2820SACW - 18 Mar 2014 | Sri Lanka: Arrests | Pakist an: Nuclear Shadow over Karachi | India: 2 manif estos by feminists; cheering the ‘wrong' c ricket team; Leila Seth's Letter on section 377; saving Hinduism from Hindutva series | Hacker Hymn / Letter to Niqab Hijab peddlers
- Mar 17, 2014South Asia Citizens Wire - 18 March 2014 - No. 2813
1. Sri Lanka: Free Prominent Rights Defenders | Statement by International Human Rights Groups
2. Pakistan: The Nuclear Shadow over Karachi | Pervez Hoodbhoy, Zia Mian and A. H. Nayyar
3. Pakistan: One year ago . . . | Zubeida Mustafa
4. Video: Dr Ashok Jhunjhunwala makes a case from DC power in an emerging economy like India
5. India: Prof Tripathi's Appeal for the Coming 2014 Loksabha Elections
6. India: The National Election Womanifesto
7. India: Women's Charter for the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections
8. India: Deaths of migrant workers on Gujarat's Alang beach, Bhavnagar - Letter from ToxicsWatch Alliance
9. A Tribute to Tony Benn in Pakistan: Press release by PILER
10. Pakistan: Nurses Strike for Rights
11. Freedom for Rivers is Freedom for Life | Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum
12. Jasmina Tesanovic: Hacker Hymn
13. Pakistan: Afridi's googly and CII's no ball | Beena Sarwar
14. Pakistan: Breaking the silence on deaths due famine and malnutrition in Tharparkar, Sindh, PILER, PFF file law suit on behalf of victims and survivors
15. India CJP Rebuts Malafide Allegations by Gujarat Government - Press release
16. Gujarat: News Which the Media Doesn’t Bring You | JAVAB
17. This is not just about cheering for the ‘wrong' cricket team: Statement by Pakistan India Peoples' Forum for Peace and Democracy (India)
18. India: Gandhi Murder and Role of RSS - Debate Continues | Ram Puniyani
19. India: A mother and a judge speaks out on section 377 | Leila Seth
20. Dissertation review: Ethnicity & Deportation in Soviet Kazakhstan
21. Selections From Communalism Watch
22. The Congress is now unable to judge what is indiscreet | Ashok Mitra
23. Book Review: Dickson on New, 'Christian Fundamentalism in America: A Cultural History'
24. Thank you, dear ‘Muslimaat’: A letter to the Niqab + hijab peddlers | Kunwar Khuldune Shahid
1. SRI LANKA: FREE PROMINENT RIGHTS DEFENDERS | Statement by International Human Rights Groups
Arrests of Ruki Fernando and Father Praveen are Attempts to Silence Critics
The arbitrary arrest and detention of prominent human rights defenders is an attempt to silence criticism and divert the spotlight from ongoing abuses, leading global and Asian human rights monitors said today in a joint statement.
[see also: Arrest of Tamil rights activists ‘disturbing’ http://tinyurl.com/ox73xk6 ]
2. PAKISTAN: THE NUCLEAR SHADOW OVER KARACHI | Pervez Hoodbhoy, Zia Mian and A. H. Nayyar
A debate has started about the wisdom of building two large Chinese-supplied nuclear reactors in Karachi. The fundamental concern is that the nearly 20 million people living in Karachi—about one out of every 10 Pakistanis—could be at risk from these reactors.
3. PAKISTAN: ONE YEAR AGO . . . | Zubeida Mustafa
ON Thursday, March 13, it will be exactly a year to the day when a brutal killer snatched away from us a gentle, soft-spoken soul whose love for humanity was almost legendary. Perween Rehman has been described as a caring, versatile development worker, a brilliant teacher, an architect who used her professional skills for the poor, an irreplaceable friend and an amazing woman who broke barriers from below. Above all, she was a woman of courage who defied her detractors.
4. VIDEO: DR ASHOK JHUNJHUNWALA MAKES A CASE FROM DC POWER IN AN EMERGING ECONOMY LIKE INDIA
Dr. Ashok Jhunjhunwala, Professor, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. Speaker at The Business of Humanity and Nupharo Park conference. "DC Technology and the Base of the Pyramid." October 4, 2013, Prague.
