Sans Sense

The Art of Nothingness

Muslim women are born with a defective design.

Why, we are remarkably similar to other human beings in our anatomy and workings! We even have our sense organs on our heads. Now that would usually be fine for animals and other persons on planet Earth, but since we keep being told that the face is awra (a private part!), I wonder whether a trunk and snout might have been a more functional design choice for us. At least we could breathe, eat and talk in peace. The blasphemous British have said it for centuries that the eyes are windows to one’s soul, and some clerics have finally caught on to it by asking that one or both eyes be covered, lest your soul escaped through the open window. If you’re wondering what took them so long, it turns out that the brain may have been equally unnecessary to both sexes.  Now hold your sniggers, because I don’t think Darwin got it right, either. If all that evolution clap-trap worked as he claimed, we would be faceless, sense-less, brainless amoebas, by now. So there, you heretic!

Take a moment to ponder on the grand scheme, our religious patriarchs have prepared for the weaker sex. Even sunshine is a test for the pious. Never mind the fact that many of us live bang in the middle of the Earth, the rightly guided ones have either acquired Vitamin-D deficiency rickets by now, or are on course to giving it to their nursing babies. Even our immigrant sisters are teaching the West some humility. Those creeps were claiming that they had eradicated rickets during the Victorian era. Well, not any more.

Reader, if you do wear a niqab, you probably already favour a black one because of its heat-absorptive properties. In our climate, it may after all enable you to attain the perfect temperature for a tenderly sautéed brain masala, without the use of natural gas or cooking oil.

Wait. I have more to say about the face, or rather, it is the science book written by infidels that says that facial recognition is the principal way through which social primates have, for several hundred thousand years, identified family from non-family and friends from foes. They even say that the face expresses subtle or obvious emotional cues that are universal to humans and critical to communications. If you’re a Muslim woman, that information or any benefits purported to accrue from owing a face, are entirely superfluous to you, as the Muslim men may not think your identity or your emotions are worthy of attention, in the first place. Whether you’re happy, worried, angry, grieving, or plain excited, just shut the hell up visually and verbally, and go back to the kitchen. And for your own safety, don’t bother stepping out, because in a phenomenon that is present in uniquely eccentric proportions in Muslim societies, you are indeed quite likely to be jeered at, leered at, groped, molested, assaulted, or otherwise harassed by other men, veils notwithstanding.

If you’re wondering what the point of this mumbo-jumbo is, let me be more direct:

How can God in all his wisdom create humans in the best of designs and then limit half of them from using their endowments? How do women in other societies carry on with their lives without living in constant terror of harassment or a crippling fear of judgment based on looks?

If you are already forming a rebuttal in your head, AND if you are a man who has never worn a veil to work, let me tell you that you will never understand the limitations that it imposes on women when they’re interacting with the environment or other people. And please, stop chasing away common sense with the ‘religious obligation’ baton.

In case you haven’t guessed and cursed me for it already, I am phobic to the full-face veil, and I’m not even French. It’s a hard-wired human response to mistrust what isn’t apparent. If you’re in for a social experiment, try approaching an infant, wearing a mask, even a black one, for greater drama. This baby will be not only refuse to be held, but will be visibly distressed by your presence. Lacking may he or she be in language skills, but the baby definitely understands trust and security, warmth and goodwill. Unfortunately, a niqab is the exact opposite of trust, security, warmth and goodwill. While some may consider it to be their right to wear the niqab, let it be known that it encroaches upon my right to feel safe in their presence. For all I know, they may be shop-lifters, stalkers, or men wearing suicide jackets.

I admit I can neither undo centuries of brain washing by our patriarchs through a post, or address the social factors and prejudices that are leading to marginalization of Muslims in many parts of the world. But maybe you will agree with some bite-size logic: that the Muslims of today are increasingly adopting symbols of misogynist dessert cultures, in the name of Islam, to express their defiance, and to set themselves apart, in a world where cultures are blending together like ice-cubes in water.

If you are a Niqabi reader, donning this out of ‘choice’, for the sake of reason, or even God, please drop it – really!

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Rising

This poem, by Maya Angelou, is dedicated to all the wonderful women who make this world worth living.

Onebillionrising.org

Onebillionrising.org

Still I Rise

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops.

Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don’t you take it awful hard

‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I’ve got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

I rise I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

Justice for Lama

I don’t know if I should cry or scream.

