I happened to read an article titled Let’s talk about periods published in the known publication of Pakistan i.e. the Daily Dawn on 26th June 2018 written by Tooba Masood.
The writer articulated about her and others experience of using menstrual cups made of silicone and how they feel comfortable by using those. Also, the safe and secure cups are considered environmentally friendly.
Nevertheless, she forgot to mention that innumerable ladies here do not even have the facility of pads. And if they do, despite the mentioned afore boons of menstrual cups, they would rather want to stick to cloths because of the virginity concerns. In the said article, the writer in a very light tone was trying to say that using menstrual cups will not affect the virginity.
Searching about the concern, I happened to see a blog entitled Dear Pakistani women, a menstrual cup will not make you “lose your virginity” published in The Express Tribune Blogs on 11th March 2018, and penned by Aneka Chohan. Well, this is surely a debatable topic, I personally feel like keeping a stiff upper lip.
Coming back to my viewpoint, I would like to remind both of the writers that merely on the suspicious of illicit relationships and adultery, husbands, brothers, and fathers are slaying women around the globe on a daily basis without even knowing the truth and reality, numerous women commit suicide if they happen to lose virginity before marriage no matter what (i.e. via cycling, exercising, swimming etc) and a number of weddings have been shattered in only one night just because of virginity concerns.
Readers may recall the recent high profile case, wherein an Italian-Pakistani woman namely Sana Cheema was strangled to death by her own father, brother, and uncle for honor as the 26-year-old victim wanted to marry in Italy. Likewise, in another stance, a 19-year-old girl namely Farah was being rescued by Italian Embassy from their parents as she got pregnant by her Italian boyfriend outside marriage.
What I am trying to say is that for women, irrespective of their religion and background, virginity matters a lot. I happened to watch a show based on the hidden and forbidden realities of the world. In one of its episodes, they demonstrated how concerned fathers started marrying their own daughters to keep their virginity intact in many cities of the United States of America, which is known for being the country of practicing absolute freedom. Then, in places like Kalash (in the north of Pakistan), Nepal and West Africa etc. women are bound to spend their menstrual days in menstrual huts, where many women died either because of snake bites or severe health conditions.
Conclusively, our newspapers and electronic media are flooded with stories of strong women who take their own decisions, choose their own professions and enjoy and practice their so-called freedom in one way or the other but the reality is just the opposite.
Majority of women, be it educated or professional, still are being dominated by their parents and siblings before their marriage and husbands afterward because this is the system of our society and no one can deny it. And if they endeavor to cross the borders, they will certainly face dire consequences.
Thus, penning about menstrual cups and promoting such tools are useless in such a conservative society and I think our Media should not publish such worthless content that is against Islamic values and would receive backlash from majority!!!!! (Aiman Inam)
Is Pakistani youth opting for mental slavery?
Pakistan happens to harbor over 5000-year-old culture and conventions: you get mesmerized upon keenly observing the breathtakingly beautiful sites, exotic attires from various regions at national fairs and festivals, sports, food, music, and literature!
But unfortunately, both men and women here reckon it cool to blindly follow the western culture. As a result, the western attires are becoming popular, fast food is replacing the traditional dishes and ghazals and qawwali are only accepted in a remixed format.
Traditional sports like polo and sophisticated folk dances too are being replaced by the western ones. Then instead of visiting our own historical sites like world’s largest necropolis Makli, Mohenjo-Daro, Harappa, Taxila, old fortresses, and towers etc. we prefer to go to the West.
Then the beauty of our sandy beaches, majestic mountains, golden deserts, and plains is unmatchable. For instance, Murree, hiking tracks of Shogran and Siri Paaye, Gilgit, Hunza and Chitral valleys.
Then many mentally-enslaved westernized Pakistanis feel proud claiming that their children only speak English and could not communicate in Urdu. Degradation of the national language is glaringly evident at job interviews that are almost always conducted in English.
