Very interesting analysis here from my friend, Dr Petra Bueskens at Online Opinion.
And because the Left are defined by the most radical or progressive end of liberalism (the political place I too call home), their focus is on social change – there are always more battles to be won: closing the gender pay gap, fighting casualization, ending domestic violence, legalising gay marriage, reducing climate change etc. Because of this it is difficult to take stock of just how good, in historical and cross-cultural terms, things actually are!
Given the epistemic relativism that defines western liberalism, few are willing to celebrate the attributes of their own culture, ironically, because they are so steeped in it. This is the political vacuum that many concerned liberals, including myself, are worried the xenophobic and fundamentalist Right are filling with hate speech. That is, right wing anti-immigration groups in the West and conservative Fundamentalism in the Middle-East, which of course speaks to and potentially recruits disaffected Muslims in the West.
We may conclude, then, that feminists and others on the Left, were and are unusually quiet about Cologne because it invokes both a critique of Muslim fundamentalism (or, in other words, another political culture) and because it involves a defence of liberalism. In this specific case, the rights of women to bodily autonomy and the free and full use of public space.
While being at pains not to point the finger at vulnerable asylum seekers, we fail to address a social problem; we fail to protect women and we engage in a ‘white wash’ in not acknowledging the capacity for the reified victim to also, at times, be a perpetrator.