A Palestinian man has been convicted of rape after having consensual sex with a woman who had believed him to be a fellow Jew.
Sabbar Kashur, 30, was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Monday after the court ruled that he was guilty of rape by deception. According to the complaint filed by the woman with the Jerusalem district court, the two met in downtown Jerusalem in September 2008 where Kashur, an Arab from East Jerusalem, introduced himself as a Jewish bachelor seeking a serious relationship. The two then had consensual sex in a nearby building before Kashur left.
When she later found out that he was not Jewish but an Arab, she filed a criminal complaint for rape and indecent assault.
I've been reading The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell, the fictional memoirs of an SS officer in the Second World War.
At one point in the story the police are investigating him as a suspect in the murder of his mother, and he goes to visit his boss, Himmler, to persuade him to quash the charge. And the news story above reminded me of Himmler's reply:
Obersturmbannfuehrer, I'm beginning to know you. You have your faults: you are, excuse me for saying so, stubborn and sometimes pedantic. But I don't see the slightest trace of a moral defect in you. Racially, you are a perfect Nordic specimen, with perhaps just a touch of alpine blood. Only the racially degenerate nations, Poles, Gypsies, can commit matricide. Or else a hot-blooded Italian, during a quarrel, not in cold blood. No, it's ridiculous. The Kripo is completely lacking in discernment. I'll have to give instructions to Gruppenfuehrer Nebe to have his men trained in racial analysis, they'll waste much less time that way.
OK, it's fiction, but the rape story seems to bear out what the Brazilian educationist, Paolo Freire, said in his book Pedagogy of the oppressed:
During the initial stage of the struggle the oppressed, instead of striving for liberation, tend themselves to become oppressors, or 'sub-oppressors.' The very structure of their thought has been conditioned by the contradictions of the concrete, existential situation by which they were shaped. Their ideal is to be men, but for them, to be men is to be oppressors. This is their model of humanity.
The oppressed, having internalized the image of the oppressor and adopted his guidelines, are fearful of freedom. Freedom would require them to eject this image and replace it with autonomy and responsibility. Freedom misacquired by conquest, not by gift. It must be pursued constantly and responsibly. Freedom is not an ideal located outside of man, nor is it an idea which becomes myth. It is rather the indispensable condition for the quest for human completion.
Does the story of the rape trial illustrate Freire's thesis of the oppressed internalising the image of the oppressor, because it certainly looks like racism to me.