Young & Free or Old & Trapped???

Emancipated

M. G. REYES

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So this book was one of those that belonged in the category of “remains on my bookshelf for two years before I decide to finally pick it up and then I regret not having read it earlier.”

By that you already have an idea of how this review is going to go.

So long story short, its about a group of teenagers who get a taste of freedom and are having the time of their lives. They all end up in the same house for completely different reasons and each one holds his own secret very close. It’s a wonderful life-living without parents and getting to do whatever you want to do-but one does not remain on cloud nine for eternity, so when things go bad, they go real bad.

It was a pleasant and easy read. It was a mixture of drama, mystery and young romance. A group of teenagers, all with extremely different personalities and backgrounds learning how to deal with the adult life and realizing that it’s not as easy as adults have made it out to be. It’s not easy to clean up after oneself and it’s definitely not easy to take responsibility for one’s own misdoings.

It’s different from the books that I’ve been reading and these days I’ve been trying to stay away from books where the characters are much younger than yours truly but surprisingly their extreme youth didn’t put me off all that much.

It was a lot of fun trying to connect the dots, and seeing where the book was taking me. I was on my toes for the whole ride, screaming at the characters to shut up and stop giving secrets away!

The synopsis says: “The bad boy, the good girl, the diva, the hustler, the rocker and the nerd.” So obviously I tried to match these titles to the characters. It was the best part of the beginning of the book and realizing that I had made a mistake and was wrong about my assumptions was even better.

This book is the first of a trilogy and I can see the characters growing and becoming better as they mature. I hope for good in the next two books.

What do I think about this book? I enjoyed it and recommend it to anyone interested in a YA novel that will take them on a nice ride.

Yours Truly,

Hafsa Umar

The Jewel Box

By Anna Davis

Two Sisters. Two Lovers. Too Many Secrets.

Image result for the jewel box by anna davis

This book needs but one word to describe it. Scandalous. Utterly and truly. Set in 1927, we follow the life of woman who is trying to find her place in a world that is harsh and cruel and full of pain. Seeing as it was set in a time of war and after it, one would expect death and sadness. And one would get that.

One thing that i loved about this, was that it was full of secrets and surprises. Scandalous secrets and surprises but they were nonetheless surprising and arresting.

I happened to stumble across this book when looking for something to read in a bunch of books someone had downloaded to my computer and it was truly a ride. You learn about people’s pain and suffering and about their sacrifices for love. Not only romantic love but love for family and love for other people’s happiness.

While our main character can be selfish and ruthless, she is also suffering her own woes, hiding herself behind cigarettes, flashy events and crude words. With a stylish bob and nails that could cut a man, she waltzes through the chapters and obviously finds love at the end of a truly confusing battle.

There are characters to hate, who are self-serving and despicable and there are damaged souls and a struggle to move on, too.

What’s great about this author’s writing is that she takes you through the journey and never lets you get bored but you see the struggle and it’s just perfect.

The opening chapter is a news article written by our main character under a pseudonym and through her we see the plight of women. So feminists reading this, take joy in how far we’ve come from 1927 when women over 30-35 were only allowed to vote and showing encouragement achieving anything better for women was frowned upon.

If you google this book, you will see a short but comprehensive enough summary.

What I am telling you here, is that for a break from the normal boring meet-cute romances and cliches, take a peek at this.

Still tittering

Ayesha Abdullah

 

UNWANTED

“In the times of ignorance, they buried girls alive.”

When I was young I would read this sentence in our Islamic History books and naturally, being a female, I was appalled. I’d think, “Well, I’m grateful that I was born long after those days!”

Isn’t it great that people don’t do that anymore? Well, yes, it would be great if people didn’t do that anymore.

But? They do.

Wait. What am I talking about?

Montenegro – a country in the Balkans. People who consider women to be inferior to men so that is exactly how women are treated there. I know that that is a problem in many other places too, that is why we have groups of amazing women fighting for women’s rights everywhere. But the people of Montenegro have taken it to a whole new level.

