This I Believe

Kamal - Irvine, California
Entered on June 29, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
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Serving both halves!

Courageous women right activists have been asking for an end to honor killing, stoning, female genital mutilation, and similar crimes against some of our mothers, sisters, and daughters in some troubled parts of the world. Instead of being politically correct and please conservative leaders with non-sense about tradition, conscious people have been demanding gender equality. They might be labeled as radicals or antagonists of our society by insecure men, who fear emancipation of women. These activists rather try to guide our society to be self critical, make changes within, and end the incapacitating aspects of their culture in some of the most troubled region of the world preoccupied with false honor.

Honor as an honest and fair attitude of people with integrity has been part of various cultures regardless of their faith and ethnic background. Hurting or killing anyone in the name of honor is in fact killing the honor itself. There are about 5000 honor killing cases in a year around the world, so the matter is rather a global disaster than a local one. A possible reason that some troubled countries have a higher number of gender discrimination, honor killings, and other human rights violation is that they have been politically mislead or religiously misguided by dishonorable leaders, who have a self serving interpretation of honor.

Some dishonorable politicians in power might ignore the plea of women right activists and mark them as impractical idealists with no connection to real life challenges. Such politicians might fear change, have the excuse of keeping old traditions, and be preoccupied with the size of their territory instead of promoting women, ethnic, and individual rights. They might argue that since their society has not had an opportunity to stand on its feet how could they talk about running or even walking? Similar argument is made by self centered polygamous men who justify underage marriages, existence of harems, and religiously permitted short term affairs. Interestingly self serving dominant groups have a similar mind set and argue that other nationalities should protect the territorial integrity of abusive states instead of their own individual, gender, and national rights.

In order to promote equality, the underdeveloped societies need to be steered by insiders and outsiders. Steer was as the name of an author whose article on the subject motivated me to share my views on gender discrimination in some “traditional” societies. “Steer” could mean giving an advice, pursuing an action, and moving in a forward direction. It could also mean castration before sexual maturity, a symbol for opposing the suffering afflicted on young girls in some violent and underdeveloped societies that denies them to enjoy the life equally. Many insiders in the East have been only partially successful in their demand for equality. Pressure from the outside could bring a better result, since some leaders in the East still need to be steered by the West to recognize that change is needed. Previous steering has mainly served the dominant half of the society; I hope future ones serves both halves equally!