Sunday, August 28, 2011

Will the suffering ever end?

With passing time newspapers are overflowing with incidents related to woman abuse. Despite the presence of many organizations like UN Women, Amnesty International, conditions are only worsening. Many of these cases are a consequence of cultural practices persisting in regions like Asia and Africa. Regardless of it being a criminal offence, authorities have not been able to curtail these inhuman transgressions. Seven terrible abuses suffered by women all over the world include:

- Bride Kidnapping:

A tradition practiced in Central Asia and parts of Africa, bride kidnapping is a form of forced marriage. Owing to customs, the desired girl is kidnapped by the prospective groom and persuaded to accept the marriage proposal. In some cases the girl also becomes a victim of rape- an act on the kidnapper’s part to prevent rejection from the girl’s family. It has been estimated that up to a third of all ethnic Kyrgyz women in Kyrgyzstan may have been wedded in nonconsensual bride kidnapping.

- Honor Killing:

It is murder in the name of honor carried out on a female member of the family who is believed to have brought disgrace to the family. “A woman can be targeted by (individuals within) her family for a variety of reasons, including: refusing to enter into an arranged marriage, being the victim of a sexual assault, seeking a divorce—even from an abusive husband—or (allegedly) committing adultery.” (Human Rights Watch). According to UN, honor killings have been reported in Bangladesh, Brazil, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, Sweden, Turkey, Uganda and the United Kingdom.

- Bride Burning:

Every hour and forty minutes an Indian woman is lit on fire. This domestic violence is practiced in the sub-continent, where the bride is burned to death by the husband’s family, primarily due to disputes on dowry issues.

- Acid Attacks:

It is a form of violence prevalent in Cambodia, Afghanistan, India, and Bangladesh in which the perpetrators throw acid at their victims. This act leads to scarring of the face or body and potential blindness, ruining the life of the victim.

- Female Genital Mutilation:

FGM refers to several types of deeply-rooted ‘traditional’ cutting operations performed on women and girls. It is mainly practiced in Northeast Africa and parts of the Near East and Southeast Asia where the victims undergo procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia. For more info regarding FGM visit: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/

- Human Trafficking:

Despite number of resolutions being passed by the UN, trafficking in women and girls has become one of the fastest growing enterprises in the world. The United Nations estimates that over two million women and girls are taken from their homeland into other countries under false pretenses for the purposes of forced labor, domestic servitude or sexual exploitation. The major destinations include Western Europe, the Middle East (Turkey, Israel, the United Arab Emirates), Asia, Russia and the United States.

- Ritual Servitude:

In regions like Ghana, Tongo and Benin, virgin girls are handed over by families to traditional religious shrines as atonement for alleged misdeeds or in order to pay services. This happens without the consent of the girl (also known as fetish slave) who is then bound to serve the priests as a sex slave.

DISCLAIMER: This post has quotations from different sources, which have been mentioned and was written only for the sake of spreading information (after being inspired by another article on the same topic).

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pakistan- a country with tied wings

Roger Tory Peterson said: “Birds have wings; they're free; they can fly where they want when they want. They have the kind of mobility that humans envy.”

Thanks to Red-bull, the concept of humans having wings has turned into some sort of a reality. But if we look at it metaphorically, do humans have wings? And if so, what does the ability to fly signify?

The answer is simple- To be able to fly, is to be free.

Pakistan is a country with great untapped economic resources, a lot of talent and definitely, uncertain political conditions. At this instant, when I’m here practicing the so called- ‘Freedom of speech’, this very country stands at one of the most important crossroads of its brief and tumultuous history. A country which was founded on the notion of ‘freedom’ for all, tolerance towards each other’s religious, political and personal views- is now dieing a painful death.

And why so? Because the ideology which built it up was abandoned 64 years back, sadly. The Quaid decided to get rid of the British Raj which ruled over us, which had limited our very own freedom. But was he really successful??? I have my own doubts.