 Demographic statistics confirm that in Montenegro the average for newborns is 100 females to 116 males. [Erik Messori/CAPTA/Al Jazeera]

 

There’s an open secret. It was kept quiet until the Women’s Right Centre decided to speak up about it. This open secret I’m talking about? Selective abortion.

You don’t want a daughter because she won’t be able to carry your surname when she gets married? Well, that’s fine! Just take a prenatal test. If it’s a girl, you could always get an abortion. It’s that easy… and ugly beyond belief.

A billboard from the UNWANTED campaign. It says: “Your parents wanted a son and that’s why you did not have a chance to be born… Sorry”
Milena, 29, has three children – her firstborn daughter Ines, and two sons Fedja and Bodin. Pregnant women in Montenegro often undertake a prenatal test to determine the gender of their babies. [Erik Messori/CAPTA/Al Jazeera]

I thought we had surpassed the time when women were considered nothing, when we were considered the possession of another and only good enough to bear offspring. I thought we were passed the time when the only pride of the family would be a baby boy to carry the name to the next generation. A time when there would be pressure on women regarding the gender of the child they bore, as if the gender could be controlled! This is absolutely absurd. You’re going to kill thousands of baby girls for the chance to give birth to a boy?

I mentioned in my last post, that we need to have a check on these peoples’ humanity and once again I have more proof that humanity no longer exists.

In a time that we call ‘the times of ignorance,’ they would bury their daughters alive. Giving birth to a baby girl was a shame because they needed a boy to carry on the family name. If the mother gave birth to a girl, she would be concealed and then disposed of in secret.

 

Mujo and Nermina have one son and she is 9 months pregnant. They are delighted that the new baby will be a boy. It is estimated that Montenegro, which has a population of just over 620,000, will have 8,000 to 10,000 more men than women by 2025. [Erik Messori/CAPTA/Al Jazeera]

 

You must be thinking, “But this isn’t the same thing!” Yes, my dear reader, it is. The only difference is that now we have the technology and tools to determine the gender before birth so it can be dealt with before things go too far. But they killed souls then and souls are being killed now. You might argue that it is not the same thing but us humans have different views, I guess.

I’ve heard and read of many who argue that Islam is oppressive to women. We have no rights and we’re restricted, according to them. I’d like to inform these people that when our Prophet, Muhammad (may peace be upon him) started spreading Islam, one of the first things that were cut out was the killing of innocent girls unnecessarily. Islam protected those girls and taught those families that to give birth to a girl was an honor. I speak as a female in Islam: In our homes, we are honored and looked after like one would look after his treasure and if we conceal ourselves, it’s not because we’re oppressed, it’s just because we’re too valuable to just be left exposed for anyone to even look at.

So the next time you try to accuse Islam of being oppressive to Muslim women, think about that. Also, think of the fact that it is not Muslim parents aborting their would-be beautiful daughters in Montenegro.

 A young girl lights a candle at the memorial for girls who were never born at the university park in Podgorica. [Erik Messori/CAPTA/Al Jazeera]

 

Always fighting for the lives of females

Hafsa Umar, reporting for Change for the 22nd – News Our perspective (What’s happening Worldwide)

Me too: How Many More Women Will Be Forced to Say This???

The “Me Too” hashtag has been sweeping the world since October 2017, encouraging women to speak up if they have been sexually harassed.

“Tarana Burke’s original ‘Me, Too’ campaign, launched in 2007, aimed to provide support to survivors of sexual violence who were marginalized, poor, under-represented and without a network or community to protect them. This, in a nutshell, meant that it focused on females of colour who lacked support and resources. Alyssa’s #MeToo tweet in October more than hit a nerve — it helped launch a new solidarity among millions of women who increasingly, urgently, shared their infuriating, devastating accounts of sexual violence and harassment.” – The Guardian

So far over half a million women have tweeted ‘Me Too’.