In the process of mental-enslavement social-media followers – forgetting their rich culture – celebrate events like Black Friday and Valentine’s Day etc.
It is high time we open own eyes and also warn our youth that shunning own rich culture will turn us into second-class imitators.
Colonization in post-colonialism era!
Gone are those days when colonial powers used to subjugate domain of impotent nations so as to colonize them in 18th century.
This practice was known as colonialism, which has an affluent chronicle of the ruling, dominating and exploiting people in terms of their freedom, culture and religious beliefs.
Contrary to this, in the current 21st post-colonialism century, almost all the nations have the freedom to live their lives within their particular frontiers and no ruler could even endeavor to invade anyone’s realm.
However, colonialism does not only mean to seize territories physically. As a matter of fact, many philosophers reckon it as a modus operandi of ruling the minds of people and making them fragile mentally, spiritually, consciously and culturally.
Considering one of the most important fractions i.e. culture, it is pertinent to point out the soaring mania of using English as a medium of instruction at schools, colleges, universities and professional sphere here in lieu of our national language Urdu.
Being a teacher of one of the known systems here, I myself have witnessed copious middle schoolers, who, being bad in Urdu, score least marks in this subject.
In fact, many of them claim to be afraid of this particular subject. Being a nation, one wonders where do we stand when it comes to teaching our kids about the importance of Urdu language.
Not to mention that parents emphasize their kids to refine their English as this is the only way to impress people here. No matter how dumb you are, just speaking in English with fluency would get you the best job in celebrated companies and institutions.
You visit any educational institution, you will find innumerable youngsters who articulate and write well in English but when it comes to communicating in their own language, they feel embarassed.
In fact, many of them do not even know how to write in Urdu and instead of feeling ashamed, they are living in their own epitome and feel proud that they are modern and educated. They are actually pretending to be English in front of Urdu speakers.
Nevertheless, we are not adopting only English language, it has also impacted our own beings particularly in terms of dressing. People are getting westernized, leaving behind their pure faiths, beliefs, and traditions.
The crux of the matter is that we are still being colonized in terms of language, which is an integral part of the culture. Youngsters consider our national language as marginal and this concept needs to be overhauled.
Colonialism ended in the 1960s, however, Shakespeare’s mother tongue still dominates here, from educational institutions to professional milieu.
Presently, a controversy persists in the parliament of Netherlands for over admiring the significance of English while disregarding the status of their native language i.e. Dutch. In fact, approx 90 percent of the Dutch population now tends to converse in English, which poses a threat to the Dutch that is vanishing little by little.
Considering the current situation, when students no longer opt for doing masters in Dutch, the natives are of the view that they are going through languicide, the process of killing the language.
The dilemma perseveres here too as very few students choose the Urdu language as their major. History is the evidence that those nations, who have the power of money, language, culture, land and every luxury of life, have been surviving and evolving profitably than those who were being ruled upon i.e. colonialized.
Being humans of this fast pacing world, we should always embrace the diversities, nevertheless, overlooking our own national language, which is our identity, is not appropriate and is indeed startling.
Conclusively, we must preserve our national language. We should avoid overestimating the use of English language in educational institutions and instead of adoring English, we should incorporate different languages such as French, Arabic and Chinese etc in the curriculum. Only then we will be able to preserve our identity while halting colonial powers from ruling upon us as they did in Sub-Continent back in 18th century! (Aiman Inam)
Power of iconic image taken on June 8, 1972!
KARACHI: Iconic snap, titled The Terror of War, featuring a minor (namely Phan Thi Kim Phuc) running sans clothes, was taken by Associated Press photographer Huynh Cong Ut on June 8, 1972.
It is a 46-year-old reminder of the era when over one million Vietnamese and 58,000 American troops lost their lives as a result of Vietnam War.
The picture managed to describe War’s cruelty in such an effective manner that played a crucial role in ending the most deadly war in history.
