The BBC recently aired a documentary which lifted the veil on a disturbing underbelly of abuse taking place in Iraq.
‘Undercover with the Clerics: Iraq’s Secret Sex Trade’ was hosted by Nawal Al Maghafi, and showed the BBC correspondent heading to Baghdad, where Shia clerics were caught on camera condoning the sexual abuse of young girls.
Undercover reporters met with clerics and discussed acquiring young girls for sex. Particularly disturbing scenes within the documentary show these men offering grotesque advice on ‘sex’ with young girls – pearls of wisdom such as “Nine years plus, there’s no problem at all” and “You can’t penetrate her from the front […] Anal sex is fine.”
The documentary itself is disheartening enough, but one petition is even more discouraging.
Launched on Change.org by ‘Mo K’, this petition calls upon the BBC to take the documentary down from their streaming services, condemning the documentary for its ‘mockery’ and slams it for misrepresenting Shias.
At the time of this article being written, the petition has gained over 17,000 signatures but
thankfully, the BBC have stood firm and defended their journalism, releasing a statement which said: ‘This thorough investigation was conducted over an 11-month period and exposes the sexual exploitation of children and young women. The documentary fully complies with BBC Editorial Guidelines.'
I honestly couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw how many people had signed the petition. I’ve heard the saying ‘A sucker’s born every minute’, but I hadn’t realised it’d been updated to ’17,000 suckers are born every minute’!
Journalists have been exposing the horrors of child sex exploitation for a long time, and unfortunately, with the world we live in, there’s plenty to expose.
A BBC documentary aired in 2005, ‘Come Home Gary Glitter’, saw its host Jamie Campbell go undercover to show how easily young girls are acquired for sex in Cambodia. Disturbing scenes showed one girl’s family bargaining with Campbell, as they agreed to loan their thirteen year old daughter to him for $800.
Nobody of sound mind would be bleating about this being an unfair representation of Cambodia.
So why has it happened in this case?
Because after fourteen years, it’s somehow entered people’s brains that it’s worse to be ‘culturally insensitive’ than it is to pimp out young girls for sex. The people signing the petition would object to that characterisation, but I can’t help but note that they’re demanding that a documentary, exposing this network of abuse, be banned.
Surely, if you wanted to end the exploitation of young girls, you would want as many people to know about it as possible?
Or perhaps, you’re more content to virtue signal about your tolerance.
I wonder how many of these signatories would have signed a petition calling for a ban on a documentary about the sexual abuse taking place within the Catholic Church?
Very few, I’d imagine. Because we know how horrific it is that so many children were abused by priests in the Church. When it’s happening in a culture familiar to us in the west, it’s fair game for criticism and scrutiny.
But when it’s an unfamiliar region of the world, we suddenly have to walk on egg-shells, even when the safety of young girls is at stake.
You can tell us all you want that what happened in that documentary disgusted you, but the fact that you don’t want anybody to see it speaks more to your character.
Shame on you if you signed that petition.
Shame on you.