The Wave Washed in Virulent Misogyny

This is just bloody swell. The millions of dollars donated to the Indonesian province of Aceh after the 2004 Christmas tsunami is being funneled by the government to "sharia police" and is consequently "subsidizing the lashing of women in public" for transgressions ranging from gambling to indecent attire to improper proximity to a man.

[M]ilitant Islamists have since imposed sharia law in Aceh and have cornered Indonesian government funds to organise a moral vigilante force that harasses women and stages frequent displays of humiliation and state-sanctioned violence.

…Some say there are more “sharia police” than regular police on the local government payroll and that many of them are aggressive young men.

“Who are these sharia police?” demanded Nurjannah Ismail, a lecturer at Aceh’s Ar-Raniri University. “They are men who, most of the time, are trying to send the message that their position is higher than women.”
Proposed curfews for women risk creating an underclass of prostitutes as tsunami widows are forced to quit evening jobs "as food sellers or waitresses," warnings of which are being issued by international aid and social workers, but "None of that daunts the enthusiasts for sharia, who gather in droves whenever there is an opportunity to glory in its enforcement."

The scene is always the same, and it has been enacted at least 140 times in squares and market places in front of mosques, from the towering minarets of Banda Aceh, the provincial capital, to humble village places of worship.

…She is dressed in white robes and veiled. Policemen escort her up on to a stage erected before a jeering crowd, which, witnesses say, is usually almost exclusively male.

Forced to kneel, the woman waits while a masked man ascends the platform. He is carrying a cane with a curved handle designed to give the inflictor of God’s punishment a better grip. From the loudspeakers, a man’s voice sonorously recites the appropriate religious chastisement. Then he begins to count. With each number, the cane descends with a vicious lash.

According to witnesses, male onlookers often roar in delight and hurl pious imprecations at the victims, working themselves up to a pitch of excitement.
I love it. I just fucking love it. An absolutely devastating disaster rocks the province and the situation, already shitty for everyone, has to be made even worse for women. Because, you know, the best thing to do when your life is ruined is try to ruin someone else's just a little bit more. Goddamnit, this shit pisses me off.

Anyway, European peace monitors withdrew last week, just days after the province held its first-ever democratic elections in which it was alleged that sharia law was used to prevent women from participating. Of course. Aguswandi, an Indonesian human rights activist, warns that the government's alliance with religious extremists is "a political tool to pacify the population" and "a timebomb [which] could unleash an era of harsh, intolerant and conservative Islam." Stupendous.

“Nobody intended our aid to subsidise this,” said one United Nations official.
Indeed not.

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