Women’s place!

October 18, 2013

How young girls from villages become victims of pimps, sold to become sex slaves in the big cities, is always similar in so many countries! It’s nothing new about selling own daughters by poverty-stricken parents also! In every century, in every society, in every country it happened. Still happening! The women who were sold in their own life become pimps at a point sometime! What can be said about male pimps! They allure by saying giving jobs in the cities, then who knows where they end up by travelling through India, Pakistan and other countries! Child and women trafficking is one of the ugliest chapters of the world! From Bangladesh to western world, women are sold, become sex slaves.

Many well-educated, well established people still think about women as subject of lust. Social, cultural, political, national, religious views are also added to it. Those nations which can’t guarantee safety of any human being, who will think, work for the safety of women?

It seems like natural to think about any socially marginal woman as an object of lust. That’s why house-­maids, garments workers, other kinds of working women become victims of many perverts. How many of us pay attention to it?! If once she becomes victim, she becomes potita (fallen)! The rapist is never a potito (fallen)!

We have so many cultural things to be proud of, but if we think about women’s status still now could we be proud? In many countries social views of putting down women has decreased. It’s never true that everything of any culture, country is good or bad. We need to think which is good and which must be discarded. This is not just for urban people. In Bangladesh women are in everywhere in education, workforces, every place in a great numbers. Still how many get their recognition, equal status, and equal rights in the family, in the society? Those who can’t respect their own wives, it’s not hard to understand how they think of other women!

The status of women in religion (any religion) is such, if male children are raised by without teaching to respect women, women’s equal rights, dignity of women and if the children follow everything in religion blindly, what can be expected from them?! Women are like agricultural fields, does this teaching give respect to women? It doesn’t matter that it said, mothers are given so much respect that the place below their feet are like heaven. Won’t the male child remember that he could beat his wife if she doesn’t want to go to his bed? In his list of women to have sex not only his “wives” but “slaves” fall in too? The “Shebadashi” of temples of goddess 
are whose sex slaves? Remembering the movie “water”! What a status women have by abusing religions for centuries! A raped woman needs at least two women or a man to prove for rape! Even as a witness woman have half the status of man! A rape has to occur in front of these many people and they should watch it to testify?! What does it mean, without witness a rape isn’t a rape? In this case how is it possible to prove that a husband could be a rapist? Oh, what I am saying! “Husband” means have the right to have sex anytime!


October 10, 2013

For many days one picture is coming again and again in my mind! First saw the picture several years back. Didn’t know the photographer’s name so searched on google. I just wrote “famous pictures” and the link came up! Didn’t have to write “of child and vulture”. The photographer was Kevin Carter. It was taken in 1993 in Sudan during the famine. A very young skeleton­-like, immovable child and a vulture sitting and watching nearby! After I saw that picture I was mad! Can’t ever forget it!

Like the unforgettable pictures of 1971 in Bangladesh, the utterly inhuman tortured dead bodies, bodies of raped women, bodies of tortured but living humans! Pictures of tortured, killed Jews in the World War II! Like many more pictures of many times of this civilization! Every day the pictures are increasing! When will it end, the pictures of famine, war, killing, crime, torture?! Today I just glanced a picture on Facebook! Burned skeleton! Garments worker burnt in the factory! How many more?!

Another picture is driving me crazy! A hungry, food deprived, wounded ten years old girl Aduri! The vulture in the famous picture of Kevin Carter came as a part of nature, even though it is unbearable! The vulture may have thought the child was already dead or waiting to die! The same way Aduri’s employer thought about her! Who is more cruel and worst! The vulture or the employer! Aduri was a housemaid. In nature vultures are decreasing which is not good for the balance of echo system. Nature needs vulture but not the way of the picture. But the vulture-­like employers are increasing! The system of keeping house­maid is still common in Bangladesh like some other countries. Slavery isn’t anywhere in this world officially. But in some or many places it exists at different level, different dimensions! In many countries where house­maid conception is still present, they are treated as slaves in many places! In Bangladesh generally hours aren’t count, basic salary system isn’t there in most of the places. In Dhaka some changes are noticeable these days, yet long way to go. Other parts of the country hasn’t changed that much. (Not talking about exceptional cases)

From very early age children learn to look at house­maids as low-level human beings! They learn it from adults. They show it by their behavior. In many houses physical abuse go on with verbal abuse. As if it’s normal! Never comes in mind that, they come to work for just alms to live and people also can’t live without their help!

