Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Problem with "One Billion Rising"

Originally published at A Safe World for Women.
P.S. I forgot to point out another major flaw in the campaign--and that is the day designated for it, which is February 14th, Valentin's Day. Many Muslims believe that Valentine's Day is "haraam" (forbidden), and whether that's true or not, the point is that the selection of the day alone is not inclusive for all women out there and doesn't take into consideration the diverse cultures of the world. In Pakistan, specifically, these billboards appear during Valentine's Day that claim that "celebrating" Valentine's Day is forbidden; in fact, the clerics recently also issued statement that "Valentine's Day" is to be replaced with "Modesty Day" instead. So women who participate in the One Billion Rising campaign are potentially at risk, although I'd be interested to know how the campaign went in the Muslim countries that participated in it (Afghanistan was among them, for example).

Now, feel free to carry on with the following ...

The One Billion Rising Campaign, founded by The Vagina Monologue playwright Eve Ensler, is an apparently global campaign that invites women and men, but particularly women, to make a revolutionary stand against violence against women. According to their website, 
On V-Day’s 15th Anniversary, 14 February 2013, we are inviting ONE BILLION women and those who love them to WALK OUT, DANCE, RISE UP, and DEMAND an end to this violence. ONE BILLION RISING will move the earth, activating women and men across every country. V-Day wants the world to see our collective strength, our numbers, our solidarity across borders.
But exactly how inclusive can this campaign be when it urges women to rise up and “dance” for one day in order to demand an end to violence against women? In Why I Won’t Support One Billion Rising,  Natalie Gyte writes:
The primary problem with One Billion Rising is its refusal to name the root cause of women's inequality; its outright refusal to point the finger at a patriarchal system which cultivates masculinity and which uses the control and subjugation of women's bodies as an outlet for that machoism.” This is indeed a serious flaw of the campaign, since, as Gyte adds, “seeing footage on the news of women dancing in unison will do absolutely nothing to educate or deter a perpetrator or potential perpetrator.
Besides, what exactly does “come out and dance so that you may ‘rise’ above your terrifying experience(s) of sexual abuse and other gendered violence!” actually mean?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

When Mullahs Molest Children: Why the Silence?

This is part 2 of how the Qur'an teacher in my Elementary school used to molest girls in my class (I swear - I feel like Ghani Khan knew the mullah too damn well!). The following, however, is a discussion on sexual abuse in general.

Originally published at titled Sexual Violence against Children and Afghan Refuges in Pakistan--the article has been shortened here to include only the section on mullahs (Qur'an teachers, local mosque leaders) abusing children and the general discussion on sexual violence against children in the Pakistani society. Click the title with the link to read the full article. 

When Mullahs Molest Children: Why the Silence?
It is universally known that victims of sexual abuse or violence often fall under the most vulnerable members of society, such as refugees, migrants, children (regardless of sex or gender), people with disabilities, females, and gendered minorities, for instance, intersex individuals or hermaphrodites (born with both male and female reproductive organs). The perpetrators can be anyone, male or female but more commonly male, and belong to any religion or ethnicity. The most important thing that the abusers have in common is that they have easy access to their victims and they often enjoy positions of authority and power that compel others to trust them. Since teachers, coaches, adult family members or relatives, neighbors, and mullahs, qaaris, or imams (religious leaders and teachers of the Qur'an) have easy access to children, many among them frequently abuse the trust of the parents and guardians of the children they supervise or teach by molesting them. Needless to say, this does not mean all teachers, coaches, and mullahs are perpetrators of sexual abuse, but the reality is that many of them are. What's worse, our society has programmed us to trust these people blindly because of our close relations with them or because of their position in society.      

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Pashtun Marriages in the West - Part 5: On Pashtun Women Who Marry Non-Pashtun Men

This article is originally titled "Interracial Marriages, Pashtun Women, and Patriarchy" and was first published with Pashtun Women Viewpoint. It was re-published on Safe World for Women, and I'm grateful to both of these sites for offering space to any of my articles.

The whole discussion on Pashtun women's marriage to non-Pashtun men falls under the series of Pashtun Marriages I've initiated on my blog.
Most cultures around the world, being patriarchal and patrilineal, uphold the thinking that identity is passed down from the father to a child, not from the mother. The mother’s identity is thus completely overlooked while the father’s identity is favored, a practice demonstrated in multiple ways. Needless to say, this mindset contradicts biology, since the children’s identity is half that of the mother’s and half the father’s; the mindset is thus rooted in a certain discriminatory attitude towards women, a sort of contempt for them and their being. Such cultures also expect their women to abandon their own identities and adopt their husbands’ by taking the husband’s last name. Contrary to what one might assume, a name is a powerful identification marker, and the name-change is thus a symbolic process—if it is not, then why is the change necessary at all?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Resources for Pashtuns

Below is a list of some of the major Pashtun websites/discussion forums, or sources for Pashtuns (especially those living away from home) to turn to in time of nostalgia--or just to utilize as they wish.

Pashtun Discussion Forums (listed in alphabetical order) [To read about why I find internet forums exciting, please click here.]

- (not functioning currently)

Khairey - Pashto Insults, Abuses, Evil Wishes

Update (October 27, 2014):

Dear readers,
I've transferred this post, along with a couple of others so far, to my new blog on Wordpress. To read about khaire (insults, curses, abuses in Pashto), including some funny common ones, please click: Khaire: Pashto Curses, Insults, Abuses in the Pashtun Culture.

Thank you!

Related Posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...