5. INDIA: PROF TRIPATHI'S APPEAL FOR THE COMING 2014 LOKSABHA ELECTIONS
Leaflets by prof. V.K Tripathi for the coming national elections in India.
6. INDIA: THE NATIONAL ELECTION WOMANIFESTO
This Indian Womanifesto is a 6-point plan critical to the freedom and safety, equality and flourishing of India's women and girls. All candidates for the 2014 Lok Sabha should commit to:
7. INDIA: WOMEN'S CHARTER FOR THE 2014 LOK SABHA ELECTIONS
We, the women of India, feel that the outcome of these elections will greatly impact women's struggles for safety, equality and progress. On behalf of crores of women from diverse sections of society from rural and urban areas, across the length and breadth of our country, we wish to draw public attention to the issues that have affected women in recent times. The concerns highlighted here need to become part of the mainstream political agenda in the forthcoming elections and in future government policy to ensure equality and dignity for the women of this country across social groups. The undersigned women's organisations have pressed for inclusion of these issues in the political party manifestoes.
8. INDIA: DEATHS OF MIGRANT WORKERS ON GUJARAT'S ALANG BEACH, BHAVNAGAR - Letter from ToxicsWatch Alliance
In view of the above, I seek Commission's urgent intervention to migrant workers and local communities from the hazardous industrial activities on Alang beach that has remained unaddressed so far.
9. A TRIBUTE TO TONY BENN IN PAKISTAN: PRESS RELEASE BY PILER
Karamat Ali and B.M. Kutty in a message to the family of Tony Benn have praised Mr. Benn's services for workers rights and democracy and said he was instrumental in abolition of the monarchy and British withdrawal from the European Union. He was He tireless warier against the multinational corporations and a fierce opponent of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, a ceaseless campaigner for democracy and a hero of the socialists and working-classes.
10. PAKISTAN: NURSES STRIKE FOR RIGHTS
LAHORE: Nurses continued their protest demonstration and sit-in on the sixth consecutive day in front of the Punjab Assembly against government policies.
11. FREEDOM FOR RIVERS IS FREEDOM FOR LIFE | PAKISTAN FISHERFOLK FORUM
Freed of reckless use, Humanity demands respect for water: calling for the freedom of rivers and oceans. Continuing with selfish obstructions and diversions postpones the inevitable day of reckoning seen so often by so many — in droughts and poisons that decimate sea life; in floods whose fury spares not even children and homes.
12. JASMINA TESANOVIC: HACKER HYMN
Mine eyes have seen the misery of the coming cyber wars my heart had felt the sorrow of young lives yet to fall my mind has been corrupted with the garbage cyber trolls and the Drones come buzzing on
Rolly polly evil google boy Rolly polly baby facebook toy Rolly polly spy NSA boy and the drones come buzzing on [. . .].
13. PAKISTAN: AFRIDI'S GOOGLY AND CII'S NO BALL
by Beena Sarwar
Shahid Afridi's googly lobbed at women's cricket in Pakistan in an interview, dismissing women as just good cooks, went viral on social media over the past few days.
And recently, the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) decreed that Pakistani laws that prohibit under-age marriage and place conditions on a married man's attempts to take another wife are ‘un-Islamic'.
Ostensibly very different, both stem (...)
14. PAKISTAN: BREAKING THE SILENCE ON DEATHS DUE FAMINE AND MALNUTRITION IN THARPARKAR, SINDH, PILER, PFF FILE LAW SUIT ON BEHALF OF VICTIMS AND SURVIVORS
The petitioners Pakistan Institute of Labour Education & Research, Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum and Javed Iqbal Burki, asked the court to declare that the provincial and central governments failed to perform their constitutional duty under Article 9, read with, Article 38(d), Constitution, 1973, by failing to prevent deaths caused due to starvations and severe malnutrition in Tharparkar, Sindh.
15. INDIA CJP REBUTS MALAFIDE ALLEGATIONS BY GUJARAT GOVERNMENT - PRESS RELEASE
The Citizens for Justice and Peace strongly condemns and refutes the malicious lies being spread by advocate for the State of Gujarat Ajay Choksi in misleading the Court about the Citizens for Justice and Peace “cheating” victims of the riots.
