Muslim Society Needs A Lysistrata
- Can Muslim Women Defuse their Testosterone Crazed Men -
"We must refrain from the male altogether."
"Recently, reports on Egyptian blogs, on television and in newspapers say groups of men had roamed the city streets during a holiday weekend and attacked young women -- actually chased them down in packs, 'they groped us in a way that is worse than anyone on the crowded street could imagine.'
MONA EL-NAGGAR, Memo From Egypt
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Watching the throngs of armed men swaggering thru the streets of the Middle East these days reminds me of my travels through the area several decades ago. From Turkey to Egypt, Lebanon to Afghanistan and seeing every country except Israel, I remember vividly that I was left with one singular impression -- i.e., the Middle East is plagued with horny and unsatisfied men, and the tension in the air in the city streets is palpable.
From the perspective of an outsider, there seems to be little or no release in normal sexual relations for men, even up to an advanced age - except for other men, a considerable phenomena in these parts.
Given this psycho-sexual-religio dynamic, one can't help wondering if it is only women who can save this area from its own uptight and antiquated religious beliefs, along with all the incredible brutality and harm the dogma serves to generate.
War and sectarian violence seems to be the only outlet. It seems clear these legions of unsatisfied men are like (pardon the term) loaded weapons. Just ask the ladies. In short, they need to be dis-armed, so to speak.
Enter Women... and the sex-strike method.
For those who are unfamiliar with Lysistrata, she is the heroine of the classic Greek comedy of the same name by Arisophanes. Talk about a lingering cultural thing, even in 415 B.C. Aristophanes could see the problem, and posit a novel and effective remedy.
The setting is this, after twenty-one years of Peloponnesian wars between Athens and Sparta, and seeing their men dying in useless battles for "honor" and other such ego-related postulates, the lovely Lysistrata and her legions of war widows put together a very effective peace organization.
She persuaded the wives of Athens and Sparta to push up their resolve and separate themselves away from their husbands until peace was concluded. As a result of applying this strategy -- no laughing matter to the men - she had the satisfaction of dictating the terms:
"What matters that I was born a woman, if I can cure your misfortunes? I pay my share of tolls and taxes, by giving men to the State. But you, you miserable greybeards, you contribute nothing to the public charges; on the contrary, you have wasted the treasure of our forefathers, as it was called, the treasure amassed in the days of the Persian Wars. You pay nothing at all in return; and into the bargain you endanger our lives and liberties by your mistakes. Have you one word to say for yourselves? . . . Ah! don't irritate me, you there, or I'll lay my slipper across your jaws; and it's pretty heavy. By the blessed goddesses, if you anger me, I will let loose the beast of my evil passions, and a very hailstorm of blows will set you yelling for help."
This woman meant business, and why not, endless war is not a good thing. Achieving Peace clearly demands novel strategies and sacrifice. Enter Plan BJ, as it were.
"World peace is just a matter of one big swallow"
I see here the possibility of a two-pronged (sic) strategy. First you apply the Lysistrata, and then if it works you give them the Erica Jong -- a method suggested by the feminist novelist years ago and well known for its usefulness in taking the stuffing out of men. So call it a one-two counterpunch for sanity, security, and everlasting peace on earth. Shock and aaaahhhh.
As the story goes, Lysistrata and her band of not so merry widows first seized the Acropolis, where the State treasure was kept. But then the old men of the city tried to assault the doors to the temple, only to be repulsed by a "terrible regiment" of women.
Then, the Commissioner of Public Safety attempts to enter the Acropolis with his police squad, to garner more war funds. Seeing that the Akropolis has been taken by women, he concludes these harpies must be involved in some kind of orgy or "spontaneous combustion of lust."