In the Arabia predating Islam, young girls were buried alive. Several centuries and a prophet later, the region shows little promise of reform. Now, young girls are raped by their fathers, burnt and tortured to death.

I can, with some effort, ignore the fact that the perpetrator is a Muslim and a cleric at that, because perversion, cruelty and evil transcend boundaries, religions, and professions. But, I shall forever begrudge it if Fayhan Al Ghamdi could atone for this crime by paying USD 50,000 to the mother, and worse, that any morally bankrupt judge, could sign off Ghamdi’s freedom, by negating everything the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) stood for, and instead quoting a weak hadith, that enables him to overlook the transgression.

Lama Al Ghamdi

Lama Al Ghamdi

I am ashamed to say that while most Muslims look towards Saudi Arabia for religious guidance, the Kingdom, in many ways tolerates or even encourages the hate, bigotry, stereotyping and abuse practiced by many Saudis in the name of Islam. I’m baffled as to how a society, that practices rigid gender segregation, even entrusts a father, with the care and custody of a minor girl? Isn’t incest and rape a crime that is worthy of stoning to death in the opinion of many Islamic scholars? Can you pay blood money for your own child?

I demand justice for Lama (#Ana Lama) – an exemplary punishment that I wish could be as gruesome as the treatment this little girl received.

Readers, spread the word and sign this petition. If you are not with Lama, you are with Fayhan Ghamdi.

Little Prince, Big Tyrant – Nip the Gender Bias Now

Prince found his own space 08/01/09

Prince (Photo credit: Kotomicreations)

We are what our parents let us be. For the most part, we represent the best in them, or the worst. There is no escape.

It’s not just the genes. It’s our approach to life that is shaped every day at a subconscious level by those around us. When we are repeatedly exposed to a given stimulus, our minds and bodies learn to adapt. Even if our first impression about it was negative, after repeated exposure, we will not only learn to tolerate it, rather may even adopt it.

It has been this way since forever. Traits and attitudes run in families. Influential families attract followers. When a large group of people espouse something for a reasonably long period of time, it becomes the culture of a given place.

And herein, lies the responsibility. Parents, especially mothers, should tackle minds at the age when impressions are made and etched.  To eliminate gender bias and tackle the oppression of women, women themselves must participate in the process.

So please, if you are raising a little boy, don’t make him a sexist, disrespectful, misogynist. Those are harsh labels, I acknowledge, but I know so many people who deserve much worse. If you don’t know where to start, try this:

  • Do not treat your sons and daughters differently when offering privileges, showing appreciation or handing out punishment. Be as fair as possible.
  • Let your boys handle simple tasks independently. Show them how, remind them when they don’t, but don’t be their personal assistant.
  • Ask them to help you sometimes (like setting the dinner table, loading the washing machine) if only to teach them that no job is beneath them.
  • Let them celebrate you by saying “thank you” and “love you” when you do something for them, even if it’s something as simple as making them French fries.
  • Don’t be a doormat. If they are being ungrateful or insulting, rebuke them, take away privileges, and make sure they understand why. Do not sulk – it’s immature and doesn’t work with children.
  • Build up their conscience:
    • When dealing with younger kids, keep it simple. Don’t lie, cheat or act spiteful yourself, and hopefully they won’t do it either.
    • Teach older kids the value of hard-work, integrity and sportsmanship.
    • Above all, teach them respect for those not as strong, advantaged, clever, attractive, wealthy or polished as they are. Show them that real strength lies in protecting and not oppressing the weak.
  • Teach your children to interact with other girls respectfully.
    • No name-calling and “I-am-smarter-than-thou” attitudes, please.
    • It’s a no-brainer, but don’t let them beat up their sisters – of course, discourage vice versa too.
  • Let the father lead by example – a good example, that is. If your spouse displays unacceptable behaviour (verbal or physical abuse, for example) don’t make excuses for him! Instead make it clear to your children that while dad does it, they must not consider repeating it – use reason, guilt, sympathy, love, fear of God, fear of you, or whatever it takes. Break the cycle before it becomes intergenerational. When doing this, make sure that the object of criticism is the behaviour and not the person.

Finally, as always, now, is an excellent time to start fixing up things. So ladies, do it out of respect for yourselves. Gentlemen, please don’t dehumanize the women in your life!