Deepika Thathaal had dreams of being a pop singer when she was 17 and living in Norway with her parents. She embarked on that career and made a name for herself, that is, until the threats started.
Her opponents dialled her parents' home and bellowed out poisonous threats. They burst into her classroom and screamed that she was "a slut, a whore, a prostitute". They attacked her on the street and stormed the stage during a concert in Oslo.
So they moved to London, and she changed her name to Deeyah, thinking it would be more open and thus safer there. Not so.
She was forced to hire bodyguards. She was spat at in the street and warned that she would be cut into pieces. Deeyah could not take it. She and her liberal parents were living in fear.
So, in 2007 they picked up and moved, once again, this time to Atlanta, Georgia, and Deeyah gave up her singing to become a documentary filmmaker.
Deeyah did not collapse under the pressure of collective violence. Rather magnificently, she stopped wanting to be a celebrity, and decided to step up a gear and become a feminist activist instead. Banaz: An Honour Killing is the first result of her change of course. Her film (originally titled Banaz: A Love Story) tells the story of Banaz Mahmod, the daughter of Kurdish parents, who lived in Mitcham, South London. They married her when she was 17 to a Kurdish man, then aged 28, whom she barely knew. Her husband assaulted her all the time. "When he raped me it was like I was his shoe that he could wear whenever he wanted to," she explained. "I didn't know if this was normal in my culture, or here. I was 17."
What Cohen takes issue with is the fact that the liberal media has been woefully negligent when it comes to dealing with situations like Deeyah's. He says:
I am not being fanciful if I imagine that had her tormentors been Norwegian neo-Nazis or the BNP, Deeyah would have become an anti-racist hero: a Muslim Stephen Lawrence. Artists would make her struggle against prejudice their struggle. Politicians would invite her to Westminster and the European Parliament. The BBC would see to it that she was never off air. Liberal society would embrace her and define itself by its response to prejudice and violence.
The men who persecuted Deeyah in Norway and Britain were every bit as prejudiced and violent as neo-Nazis, but as it happens, they rallied under the banner of radical Islam rather than the swastika. A tiny difference, you might think. A mere trifle. But that tiny difference made all the difference in the world. No one came to Deeyah's defence. Not liberal-left or compassionate conservative politicians. Not the BBC or liberal press. Not Amnesty International or the "concerned" artists who take up so many leftish causes. No one cared. To defend an Asian woman from unprovoked attacks by Asian men was to their warped minds a racist or Islamophobic act. Unprotected and unnoticed, Deeyah slunk off to live in an anonymous suburb of Atlanta, and begin the long task of pulling herself together.
Read the whole thing here. He makes some very interesting points.