Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Saturday, March 12, 2016

When Patriarchy Prevails

"He was like a kid in a candy shop. [Here], he could speak Kurdish, he could write Kurdish -- he was put in prison for [that] in Iran -- so when he came [to Canada] he was excited and contacted people from all over the world who would support Kurdish culture and identity. And some of those people were pro-PKK".
Shirish Chotalia, lawyer

"It sounds silly now [when she first met him], but I was swept off my feet. He was charismatic. He had a presence."                                                                          "I didn't want them [her children] to go [trip with their father], but my legal bills were piling up and with one successful trip under his belt the courts would have been inclined to favour Saren."
"I didn't think they [PKK Kurds] would give me my kids that day. But I thought they would at least recognize m humanity as a mother."
"I want Canada to do something that we don't often do as Canadians, and that's flex a little muscle." There are four Canadian kids being held captive in a war zone and no one seems to be doing anything about it. Canada has a lot of clout in this region right now with the Kurds. It is time to use it to bring my kids safetly home."
"I'm not going to stop until my kids are home."
AlisonJeffrey/Azer, Comox, British Columbia
Missing Kids
Saren Azer, shown in the photo from 2002, is alleged to have abducted his four children, after they failed to return from a trip to Europe this past summer. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press) A Canada-wide warrant has been issued for Saren Azer, also known as Salahaddin Mahmudi-Azer, after he failed to return with his four children from a trip to Germany

In human relations, emotions forever trump reason. And we, intelligent creatures that we are, fail to recognize the vital importance of concordance in intimate relations that a shared culture can bring; we give its dominance short shrift at our own risk. A risk that goes unrecognized because judgement is clouded by passion.

There are many inter-religious marriages that succeed. And many that do not, with tragic consequences. Needless to say it is not necessarily and generally mixed cultures failing to meet in moderation that causes failed marriages, since personalities, mental health and a patriarchal social contract also play their part in the ruination of an emotional bond sundered.

Non-Muslim women, however, should be aware that in matching themselves with a man who has been culturally and religiously inculcated with the belief that women's role in life is one utterly subservient to men they risk all that may be of value to their own lives. Men often defy court orders, to abduct their children, but women also do this. In the case of a Canadian woman who married a Kurdish Muslim man and bore and raised four children with him, there is no contest in Islam over which of the parents is endowed with the 'right' assured by the Almighty over custodial ownership of the children.

A Canadian court may have given her sole custody of her children, then under constant petition shared custody enabling her husband to take the four children against her wishes and theirs to his country of origin in the Middle East where conflict rages, but Canadian law does not extend to Middle Eastern countries where the law of Sharia holds sway held to be an all-encompassing law handed down directly from Allah to the Prophet Mohammad; not paltry, insignificant man-made laws of democratic countries.

Now a woman originally from Alberta, Alison Jeffrey, is without her children, Sharvahn 11, Rojevahn 9, Dersim 7, and Mitan 3, and they are with their father Saren Azer in northern Iraq, among the Kurdish PKK, considered a terrorist group whom their father supports. Officially, as far as Canada is concerned, Saren Azer -- originally a refugee from Iran but under suspicion by Canada's intelligence agency as a member of the PKK who eventually achieved Canadian citizenship -- is now a fugitive for having abducted those four children. Canadian courts gave him leave, as a respected medical practitioner, a known community organizer and humanitarian, to take his children abroad briefly under certain conditions; that being maintaining contact with their mother and returning the children as scheduled to their her.

It is six months since the children were abducted, their whereabouts uncertain, although intelligence has it that they are in the mountains of Iraq in a small town in an area dominated by Kurds, in a semi-autonomous region. Their mother, after coming across one roadblock after another to energize the Government of Canada to exert its political-diplomatic muscle to persuade Kurdish allies in the war against ISIL to have the children returned to Canada, travelled herself to Iraq, in an attempt to track down her children.

She met, as a convert to Islam, with the village elder in Qandil to explain her situation, and found him understanding enough; unlike Arab Muslims, the Kurds have a reputation of treating women as equal to men. He directed her to where she could deliver her hopeful message appealing to the better nature of Kurds, to speak with PKK militants. Her appeals were meaningless to them, since her husband has taken up his lot with their struggle for independence, has worked in Kurdish refugee camps to bring relief, and she returned to Canada, heavy-hearted with her mission a failure.

Mother Alison Azer, holds Meitan as her other children Sharvahn, left to right, Dersim and Rojevahn pose for a family photo taken before they disappeared.
Mother Alison Azer, holds Meitan as her other children Sharvahn, left to right, Dersim and Rojevahn pose for a family photo taken before they disappeared. (Alison Azer/The Canadian Press)

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