Crime and our lives

We’ve reached a stage of living where none of us are really ever safe. It’s a constant worry every single second:

Make sure you’ve locked the car doors, don’t keep your windows rolled down, lock the gate and have cameras, switch on the alarm before going to bed and the list goes on. Ways to have some sort of peace of mind in order to remain sane because we don’t know if we’ll make it to the end of the day or if we’ll have a bullet through our heads.

In my home, the conversations we have at dinner are the best ways to have our cameras placed so that there are no blind spots and we’d be able to spot someone trying to sneak in when we’re reversing out of our yard. This is what the kids in my family are subjected to because of the crime in our country and all the others too.

We’ve reached a point where no one can be trusted. Not out work colleagues nor our own family members because anyone can decide that money is more important than loyalty.

Its been a while since we’ve posted anything, that’s because I’ve been looking for the perfect new piece to talk about and the only thing being talked about has been shootings, theft, hijacks, robberies, deaths etc. then today when I read the news about sixteen prisoners escaping from the Sun City jail, I decided that enough is enough.

The man who killed his four nieces and nephews.

The man who had twenty clitorises stored in his freezer.

Three people killed at a taxi rank shooting with two left injured.

Three school robberies in one week.

A traffic officer abducted by four men then shot dead.

These are only a few cases and yet its too much! So many innocent lives at stake and why? Because some of them are working hard to make something out of their lives so that’s the only incentive needed to take their earnings away?

Some have done absolutely nothing but their lives are also at stake because of jealousy and hatred?

If that’s not enough, we get to feel even more insecure because the few criminals that have been caught can easily waltz out of their cells and come out to terrorize us once again. To make it worse, not one, two, or even three criminals but sixteen. How is it possible that sixteen criminals can escaped a highly guarded prison with top surveillance methods unnoticed? If this is not a new low for our country, I don’t know what is.

It’s not fair that we have to live in constant fear, it’s not fair at times these criminals can get away with little to no consequences and that our lives are constantly at risk because of people who don’t want to work so they feel like its fine to steal from us, that they need to support their drug addictions or are just psychopaths who enjoy seeing us cower in fear.

Our first human right is the right to life and if even that right is being threatened what does that say about our country? And what is more sad is that we’ve all got so used to it that we’ve taken it onto stride.
I don’t know about you but I do know that I do not wish to life in such a state nor would I want my loved ones to have to suffer so.

But what can be done? Is anywhere safe anymore?

Bo Haro Poiro Che

My life as an Indian at this point consists solely and only of one thing: looking for a husband. Well, I may be exaggerating a little bit. No, I am not on a mad hunt for a man. I’m working. I’m studying. I’m living a peaceful (well, as peaceful as it can get with a family like mine) life and I’m growing up. While not many would agree with this, I think I am. I no longer wake up five minutes before I need to leave the house, dress, brush my teeth, sprint outside with socks, scarf, shoes, flask and the rest of world in my hands to complete my morning routine in the car. It’s a good start, the rest will come with time.

When you reach the age of twenty (I say twenty but everyone knows it starts at sixteen!) in the Indian society, your name is enlisted in a thing called ‘The Single Women’s Club’. Us, single women, are not part of this club nor do we have a say in it.

This club was established long ago when some old aunty had decided that Indian women, if not married by a certain age, would be considered too old to find a ‘Haro Poiro’ i.e a good boy, and then shrivel up and die single. She approached her fellow old aunty friends and they too agreed that this was a concern that needed to be dealt with so they started a secret club and decided that they’d never let this happen to a woman in their society. All of them would be happily married and making rotis for their Haro Poiros before the age of 25. So at weddings and funerals the old aunties would find their targets, draw the innocent girls in by asking simple questions at first and then they’d strike!

Their main phrase was: When are you getting married? I know such a good boy for you!

Naturally the girl would refuse so they’d go after the parents next. This went on until they found suitable matches for all the eligible girls then they’d wait excitedly for the next batch of girls to come of age.

When one became too old to do her job, she’d let her daughter into the club to carry on this noble work after her. This club is alive and thriving till today. It’s a secret club, that’s why you didn’t know about it. Well, now you do, you’re welcome.

As a twenty-year-old female, I have entered the club’s radar. All eyes are on me. As I go on with my everyday life, there’s always the talk of my future husband.

It’s a common discussion in my house since I am the next in line to get married anyway. I’m always being asked questions like: “What do you want in a husband?” “Would it be a problem if he lived in…?” “What do you expect from him after marriage”

I also live with a very opinionated mother who already has a long list of demands and prerequisites for her future son-in-law and a father who is adamant on finding me the best (May Allah bless them).

But with everyone giving me their own opinions, this leaves me very confused.

So recently my cousin got married and I met a lot of the old aunties who kept telling me that I’m next in line.  They asked me when I’m going to get married and some of the ‘Aunties-versions 2.0’ would have the nerve to ask me if I had a boyfriend. Um… hello? My parents may be slightly more modern than the average Indian parents but that does not mean they’d let me get away with a boyfriend easily. No, I’d get away crawling on my knees after ± 35 hits with a sjambok and the wooden spoon and maybe if I’m lucky I’d escape without the velan but there is no such thing as luck in an Indian household so I’d most probably get the velan too. Also, haram! Let’s not forget that.

When I’m asked when I’m going to get married, my answer is, “I still have time, I don’t need to worry about that now,” and it’s true. I’m only twenty and I have many dreams and goals and as it is I’m confused about what I want in a husband. But that’s fine too because when the time comes for me to choose, when I see him, I hope it’ll fall into place. Not in a novel ‘love at first sight’ nor a ‘sparks and fireworks’ kind of way but I hope that I’d be ready to decide if he is who I want to spend my life with based on what I know about him.

I also know that I’d have the support of my parents and their advice and wisdom to guide me in a decision affecting the rest of my life.

I have experienced friends who would try their best to help me and my teachers and mentors who would kick me if I made a decision based on the butterflies in my stomach and didn’t look at the bigger picture.

Right now I’m dealing with a series of potential suitors. Some are too short (tall people problems) and some are perfect but in the wrong country. It’s a long process to find the missing piece of the puzzle.

But guess what? There’s no rush! (I’m not going to mention my outbursts every once in a while when I just want to get married because all of my friends are getting married and I complain about my husband taking so long to make his grand appearance. Mentioning that would defeat the purpose of my whole speech) Because good things take time 😉

Single and ready to mingle

Hafsa Umar

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