfish as most of the "yuppies"?
Anyway all barbed comments aside, what am I getting at?It's all well and good to make lots of money and enjoy it.But if you're spending it just as fast as you make it, then that's just setting yourself up for disaster!Also it does help to give a little back to the society past your family.Many well to do Kenyans ignore the plight of the poor not knowing that ignoring the elephant in the room doesn't make it go away!
On the flip side if you have lots of cash in Kenya, their is so much you can do!The rift between the middle class and the upper class isn't as wide in Kenya as it is abroad.So the middle class in Kenya can afford to take more then one vacation a year in exotic locales, while on the other hand abroad finding the time and money is very difficult!I met an American girl who took her first flight at the age of 23 while I took my first flight at the age of 9, so people shouldn't assume that people abroad neccesarily have better lives!
All in all enjoy today but don't forget to plan for tommorrow because as Kanye said it best, no-one is promised tommorrow today!
Monday, February 20, 2006
Sunday, February 19, 2006
The Recurring Pattern, Of Modern History.
The Recurring Pattern, Of Modern History by NiceGuy ...
Step 1: Men invent a new industry or technology.
Step 2: As soon as the new industry or technology becomes super-safe to use and/or glamorous enough to be trendy, small numbers of women (brave "pioneers"!) become interested in it.
Step 3: Brave pioneering women start to discover the new field isn't a bowl of cherries.
Step 4: Brave pioneering women get their feelings hurt and complain that men have developed the industry/field to suit themselves and have unfairly shut women out of their private little boy's club.
Step 5: After court papers are filed, men start to create special programs to lower standards and advance the number of women to top positions in the field while paying less attention to such irrelevant things as qualifications and ability.
Step 6: After women achieve a number of high-level positions in the field, they begin gloating that men have lost their edge and no longer have what it takes to compete in this brave, new world of 'ekwalitee'.
Step 7: Repeat.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Thursday, February 09, 2006
From one of my all time favorite blogs.If you follow every social trend that is going on you're bound to find yourself in a rut...............
Friends with Benefits
Two years ago, the New York Times ran an article on "Friends with Benefits" which seems to be the preferred form of relationship with young singles. Key points:
Myth: Women felt empowered by this casual non-committal sex relationship. Fact: In these relationships, the women were only performing sex acts for the men and getting nothing in return. Instead of meeting as equals, the women were completely capitulating to the man's terms.
Myth: It is a real relationship. Fact: The women consider the "friends with benefits" situation to be a pseudo-relationship if not a real one. The men consider the woman to be a stupid whore. Getting free sex with no commitment to a man is like getting away with stealing. It's a thrill as long as it goes on, but they never care anything for the woman beyond the fun she offers. The trick is to always pretend to be the woman's friend. A woman stupid enough to go along with this type of set-up will believe anything.
Myth: When the woman realizes she has been used - often for many years - she accepts this and tries to maintain the "friendship". Fact: Women are always hurt when love is not returned for sex. When the pseudo-relationship ends, the women react with tears and intense emotional pain or develop a false bravado around having sex detached from emotion.
I've met several women who were in "friends with benefits" relationships for a year or more. Usually, they stay "best friends" with the men who used them and moved on - laughing at the used-up and stupid victim they left behind.Obviously, these relationships are better for men. The women are used and treated like free hookers, but they seem to want this kind of relationship much more than a traditional, loving and respectful marriage. In reality, only the worst kind of man becomes involved with a woman in this way. Sadly, it's really what women want. Even worse, the women who are used in this way become incapable of loving men who are good for them. Instead, they fixate on the players and the users - forever wondering why they cannot be happy, always stuck on a jerk while good men are turned away.Still, it is a good situation for men. Bravo feminism!
Monday, February 06, 2006
From one of my favourite blogs....
Sure Sign of Misery
If you see this in your dates DVD player, get your friggin shoes on and run out the door. Don't have sex, don't hang around, just GO.
Women who live the Sex & The City life expect things to work themselves out like they do on the TV show. However, since you aren't a gay man and your date isn't either, nothing will ever work out the way it does on Sex & The City. Run away young man!