Many people say that to understand love for birth country people should stay in foreign countries for long times. I add, to learn to respect to all human beings regardless of their jobs, to learn to value every job, each Bangladeshi (middle class and higher class) should stay in foreign countries for a while. Have to do everything from cleaning bathroom to cooking. All things, outside and inside of the house. Have to raise children just by parents. There are challenges in Bangladesh and also in other countries. But they may differ by nature. No reason to compare. But people in Bangladesh need to learn things. How many more years the employers of many Aduri will act like vultures!?

Excess length!

October 8, 2013

Among many projects of our volunteering organization there is an orphanage in a village near Rajshahi, Bangladesh. I am responsible for this project. My Mom keeps the contact there on behalf of me. This orphanage was started by a freedom fighter at his own home after he found some of his friends’ orphan children after the Liberation War in 1971. Before the last Eid after Ramadan I talked to my Mom and said that we are sending some fund for Eid day special meal. She let me know that the freedom fighter said if we could send money for new clothes for Eid. There are 147 children. I said still now we aren’t able to arrange fund for food for the whole year. The orphanage gets little bit support from government. Our organization’s support is the main thing.

We are trying to make some income generating program through them to support for several years. Sometimes the number of children increases and reaches to 167. Still now they need to borrow money to support for five months. Need several more years to make sure they get those months’ support. How can we arrange money for new clothes! Out of frustration I gave some lecture to my Mom! Before that I asked her and knew that if it’s urgent to have new clothes or not. Means do they have any clothes to wear or not. Yes they do. It’s for the Eid they wanted.

Several days ago I thought that I would cook one or two dishes for Deepto for Eid day. Don’t know how I would be on the next Eid. Wish he could remember later years what Mom cooked! In our house we celebrate any festival very simply. Usually get some invitations on Eid days so don’t cook anything. This time I have no invitations. Before Eid used to buy a new shirt for him. If he buys a new game then don’t buy shirt. Do these willingly. Need to teach sense of limit from early age. Couldn’t arrange fund for 147 orphan children how could I buy shirt for him! Good that he has the Punjabi from Bangladesh still he can wear! No he doesn’t complain about not having new shirt for Eid. He doesn’t know that cultural tradition. I am living with guilt! Couldn’t do it for Ramadan Eid or this Eid for those children! Could only send money for food! Before the Eid of Ramadan was watching the luxurious festive of spending for clothes on TV. These days women are wearing very long kameezes (style brought from Pakistan and India!) Markets are full with Indian and Pakistani clothes! While watching those fancy expensive dresses and thinking how many orphan children’s clothes could be made out of those extra part which were hanging unnecessarily, not even talking about the extremely heavily ornamented decoration!

Who Am I?

September 23, 2013

In December 2008, going to Bangladesh for the first time after my leg surgery and radiation, this marks starting of the cancer fight. Doctor told me not to sit for long time at a stretch. After one and half or two hours I should walk. There is a risk for all human being to get blood clot for long 
drive or flight. My risk is much higher than general people. Right after the plane took off from San Francisco understood that we would miss the connecting flight from Hong Kong. The connecting plane for Dhaka would leave one hour before we would land on Hong Kong. The question is why didn’t Cathay Pacific let us know that? Generally tickets are bought at least two to three months earlier. At that time there were two hours gap between two flights. In these two months the airlines changed the flight schedule. But didn’t pay attention to that travelers from SFO would miss the connecting flight. Told this to the flight crews. They said they would let the ground people know. After the plane landed in Hong Kong, saw that passengers who missed connecting flights were brought to Hotels. But not every country’s’ citizens! Those who have Bangladeshi passport they need visa to go out of the airport so they have to stay in there for more than twenty-four hours! Bangladeshi Americans left with others for the hotels. I held our passports in hand and asked the airline employees that those people have to live there because of the airline’s mistake?

