We must challenge masculinity that derives its power from the backs of the weakest segments in our society, while at the same time proposing an alternative masculinity that fights back against our humiliation.
By Abed Abu Shehadeh
After every catastrophe that befalls Arab society in Israel, I find myself typing away. I write to try and describe and analyze political events, focusing specifically on mechanisms of oppression. Time after time I ask myself why I even write in the first place, when I am well aware of the fact that I am using rationalistic tools to analyze irrational events. After all, there is no logic in oppression, beyond the fact that people develop these systems to control others and maintain their privileges. When we show oppressors the facts about the way they oppress, they will do everything in their power to explain it away using all kids of excuses. As long as they don’t need to take responsibility or change the existing balance of power.
And yet, despite the frustration and feeling of helplessness when it comes to dealing with violence in Arab society, writing about murders — and specifically the murder of Arab women — is a duty. Every article, every post on Facebook, even if only those who are already convinced read them, can have an effect. We must write with the hope that these words prevent the next catastrophe.
I prefer not to focus on the facts having to do with recent murders, and instead will focus on the question of Arab masculinity. I do not write about femininity, nor do I try to explain the behavior of women, for two reasons; first, far be it from me as a man to preach to women over who they are or what they need to be. They know to do this far better than I do. The second resin is that there is very little writing surrounding Arab masculinity.
After all, there is something completely illogical in the fact that Arab men were occupied by a foreign entity and undergo a lifetimes worth of humiliation by state institutions, while accepting the situation as a given — and ostensibly without having their ego bruised. On the other hand, despite the danger of lengthy imprisonment and strict prohibitions in both Islam and Christianity against violence and murder — the phenomenon of violence against women not only continues, it is getting worse.