Thursday, March 4, 2010

In Honour of International Women's Day

In honour of IWD (International Women's Day) which is on March 8th this year and Women's History Month, I'm putting up Sheila Chandra's "call", La Sagesse (Women, I'm Calling You). Just click on the play button below.

The image below is of Mukhtaran Bibi who was gang raped in an "honour" revenge issued by tribal council. She was expected to have committed suicide after this, but took the case to court instead. The perpetrators were charged and arrested, and later acquitted. Nonetheless, she started an organization to empower girls and women in Pakistan, called Mukhtar Mai's Women's Welfare Organization. There is an image of the accused rapists on the Wiki page (link above) and I debated putting it up here - to plaster their faces in public. But I don't know if men who were given orders to rape a woman by tribal council would see their actions as shameful since the actions were condoned and blessed by those in power, and the men have yet to be brought to justice. So I chose not to, focusing instead on the remarkable strength and courage of the woman who is inspiring all young girls and women who hear her story.

Here is a recent account of the status of this case is this from Wiki:
"On December 11, 2008 Mukhtaran was informed by Sardar Abdul Qayyum, the sitting Federal Minister for Defence Production, to drop the charge against the accused. According to Mukhtaran, the minister called her uncle, Ghulam Hussain, to his place in Jatoi and passed on a message to Mukhtaran that she should drop the charges against the thirteen accused of the Mastoi tribe, who were involved either in the verdict against Mukhtaran, or who gang raped her. The minister said that if she did not comply, he and his associates would not let the Supreme Court’s decision go in favour of Mukhtaran. It is believed that the Mastoi clan have political influence of sufficient weight to bring pressure to bear on the supreme court via establishment and political figures.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan had listed Mukhtaran case for hearing in the 2nd week of February 2009 (hearing was expected on 10th or 11th February).[35]
On June 11, 2009, the Multan Electric Power Company raided the MMWWO (Mukhtar Mai's Women Welfare Organization) in Meerwala, Pakistan, disconnecting all electricity to the grounds, falsely accusing the organization of stealing electricity despite records proving they have paid all bills in full. MMWWO and hundreds of families in the surrounding area were without power for several days. Today, while the power to the surrounding area has been restored, the MMWWO grounds, which house the Mukhtaran Girls Model School, Women's Resource Centre, and Shelter Home for battered women (whose premises was raided despite the fact that men are strictly prohibited), are still enduring blistering temperatures. According to MMWWO employees, who were witnesses, the power company officials claimed that the raid was ordered by Abdul Qayyum Jatoi, the Federal Minister for Defense Production. This raid has significantly hindered the ability of Mai's organization to carry out its' important human rights work, providing services for vulnerable women, girls and boys.[36]
Hearings for the Supreme Court case have repeatedly been delayed, while her attackers remain imprisoned and her case is pending."

1 comment:

April (BooksandWine) said...

Strong women are awesome. I hope Mukhtaran one day receives justice. It is sad that people still condone rape.

I, however, am glad she is being the change she wishes to see in the world, to borrow Ghandi's words, with her Women's Welfare Group. It's amazing how women empower themselves after the most horrific, tragic events. I do hope she meets with success in her trials.

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