24 October, 2008

A fumble on the beach has given freedom a dirty name



From The Sunday Times

October 19, 2008
A fumble on the beach has given freedom a dirty name

Minette Marrin

‘Why don’t we do it in the road?” That was the question posed by the Beatles in 1968 in the song of that name. The expected answer, quite clearly, was: “Why not?” That year, 1968, was the dizziest moment of the era of letting everything hang out, so to speak. Doing it on the road was really the least one could contribute to the cause of liberation and universal love.

It wasn’t the aggressive John but the nicey nicey Paul who wrote the song. It seems that while with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in India, he had seen two monkeys doing it in the road and thought what a good idea it was in all its natural simplicity.

“A male,” McCartney said later, “just hopped on the back of this female and gave her one, as they say in the vernacular. Within two or three seconds he hopped off again and looked around as if to say, ‘It wasn’t me’, and she looked around as if there’d been some mild disturbance . . . And I thought . . . that’s how simple the act of procreation is . . . We have horrendous problems with it and yet animals don’t.”

As a model for human sexual relations, I think there are a couple of things wrong with this vision, whether in the road or not. However, this song was hugely influential; you could almost cite 1968 as the end of sexual modesty in public. It might be unfair to hold the Beatles entirely responsible – there were plenty of much sexier bands. But this song did coincide with and express the beginning of a time of astonishingly flamboyant sexual exhibitionism. In answer to McCartney’s siren call, countless people have taken to doing it wherever they fancy and insisting on their human right to do so. Even tiny children dance to pop music, to adult encouragement, with all the bump and grind of a slaggy old stripper.

Now, 40 years on, we have a couple of well-to-do British expatriates in Dubai shamelessly and drunkenly doing it on the beach. Thou hast conquered, / O pale Liverpudlian. Last week Michelle Palmer, 36, from Rutland, and Vince Acors, 34, of Bromley, southeast London, were sentenced to three months in prison in Dubai for having sex outside marriage on a public beach and offending public decency. They were also fined about £200 and will be deported when they have served their sentences. They were lucky: their punishment could have been much worse.

I have absolutely no sympathy for them but I do think that given the permissive culture of the country in which they grew up – they were born only a few years after 1968 – it is understandable, if depressing, that they themselves didn’t see much wrong with their behaviour.

From their perspective it is apparently quite normal for two strangers to meet at a hotel brunch, drink themselves silly and proceed to perform sex acts on each other in public. It is normal to insult a policeman who has the effrontery to caution them, regardless of the law, and to carry on. That is what Britons do at home and abroad. They belch, vomit, copulate, litter and barge their way through public spaces, dressed like hookers and louts, defying the police without shame or modesty. British expatriates are some of the worst: overpaid, oversexed and all over the place.

Palmer and Acors are appealing against their convictions. Yet by Palmer’s own admission, she was drunk and they were kissing and cuddling. “We didn’t have sex together,” she insisted. “I was lying on top of him.” This is rather to miss the point.

No one cares much whether DNA evidence proves that there was no exchange of bodily fluids. What went on was an affront to the standards and laws of Dubai, which all expatriates are well aware of. If you don’t like the law or the culture of another country, you should stay away. If you go there anyway, you should keep your views to yourself and when in Rome behave as the Romans.

That is not only common sense and a way of staying out of nasty foreign jails. It is more importantly an ancient moral obligation, which all healthy cultures have observed. As a guest, you must respect your host and his feelings. Everyone knows that Muslim cultures believe strongly in modesty and privacy; it is simply rude to go about half-naked or drunk and snogging and shagging in public in an Islamic country, an insult to the host culture as well as a disgrace to our own. I can’t help secretly sympathising with the senior prosecutor in Dubai who said he wished the couple had been given a longer sentence.

Is it surprising that so many Muslims around the world despise us for our decadence when we express our sympathy with British men and women who behave like this? There is something clearly despicable in the permissiveness and hyper-sexualisation of western culture; the result is broken families, unwanted children, sexual diseases and a state of agitation which drives the young into chaos and crime.