16. GUJARAT: NEWS WHICH THE MEDIA DOESN’T BRING YOU | JAVAB
17. THIS IS NOT JUST ABOUT CHEERING FOR THE ‘WRONG' CRICKET TEAM: STATEMENT BY PAKISTAN INDIA PEOPLES' FORUM FOR PEACE AND DEMOCRACY (India)
The recent case of charges of sedition, spreading enmity and mischief imposed on some students from Kashmir at the Swami Vivekanand Subharti University, Meerut, Uttar Pradesh and their expulsion from this University after they cheered for Pakistan post a cricket match between India and Pakistan on March 2, 2014 has evoked a lot of responses, anger from some, judgements on what the students should have or should not have done and a lot of debate.The students were booked under section 124 A (sedition), 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups) and 427 (mischief) of IPC after a complaint by university chancellor. After severe opposition, the UP government dropped the charges of sedition against the students on March 8, 2014 but, the other charges remain and the order by the University administration to expel these students still stands.
18. INDIA: GANDHI MURDER AND ROLE OF RSS - DEBATE CONTINUES | Ram Puniyani
What is the truth of Gandhi murder; did RSS as an organization had any role in it? Were members of RSS involved in it? What was the reaction of RSS followers in the wake of Gandhi murder? What was the response of Sardar Patel, the then Home minister in Union Cabinet to this ghastly murder?
19. India: A mother and a judge speaks out on section 377 | Leila Seth
our eldest, Vikram, is now a criminal, an unapprehended felon. This is because, like many millions of other Indians, he is gay; and last month, two judges of the Supreme Court overturned the judgment of two judges of the Delhi High Court that, four years ago, decriminalized homosexuality. Now, once again, if Vikram falls in love with another man, he will be committing a crime punishable by imprisonment for life if he expresses his love physically. The Supreme Court judgment means that he would have to be celibate for the rest of his life - or else leave the country where he was born, to which he belongs, and which he loves more than any other.
20. Dissertation review: Ethnicity & Deportation in Soviet Kazakhstan | Sarah Cameron
A review of Nations in Exile: “The Punished Peoples” in Soviet Kazakhstan, 1941-1961, by Michael H. Westren
21. SELECTIONS FROM COMMUNALISM WATCH
Aftermath of Muzaffarnagar's Riots: Women Bear The Brunt | Saumya Uma
Save Hinduism from Hindutva Series - Cards 7, 8, 9, 10 [17 March 2014]
India: Holi - a shared colourful heritage of Hindus, Muslims
India: Hindutva Chauvinist HJS seeks ban on Hindi film Total Siyyappa because it has a Pakistani artist acting in the film
India: 2014 National Elections: BJP lights the development-Hindutva fuse
India to now have now caged public statues to prevent damage by vandals
Save Hinduism from Hindutva Series Cards 4, 5, 6 [16 March 2014]
Indian Muslims Are Not One Vote Bank: Javed Akhtar
On the Modi wave [deshi sense]
India: Three convicted over India nun rape
Announcement: Defence of Democracy blog
Save Hinduism from Hindutva Series Cards - 1, 2, 3 [15 March 2014]
India crosses the moral line of no return if Narendra Modi becomes prime minister
India: RSS leader presented a revolver to Nathuram Godse the famous assassin of Mahatma Gandhi [Newspaper archive clipping]
India: Far Right RSS's top members are supposed to keep distance from women
ON the encounter between RSS pracharak (with 56 in chest) from Gujarat and Hitler : Cartoon by unknown artist
India: Ex-R&AW chief Sanjeev Tripathi sees no conflict of interest as he joins BJP
India: The country’s many minorities require a comprehensive anti-discrimination law
India:: No compromise with live-ins or gay rights, moral values supreme: RSS
::: FULL TEXT :::
22. INDIA: A RESIDUAL DREAM - The Congress is now unable to judge what is indiscreet
First Person Singular - A.M.