In short if you meet someone and a good portion of their life and thought process is dictated by a program (Sex in The City,Desparate Housewives) or a personality (That God-awful Oprah woman) you are going to be stuck with a woman whose life runs on trends and no pre-established thought process.Run and run fast as the author says!
Sunday, February 05, 2006
Lately feminists have joined forces with gays to press for same sex marriage.Good for them but what they didn't realise is the slippery slope they are going down.When you widen the definition of what marriage is soon you have no marriage as this article shows......
If everything is marriage, then nothing is.
Canada, you don’t know the half of it. In mid-January, Canada was rocked by news that a Justice Department study had called for the decriminalization and regulation of polygamy. Actually, two government studies recommended decriminalizing polygamy. (Only one has been reported on.) And even that is only part of the story. Canadians, let me be brutally frank. You are being played for a bunch of fools by your legal-political elite. Your elites mumble a confusing jargon to your face to keep you from understanding what they really have in mind.
Language ExamLet’s try a little test. Translate the following phrases into English:
1) Canada needs to move “beyond conjugality.”
2) Canada needs to “reconsider the continuing legal privileging of marriage and other conjugal relationships.”
3) Once gay marriage is legalized, Canada will be able to “consider whether the legal privileges and burdens now assigned to marriage and other conjugal relationships can be justified.”
4) Canada needs to question “whether conjugality is an appropriate marker for determining legal rights and obligations.”
[Answers: The English translation of #1,# 2, and #4 is: “Canada should abolish marriage.” The translation of #3 is: “Once we legalize gay marriage, we can move on to the task of abolishing marriage itself.”]
This argument was very publicly made to Canadians in 2001, when the Law Commission of Canada published its report, “Beyond Conjugality.” But nobody got it. Everyone noticed that a government commission had backed same-sex marriage. But few recognized, grasped, or could bring themselves to take seriously, the central thrust of Beyond Conjugality: that after the legalization of same-sex marriage, Canadian marriage itself ought to be abolished. (For more on this, see my article “Beyond Gay Marriage”)
Martha Bailey, Queens University law professor and chief author of the now infamous report advocating the decriminalization of polygamy, played an important organizing role in the Beyond Conjugality project (translation: the “Abolish Marriage” project). In 2004, Bailey published an article, “Regulation of Cohabitation and Marriage in Canada,” arguing that, after the legalization of same-sex marriage, Canadians would be able to turn their attention to the more urgent business of abolishing marriage itself. (That article is the source of items #2, #3, and #4 above.) So it is hardly surprising that Bailey has now called for the decriminalization of polygamy. What’s that you say? How does legalizing polygamous marriage advance the cause of abolishing marriage? Canadians, I’m going to have to spell it out for you in a way that Martha Bailey and her friends on the Law Commission of Canada will not.
The PlanIt’s like this. The way to abolish marriage, without seeming to abolish it, is to redefine the institution out of existence. If everything can be marriage, pretty soon nothing will be marriage. Legalize gay marriage, followed by multi-partner marriage, and pretty soon the whole idea of marriage will be meaningless. At that point, Canada can move to what Bailey and her friends really want: an infinitely flexible relationship system that validates any conceivable family arrangement, regardless of the number or gender of partners.
The Canadian public cannot bring itself to believe that the abolition of marriage is the real agenda of the country’s liberal legal-political elite. That is why everyone was surprised by Bailey’s polygamy report, even though the judicial elite’s intentions had been completely public for five years. (Granted, these intentions were telegraphed in a semi-incomprehensible intellectual gibberish, with the really scary stuff hidden in footnotes.)
If it were merely a matter of a few thousand so-called “Mormon fundamentalists,” legalized polygamy wouldn’t stand a chance in Canada. Even the addition of Canada’s rapidly growing Muslim immigrant population wouldn’t create a winning pro-polygamy coalition (although pressure from Canada’s Muslims does matter). It’s the many and powerful legal elites (including judges) — the ones who see marriage itself as an outdated and oppressive patriarchal institution — who make decriminalizing polygamy something to worry about.
What’s that you say? You still don’t understand how a bunch of liberal-feminist elites could even think about supporting an “oppressively patriarchal” institution like polygamy? I guess you still just don’t get it. Read Bailey’s report and you will see that she does not endorse traditional “patriarchal” polygamy. Bailey’s whole point is that Canada can decriminalize polygamy without endorsing what “fundamentalist Mormons” or Islamic immigrants actually do.