This campaign has given many women strength as well as support to speak up for themselves, defend their rights and announce that what has happened to them IS NOT OKAY.

A huge encouragement for women worldwide has been the celebrities contributing to the #MeToo with their own stories of rape and sexual harassment. Many stories that have been concealed for years are now being exposed, such as the three allegations of rape against US President, Donald Trump, which he has denied but at this point I think we know Mr. Trump better than he knows himself. Dear America, how do you feel about having a sexist, rapist as president?

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In many countries this campaign has made a huge difference for the women, helped them start women empowerment programs and fight against sexism.

France has recently made a stand against sexist stereotypes on ads – toy trucks marketed for boys, naked women selling vacuum cleaners, the list goes on.

The Eiffel Tower lit up to honor women’s rights (the French equivalent of the Time’s Up movement) with the message “Maintenant on Agit” (“Now we act”) launched by the Foundation of Women. This movement was aimed to raise funds for associations helping pursue cases before justice, “so that no woman ever has to say #MeToo.”

To this, I say: Well done, women of France. This world is in need of more people who stand up for our rights.

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So this shows that the #MeToo movement has made quite the positive effect in some countries.

But what about the countries who simply don’t give a damn about the rights of women?

Russia, for instance, ignoring the women who cry rape, using the stories of these women who speak up as a source of entertainment instead of dealing with it as a problem and calling these men out on their disgusting behavior.

Let us take Leonid Slutsky, head of the Foreign Affairs Committee at the Russian parliament’s lower house, as an example. I’m having a difficult time understanding how this man is getting away with three allegations of sexual harassment and unwanted advances. Not one but three! Lets not forget that one of these women even had recorded proof but still none of this was accepted. Why? Firstly, because he denied it and labeled these women as political attackers when they had first made their allegations anonymously. Later, when their identities were made known, the reason why they were not heard was because they were NON- RUSSIAN. Yes, non-Russian. The three women who had come forward were distrusted because one of them was Georgian, another worked for a foreign news organization and a third one for an anti-Kremlin one.

But let’s look at the fact that these women were ignored because he is a man and that alone is enough for their allegations to fall on deaf ears. It has reached a point that even other females were against the three Slutsky accusers. How is this possible? How can they not have the decency to stand for their kind because no one else will?

How can a situation like this be warped so horribly that it has now become the women’s fault and nothing they say will give them the right to put this power abuser down?

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Oksana Pushkina, a female lawmaker, who tried to stand up for these women was advised against this. Why? Because fighting sexual harassment would decrease the already low birthrates. Is this actually a reason for allowing rape to continue? Maybe we should take out sometime to look at their sense of morality AND humanity.

The women are not respected, they are abused and made to feel bad when they are the ones taken advantage of.

To such an extent that they’re afraid to speak up when they are wronged in this manner because they feel embarrassed and at fault. Why is it like this when men should feel ashamed for violating the rights of another? So what if this ‘another’ is of the opposite sex? Why does it matter that it’s a woman? Why are women considered so low that it’s okay to strip her of her clothes and her dignity? Is it because we don’t have the physical strength to fight for ourselves and these so-called ‘men’ want to feel powerful so they go to the only place they can force that power? If so, that is not power. That is cheap. It is weakness. It is cowardice and the only ones that should hide in shame are these awful, craven men.

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Farida Rustamova, the Journalist who recorded her encounter with Slutksy was later told by Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, who wasn’t convinced of these allegations, “You feel it’s dangerous to work in parliament? If so, change your job.”

No Farida, you should NOT change your job.

In no environment should a woman feel unsafe, insecure and feel as if she is surrounded by predators. We are humans and it is time to act like it.

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Harvey Weinstein, Leonid Slutsky, Donald Trump, the #MeToo movement stands up against men like you. The women of Russia will win against men like you as well as every other country that chooses to ignore the rights of women, those women will win against you.

Sexism is archaic in a world that is recognizing the rights of women and this world has no place for these animalistic behaviors anymore.

