Dominator Culture – An Example

peace love empathy - hand made book pageI read a news story recently about a pair of young Albanian boys who are afraid to go outside their house because their neighbour has a vendetta against their family and aims to kill them both in revenge for a member of his family who was killed years ago by a relative of theirs. It is a long standing and crazy tradition  in that country – especially in remote villages – that if a man is killed, then his (male) relatives are obliged to kill the (male) relatives of his killer. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth – Albania is blind and toothless…

The mother of the two housebound boys committed suicide, hanging herself in the barn, unable to bear the lifestyle of fear and constriction any longer. The family were given three days ‘grace’ by their oppressor in which to bury the mother before the stupid game was on again.

The boys only education is with a female teacher who visits every two weeks or so to teach them to read. They rarely venture outside, and have never known the joy of running freely in the sunlight. What kind of a life is that? And for the neighbour, what kind of a life is that? Consumed by hatred and sworn to pointless revenge – which, if exacted, starts a fresh vendetta back in his own direction. Presumably the idea of trying to kill all the (male) relatives is to have none left to start over trying to kill all yours…

This is Dominator Culture at its maddest. They say it is a response to a lack of justice , and that the solution is to hand retribution over to the judiciary (those boys uncle went to jail for 25 years for murder…). But I say it is the result of a lack of empathy, a dearth of compassion, and absence of love. The solution must lie in education, and probably should start with the women, who are responsible in a large part for rearing the next generation of men. Teaching mindfulness in schools would also help.

Kountering Dominator Culture

mastery 2Reading Brene Brown’s “Daring Greatly” this morning, this paragraph jumped off the page – (and into my blog) –

” If we are the kind of people who “don’t do vulnerability”, there is nothing that makes us feel more threatened and more incited to attack and shame people than to see someone daring greatly. Someone else’s daring provides an uncomfortable mirror that reflects back our own fears about showing up, creating, and letting ourselves be seen. That’s why we come out swinging. When we see cruelty, vulnerability is likely to be the driver.”

It is a given that Dominators “don’t do vulnerability” – they are afraid of it in themselves, and despise it in others. What is more maddening for such a person than someone who dares to stand out, step up, be seen, seek an education, board a rickety boat for a chance at freedom…? It is only natural to react with cruelty in such circumstances. Malala Yousafzai is shot because she goes to school, girls are murdered by their fathers and brothers because they dare to defy cultural traditions of marriage, desperate refugees are denied asylum in Australia…all because their acts of daring in the face of their own vulnerability makes those who wish to believe themselves to be invulnerable feel terribly uncomfortable.

Malala was interviewed on American TV, describing her non-violent take on dealing with the dominator approach of the Taliban…be inspired!