Home Columns Books Papers Biography Contact

Columns and Articles by Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman

January 21, 2017

World Law and Reciprocity

After 75 years with a system of global norms that America created, many around the world are challenging these norms. "International laws" are treaties agreed to by nations and "norms" are behaviors believed beneficial to all who practice them. However, global norms and treaties are voided when one side violates the agreements. During World War II, because Germany, the US, and Britain were all signatories to the Geneva Conventions, they all abided by humane rules validated by regular Red Cross inspections. Reciprocity was key.

Because Germany and the Soviet Union were not signatories of the convention, they were equally savage in their treatment of each other?s prisoners of war.

Our own country is based on lawful behavior requiring reciprocity. The citizens obey their officials, including their courts, usually without the government resorting to force. It is understood that we elect our officials regularly and (for the most part) in a system that discourages corruption. We expect our support for our elected leaders to be reciprocated by fairness and diligence on their part.

Some in the Western World are so accustomed to this tacit reciprocity that we expect everyone else in the world to behave the same way. Governments in Europe convinced their citizens that taking in refugees of another culture fleeing the horrors of civil war is the right thing to do. They assumed that people fleeing for their lives are mostly middle class families like their own, which would ultimately benefit their host countries. Would the countries from which they fled take in Europeans if they were refugees? I do not see reciprocity here.

Europe?s intentions were admirable but their assumptions were wrong. Only a small percentage of refugees to Europe were middle-class Syrian families; instead, they represented the enormous youth bulge (male) fleeing the overpopulated and ill-run Muslim world and Africa. These young men have few marketable skills, are testosterone poisoned, growing up in sick cultures that teach scorn for women, and the superiority of the currently ascendant militant Islam. There is no reciprocity of respect and obedience for the culture and laws of their new countries. Despite restrictions on press coverage, the 2016 New Year?s Eve rape riots throughout Europe alerted everyone to reality. America?s refugees are better vetted and are easier to absorb.

Hospital emergency room personnel in Germany are being overwhelmed by migrants with ailments not seen for a century in Europe. Young men refuse to see a woman doctor, insult and assault nurses, and then erupt in fury when given prescriptions that they must pay for. Other public institutions are trashed and endemic rioting is always aimed at the defenseless (women). They don?t know better, but Europeans do. There can be no reciprocity between two such different civilizations.

The lack of reciprocity was seen when Italy fawned over visiting Iranian president Rouhani, coming to do business (they hoped). The Italians honored him at a banquet but covered up their world-famous nude sculptures from antiquity and the Renaissance lest they "offend" a prudish Muslim. One sarcastic Italian critic noted that these sculptures, many of them missing arms (Venus) or other body parts should not offend a Muslim at all. They look just like the victims of Iran?s penal system that hacks off hands and feet. The French, to their credit, held no banquet for him because Rouhani might be offended by wine. No wine, no banquet, no groveling.

Would any European going to a Muslim-ruled state find reciprocal concern for their culture? Would an Iranian or Saudi official shake the hand of a woman lawmaker? Would they permit a woman to come to their country wearing the clothing customary in her culture? They would not. Reciprocity is not considered.

A High School in Mason, Ohio, tried to hold a "hijab day" asking girls to wear a headscarf (hijab) for an entire school day followed by "reflection and discussion." Would any Muslim state hold a "hijab-free day" to reflect on Western values? Fortunately, officials came to their senses and the event was cancelled.

Without reciprocity, there can be no true concept of global law.

678 words

Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman is a historian, lecturer, and author of God's Law or Man's Law. You may contact her at Lfarhat102@aol.com or www.globalthink.net.