This is Hafsa Umar, fighting for women’s rights at Change for the 22nd on The News-Our Perspective.

Sources :

www.news24.com

www.bloomberg.com

www.theguardian.com

Racism: Is it South Africa’s Scapegoat?

While one half of South Africa empty out their freezers in fear of the Listeriosis outbreak and the other half (those that actually follow sport news) gasp in shock at the vicious attack on triathlete, Mhlengi Gwala, everyone seems to be forgetting about the video clip released a week ago concerning the attack in Lenasia’s Food Lover’s Market.

Anyway, the incident in itself is not what I am here to talk about. That is something anyone can Google and see for themselves.

I want to talk about the headline that enca used to report this article.

Food Lovers Market Replaces Managers After Racist Attack

Now, if one had to read about the actual incident, it clearly states that the African employee had pulled a knife on a fellow African colleague and the white manager had stepped in when things had turned violent.

Was it correct to respond to this violence with violence? Absolutely not. That is where the saying “fighting fire with fire” comes from.

It. Only. Makes. Things. Worse!

So now that it has been established that this attack was in no way, racial, what is the response of the public regarding this headline?

Here are just a few of the comments on this:

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And my favourite has to be this comment and all the replies to it:

Comments on enca.jpg

So, racism or not, my question is: South Africa! Why is it that whenever something goes wrong, your first scapegoat and fall guy, is a cry of racism!

Everyone is racist. Not only Whites or Indians or Africans. Who reading this can honestly tell me that they haven’t heard someone in their family make a racist comment be they of any race?

I have White, Coloured, Indian and African friends. All are lovely people and the only fear or horror I feel, is when something is obviously wrong. It’s not racism when a spasm of fear goes through me at being in an empty parking lot and there’s a group of shifty looking individuals around. It’s the thought that I’m alone and these people look dangerous.

But apparently ‘enca’ sees it fit to say that should I start walking faster and have my phone out to call an emergency number, it’s because I’m racist. Nevermind the fact that I don’t want to die.

Perhaps even using the word ‘African’ instead of black will become an issue.

The only reason I even use that word was because in high school when an African friend of mine found out that the reason the term ‘black’ is used is because Steve Biko had fought for it, she found it so silly. She felt there was more respect in saying African. So I even have a legit reason.

Back to my rant on this enca headline and all such accusations that have been passed and will continue to pass.

What about those comments ranting on about how white people only defend the racism thing when it’s directed to them?

I call foul.

It is highly annoying to be accused of racism at every turn when one has literally been born in the year of freedom and yet at every turn one must hear that our country is still steeped in this gunk that Nelson Mandela and many others fought against.

The truth of the matter is, when some people don’t want to own up to the wrong that they are doing or that the situation is because of their own stupidity, they cry ‘racism’.

Why just a few days ago, a friend of mine was approached with a case by an Indian girl who wanted to sue her professor for not allowing her to continue her modules because he was being racist!  What about the fact that you failed!  (Yes dear, when you don’t study this is what happens!)

I will never say that there aren’t any racists and yes there are numerous attacks like this all over the country.

But this time, it was not a racist attack and the people in this country need to stop shouting it out at every turn.

We don’t want it to turn into a ‘crying wolf’ situation.

This is Ayesha Abdullah, reporting for Change for the 22nd on The News – Our Perspective.

STRUGGLING TOWARDS A BETTER 22nd CENTURY

Ayesha Abdullah

Everybody wants to change and save the world. And looking at the state that our world is in now, I can say that it sure needs saving.

But even if out of the seven billion people just one billion are striving towards this goal, that’s still six billion that are suffering in pain or perhaps even worse, living in ignorance.

I am Ayesha Abdullah and as a woman in her early twenties whose choices of today may affect the lives of others tomorrow, I place fingertips to keypad and write: I may have been living in leisure and safety, content with closing my eyes to what this world is, silently throwing up a prayer once in a while and crying useless tears when hearing sad stories, but no more.