This might seem a long way from a fumble on a beach and certainly I would agree that many Muslim cultures take their modesty to extremes of repression. But the connection is there and Muslims, including British Muslims, are right to make it.

PC Plod in this country, however, does not make it. Last week a senior officer recommended that the police should turn a blind eye to sex in public, to avoid offending or distressing people seen doing so, and to protect the human rights of those who frequent open spaces to have sex, particularly those in pursuit of dogging and cottaging, who might easily be alienated or humiliated. His advice is contained in 21 pages of guidance on policing sex in public.

This is the kind of attitude that gives freedom a dirty name. No wonder so many Muslims here look down on the host culture and try to isolate their sons and daughters from its unthinking libertinism.

If we expect ethnic minorities here to respect the host culture, we should make sure it is worthy of respect. If we expect them to behave according to our standards (such as they are) when they are here, so should all British citizens respect their standards when over there.

The careless cultural imperialism of British expatriates abroad – their selfish, insensitive, sluttish behaviour – must be partly to blame for the cultural hostility and separatism that are growing among Muslim minorities at home here today. That is one good reason, among many, for not doing it in the road, either home or away.

minette.marrin@sunday-times.co.uk

26 comments:

DUBAI JAZZ said...

GOOD ARTICLE

nzm said...

I've always enjoyed reading Minette Marrin's straightforward commentary and I wasn't disappointed with this article.

Great read - good common sense.

tobasco said...

I do find this true but the average Briton won't know what we're talking about. Its called freedom here.

This rings some bells
"There is something clearly despicable in the permissiveness and hyper-sexualisation of western culture; the result is broken families, unwanted children, sexual diseases and a state of agitation which drives the young into chaos and crime"

Ofcourse tabliods here make them believe if they kick out all immgigrants everything will be ok **how ironic eh**

Buj where has your blog dissappeared to?

Mr DtP said...

Some fair points well made - but a few screaming generalisations about sluttish or pissed up expats.

To wit:

That is what Britons do at home and abroad. They belch, vomit, copulate, litter and barge their way through public spaces, dressed like hookers and louts, defying the police without shame or modesty.

I think it might be appropriate to add the word 'some' or 'chavs' or white (un)working class.

Yes, there are some bad things going on in Britain but most Brits I would argue are not like that. In the same way that not all Americans are right wing gun toting fetus hugging god-botherers, and not all Muslims want to bomb or stone people. Broad generalisation, spoilt a good article.

Grumpy Goat said...

A good read.

I have taken the liberty of deleting the duplicate posts, leaving behind the only one with comments.

Mohammad said...

She makes some good points , however as is with all this stuff there has to be a dig "I would agree that many Muslim cultures take their modesty to extremes of repression" .. was there really a need for this.

Also the connection between Muslims in the UK not adopting the culture of the host nation and the ex-pats in Dubai not doing the same is a total red herring, there is no connection at all.

It is not the everyday behavior of Muslim youth the British find unsatisfactory , it is their basic holding onto being Muslim and having this as an identity is what erks the powers that be in the UK.

As for ex-pats in Dubai , im afraid I think this is a case of the chickens coming home to rooste, you allow things which are non-islamic to exist in your society you are not going to be immune from them then affecting said society in a way that you find distasteful.

Look at any site, timeout Dubai or the like the dominant culture is a Western one, you would think you were in the UK half the time. Dubai likes to paint it self as a playground for the rich and well off in the sun.

It's quite sad to be honest totally lost to the destruction of their own culture.

Here are my views on the matter

http://www.thedubailife.com/home/blog/beach-sex-and-god-jokes-fruits-of-anything-goes-mindset

Mohammad said...

Some good points.. a few digs at Islam like generalizing that modesty and privacy leads to oppression, of women of course.

I feel the reason all this happens is because Dubai has allowed the world to think they can come here and do whatever at no point has it really said LOOK we are Muslims we must stop this in our society. Why allow these brunches to happen, because some bored young westerners don't know what to do with their Fridays. So whilst some of the Muslim population engages in Friday prayer , the ex-pats are told , go on get rat faced and have a good time, Very strange.