(The Telegraph, March 7 , 2014)
Like many other liberal-minded individuals in the country, I dread the genuine prospect of Narendra Modi’s taking over as the nation’s prime minister in a few months from now. The sordid details of the planned killings of members of the minority community under his auspices, which had immediately leaked out, shocked the country and the rest of the world. These stories are now being confirmed by the reports being submitted by the special team of investigators set up under the direction of the nation’s judiciary. That a substantial proportion of Muslims have been voting for Modi in recent elections in Gujarat is no evidence that he has been either forgotten or forgiven; it is merely another instance of the persecuted, having no recourse, throwing themselves at the mercy of the persecutor.
The corporate sector, driven exclusively by the profit motive, is full of admiration for Modi because of the ruthless way he has gone about getting them land for setting up the industries. The tribal people, whose voice rarely reaches outside the state, are, on the other hand, full of apprehension: Modi has ‘de-notified’ many forest territories reserved for the tribes so that industry could move in.
One or two amongst us, convinced that the country would have no peace with Modi as head of government, hold the view that if that came to that we would opt for the seemingly lesser of the two evils, the Congress. In the firm belief that the latter stands not the ghost of a chance as long as it is shepherded by Indira Gandhi’s dud grandson, we have suggested one or two alternative names even at this late hour. To no avail; the Congress cannot conceive of any existence without the prop of the family.
But wait, there is no end to the follies it is determined to commit. The grim possibility of impending surcease perhaps clears the mind as nothing else does. With the Election Commission getting ready to issue any day the formal notification for the Lok Sabha polls, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance has launched, via newspapers, radio and television channels, a dazzling campaign replete with effusive praise of the wonders it claims it has done to India during its tenure: the country was poor, it is now prosperous; its people once went hungry, now food is reached to the most humble mouth in the most humble household; agriculture was once languishing, now lush crops cram the government warehouses; India had barely any modern industry at the time of Independence, it is currently on the way to becoming one of the leading industrial nations in the world; our countrymen were, only a few decades ago, virtually without literacy, now they have all the opportunities for education including higher education, and children in primary and higher primary schools receive most nourishing mid-day meals; Indians were earlier without jobs, employment opportunities are now innumerable and varied, including in the reaches of high technology; the government is at present making every effort to transform the status of women and ensure full-scale gender equality, something unheard of in the past; similarly, it has spent such and such astronomical sums of money to raise the standard of living of minority communities, marvellous consequences are about to follow; in the past, we did not have enough of culture, India at the moment spells culture at its most sophisticated to the awe-struck world.
The self-advertisement goes on in this manner almost interminably. The copywriters appear to be a competent lot; they do their assigned work with competence and disp lay enough — sometimes too much — imagination. There is this mocking story about the famed presidential election in the United States of America in 1932, when the Democrat, Franklin D. Roosevelt, won an upset victory over the Republican Party candidate. The final deciding factor was the latter’s religious denomination: he was a Catholic, and in spite of all the resentment at the Republican administration’s failure to take effective measures to soften the hurt the economic depression was causing, there was great reluctance in the deeply conservative South and mid-West to vote for a Catholic president. After his defeat was formally announced, the Republican candidate is reported to have sent a one-word cable to the Pope in Rome: “Unpack.” Should they take seriously even 1 per cent of the claims put forth on behalf of the Congress and the UPA in the ongoing campaign blitz to be true, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chieftains should tell their disciples that the Ram Rajya was over and they might as well disperse.
But the hollowness of the claims are not the issue. Such things happen in the election season. That the entire publicity campaign is being financed by the taxpayers’ money cannot be helped either: the government, as long as it is duly constituted, can brag and boast at will and can spend out of public revenue for such boasting and bragging.
The real objection to the advertisement is because it is an atrocious act of corruption for a very specific reason. The UPA regime is having a harried time in coping with the awkward series of allegations after allegations of corrupt deeds involving cabinet ministers; not even excluding the prime minister himself; it is having a running battle with the comptroller and auditor general on a range of controversial decisions by different ministries and the nation’s highest judiciary has from time to time been exceedingly sarcastic on a wide number of official transactions which have grave financial implications. The recent spate of state elections has provided enough confirmation of large-scale disenchantment with the Congress. On the issue of corruption, the party is vulnerable, very much so. It was the expectation in some circles that the Congress would put its best feet forward between now and the Lok Sabha polls and desist from further controversial moves. Its leadership evidently has arrived at a stage where it is unable to distinguish between the proper and the indiscreet.