Hafsa Umar and I have created this website, not for others, but first for ourselves. When, over a casual WhatsApp conversation, we threw around the idea of starting a site worth bringing home, I felt something in me change.

Could I now go to sleep at night having done something worth feeling good about? Sure being a teacher and moulding children’s lives is a beautiful thing. I’m changing lives but that’s just a handful in front of me. Sure being a wife and running a happy home is also admirable. But what about something more?

I want to open people’s eyes to the realities of this world. Grab their chins and turn their faces towards this thing called life. And while I’ll rant and rave about prejudices and stereotypes, ongoing racism and war, children dying and depression, I will also ramble and complain about dirty houses and pms’ing, how men will never understand women and ask why summer is so hot. Because a good page-turner doesn’t just cater for one group.

It caters to the world.

We’ll ask you to speak, and we’ll beg you to listen. Sit up and don’t fall in the trap that we fell into. Know what is happening out there. Know the lies that you are being fed, the ideas that are being threaded through your nerves and wake up! Take notice. Open your eyes to what is happening around you and help us do something.

Because without our reader’s support, we’ll just be another failed blog post.

After this I hope that when I ask myself about something more, I can think: this. This right here.

‘Change for the 22nd’ is my something more.

Hafsa Umar

Once upon a time, in a world far away, there lived an evil witch. She took pleasure in the pain of the poor villagers that lived around her. She trapped them in her underground cells and laughed evilly when they groaned and screamed, begging for mercy. She wanted something from them, but they were not ready to give it so they held firm and didn’t give in.

A life of misery is what they lived, everyday praying and hoping for someone, anyone, that would defeat this witch and set them free. But there was no one.

Well, there were a few. A few who would try their best! They would call others to help free the villagers and stop this reign of terror but the others couldn’t join them, wouldn’t join them. They would just watch from their windows as the brave few marched towards the castle every day and crawled back every evening, drowning in their failure.

This went on for years until the brave ones too got tired and one by one stayed home to watch from their windows as those who still went on died in their efforts. Until one morning, no one marched onwards. There was silence and the echoes of the witch’s evil laughs from her castle were heard in the now dead streets. The once-brave and the cowards both, fearing that they’d be next on the witch’s list and now there was nothing they could do about it.

This world? Is it fictional?

No.

This world? It is our world.

Our witches or evil villains are disguised as the government, opinionated men with guns and The Hitlers and the Trumps. Disguised as those that all and sundry fear to stand up against.

We are the coward onlookers. We look at the brave ones risking their lives, patching up the wounded at refugee camps, creating awareness with their words or at least donating to causes hoping that it will make even a little bit of a difference. They call for us to stand with them but we are terrified and we are leaving them out there to die. But it is fine as long as we are safe, right?

Wrong.

My name is Hafsa Umar and I want to make a difference.

With social media at our fingertips we have access to information. We are connected to people throughout the world. Making a difference lies on the tips of our fingers if we known how to use it.

My name is Hafsa Umar and I want to speak about these evil villains. I want to create an awareness. I want to scream and i want to shout that Humanity is being lost along with the lives of the innocent. I want to help the needy, I want to help the poor. I want to voice my opinions and I want your help. I want you to be heard too and I want us to be a team in creating a better world for the generations to come.

My name is Hafsa Umar and I’m struggling in my attempt to keep up with life, hobbies, studying and work, which is expected from a professional procrastinator. I come from a crazy family, full of laughs and embarrassing situations. We work well together and they inspire me to be better, to sympathize and do good. I hope you feel the same way about them when I get to tell you some stories.

As far as introductions go, I think that went well.

I hope to see you on our next post.

Until then,

Working for a better future

Hafsa Umar

“This world we’re living in is not something I want to bring a generation into and we as the current generation need to ensure that we do not make it worse like how the previous generations did for us. We need to start making a decent world so that maybe when we die, our kids have a incorrupt world to live in.”

-Ayesha Abdullah