But why would Bailey favor that? Simple. Canada’s anti-polygamy laws stand in the way of Bailey’s true goal: the creation of a modern, secular, “non-patriarchal” relationship system that would allow for marriage-like unions in any combination of number or gender. That would mean the effective abolition of marriage. But to get to the postmodern version of multi-partner unions, Canada’s old-fashioned anti-polygamy laws have got to go.
The CoalitionDon’t you get it? Canada’s socially liberal legal elites are just using the gay marriage movement, fundamentalist Mormons, and Muslim immigrants to get what they’re truly after: the slow-motion abolition of marriage. (According to Bailey, even many same-sex marriage advocates actually want to “reform” marriage out of existence.) And radical as that goal may seem, Canada is a whole lot closer to abolishing marriage than you realize. Canada’s liberal courts have already knocked down most of the legal distinctions between marriage and unmarried cohabitation. Bailey’s notorious report highlights that fact. “The legal significance of marital status has declined substantially in Canada,” says Bailey, so why make a fuss about polygamy?
Martha Bailey isn’t shy about making slippery slope arguments (to encourage the slip, not to fight it). Canadians have been told, openly and persistently, by their own legal experts, that the slippery slope is real. Yet Canadians simply refused to believe it, until Bailey’s polygamy report came out.
Actually, Bailey’s report is only one of four separate polygamy studies sponsored by Canada’s Justice Department, two of which advocate decriminalization. The third study’s arguments apply to traditional “patriarchal” polygamy alone, and would carry little or no weight against modern “polyamorous” unions (of the kind I wrote about in “Here Come the Brides”). Only one of the four government-sponsored polygamy reports offered arguments that might invalidate modern forms of multi-partner unions. Yet this fourth study omits key arguments against multi-partner unions, and would clearly have a difficult time overcoming the case made by the two pro-decriminalization studies.
In other words, to the extent that it’s up to the sort of judges and legal experts favored by Canada’s long-reigning Liberal party, long-term prospects for some sort of legalized multi-partner unions in Canada are pretty decent. To be sure, Canada’s Conservatives now have a (tenuous) hold on power, and the Canadian public did not react well to the Bailey report. Yet Canada’s left-leaning legal-political elite is a patient lot. In 2003, a survey conducted by Canada’s Vanier Institute found that 20 percent of Canadians (25 percent of younger adults, and 33 percent of secularists) were willing to accept some form of polygamy, even if only 4 percent of Canadians personally approved of such unions. Given time, growing public tolerance, increased pressure from Muslim immigrants, incremental court decisions, continued growth in Canada’s already burgeoning polyamory movement, and the return of a Liberal government, Martha Bailey and friends may yet achieve their goal.
Tactical MulticulturalismBailey’s clever tactic is to appeal to Canada’s powerful multicultural sensibility by allying herself with Muslim immigrants. Even though Bailey’s proposal would decriminalize polygamy for Mormon patriarchs and postmodern polyamorists, she has almost nothing to say about those groups. Instead, Bailey focuses almost exclusively on the issue of Muslim immigration. Mark Steyn predicted this some time ago when he said that Canadian polygamy would “slip through under the guise of multiculturalism.”
Stressing “the multicultural nature of Canadian society,” Bailey claims that Canada has an urgent practical need for more Muslim immigrants. If Canada can just “expand the pool of applicants,” says Bailey, it just may win “the global competition for highly skilled immigrants.”
It’s an odd argument. For one thing, rates of polygamy in the Third World tend to be lower among the highly educated. And Bailey herself claims that the number of polygamists who would actually immigrate under a liberalized law would “presumably” be “very small.” So how can a minuscule number of polygamists boost Canada’s pool of “highly skilled immigrants?” Bailey resolves the contradiction by claiming that all Muslims would be attracted to a country that proved its commitment to multiculturalism by welcoming polygamy. Still, it’s tough not to suspect that Bailey is less interested in importing polygamous computer scientists from Africa than in using the Muslim community to achieve her ultimate goal of defining marriage out of existence.
