About Me

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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

In The Name of Honor

Every hour in Pakistan, a woman is assaulted, beaten, burned with acid, or killed in the "accidental" explosion of a cooking-gas canister. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has recorded 150 cases of rapes during the last six months in Punjab alone...a young woman of 26 was raped by her brother-in-law and made pregnant. She has not repudiated the child and in 2002 was sentenced to be stoned to death, because the child represented proof of "zina," the sin of adultery. The rapist has gone scot-free. So reads part of pages 118 - 119 in the book In the Name of Honor - a memoir by Mukhtar Mai that recounts her horrifying experience (in 2002) of being gang-raped by a tribal group known as the Mastoi as punishment for untrue indiscretions committed by her 12-year-old brother. She was expected to kill herself afterwards, but shocked the world when she fought back by standing up to her attackers in a court of law. This young woman has since become an agent for change and a beacon of hope for oppressed women around the world.

Gloria Steinem states,"Only a few leaders are alchemists who take the worst of human behavior and turn it into the best. Mukhtaran Bibi, a Pakistani woman raised in poverty and illiteracy, has responded to the violence and gender apartheid directed at her and other women with an insistence on justice and education."

To me, as a Canadian woman raised against the backdrop of the feminist movement, it is unspeakably shameful and outrageous that in the 21st century women are still being treated like possessions and the men of their families have the right to do whatever they want with them. It is common practice in the villages "for men to take justice into their own hands by invoking the idea of 'an eye for an eye.' It is always a question of honor, and they may do as they please: cut off a woman's nose, burn a sister, rape a neighbor's wife." (p66)

For more information on this story, check out the following sites:

12 comments:

Sienna said...

Isn't she incredible Leslie!!

This woman is an inspiration to our world and all people...we heard about her and saw interviews and read her Australian interviews...she seriously rocks.

There are finally changes being instigated here in Oz for our own Indigenous communities, particularly for women and children....our world has a long way to go but it's a start? no?

Great post Leslie...stand right beside me sister.

leslie said...

What gets me is that the criminals were originally sentenced to death, but from what I understand they're all free now!!! Plus she is always in danger for her own life, yet she refuses to leave her homeland. I do admire her for that but maybe it is simply the publicity she gets that will keep her safe. And all she wanted was justice. The money she received as a sort of compensation went to starting a school for girls in her village and it has grown a lot in the last 2 years.

Janice Thomson said...

This woman is indeed an inspiration to the world. These kind of views are accepted in many countries as well as genital mutilations in African villages.
Thank goodness for people like Mukhtar Mai whose courage will hopefully bring all countries into the 21th century way of thinking in regards to the equality of women.
It just goes to show that regardless of all man's great technological advances he still has miles to go!
Excellent post Leslie.

jmb said...

Good post Leslie, I must read this book. It's wonderful that she fought back and refused to let it pass.
I despair that Muslim women will ever have the rights that we take for granted.
regards
jmb

Susan said...

I cant imagine the courage it took for this lady to stand up against this sort of thing, risking her life to do so.
Yet even here in Canada, women are still facing danger at the hands of the men in their lives. The difference is, that here, they usually are prosecuted for it.
Coincidence that we both posted about violence against women today. Yours there, mine here.

Josie said...

Leslie, did you see the video not long ago of the 16 year-old girl who was stoned to death by her male relatives because they thought she had spoken to a boy of a different sect. The police stood by and watched it. The video was on CNN. This awful practice goes on all the time, along with the practice of female circumcision, which is just as barbaric. In Ontario there was a movement afoot recently to permit the law of Sharia, which would have allowed these things.

http://www.petitiononline.
com/nosharia/petition.html

Muhktar Mai showed a lot of courage, and hopefully she has helped other women.

Great post! And, I would love to read the book when you're finished. Trade ya for an Einstein :-)

Cheers,
Josie

leslie said...

The book caught my eye when I was at Chapters the other day, so I went online to see how much it would cost there. Then I checked and found it available at our local library. Only one other person had checked it out and it was like brand new. It took me only 2 hours to read it - easy to read plus the fact that the story is gripping! It really is disgraceful the way women are treated in 3rd world countries. They have no idea what it means to be truly free.

patterns of ink said...

Wow! This is the kind of "irony" that I was trying to point out to our largest state university that was inviting school administrators and teachers to attend a workshop encouraging the teaching of Islam in the public schools. Click here and scroll down to April 25.
One of sessions was entitled Muslim feminism and when I asked this promoter if it would include female speakers from Afghanistan or Iraq, she instead told about females who had left Arab nations to earn their doctorate degrees here in Michigan. She missed the point.
Anyway...
thanks for leaving a comment at The Farmers’ Market. I hadn't seen that post about you and Josie at the market(from back in June around daughter's wedding) but it was fun to read. Left a comment there. It must have been fun seeing former students. That is one of the greatest rewards of teaching.

JR's Thumbprints said...

It is indeed disgraceful how women in 3rd world countries are treated. And unfortunately, I know of a few cases right here in Michigan. One such man brutally raped his victim and did very little time for his crime. During his stay at our prison, he tried to get major dental work done. Later on, his case was overturned when his lawyer, with the help of certain politicians, successfully had "bite mark" evidence thrown out. The man is now free, and still a danger to society.

leslie said...

Tom, thanks for sharing and pointing out the discussion you had on your blog in April. (That was when my daughter was in the hospital & I was rather preoccupied so wasn't around much here.) I read through it all and it appears you all had a fascinating discussion. I must agree with you and others about the inconsistency of what is allowed and not allowed in the public classrooms. As Josie mentioned, it is the same here in Canada where it seems that all religions can be represented, but for example, when it comes to thing like Christmas concerts, the whole basis of the season is ignored or even worse not allowed to be mentioned. There was an instance in one school where the school pageant was all about "other" religions and yet Christianity was excluded! Unbelieveable!
JR, thanks to you also for your input. There are many instances here in the Vancouver area where women are raped, burned, beaten etc. by their husbands and/or other men from their families because that is what their "religion" allows. It is horrifying and yet it goes on and on.

leslie said...

POI/Tom - Just saw in our Vancouver Sun newspaper this morning an article about something coming in August - Interfaith Summer Institute. It's an innovative program affiliated with Simon Fraser University which will provide evidence about how courageous people have seized on religion to advance peace and understanding. Along with that, there is a book called Peacemakers in Action: Profiles of Religion in Conflict Resolution (Cambridge University Press), edited by David Little, a specialist in religion and international conflict at Harvard Divinity School. Here's the website where you can see info on the summer institue program:
http://www.interfaithjustpeace.org/

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