"By the two Goddesses, now can't you see All we have to do is idly sit indoors With smooth roses powdered on our cheeks, Our bodies burning naked through the folds Of shining Amorgos' silk, and meet the men With our dear Venus-plats plucked trim and neat. Their stirring love will rise up furiously, They'll beg our arms to open. That's our time! We'll disregard their knocking, beat them off-- And they will soon be rabid for a Peace. I'm sure of it."
The Commissioner takes this opportunity to rant about women and the moral chaos they create. He raves on about modern society and men who have allowed women to have such power. Taliban, ISIS and other frustrated and violent clowns, are you listening?
As the Commissioner and police attempt to pry open the gates, Lysistrata emerges. The Commissioner tries to arrest Lysistrata and her band of pause-o-men women. However, the men and police are overpowered by her phalanx of women brandishing their pots and household articles.
Sensing victory, Lysistrata then informs the Commissioner that she intends to keep the Akropolis money hoard in the treasury until Athens and Sparta declare peace. Then, the women will budget the money for the city, just as the women budget their household accounts. Imagine, the dire threat of no deficit spending for war!
Before long this clever device of Lysistrata proves effective, Peace is soon concluded, and the play ends with the hilarious festivities of the Athenian and Spartan plenipotentiaries in celebration of the event. From bloodthirsty killers to party animals, now that's progress!
So, women of the Middle East, I give you Lysistrata's pledge. Think on it, Aristophanes wasn't kidding:
Lysistrata's pledge -
To husband or lover I'll not open arms
Though love and denial may enlarge his charms
But still at home, ignoring him, I'll stay
Beautiful, clad in saffron silks all day
If then he seizes me by dint of force
I'll give him reason for a long remorse
I'll never lie and stare up at the ceiling
Nor like a lion on all fours go kneeling
If I keep faith, then bounteous cups be mine
If not, to nauseous water change this wine
LYSISTRATA SO, grasp the brim, you, Lampito, and all. You, Calonice, repeat for the rest Each word I say. Then you must all take oath And pledge your arms to the same stern conditions--
LYSISTRATA To husband or lover I'll not open arms
CALONICE _To husband or lover I'll not open arms_
LYSISTRATA Though love and denial may enlarge his charms.
CALONICE _Though love and denial may enlarge his charms._ O, O, my knees are failing me, Lysistrata!
LYSISTRATA But still at home, ignoring him, I'll stay,
CALONICE _But still at home, ignoring him, I'll stay,
_ LYSISTRATA Beautiful, clad in saffron silks all day.
CALONICE _Beautiful, clad in saffron silks all day._
LYSISTRATA If then he seizes me by dint of force,
CALONICE _If then he seizes me by dint of force,
_ LYSISTRATA I'll give him reason for a long remorse.
CALONICE _I'll give him reason for a long remorse._
LYSISTRATA I'll never lie and stare up at the ceiling,
CALONICE _I'll never lie and stare up at the ceiling,_
LYSISTRATA Nor like a lion on all fours go kneeling.
CALONICE _Nor like a lion on all fours go kneeling._
LYSISTRATA If I keep faith, then bounteous cups be mine.
CALONICE _If I keep faith, then bounteous cups be mine._
LYSISTRATA If not, to nauseous water change this wine.
CALONICE _If not, to nauseous water change this wine._
LYSISTRATA Do you all swear to this?
MYRRHINE We do, we do.
LYSISTRATA Then I shall immolate the victim thus. _She drinks._
CALONICE Here now, share fair, haven't we made a pact? Let's all quaff down that friendship in our turn.
LAMPITO Hark, what caterwauling hubbub's that?
LYSISTRATA As I told you, The women have appropriated the citadel. So, Lampito, dash off to your own land And raise the rebels there. These will serve as hostages, While we ourselves take our places in the ranks And drive the bolts right home.
CALONICE But won't the men March straight against us?
LYSISTRATA And what if they do? No threat shall creak our hinges wide, no torch Shall light a fear in us; we will come out To Peace alone.
CALONICE That's it, by Aphrodite! As of old let us seem hard and obdurate.