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Albanian Virginity: Front Page News?

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    Albanian Virginity: Front Page News? Followup: Muslim Virginity, Times Front Page by Joachim Martillo Ethnic Ashkenazim Against Zionist Israel
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 3, 2008
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      Albanian Virginity: Front Page News?


      Followup: Muslim Virginity, Times Front Page
      by Joachim Martillo
      Ethnic Ashkenazim Against Zionist Israel
      <http://eaazi.blogspot.com/2008/07/albanian-virginity-times-front-
      page.html>


      On June 25, the New York Times published another non-news socio-
      cultural front page feature article
      <http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/25/world/europe/25virgins.html?
      ex=1215230400&en=b2b6e6e97edf845c&ei=5070&emc=eta1> that addressed
      the gradual disappearance of sworn virgin institution among Muslim
      and Christian Albanians. Here is the description of the practice:

      For centuries, in the closed-off and conservative society of rural
      northern Albania, swapping genders was considered a practical
      solution for a family with a shortage of men. Her father was killed
      in a blood feud, and there was no male heir. By custom, Ms. Keqi,
      now 78, took a vow of lifetime virginity. She lived as a man, the
      new patriarch, with all the swagger and trappings of male authority
      including the obligation to avenge her father's death.

      The new article addressed Muslim conceptions of sexuality as did the
      previous story entitled Surgery Offers Muslim Women Illusion of
      Virginity<http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/11/world/europe/11virgin.htm
      l?ref=todayspaper>, but this time the Muslim aspect was deemphasized
      and mentioned only in a single paragraph on the second page:

      In Albania, a majority Muslim country in the western Balkans, the
      Kanun [or traditional Code of Conduct of Leke Dukagjini] is adhered
      to by Muslims and Christians. Albanian cultural historians said the
      adherence to medieval customs long discarded elsewhere was a
      byproduct of the country's previous isolation. But they stressed
      that the traditional role of the Albanian woman was changing.

      Another paragraph on the article's first page indirectly indicates
      that some Albanian Muslims follow this practice:

      Ms. Keqi lorded over her large family in her modest house in Tirana,
      where her nieces served her brandy while she barked out orders. She
      said living as a man had allowed her freedom denied other women. She
      worked construction jobs and prayed at the mosque with men. Even
      today, her nephews and nieces said, they would not dare marry
      without their "uncle's" permission.

      Even though the New York Times is a questionable source for
      information on sociology and cultural anthropology, the material in
      this report provides evidence both of

      * the diversity within the Muslim world with regard to sexuality
      and also of

      * the crossing of religious boundaries by various practices and
      customs associated with gender.

      The earlier article discussed hymenoplasty and revirgination within
      an essentialist framework that implicitly denigrated Muslim
      attitudes or behavior

      * assumed to be uniform or undifferentiated throughout the
      Islamic world and

      * supposed to be completely distinct from Christian or Jewish
      beliefs and practices.

      In contrast, the analysis of sworn virgins refrains from the usual
      NY Times disparagement of Muslims and
      Islam<http://tinyurl.com/yrjncm> probably because of the apparent
      similarity of "sworn virgin" customs to transvestitism and
      transgender ideals vociferously defended by the Gay International,
      which is a term used by Columbia Professor Joseph Massad to describe
      Western homosexual politics in his recently published book entitled
      Desiring Arabs.

      Modern Western gay politics has almost certainly no connection to
      the very ancient and once fairly common institution of sworn
      virgins. Greek myths associated with Artemis and Atalanta are almost
      certainly based in legends of sworn virgins while the Biblical story
      of Sarah probably contains some core elements associated with a
      related sworn virgin mythology.

      Remnants of the "ideology" associated with sworn virgins seem to
      have persisted in both Christian and Jewish cultures in the respect
      and honor accorded to the British virgin queen Elizabeth I and to
      Channa Rachel Werbermacher, the Maid of Ludmir, who functioned as a
      Hassidic Rebbe during the nineteenth century.

      Queen Elizabeth eschewed marriage in order to avoid losing authority
      to a male king while Judaism generally rejects the combination of
      scholarly authority and marriage for women as indicated by
      Rashi<http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/rashi.htm
      l>'s account within his commentary on Babalonian Talmud tractate
      Avodah Zarah 18b of the suicide of the second century CE Talmudic
      sage Beruriah after she was seduced by one of her husband's students.

      *********************************************************************

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