2013年经济学人 安拉与女人 God-daughters(在线收听

Books and Arts; Book Review; Women and Islam;God-daughters;


A biography of two women whose lives have been transformed by militant Islam;


Wanted Women: Faith, Lies, and the War on Terror: The Lives of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafia Siddiqui. By Deborah Scroggins.


Ayaan Hirst Ali and Aafia Siddiqui are forceful, intelligent women who were born around 40 years ago in the heart of the conservative Islamic world, into families of some prominence. Later, they moved to America. Like tens of millions of others who made similar journeys, they had to negotiate the interface between an immigrant sub-culture that harked back to the homeland and a liberal society where very different options existed. Presented with two sharply contrasting value systems, two diametrically opposed ideas about the meaning of virtue, success and fulfilment, they had to make their choices.


There, it would seem, the resemblance ends. Somali-born Ms Hirsi Ali is an admired public intellectual who denounced Islam as an oppressor of her sex and the source of many other woes. Ms Siddiqui is serving an 86-year prison sentence in Fort Worth, Texas, after being convicted of shooting at the American officers detaining her in Afghanistan. A Pakistani-born neuroscientist who excelled in her studies at leading American universities, she has been described as the only senior female member of al-Qaeda and “the most wanted woman in the world”. Her alleged complicity in terrorist plots has not been tested in court (her trial had a narrower remit) but there is no doubting her jihadist zeal.


As Deborah Scroggins, an American journalist, recalls in this gripping and finely textured double biography, the two women's marital histories are also different. Ms Hirsi Ali is now wedded to Niall Ferguson, a British-born historian, forming one of the world's most lionised couples. Their son was born last month. Formally speaking, her first marriage was an arranged union with a fellow Somali who wanted to take her to Canada. Ms Hirsi Ali instead sought asylum in the Netherlands. Eventually she became its best-known politician after her artistic collaborator (on a film denouncing Islam's cruelty to women) was murdered by a Muslim extremist and her own life needed protecting.

身为记者的美国作者黛博拉 斯克罗金斯在这部精心创作、扣人心弦的双人传记中回顾了两位女性截然不同的婚史。希尔西·阿里的现任丈夫是英国裔史学家尼尔 弗格森,两人组成全球最受崇拜的夫妻。上个月他们刚刚喜得贵子。而从形式上讲,希尔西·阿里的初婚则是与某个设法将其带到加拿大的索马里男子组成的形式婚姻。希尔西·阿里舍弃了对方在荷兰寻求庇护。而让希尔西·阿里最终扬名天下的是她艺术合伙人(在一部影片中谴责伊斯兰教残酷对待妇女)被伊斯兰极端主义者谋杀,而她自己亦需要保护之后。

Ms Siddiqui, who seemed to personify the very demons that Ms Hirsi Ali was fighting, married the nephew of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the September 11th 2001 terror attacks. An earlier, failed marriage was to a Pakistani-born doctor, another high-flyer in American academia, who shared her piety but not her extremism.

西迪基看上去则恰恰正像是希尔西·阿里与之战斗的那些魔鬼的化身,她嫁给了据称是911恐怖袭击的主要策划者哈立德 谢赫 穆罕默德的侄子。而其前夫是一位在美国学术界极有抱负的巴基斯坦裔医生,此人与其一样虔诚但没有她极端。

Ms Scroggins has spent much of the past decade tracking both women and is struck by what she calls the weird symmetry between them. Ms Hirsi Ali could have been an Islamist; as an adolescent in east Africa she was exposed to persuasive activists in the Muslim Brotherhood. Ms Siddiqui could have settled for life as a “Volvo-driving mother of two” as she was described (accurately, in a way) by those who insisted that her detention and trial were unfair. By flipping between the two lives, the book cleverly shows how both women were influenced by successive episodes in history, from the Bosnian war to the New York attacks and the overthrow of the Taliban, gradually becoming protagonists in subsequent events.


Although the book avoids psychobabble, it is tempting to conclude that very personal factors influenced the women's choices. In Ms Hirsi Ali's childhood the dominant figure was her father, a rebel leader who was frustratingly absent most of the time. In her own battles, she at once defied and emulated him. In the Siddiqui household, the strongest role model was her mother, a passionate advocate of ultra-conservative Islam and close associate of Pakistan's most hard-line clerics. Both lives were also affected by the final phase of the cold war. The Siddiquis were part of a wave of Islamist zeal unleashed by Zia ul Haq, a Pakistani general who enjoyed American support as an ally in the anti-Soviet fight in Afghanistan. As opponents of Somalia's pro-Soviet regime, Ms Hirsi Ali's family were initially welcomed by pro-Western Saudi Arabia; but when Somalia switched sides, the family had to move to Kenya, where life as an exile remained difficult. The worst features of traditional life, especially domestic violence, were easier to reproduce than any other aspect of Somali culture.

虽然这本传记也在避免心理呓语,但还是吸引人地总结了左右两人选择的每个个人因素。支撑希尔西·阿里童年的是其父,这是一位在绝大多数时间里都令人沮丧地不在其身边的反对派领导人。当希尔西·阿里开始自己的战斗时,她立即膜拜并效仿父亲。而西迪基家中最有力的榜样是母亲,后者强烈拥护极端保守的伊斯兰教,与巴基斯坦最强硬的神职人员关系紧密。两人的生活都受到了冷战最后阶段的影响。西迪基是被齐亚 哈克释放出的一波伊斯兰教狂热的一部分,而齐亚 哈克则是受到美国支持并被视为美国在阿富汗反苏盟友的巴基斯坦将军。而做为索马里亲苏政府的反对者,希尔西·阿里的家庭起初受亲西方的沙特欢迎,不过后来索马里变换了阵营,希尔西·阿里一家不得不远走肯尼亚,在那里做为被流放者艰难度日。传统生活中的糟粕,尤其是家庭暴力,比索马里文化中的其它东西更容易滋生。

In the introduction, Ms Scroggins says she hopes her meticulous investigation into the two women's lives (which did not enjoy the collaboration of either) will help her to understand the “deep structure” of the defining conflict of the early 21st century, pitting militant Islam against the West. (Something her subjects share, of course, is that both regard that battle as primordial and non-negotiable.) Some may find the book's stated intention slightly over-ambitious. But it does add greatly to the understanding of several interlocking conflicts, some grand and geopolitical and others intimate and personal.