Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Should Simon Danczuk Shake the Nail?

SIMON Danczuk, Labour MP for Rochdale, has tried to clarify his postion on sexual grooming in last Saturday's Rochdale Observer.  He writes: 
'To be clear, sexual abuse is a universal problem.  It cannot be confined to any creed, colour, religion or gender.  Sexual abuse happens in all communities and we continue to see evidence of that in the courts.  But the phenomenon of on-street grooming has seen a disproportionate number of men involved from the British Asian community.'

On the 14th, December 2013, Gillian Tett, writing in the FT Weekend Magazine drew attention to what she entitled 'A secret history of women's freedom', in this article she refers to an essay by Greg Massell, an American historian, called 'The Surrogate Proletariat:  Moslem Women & Revolutionary Strategies in Soviet Central Asia, 1919-1929'.  Oddly, Massel's seemingly esoteric essay may shed some light on the predicament Mr. Danczuk now finds himself in relation to on-street grooming of young girls by mostly Asian men, in that it opens up a significant debate on the position of women in society as much as a play by Ibsen.  What is noticeable about the Danczuk defence is that he is defending himself against Asian men, like Mr. Imam Chishti of the Rochdale Community Forum (RCF), and, as he says in last Saturday's Rochdale Observer:  'Some people, including councillors, [who] have told me to stay silent on the issue (of on-street grooming) too.'

Why are 'some councillors' urging Simon Danczuk too shut up?  Because they know that elections in some northern towns like Rochdale and Bradford are decided largely by the Asian vote.  On Friday March 30th, 2012 after the victory of George Galloway in a bye-election in Bradford I wrote in a post entitled 'Bradford:  The traditional parties have failed this city', and I asked:
'Could it have been Galloway's clever networking and manipulation of the Asian Clan system ('Braderies') in Bradford?'

I later found out at a Northern Radical History Network event from a member of the Socialist Workers Party who lived in Bradford that this was not the case, but that on the contrary Galloway had called on the Asian communities to 'Smash the Braderies' and vote for him, and that he had appealed to Asian women to help him do this because they are one of the victims of the Asian Braderies/ clan system. 

There is a fear of the power of the Asian Braderies among the politicians in the north.  In Rochdale, it seems to me, that in 2010 Cyril Smith somehow lost his hold on the Kashmiri clans and that this resulted in at least one of the influential Asian Braderies - a Kashmiri clan - to convert from the Liberal/ Democrats to Labour resulting in a victory for Simon Danczuk over Paul Rowen at the General Election in that year.  I know that in the 1990s the Kashmiries in Rochdale were solidly Liberal/ Democrat, because, at that time, Paddy Ashdown was sympathetic to the Kashmiri cause when India was arresting people involved in the fight for Kashmiri independence.  I believe that the Punjabi clans in the Tweedale Street area had traditionally supported Labour in Rochdale.

What Mr. Danczuk should consider is that if what has been said about the George Galloway victory in Bradford is true, then the male-dominated Asian Braderies in this country can be placed on the back foot by politicians like him appealing to Asian women over the heads of their husbands and men folk.  This was what happened according to Gillian Tett and Greg Massell in Soviet central Asia when those Muslim lands fell into Russian communist hands and these old communists, as she says, broke the mold so 'that any society treats its women cuts to the fabric of the whole social group and defines its indentity'.  The old communists looking for allies on the Silk Road in places like Tajikistan and Ubekistan hit on the idea of 'shaking the nail' and decided that the suppressed class in traditional central Asia, was not the labourer 'proletariat' as in Europe but instead it was the women who were repressed most of all. 

Gillian Tett writes:
'But this has a wider implication:  the suppression of women helped to prop up power structures and underscore the cultural identity of (male) leaders in central Asia.  So, if women were liberated, this could "shake the nail" that held together the edifice of these traditional societies - or so the theory went.'

Thus we learn from Ms. Tett:
'Starting from 1929, Russian communist activists roamed across the region, exhorting local Tajik, Uzbek and other central Asian women to attend school, spurn forced marriages and take up jobs. Traditional marriage rituals were overhauled and women were given new legal rights.  Some were even pushed into political office, and campaigns were launched against the Islamic veil.  On March 8 1929, for example, a particular dramatic event occurred when thousands of Uzbek and Tajik women assembled in a historic square in Samarkand and collectively ripped off their veils.'

Hence, none of this is to suggest that communist rule was a good thing, but, as Gillian Tett shows, there are lessons to be learned about what seems to be the male-dominance of Islamic culture not just in Soviet central Asia but in places like Rochdale and Bradford.  Mr. Danczuk writes that 'apart from the excellent campaigning of Mohammed Shafiq of the Ramadhan Foundation in Rochdale too many people have been silent.' It seems to me that Simon Danczuk is aware of the danger of male-dominance among Islamic ethnic groups, and how it may be having a knock-on effect on our own streets.  If politicians have the guts to challenge the male-dominance of Asian practices and set the women free it will have healthy results all round. 

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