For the flood of advertisements that is drowning the country is seriously at fault on a crucial matter: not just the government or the prime minister, but, alongside, a private person, Sonia Gandhi, too beams at you from each of them, but she has no business to be a part of official advertisements. She may be the president of the Indian National Congress and the chairperson of the UPA which constitutes the government, but neither the Congress nor the UPA is the government, the president of one or the chairperson of the other is no part of the government; her presence in the advertisements is legally impermissible, the administration has enough legal acumen within its fold to enlighten it of the patent illegality that is involved and it nonetheless indulges in such a breach in law — it is therefore guilty of corrupt practice. Thus will be the verdict where governance is subject to democratic functioning.
Not that the UPA or the Congress is precluded from showering their supremo with plaudits in the pre-poll season. But to do so, they must use their own money, not that of the taxpayers, period.
Suppose during the late 1990s when the Bharatiya Janata Party was running a coalition regime in New Delhi with Atal Bihari Vajpayee as prime minister, any government publicity material carried the picture of Venkaiah Naidu, who was the then BJP president, there would have been mayhem, the floors of both houses of Parliament would be occupied by protesting members, followed by constant adjournments, and much more. I live in Calcutta and can well imagine if, at any time during the Left Front government’s long, very long, tenure in West Bengal, a government advertisement carried the picture of the then chairman of the Left Front, say of Pramode Dasgupta or Saroj Mukherjee, alongside Jyoti Basu’s: protest marches to Benoy-Badal-Dinesh Bag and assembly precincts, shrill, scandalized editorial pieces in the Bengali papers; injunctions sought in the Calcutta High Court, the issue raised in Parliament, a prim home minister making a stern statement in both Houses reminding the state government of the need to be constantly aware of the distinction between party and government.
The authoritarian streak shows. What applies to parties in opposition does not apparently apply to the Congress. True, the UPA government has been indulging in this illegality for the past few years: piecemeal advertisements from individual ministries drawing attention to some achievement or some fresh venture on their part embellished with pictures of the departmental minister, the prime minister — and Sonia Gandhi, the UPA chairperson. I remember raising the issue a couple of times, but words of a columnist are for the birds. Conscience impels me to try again.
With the Lok Sabha elections round the corner, the illegality and the unconstitutionality is on a massive scale; involving advertisements in all forms of media, day after day, and bestowing Sonia Gandhi is a big hunk of pride and glory of the claimed achievements of the government over all aspects of life and living.
No political party is likely to enter into a scuffle with the Congress on the matter since most of them, including the new curiosum, the Aam Aadmi Party, would, I suspect, love to emulate the country’s most ancient party in this kind of business should they ever come to power. But I hope one or two among the eminent lawyers, who are Constitution-wise well-versed, would feel interested and do the necessary follow up. If that hope is belied, I still have a residual dream of, if not the entire Constitutional bench, a Supreme Court justice would make a suo motu intervention to stop the blatant act of corruption now being perpetrated.
23. BOOK REVIEW: DICKSON ON NEW, 'CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALISM IN AMERICA: A CULTURAL HISTORY'
David S. New. Christian Fundamentalism in America: A Cultural History. Jefferson: McFarland, 2012. v + 259 pp. $35.00 (paper), ISBN 978-0-7864-7058-7.
Reviewed by Alyson Dickson (Vanderbilt University)
Published on H-Pentecostalism (March, 2014)
Commissioned by Tammy Heise
Millennialism and Conflict in American History
David S. New seeks to ground contemporary political and social divides in historical religious context in his new book, Christian Fundamentalism in America: A Cultural History. He opens by describing a sharply divided America. Wholly adopting a “culture wars” view of America, New roots the bifurcation of America into what he calls “the ‘Reds’ and the ‘Blues’” in American religious thought, particularly millennialism (p. 1).