Dubai has such a inferiority complex of it's own culture its a joke, even when they promote the old they don't do it in a way that they are proud to be Muslim, it has to be some really big building project, some sleek shiny presentation, just NOT this is WHAT we are..



http://www.thedubailife.com/home/blog/beach-sex-and-god-jokes-fruits-of-anything-goes-mindset

BuJassem said...

hi guys.. thanks for your feedback.
tobasco.. my blog is gone due to political reasons.. need to relaunch :)
grumpy goat.. thanks very much for your help.. i had some problems with bloody blogger this morning.. i actually thought that none of them worked....but alas...

anyway.. i really liked this article :)

kaya said...

Its a good article, but its also a bit too OTT fiction.
Yes,yes we are a muslim country, and muslims and modesty yadda yadda.
Where does all this go when BOOZE is openly available, Disco's and nightclubs are promoted on every available media, when there is no restriction of any sort on public clothing. See how Saudi is towards public dressing. Their Hypocrisy on one side, at least its not an assault on ones decency senses, even if one wants to go to a bloody grocery.
No point blaming the BRITISH at all. No point in calling all the Ho's RUSSKIES, because we got them from all the supposedly MUSLIM countries.
When the reason ALCOHOL is haraam for muslims , is because one LOSES ones senses. Seems a bit STUPID to serve something that will cause such behaviour. then why punish them.
Sharjah has a no alcohol policy, I don't see Sharjah curling up and dying.
As for them being born in the FREE LOVE times. The wouldn't have attained sexual maturity till they were into the 80's. I dont recall a lot of FREE LOVE happening then.
(from a 40 yr old)

Veiled Muslimah said...

I like the article, thanks for posting.

Kaya, I know Dubai has become very 'liberal' when it comes to a couple of things. [IE Alcohol/Dressing, etc], but still there are laws even governing *that*. Also, even though people might do it and are allowed to it, doesn't mean the rest of the population are happy about it. Secondly, all in all, this is still a Muslim Country on a whole, we're not looking only at Dubai, if one goes to the other emirates, its still very much prevalent.

I also think two wrongs don't mean a right, even if the above are 'allowed', does not mean everything should be given the go ahead. Just my thoughts.

I mean, where does one draw the line then?

kaya said...

@ veiled muslimah
You are absolutely right.
But you know everytime I get some relative who have lived 2 generations in UK/US they are quite amazed at the level of permissiveness which is not at all their idea of what a "MUSLIM" country should be.
Where does one draw the line?
If you have been to Oman, you will quite a decent mix of the two.
Where alcohol is available, and many other things are I am sure done,on all levels of decadence, but blissfully behind closed doors.
And yes, nobody wants to witness a a peep show. (everyone is not a voyeur)
I can say for myself I have on too many occassions had the misery of encountering such amorous activities in the middle of the afternoon in parked cars on beaches, and parking lots.

Sheikha M. said...

good article, thanks for posting.

I think they got what they deserved and if they had gotten more time, I don't think it wold have been a bad thing. Last time I heard, it's not legal to have sex in public in the UK or US, so any excuse just does not work.

They acted like idiots, they got busted, end of story. To "blame" it on being in a Muslim country because they were confused and they thought things are Western it would not matter, sounds like a lawyer's excuse to get his client off, nothing more.

Low life, trashy people.

Love it Or Leave it said...

"If you don’t like the law or the culture of another country, you should stay away. If you go there anyway, you should keep your views to yourself and when in Rome behave as the Romans."
Sounds familiar?

Loved the article...makes so much sense...for it to come out from a non Arab non Muslim gives it alot mor weight.

Thanks Buj

Guy from the USA said...

Actually, I can think of a number of places in the U.S. where such behavior (open sexuality in public) would get broken up. This is cast so thoroughly as a Brits vs. Muslim thing - it's not. It's really about a couple of idiots who act like jerks in public.

Lirun said...

there are quite a few references to "islamic society".. can anyone explain where and how the teachings of islam prohibit public affection..

i must admit - i personally have no problem with it whatsoever.. i much prefer it over public hatred/humiliation/segregation of which there is no shortage..

BuJassem said...

