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Child Barbarians in Phoenix By: Phyllis Chesler
Pajamas Media | Friday, July 31, 2009


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Most Americans have no idea how different our culture is from cultures in the Middle East, central Asia, or Africa. If differences are acknowledged, America and the West are blamed for them. The barbarism, genocide, perpetual civil and religious wars, the cruelties of shari’ah law, (stoning, cross-amputations, be-heading), and the utterly tragic treatment of women, children, and the poor in the Third World–all, all are blamed on western imperialism, colonialism, and capitalism.

Not true–or so I have been arguing for years. Some barbarism is indigenous to a region. But even if it were true–what’s to be done now? Should we willingly welcome cannibals, gang-rapists, child-rapists, polygamists, (dis)honor murderers to our shores?

Terrible things happen in the Third World: Children as young as five are routinely kidnapped into slavery, or forced to become suicide bombers or child-soldiers. Children see their mothers raped, their fathers tortured, their parents and other relatives brutally murdered. Male children are forced to rape their own mothers, female children are forced to sexually service men old enough to be their grandfathers. No one protects, consoles, re-educates, or “treats” them as trauma victims.

Immigrants bring both their barbarism and their traumatized histories right along with them when they come to America.

For example, an eight-year-old girl from Liberia was recently savagely gang-raped in Phoenix, Arizona by a gang of Liberian boys, aged 14, 13, 10, and 9. The poor child was lured to an empty shed with an offer of chewing gum. The boys held her down as each took turns raping her. These boys knew her and live in the same immigrant community. Sgt Andrew Hill said: “She was brutally sexually assaulted for a period of ten to fifteen minutes.” The police and others heard “hysterical screaming” and found the girl “partially clothed.”

This much we know. All else is somewhat in question.

Instead of comforting her, the girl’s family was said to have rejected her for bringing “shame” upon them and upon the community. Alternatively, the Arizona Child Protective Services (CPS), the local police, and the pastor of the African Faith Expressions church, persuaded the state to protect the girl from her own family, which might have accepted her back but which might have tormented her further–or worse. The child will now be in protective state custody for at least three months.

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Dr. Phyllis Chesler is the well known author of classic works, including the bestseller Women and Madness (1972) The New Anti-Semitism (2003) and The Death of Feminism: What’s Next in the Struggle for Women’s Freedom (2005). She has just published a new edition of Woman's Inhumanity to Woman (2009). She is an Emerita Professor of psychology and women's studies, the co-founder of the Association for Women in Psychology (1969) and the National Women's Health Network (1976). Her website is www.phyllis-chesler.com.


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