The book’s early chapters examine periods of American history typically omitted from analyses of fundamentalism. New begins with a brief survey of early English colonies, focusing on the Plymouth settlers and the Puritans. The chapter closes by insisting that scholars continue to underestimate the significance of millennialism in Puritan thought. Unfortunately, New only offers readers a modest explanation to support this argument, seemingly integral to his larger argument. The book then turns to the First and Second Great Awakenings, recounting them primarily through the lens of key figures, such as Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and Charles Finney. In the later part of this section, New dedicates an entire chapter to the links between millennialism, revivalism, and nationalism. Overall, these early chapters follow a standard (if limited) recounting of religion in America’s colonial and revolutionary eras.
In chapter 6, New offers readers a twist. He positions William Miller as the lynchpin for the unfolding of American millennialism. Despite other apocalyptic and prophetic movements emerging during this period, New contends that Miller alone polarized Americans’ responses to apocalyptic thought: “Millerism drove a sharp wedge into the American religious soul, creating a divisiveness which has yet to heal” (p. 76). Again, readers can expect little additional explication of this claim.
New then turns to what might be considered the typical beginning to accounts of American fundamentalism: modern critical thought and its application to the Bible. He describes the rise of liberalism, the development of dispensationalism, and the crystallization of fundamentalism by the early twentieth century, culminating in the Scopes trial. However, his presentation of millennialism during this period oversimplifies the multiplicity of strains within American Christianity. In addition to the amillennialism of Roman Catholicism and certain Reformed traditions omitted from this account, premilleniallist thought encompassed more complexity than just dispensationalism.
The book skips ahead to the late twentieth century, and, in this section, New’s work turns from oversimplification to overstatement. He blames mainline Protestant traditions’ solidarity with social movements of the 1960s and 1970s for declining attendance. In contrast, “conservative”--a term used interchangeably with “fundamentalist” from this point forward--traditions and media grew. New implies that millennialism kept conservatism relevant and urgent, leading to its resurgence. Citing little evidence beyond a few articles in The Christian Century, New paints liberals and conservatives as sharply divided: “If men and women are from different planets, liberals and conservatives are from different galaxies.... They live in separate worlds, in separate cultures” (p. 155). He then takes a confusing trajectory, focusing on how millennial thought has gone awry, leading to violence. New contends that conservatives’ beliefs leave them particularly “vulnerable to rogue apocalypticists, false prophets,” describing the impact of David Koresh, Jim Jones, and Charles Manson (p. 175). The book closes with a short analysis of Revelation and a call for more conversation between the polarized “Reds” and “Blues.”
New’s project of emphasizing the impact of millennialism in American history and contemporary society is laudable. Moreover, the early chapters of this book are accessible and provide interesting details. However, the lack of citation for these details, including statistics, leaves readers uncertain as to their reliability. More important, New stumbles in his discussion regarding the connection between millennialism and contemporary political and social divides; his judgmental tone and reductionist approach hinder his case.
24. THANK YOU, DEAR ‘MUSLIMAAT’: A LETTER TO NIQAB + HIJAB PEDDLERS | Kunwar Khuldune Shahid
I don’t have words to express my gratitude and appreciation for your noble battle against evil. Your #MuslimahPride movement against #Femen was a slap on the collective face of Western imperialists who believe that Muslim women can’t fight for a cause. It was also a resounding reminder for the rest of the world that you have what it takes to spark a revolution. What the ignorant world does not realise is that once you have the permission of your husbands, fathers, brothers, uncles, the approval of your neighbours, in-laws, their relatives and the consent of your spiritual guardians, their God and their scriptures, you can be quite the rebels.
It takes a lot of courage to ridicule something that is already taboo where you live. It takes volumes of bravery and valour to bow down to the status quo, and toe the lines that have been forced upon you. It takes unbelievable amounts of gallantry to act out a script that someone else has written for you. And it must take guts and the proverbial cojones to take a stand against cruelty and the personification of tyranny that a horde of topless women is.
Who on earth are those damn Europeans to try to steal your voice? Do they not realise that your lives were defined a million-and-a-half ago by the Arabs, who protected your rights and guarded your modesty by ensuring that you don’t have much of a say in most things? Who are those unabashed infidels to protest on your behalf? Do they not realise that you are not allowed to express, let alone clamour in favour of, anything that contradicts the ostensibly divine scriptures? Who are those shameless activists to try and liberate you? Do they not realise that you can’t be liberated without the permission of your mehrams?