Lirun.. Islam doesn't forbid public displays of affection.. but the world is not black or white and is made of shades of gray or colour or whatever is out there.

This is complicated because sometimes culture is stronger than religion.. and as you know some Muslims from lebanon could do things which would just be a big no no between the Muslims of Saudi.. and they are both muslims..

However we have to remember two things about this.. these guys caught in dubai were not married (extra-marital sex etc is not allowed in UAE) .... and if they did what they were alleged to have done in the middle of hyde park I'm sure they would have got into some trouble with the local bobbies too!

last time i checked you could get arrested in most western countries for being drunk and disorderly.. surely no need to involve religion for that.. eh?

Lirun said...

i agree - but throughout the posts on this matter people keep referring to islam and religion and i was wondering why..

BuJassem said...

True.. but we must not use the religious argument here I think because Dubai is full of contradictions regarding religion. I believe I can defend my city without involving religion.

Desert Scorpion said...

Bujassem/Guy from USA you have got it spot on!!

I believe that the religion issue is a distraction!

The main point is that secular laws in probably ALL countries in the world, make it illegal to have sex in public!!

Anonymous said...

'As for them being born in the FREE LOVE times. The wouldn't have attained sexual maturity till they were into the 80's. I dont recall a lot of FREE LOVE happening then.
(from a 40 yr old)'

From a 43 year old - Kaya, I have no idea where you are from but back in Western Europe in the 80s as I fondly remember there was an awful lot of free love going on.

Bridget Jones said...

Buj, long time! Hope all well with you.

Thanks for sharing this article. Bridget agrees, religion needs not be involved in the discussion.

This article somehow reminds her of one (don't ask how come...) which she read on BBC recently, about the British government's plans to introduce sex education in primary schools. She wanted to ask for opinions on the matter here, but then thought better of it, seeing how this forum is UAE-related only, and Miss Jones has flaunted that rule enough with her controversial posts in the past ha! ;)

But Bridget would like to know what you think of the issue BuJ. A preventive measure against unwanted 'teen' pregnancies and STDs, or robbing youth of its innocence? Anyone else's opinion is of course welcome! :)

Can't find the BBC article, but here's another:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1057397/Now-schools-introduce-sex-guide-year-olds.html

Sorry for hijacking your post Buj!

Oh, and before anyone says it, Bridget KNOWS it is not related to Buj's post, she said that already didn't she? ;)

Tenali Raman said...

"...if they did what they were alleged to have done in the middle of hyde park I'm sure they would have got into some trouble with the local bobbies too!"

Therefore the issue is not a cultural one. Nor is it a matter of difference between East and West etc., as sex in public, whether in New York or London, would likely result in arrest for violation of public decency laws.

So what exactly are these discussions all about?

(P.S.: Where's Sam when you need him? It looks like a whole article's been cut and pasted.)

BuJassem said...

tenali.. you've just paraphrased what i said.. so i do not get your point.

also.. there is a good chance that Sam was the guy that moderated your comment.

i posted this article in its entirity because i thought it was relevant to the uae.. what's the problem with that?

tenali raman said...

Exactly, sir, which means I agree with you. This whole business of cultural differences, East vs. West etc., simply does not apply here. Yet people talk themselves blue in the face trying to say just that.

(Are you suggesting that people who agree with you should refrain from commenting?--I mean that in a non-offensive way.)

WRT the cut-and paste, it's just a reference to Sam's policy of permitting small extracts and/or a link, notwithstanding the relevance or otherwise of the subject.

samuraisam said...

buj/tenali: In general it's preferable to only take a few extracts from the article for several reasons;

a.) copyright reasons, 2-3 paragraphs ok, but copying an entire article (regardless of if you have linked to it/relevance) isn't in good form as these sites need you to click on their ads so they get money to pay their authors.

b.) This article in particular is over 1000 words long, it'd be far better to post a snippet or two and let people visit the article directly if they're interested in reading it completely; if everyone posts entire articles the blog gets kind of flooded.

Sprinkle said...

Excellent. You capture the Brit expat perfectly and no, their behaviour is not limited to the lower classes. (mr dtp)

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