Right now, Pakistan is indeed a country with tied wings. It has no ideology of its own, no free will, and no authority to exercise its sovereignty. It is struggling in the clutches of:

a) Sectarianism,

b) Ethnocentrism,

c) Lack of ownership

The wings which we were supposed to have after 1947, were never used to soar up high. Our aims always remained low- Look back at history, what were we aiming for so far???? Weren't our rulers trying to strengthen their own political parties? Were they not in the midst of attempts to make their own so-called leaders look like messiahs? Did we work to build our future, or did we just crush it under the feet of our nostalgic passions? We were and still remain a slave to the world’s super powers- We don’t make our decisions, THEY do that. And who gave them the power to do so? No-one… but us.

Rumi said “You were born with wings. Why prefer to crawl through life?

Yes, each and every one of us has wings. And aren’t we the ones who make Pakistan? Then why aren’t we aiming for the sky? Why have we tied our own wings in non-existent chains? If each and every Pakistani starts owning Pakistan, starts working for it, starts realizing their responsibility- this country would no longer have tied wings. Look at Libya, Egypt, Yemen- These countries too had a similar situation as ours, but who released their wings afterwards? Not a messiah, but the very own Libyans, Egyptians, Yemeni.

How long will we wait?

The Founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah said: "If you change your past and work together in a spirit that everyone of you, no matter to what community he belongs, no matter what relations he had with you in the past, no matter what is his colour, caste or creed, is first, second and last a citizen of this State with equal rights, privileges, and obligations, there will be on end to the progress you will make." (11th August, 1947)

Tied wings or not. Wings do exist. And that gives Pakistan the ability to soar up high. For how long will we crawl when we have the ability to fly, that decision depends upon us.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Seven Reasons Why You Wont Say 'SORRY'

We all make mistakes- it's like an attribute of human beings. But then (most of the times) after committing those mistakes, you feel like undo-ing them. Though life doesn't provide you with an undo-button, for your convenience it has given you one word to make use of to partially erase your errors. And that word is 'Sorry'.
Despite it's availability, people often avoid using this word. Why?? Following are the seven reasons why might be you wont prefer saying 'sorry' to someone:

  1. You're conscience has been brutally murdered by your very own hands. Yes, the 'Mother Teresa' of your soul kept on telling you that you are responsible for the havoc in your life and the other person's life. It kept on insisting how utterly wrong and foolish you were. Finally, labeling it as a traitor, you made it your victim- silencing it forever. No more reality checks.
  2. "Why the heck should I say sorry??", says your ego. It's the monster which has invaded your heart and mind, and has instilled anti-clear conscience feelings in every muscle of yours. With such a heavy dose of 'insensitivity', all you want to do is kill all those culprits (read innocent people) and make THEM apologize. You're the Hitler of your time, and the rest should stick to their role as the Jews.
  3. You're a part of the 'not wrong, just misunderstood' group No matter how hard you try to be good, your good-ness is always mistaken as 'hypocrisy'. When all of your 'sorry's are deemed as a conspiracy, you give up all hopes and decide to stay shut. 'Sorry no longer matters to them'- is your excuse.
  4. You are plain scared. Yes, you are scared to admit your mistake. You have no ego; your conscience is fully awake, but YOU are frightened. You worry that the world might point fingers at you and make your life hell due to this small acceptance. Being mocked at is the last thing you want.
  5. You're least bothered. "Did I hurt anyone? Oh well...they'll get over it."- this is your justification. Sorry is not in your Dictionary and neither is it a part of your vocabulary. Unfortunately, your mind is too occupied with other stuff, or... you're too lazy to make the effort.
  6. You waste a lot of time analyzing situations. Your habit of calculating possibilities to resolve problems though other means, prevents you from saying the five-lettered word at the right time. All the effort of your amazing brain goes to waste as the main thing remains unsaid.
  7. 'Sorry' is so last century. You prefer doing things your own way- why not wall the other person something sweet or dedicate a status to them to 're-establish' your bond. Even alternative words and phrases like 'Peace', 'No hard feelings, right?', 'Cheers :)' work. But 'Sorry'......no way!