I can’t thank you enough for choosing to be more offended by naked bodies than dead bodies. And since there are so many different kinds of you to thank, I’ll try to address you one by one.
Dear ‘guardians of modesty’ Muslimaat, thank you for letting patriarchal societies define ‘modesty’ for you. Thank you for accepting contrasting definitions of modesty for men and women, and for not being a source of strength for your sisters and daughters, vindicating the men’s claim of you being the weaker sex. Thank you for teaching your daughters about the sin that having sex is, throughout their lives, and then compelling them to do it immediately with a man they first met a couple of hours ago, after signing a few papers and getting the clergy’s approval. Also, thank you for blaming your fellow women when they are raped, since men have the divine license to refuse to keep their emotions in the right place. And thank you very very much for being more misogynistic than any male chauvinist can ever possibly be.
Dear ‘feminist’ Muslimaat, thank you for being a ray of hope for bacon-eating vegetarians, god-fearing atheists and peace-loving terrorists. Thank you for reiterating the fact that your mehrams choose to overlook the divine orders and allow you to think freely and take your own decisions. Thank you for citing your personal example to highlight how you wear the hijab by your own choice, ignoring the fact that an overwhelming majority of Muslim women are coerced into doing so. Thank you very much for making the whole debate about you, when it was always about the torment and suffering that most of the Muslim women are going through.
Dear ‘liberal’ Muslimaat, thank you for defying the orders of your deity by choosing to not cover your heads. Thank you for disregarding other restrictions that your religion commands, and then having the audacity to condemn someone who is critical of these very commands. Thank you for cherry picking the commandments and making your ideology sound compatible with the 21st century, only to castigate those that take the same ideological orders literally and implement them. Thanks a lot for elucidating that you don’t need liberation and for paying no heed to the fact that the most of the women in your country do. And thank you very much for clinging on to those very shackles that have enchained the prospect of women empowerment in your country.
Dear ‘revolutionary’ Muslimaat, thank you for ignoring the life threats that Amina Tyler and many others like her are facing, after choosing to protest against the harassment that they have to bear on a daily basis. Thank you for overlooking other lesser issues like terrorists attacking a 15-year-old schoolgirl; female genital mutilation; women being raped with judicial approval just so they don’t die virgins; two-year-old girls being forced to wear veils because the disgusting men in your country have no self-control; and fathers legally getting away with raping their daughters by paying a few riyals. Thank you very much for screaming bloody murder over half-naked women’s claim of representing you, but accepting rapists, pedophiles and sorry excuses for human beings as your state leaders and role models.
#MuslimahPride is not just a hashtag, it’s a symbol of integrity and pride. It’s about taking pride in inequality, in half testimonies, in blaming rape victims and in gender discrimination. It’s about taking pride in chauvinism, where men have divine permission to beat and rape their wives, marry multiple times and possess slave girls. It’s about taking pride in patriarchal societies where husbands are categorically told in detail how they should punish their “disobedient” wives, while not a single text exclusively tells women what they should do with unfaithful husbands. It’s about taking pride in not being allowed to vote, let alone lead your nations, and about finally being allowed to ride a goddamn bicycle – under a mehram’s supervision – in the year 2013 AD.
The #MuslimahPride jihad will be written down in history as the moment where Muslimaat made it clear to the world that no one should protest on their behalf, half-naked or otherwise. Thank you, dear Muslimaat, for saving the rest of the world’s time by clarifying that you’re fine living in the 7th century AD, and no one should push you towards the enlightened times, regardless of whether they have clothes on or not. Thank you for being a source of inspiration and an illuminating example for everyone. We all know that you have what it takes to transform the plight of the women and change the dynamics of the world, as long as you are back home before sunset.
More power to you.
PS: I hope being addressed as ‘dear’ does not land you in trouble with your oversensitive male guardians.
Kunwar Khuldune Shahid
The writer is a financial journalist and a cultural critic. Twitter: @khuldune
South Asia Citizens Wire
Buzz for secularism, on the dangers of fundamentalism(s), on
matters of peace and democratisation in South
Asia. Newsletter of South Asia Citizens Web:
DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed in materials carried in the posts do not necessarily reflect the views of SACW compilers.