Ten people including three very young children. One of the attendants said it’s not his mistake. I said that I didn’t mean him. Talking about their bosses. He said, you have hotels to stay. I said we are not going. He asked, are you staying with them? Three of us said, yes. I told them that anybody who has to stay this long are given day­rooms inside the airport. He said that it’s not possible to get rooms suddenly. I told them, what you are doing is violating human rights do you know that? He called his boss and talked something in Chinese. Then said let’s go and stay in the waiting area. After going there, saw some small sofa chairs which were already occupied! I asked him, what are you trying to say that with these young children have to stay here for more than a day? He was talking very rudely. I was talking, raising up my voice. Knew that people listen when you raise your voice and here nothing would happen if I talk very politely. At one point I told him, you are so smart and how did you guys do this crappy job? (First time used any bad word to someone).

And said, “You are forcing me to say the thing I am going to say. Many other countries people say that Americans sue more often. Let me tell you that after I go back I will sue your airline and will ask all Bangladeshi Americans not to use your airlines.” He got very angry but called his boss. Then said he could give three day-rooms. Nothing more than that. Then thirteen people (including us) stayed in those tiny places (don’t want to give shame to the word “room”), lay down for just two or three (or less) hours in shift. After more than twenty-four hours with the passengers of that day’s flight we started our flight to Dhaka. They had to give a bigger plane. When just twenty minutes to land, the captain said we can’t land because of fog in Dhaka!

We were going to Bangkok! In Bangkok the same plane! Now this time there were fifty plus Bangladeshi people from many countries! Before I said anything Deepto said, “Ma, do something.” The word gave me such a relief as I had become so tired! Again stood those people holding the passports. The airlines employee said, you have hotel rooms. I told him, I know that. I asked him, what would happen these people? The same old story! Asked him for day-­rooms. He said how is it possible to arrange for these many people? That airlines wasn’t that much responsible. We were then passengers of Dragon Airlines (Hong Kong to Dhaka). They were not at fault for Cathay Pacific two days earlier. Still I said, “do you know that we are traveling for three days?” The young man was good not like his co­worker. And of course they were way better than people at Hong Kong. It took less time than there. He said can’t give more than five rooms. I said, “you have to give for fifty people. Otherwise I am staying here.” He came after a while and said, “OK all of you are getting rooms.” Asked me to go to hotel. I said, “I will go after all of these people go to day­rooms.” After sending all of them he asked me, “Are you happy now? Now let’s go and I will show you the bus for hotel.” I thanked him a lot. Everybody except one family left way earlier. I knew that family a little bit while living in another state. They left for hotel on the other day. They were sitting and observing what I was doing. The husband said, “What you have shown today!” He wanted to say more. I diverted the conversation. Twenty four hours later I had to go through such experience in Dhaka. The person in immigration was an O.C.D. person. Asked simple questions so many times! Deepto started throwing up. We were answering questions while I was holding the polythene bag to his mouth. At the hotel room in Bangkok I was thinking that just seven days ago this airport was at stand still! Airlines, airport employees shut everything down and were protesting! And after seven days I was asking, arguing for human rights! Had tears and was thinking that I have to keep my mouth shut at Dhaka airport! The irony was I really had to just after we landed! I never asked anyone not to travel by Cathay Pacific. The paper for some kind of compensation is still in some shelf at our house. I got what I wanted!

Three days ago heard the Kenya mall shooting from a friend first. Was busy that day and didn’t watch it. The friend said that they first asked all Muslims to leave. After that started thinking, what I would do if I were there?! Would I leave to live? In that case I would be dead to myself, to my conscience. If Mizan and Deepto were with me, would I ask them to leave? Knowing that everybody would be killed and still would I ask them to stay? Each parent wants his children to live; would save them at any cost. Still I am thinking would I be able to say Deepto that now you are Muslim first then a human being?! In my mind I am thinking how Jews were asked to make different lines in World War II. How Hindus were asked to do that in 1971 in Bangladesh! Because of the blue passport I was able to fight for humanity in Hong Kong, Bangkok may be for that same blue passport the opposite can happen! Would I hide my passport then instead of showing it?! While thinking these one thing came to my mind and I smiled! In my worst nightmare if I stand in the Muslims line, they would kill me first! Could I be a Muslim in their eyes? Not talking about burkha, women without any hijab would ever be a Muslim in their eyes? I am the greatest enemy!

