Brave Girl Defies Arranged Marriage

A 16 year old girl has been granted a court order that protects her from being forced to marry someone in Lebanon against her will. The arranged marriage, a custom still practised in some cultures, would quite simply be illegal (void) in Australia as it is without genuine consent of one of the partners. This of course is of no consequence to those who follow the practise. They would ship daughter off to wherever and have their will imposed upon her, often for the rest of her life. We in the west find it hard to understand their thinking, given how they usually profess their deep love for their daughter. The fact remains she has been rendered a chattel, a good or commodity to be bargained with and sold off to the highest bidder.

While the court may have refrained from condemning the practice, I won’t. At least not when they do it here in Australia because it is against our law. It is not a part of our culture and I find it abhorrent. What is just as bad is that these people come here for the good Australia can provide, but they refuse to leave their medieval, even pre-biblical era habits behind. They come here for the stability and prosperity our society offers compared to theirs and they then insist on doing the kind of things that contributes to making their society one worth leaving. Australian culture and society is not better than theirs, whoever ‘they’ might be in any instance. It is simply different. As we must accept their ways, in their country, they must accept and adhere to ours in this country.

I love to share my country, culture and the opportunities we have here with anyone who wants to come. But come here legally, not via the back door. Come here and adapt and adjust, don’t try to change us to suit you. Come here and FIFO as they say in the mining camps. Not Fly In Fly Out but ‘Fit In or F*^%! Off’. When I have lived in foreign countries I have had to adjust and adapt to assimilate. I have had to change my ways, my thinking, to fit in and that is how it should be! I chose to go there, nobody rendered me there in an orange jump suit with handcuffs and leg irons affixed!

The attitude that continues such an alien custom as arranged marriage also harbours other ideas that are out of sync with our culture. Attitudes towards women that are outdated (by our standards and those are the only ones we should judge by in our country) and very unhealthy. Attitudes that condone domestic violence and sexual assault because the male is the dominant partner in any male-female relationship or exchange. I’m sorry, that is not how we think and it is intolerable. Our women are an equal part of our society. We used to have some pretty misogynistic mindsets here (remember when every woman was a ‘Sheila’? What was really just a colloquial nickname had, for many, connotations of inferiority and today it is hardly ever heard and used only in an almost self-deprecating way and very carefully even then) but we have moved on. We have progressed, sa uncomfortable as that has been at times.

In a few years we will probably see women in frontline combat units and while that is something I disagree with, personally, it will send a message. I am not against women in combat because I don’t think they can fight but rather because of the effect they have on their male comrades. It has been proven, in combat, in Israel and elsewhere, that the male soldier will instinctively tend to try and protect his female comrade in arms more so than he would for a male. This takes his focus off the task at hand, of killing the enemy and weakens the unit’s effectiveness. Not her fault, it is the hard wiring in the male to blame. Of course, that was true in my day (1977 to 1986) but today’s generation of young Digger might be different. While they have proven in Iraq, Afghanistan, East Timor and the Solomons in recent years they are just as good as any of their forebears were, they will no doubt have their own idiosyncrasies compared to my era, as we did compared to those of soldiers who served before us. The thing is, if the ADF can’t control the natural and to be expected sexual shenanigans at the Defence Academy, how do they expect to handle them in the highly testosterone charged atmosphere of a bunker after a firefight? If the future leaders of the troops can’t be trusted when in training, how can they expect the other ranks to behave any differently?

Society is changing, the world is changing and it behooves all of us to keep up with the changes. If you change cultures and come and live in Australia, then leave the cultural practices alien to the new culture behind in the old, or go back there and stay where you are more comfortable.  This is not some right wing, nationalist rant, simply stating what to me makes perfect sense. I embrace diversity and welcome migrants, remember? Just so long as they come in the front door and behave like anyone would want someone to behave in their home. Not as a guest, but as a member of the family, respecting the other members of the family. When my family migrated to Australia, we had to adapt and assimilate. When I migrated to the Philippines in 2002, I had to do the same and when I brought my wife and children to Australia a few years later, they were the ones to have to adapt and assimilate. Hey, some people still eat dogs in the Philippines but there is no way my relatives would even begin to think of throwing our pooch on the barby, they know it is not how we do things here. We don’t arrange marriages either, or mutilate the genitals of women so they serve their husbands better or for why ever they do this crime; so leave those barbaric practices back where they are not barbaric, merely accepted as the norm.


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