Sunday, 27 January 2013

Damming Daming


What, no job?
I began this year by writing about the rape, mutilation and murder of a young woman in Delhi. Last year I wrote about Amina Filali, a sixteen-year-old Moroccan girl who was forced to marry her rapist as a way of preserving her family’s ‘honour.’ Subject to continuing abuse, she killed herself in a particularly horrible way – she swallowed rat poison.

Rape is a dreadful crime, even when it isn’t accompanied by additional acts of brutalisation and violence. It is an act based not on desire but on hatred, on the worst forms of human depravity. Women everywhere deserve the protection of the law. Potential rapists need to understand that, if caught and convicted, they face the severest of penalties. Instead the law, as in Morocco, simply adds to the crime, often by stupid insensitivity on the part of judges and senior legal officials.

The whole world was shocked by the savagery of the Delhi attack, which saw the victim disembowelled. One would have thought that a new sobriety would have descended, at least for a time. Alas, the whole world did not include Indonesia, or at least it did not include Judge Muhammad Daming Sanusi.

Daming, a judge for twenty-four years, serves as head of the South Sumatra High Court. Earlier this month he was in Jakarta, the capital, being interviewed by the House Commission for a possible place on the country’s Supreme Court. This is clearly a serious position for serious people, and who could possibly be more serious than a senior lawyer? After all, they are the guardians and upholders of the law, the protectors of the innocent. Who could possibly be more serious than Daming? Well, the answer has to be, just about anybody.

During the course of the interview he was asked whether the death penalty in rape cases was a necessary change to the law, which at present carries a maximum sentence of twelve years imprisonment. "Both the victims and the rapist", he responded, "might have enjoyed their intercourse together, so we should think twice before handing down the death sentence." Apparently, after a moment’s silence, the panel laughed. It was all a great joke, a joke that just happened to have been made not long after an eleven-year-old girl died after being gang raped in broad daylight in the streets of Jakarta.

Unfortunately the ordinary people of the land, those without sound legal sense, or a sense of humour, failed to see the joke. Thousands took to Facebook and Twitter. The condemnation of Daming was damming. Those who previously laughed discovered, on reflection, that it wasn’t so funny after all. Politicians from the country’s main parties said that they would not support his candidature. He himself, in a contrite and tearful public statement, said that his remark was merely intended to ‘ease the tension’.

"I have three adolescent daughters", he said, ‘and one of them told me that she is very embarrassed and that she felt as if she did not know me at all." He knows her, though; he knows that she might enjoy being forced to have sex. Oh, but wait a minute; it’s never one’s own that are the subject of such observations; it’s the children of others, those who do not matter.

Commenting on his words, the Indonesian Child Protection Agency said;

Has Daming felt what it’s like to be a rape victim or a member of the victim’s family? It’s extremely inappropriate for a Supreme Court judge hopeful to joke about the suffering of people and their feelings.

The sad thing is that this is not the first time that a senior public official has been responsible for such crass insensitivity. Rape is a crime, you see, where the victim is at fault. Last year Fauzi Bowo, the governor of Jakarta, advised women against wearing ‘provocative clothes’ while using public transport just to avoid being raped. This came in the wake of a series of sexual attacks on public minivans, including that of a university student who was subsequently murdered.

Apologies, tears and family disapproval notwithstanding, it’s all too late for Daming. On Wednesday the House Commission appointed eight new justices. He received not a single vote. But the matter does not stop there. On Friday the Judicial Commission, Indonesia’s highest legal authority, recommended that he be dismissed from his existing post. Imam Ashori Saleh, the Commission’s deputy chairman, said that Daming should be removed because his rape remarks breached the judicial code of ethics. The Supreme Court now has fourteen days to decide his fate.

The fact of the matter is that he has become a political embarrassment. Personally speaking, I have little doubt that if this business had been confined to Indonesia’s old boy network of lawyers and politicians the whole thing would have passed without repercussion. It just a little levity, after all, no need to let some casual words detain us unnecessarily - Judge away, Judge Daming. Alas, the levity made an ass of the law and a laughing stock of the victims of crime. Sometimes, just sometimes, ordinary people can make a difference, if their voice is joined in common purpose.

12 comments:

  1. Hello Ana,
    A very good and complete information about the God damned judge Damming. Well done!.

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    1. Thanks, Harry. That's particularly appreciated coming from you, the man on the spot, so to speak. :-)

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  2. Daming be Damned, more fucking savages.

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  3. It should come as no surprise that this man should make such an asinine remark he after all is no doubt a Muslim. He lives in a country whose culture is dominated by Islam an invention of an ignorant paedophile. A religion that proclaims that women are second class and even can be regarded as chattels. A women's lot has never really been a happy one regardless of what religion the state they live in follows. The Delhi outrage is in a nation predominately Hindu, a very caste conscious religion and it appears that to date much of the same attitudes exist there. Even Christian lands have until recent times have had appalling records in their treatment of their womenfolk. Men it seems are biased towards abuse of the female part of their society and will concoct all sorts of reason to justify being so. The question must be asked why. Presumably it is because they can apart from that I am at a loss for an answer. Feminism, the Suffragettes, education and prosperity has spurred the addressing of the issue of women's rights in the West which has been quite successful some would say too successful but probably those would be men who say so. I hope that now international pressure will make major inroads in correcting the gender anomalies in developing countries so that women there can be afforded equal rights and protection. Without sustained international pressure advancing female rights will happen but it will be painfully slow and could take decades to centuries to accomplish especially in Muslim countries. Even in the UK Muslim abuse of women is still very hard to stop and reports of it comes in a constant stream.

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    1. Ah, my friend, we are but Adam's rib, a sort of afterthought. :-) Anyway, I want to tackle injustice against women, wherever it occurs. It's good that so many people across the world are now prepared to speak out on the issue, the one great advantage of social media.

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  4. Ana the judge often reveals himself in his judgement, as illustrated in Jean Genet's play Le Balcon in which members of the judiciary visit a brothel. Such self-distancing from the crime either indicates extreme ignorance or complicity.

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    1. Good example, Richard. Happy New Year. :-)

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  5. On international Third World rape, three six Spanish women tourists were tied up and systematically raped by a gang of masked men in Acapulco mexico. It used to be a taboo to mess with the tourists as they needed the income but now the savages just don't care, also an American woman traveling in Turkey was found dead but not robbed of valuables but most likely raped as well. watch being alone in strange surroundings as people can be degenerates.

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    1. Yes, that was 'six' Spanish women tourists, I fogot to delete the 'three' but attacks on women is becoming a world wide epidemic with social degeneration.

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