The Unfortunate!

September 12, 2013

There was a study by U.N. on some Asian countries, in every four men one is a rapist. Among those countries are Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. More than ten thousand male from cities and villages took part in the study. Many times many things don’t get included in the studies. But still get some ideas from it. Among the information a few data points are: 24% forced their wives to have sex, 45% raped multiple women, 73% think it’s their right, 59% did it for sexual pleasure, 38% to punish women! Another study shows childhood marriage rate is 64% in Bangladesh! Another news: in Yemen an eight years old girl died on wedding night after marriage to a forty years old man! I want to add something here, have to remember that in many countries there is no report of rape. Women never speak about it. Men always deny it. If any woman cries for rape she will be the one who will be prosecuted.

Now what are these news telling? Don’t this news tell that a woman is only a commodity to lots of men! Now come to the Asia factor. Most of the countries are Asian! If add many gang-rape cases over the several months in India with these won’t be a wrong idea. Why these types of thinkings are there in Asia, it’s time to think. In these countries multiple religions exists. So can’t analyze only relating to religion, even though it’s an indirect factor. Here culture is a more important factor than religion here. What’s that? Valuing women. In many Asian countries including Bangladesh, India there is a superiority complex of thinking that they are very family oriented. It’s really true that they are family oriented. But all things have pros and cons. They respect elders. Yes I also believe in respect. But respect for all. Not only elders must get it. To get respect age is not the only barometer. Nor gender. Everyone should be respected. Unnecessarily too much respect to elders sometimes can lead to keep nourishing many flaws in the family, society, culture, country. Still now in Bangladesh teachers in schools don’t even acknowledge that physical punishment is wrong. It’s far away to be labeled as crime! But it’s a crime. Can’t make anyone better by physical punishment. Same thing goes with the parents. If it’s allowed then who will make the limit and who will keep tracking if the limit is broken or not? I know many cases where teachers, parents physically punished students and children which were simply physical abuse. The culture of respecting elders too much can lead children to not saying, complaining of those abuse! Or who are abusing them. Or what type of abuse are those.

Another thing elders don’t listen to children that much, if listen they find flaws with the children, scold them etc. If a child don’t have friendly relationship with guardians (s)he won’t tell if even being sexually abused. This way children will keep hiding physical, sexual abuse from elders and keep those inside. If that child is a girl, later she would think that she should tolerate physical, sexual abuse! And still in many countries (including Indian subcontinent) people think husband is a kind of “guardian” for women! In the viewpoint of culture or religion! How many educated people think that their spouses are their partners in life? Not talking about half educated or illiterate people. By the peculiar nature of human psychology the boy who is seeing his mother being abused by his father will later beat his wife! It’s nothing to his family, society! This is his right! From that thinking of his “right” he will forced his wife to have sex to satisfy his desire even if she isn’t interested! It’s her duty to satisfy him! And if religion supports this, who stops him? That’s why 73% said that it’s their “right”! How many educated men think that having sex with unwilling wife is rape?! Since wife or women are subject of fulfilling lust (commodity for pleasure), so if not willing force to rape and satisfy the desire! That’s why 59% did it for pleasure. Men learn from family and society, by seeing how it treats a raped woman, that to “teach” or “punish” a woman there isn’t anything greater than rape! That’s why 38% did it! Having sex with a minor is rape. Marrying a minor automatically makes someone rapist! By thinking about the eight years old Yemeni girl makes me think, fourteen/fifteen years back or more newborn girls were buried alive in those societies. Have the society, country changed that much in the eyes of that little girl?! Those countries are filled with tens of millions of those losers!