For centuries, people have been dominated by the same power structures. Iron - fisted rulers, wealthy owners of capital and the shamans of superstition. And they have maintained their grip on power using any amount of violent coercion necessary. Untold millions have died hard at the hands of a powerful elite that saw them as potential challengers.
There is a concept in political philosophy called democracy, predicated on a rather self-evident concept that people should be free to live their lives in the manner of their choosing, that the political leadership serves at the pleasure of the people in order to serve the community, and everyone is subject to the same laws, rules and protections.
One requirement for the perpetuation of these kinds of power structures is that a large segment of the population must support them. Anytime a sufficient portion of the population determines that those in power are no longer legitimate nor acceptable there is a popular rebellion, and a new leadership is empowered, starting the whole cycle over again. Standing against such a revolution, those in power have a variety of reactionary forces at their disposal, but none more willing to engage in the violent suppression of those who would challenge the status quo than those who have been convinced that it is an invariable good to defend that status quo, and anyone who seeks fundamental change is an "enemy of the state" and not only must be resisted with all necessary violence, but such violence in the name of the preservation of the power structure is an unqualified good - and can even be a necessary prerequisite to the afterlife.
Today, with instant global communications and growing educational opportunities, more and more people are standing up to question the political, nationalist and religious authorities that demand their subservience or even enslavement. And at the nexus of these challenges to traditional powers is the question of women's rights. Women have been dominated and oppressed for centuries by powerful men in the guise of religious and cultural taboos and edicts. And in light of global economic and political changes, women are beginning to question why their options and opportunities are constantly limited by...well, by men. And so it is sadly predictable that many men would react to these challenges to their traditional dominance with violence and intimidation.
Which brings us to Paris, and Femen's day of protest in support of Amina Tyler they dubbed "Topless Jihad". And if you thought a woman without a shirt doesn't constitute much of an immediate threat, it is clarifying to realize that it is enough to bring some men to unreasoning violent anger.
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