Bailey is probably wrong on both counts. Instead of getting only a few polygamous immigrants but a lot of Muslim computer scientists, Bailey’s plan would likely result in only a few computer scientists and a lot of polygamists. That’s because Bailey would not only decriminalize polygamy, she would also allow all parties to intact polygamous marriages to immigrate to Canada. Big mistake.
After the Second World War, France expanded its labor force by allowing intact polygamous families to immigrate from Africa and the Middle East. By the 1990s, there were upwards of 200,000 polygamous family members living in France’s impoverished suburbs. Since 1993, France has been torn by conflict over these polygamous families, sometimes trying to break them up, sometimes looking the other way. Many believe that boys from large and poor polygamous families with little fatherly supervision helped cause the recent riots in France.
Canada’s Muslims seem interested in joining Bailey’s slide down the slippery slope. While denying that Muslims were about to push for polygamy, Canadian Islamic Congress president Mohamed Elmasry caused a stir in 2005 when he publicly defended polygamy as “a positive family force.” Sayd Mumtaz Ali, president of the Canadian Society of Muslims, was more forward when he said last year that if same-sex marriage were legalized in Canada, Muslim polygamists would be within their rights to push for legalization of their own way of life.
The Slope SlipsOf course, Ali is drawing a direct link between same-sex marriage and the push for legalized polygamy. Yet just last year, then Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler famously said, “We don’t see any connection, I repeat, any connection between the issue of polygamy and the issue of same-sex marriage.” Calling such slippery-slope fears “alarmist,” Cotler authorized the four just-released polygamy studies, in part to put an end to the claim that polygamy would follow same-sex marriage.
Apparently Martha Bailey missed the memo. Not only does Bailey call for decriminalizing polygamy, she directly links her legal argument on polygamy to same-sex marriage. This happens when Bailey confronts the barrier that adultery law poses to her plan to decriminalize polygamy. Although adultery is not a criminal offense in Canada, it serves as a way of proving the key ground of divorce, “marital breakdown.” So if Canadian law recognizes adultery as a cause of marital breakdown, how can Canada accept polygamy? Easy, says Bailey. Why not just redefine adultery to mean, not sex with a third party, but sex with someone outside of a marriage of however many partners? To validate this reinterpretation of the meaning of adultery, Bailey points to the precedent of same-sex marriage, which forced a legal redefinition of adultery away from an opposite-sex dalliance. Hey, if we can redefine adultery for the sake of same-sex couples, why not redefine it to please polygamists?
Ultimate GoalBailey may not openly flog her ultimate goal of abolishing marriage in this report. Yet what Bailey’s up to is clear enough when she carefully describes a 1998 report by the British Columbia Law Institute in which a “significant minority” of members favored a “multiple domestic partnership” system detached from the patriarchal “baggage” of traditional polygamy. This is exactly what Bailey is hoping to establish. Yet she brackets the proposal by saying that at the moment there is “no demand” for such a system.
Not so, as this 2005 Macleans article on Canadian polyamory explains. According to Macleans, polyamory “seems increasingly common” in Canada. And as organized polyamory groups proliferate, there has already been discussion “about creating a system of legal contracts around issues such as child custody and family rights.”
Since polyamory is free of the “patriarchal baggage” attached to traditional polygamy, most of the arguments against multi-partner unions in the four just-released polygamy reports would not apply. Of course there are arguments against polyamory, it’s just that liberal law professors don’t know how to make them. In any case, Bailey is shrewd enough to see that, if she can only get Canada to set aside its laws against polygamy, the goal of supplementing (and eventually replacing) marriage with a modern domestic partnership system (allowing any combination of number or gender) would be achievable.I’ve focused on Bailey, while touching only lightly on the three other polygamy reports. Yet taken together, these four extraordinary documents launch a serious public debate about polygamy. (I’ll have more to say about the other reports in time.) The four Canadian polygamy studies are a time-capsule from the future, a preview of the argument we’ll be having should same-sex marriage be fully established here in the United States. Once we’re there, we’ll be well on our way toward “removing conjugality as a marker for determining legal rights and obligations.” Translation? By now I think you get it.
Beware of what you ask for, it may come with strings attached.........