Just hours after Wazhma Frogh arrived in an isolated, conservative district in northeastern Afghanistan in 2002, the local mullah was preaching to his congregation to kill her. Ms. Frogh was meddling with their women with her plan to start a literacy program, he told the assembly.
As she walked past the mosque during noon prayers, his words caught her ear. Shocked, she marched straight into the mosque. In a flowing black chador that left her face uncovered, she strode past the male worshipers and faced the mullah. Trembling inside, she challenged him.
"Mullah, give me five minutes," she recalls saying. "I will tell you something, and after that if you want to say I am an infidel and I am a threat to you, just kill me."
She then rattled off five Koranic verses – in both Arabic and the local Dari language – that extol the virtues of education, tolerance, and not harming others. She criticized local practices of allowing men to use Islam to justify beating their wives, betrothing young girls, and denying women an education.
The room was silent. All eyes were on Frogh and the mullah. Then the mullah rested his hand on her head.
"God bless you, my daughter," he said.
With that, Frogh won permission to start the literacy program that later helped women from Badakhshan Province participate in local government and run for the national assembly.
Where rigid interpretations of Islam relegate women to second-class status, Frogh uses rhetorical jujitsu to turn religious arguments on their heads and win women's rights. Her steely determination has earned her attention in Washington.
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Read the rest of this article at http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0305/p13s03-lign.html
Thanks to Eric Chaffee for telling us about this story.
©Dean Torges/The Bowyer's Edge™
The archer who wishes to hunt with traditional tackle should work toward mastering three elements. They form the foundation of shooting barebow, either for the instinctive or the gap style.
The first two elements are about technique and form.
Element One, The Rock Arm. Your bow arm shall remain rock steady, unwavering, pointing to your target, even after the loose.
Element Two, The Faithful Release. Your release hand is likewise unmoving, abiding in the place of its duty. You should never pluck this hand off the string upon the loose; it should not fly away as though to chase an insect from the ear.
These are practical principals: the bow arm is your front sight, the release hand is your back sight. If they wobble about in the act of shooting, then the missile lacks guidance. Simple. Essential.
Element Three, The Hair Over the Heart. The third element is more subtle. It holds your eye solidly against your thought. It glues your inner eye to your target. In this respect, it is a principle of form as certainly as the first two elements. You can state it most simply as "picking a spot." Picking a spot means seeing nothing but that spot and then bearing down on it. Not the animal or the target, not the incidentals to either side of the arrow's path, not even the arrow itself when you shoot instinctively. Just the spot.
This element of barebow shooting is so important and, often, so elusive that I want to pursue it to some conclusion. Especially as it affects the two styles of shooting barebow: the one that is aware of the arrow (gap shooting) and the one that is not (instinctive).
[bulk of article deleted for copyright reasons]
Instinctive archery is all about possibilities. Mechanist archery is all about alternatives.
Of course the world does not divvy up into such neat camps. No one of us is a technocrat in all matters, nor equally a primitive, either. Most of the time we select and balance, dealing in commingled shades of gray. Not everyone who shoots compounds has them tricked out. Not everyone who shoots sticks and strings barebow shoots instinctively. Gap shooting blends a little from both worlds. It shoots barebow, but it sights the arrow. To do it well, you must become the arrow. Byron Ferguson wrote a book about it.
Ishi by all accounts was woeful at the burlap butts. I don't think he knew how to become the arrow. By these same accounts he was a focused and successful hunter. I think you get this way by knowing just where the hair lays over the heart. And having a faith so optimistic it bridges gaps your mind may reason cannot be bridged by you alone. Faith so profound that when you recognize the spot, that is where you are. Not where you are looking, not even where you are going, but where you are. Inside it. All of you. Ishi did not become the arrow, I suspect. The arrow became Ishi.
The remedy for the frustration that attends scattering instinctive arrows on the burlap sometimes and grouping them tightly at other times? Work to strengthen your faith with each practice arrow you loose. Be happy for it. And stay optimistic.
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Read the entire article here: http://www.bowyersedge.com/elements.html
Thanks for former Highlights editor Andrew for sending this article along.