The picture did play a role to stop the Vietnam War. But that did not stop the war, as Vietnam tragedy goes on till today in Palestine, Kashmir, Syria, and Afghanistan.
Besides, it touches the deepest emotions of the viewers’ hearts and they could feel the suffering and excruciating pain of the girl.
This article illustrates the significance of this photo: how it impacts the spectators, what does it try to communicate and how it managed to stop the War being the most powerful picture!
According to details, the photographer was 25 miles northwest of Saigon outside Trang Bang on June 8, 1972, when the South Vietnamese air force dropped explosives stuffed with napalm* on the village.
While the photographer was taking pictures of the massacre, he suddenly saw some soldiers and a group of children. Wherein a nude minor, screaming, crying and keeping her arms flung away her body in extreme pain, rushed towards him and he clicked that iconic photo with his Leica M2 (35-mm. f2 lens).
As the photo was developed and printed, the editor of AP (namely Carl Robinson) refused to run the photograph in America as the child was sans clothes. However, when the AP Saigon photo editor Horst Faas looked at the snap, he sent the picture to be printed immediately. The picture published around three or four o’clock Saigon time and was diffused from Saigon to Tokyo to New York by radiophoto transmitter.
As soon as the snap was published it swept like a wildfire across the States. It is known for being the most powerful image as it managed to manifest that the wars could only bring anguish, pain, and loss.
Innumerable publications run the photo and started talking and writing about the war. Newsroom debates commenced regarding running a nude photo, resulting in commanding known publications (including The New York Times) to reverse their policies.
It has further been reported that the picture lent South Vietnamese military into trouble and American army started criticizing their men as to why they let the photographer take the picture.
The photo sparked debates about the rights, wrongs, and brutality of the Vietnam War. Consider it the power of the picture or the media, its significance resulted in forcing the government to end the war on January 23, 1973.
While reviewing the picture, Guardian ascertained, “Ut’s photo galvanized American public opinion and expedited the end of the Vietnam War.”
Pundits reckoned the photograph as the game changer in the Vietnam War that led the world to the extreme agony; this iconic photo made people pay heed to the dread of war. The power of the image was so intense that it shook the moral sense of the world while playing a considerable role in changing US public opinion apropos the war.
American President Richard Nixon once claimed that the snap was fake. However, his insinuation was proved bogus when the photograph got Ut the Pulitzer Prize.
In 2016, Facebook ousted the napalm girl photograph saying that it was against the policy to demonstrate nude picture of a child. Upon this instance, the CEO of the Facebook Mark Zuckerberg faced a backlash. As a result, Facebook brought back the snap.
It is pertinent to mention here that on 2nd of September, 2015, the picture of a three-year-old Syrian boy Alan Kurdi, who drowned along with his family in the Mediterranean Sea while escaping the war, made ledes on the global level. The snap was taken by a Turkish journalist namely Nilufer Demir. Similarly, on August 17, 2016, a snap of a five-year-old Omran Daqneesh from Syria went viral. The innocent child – who was rescued from a building in Aleppo – could be seen covered in dust from head to toe with blood coming out of his head. The picture was taken by an activist Mahmoud Raslan. Lately, on April 8, 2018, the image of a child, taking up oxygen via respirators following a poison gas attack in the rebel-held town of Douma, near Damascus, was released by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets.
However, despite the passage of time, situation remains the same and the war looms over Syria, Palestine, Kashmir, and Afghanistan etc.
Sometimes words are not enough to articulate the pain and sufferings of the victims. And hence, there is a need for strong visuals to communicate the message as we see in the napalm girl photograph. Its impact was so strong that it forced the government to announce ceasefire. It communicated the agony of naive children – particularly the minor girl, who can be seen running without clothes with burning, dying and weak body. The snap, even four and a half decades after the war, has the potential to jolt the emotions of beholders. (Aiman Inam)
*Napalm is an extremely flammable adhesive jelly used in making bombs and flame-throwers. It adheres to its victims and burns the layers of skin and muscle.
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