Fox (n): carnivore of genus vulpes; crafty person; scavenger; (vb) to confuse; -ed (adj): to be drunk.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Bad Man 1, World 0

WHILE one slightly-bad man has failed to stop people talking about his sex life, another Very Bad Man has ordered women to be raped because they don't agree with him.

We've been preoccupied with what footballers, actors, businessmen and others - some in the public interest, some less so - get up to, and the fact we're not allowed to know.

But at least we get to argue about it. This weekend, buried away at the back of a newspaper, was the news that 1,000 women, girls and boys have been raped in Misrata on the orders of officers in the Gaddafi regime, which likes being argued with even less than lawyers do.

If you can remember what fire drill at secondary school looked like, that's about 1,000 people, perhaps a little more.

In Libya there's no rape counselling. There's not much help from the justice system, and the general culture throws great shame on the victim. The fear is that many of the wives, daughters and sons who have been raped will commit suicide.

Some of the rebel fighters, feeling solidarity with the women attacked along with their city, have offered to marry them to save their lives and their families' honour.

We don't have a mandate to go to war in Libya but nor are we pushing for one. We're not arguing about it in Parliament, the Press, the courts, or even down the pub. We ought to though because it's going to happen and it looks like it's going to be messy and half-arsed.

We have bombed it from above, we have bombed it from the sea, we have blockaded its ports, we have sent in Special Forces to select targets, and now we're dispatching helicopter gunships for more selective kills. All the while the Very Bad Man has done whatever the hell he likes. How long til a boot goes on the ground? Weeks, is my bet. Probably with strict instructions not to hurt anyone.

The women of Misrata, their husbands and their dads, want decisive action from other countries who notice what's going on and think it should stop. They want to be able to speak freely, whether its about their leaders, their laws or whether they think Ryan Giggs is a twat or not.

It rather puts Imogen Thomas' "emotionally exhausted!!" claims into perspective, don't you think?

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