Nazreen Fazal is a writer, poet, and chronic traveller interested in exploring the intersection of language, religion and gender. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications, including The Hindu, Economic and Political Weekly, and Youth Ki Awaaz. She blogs at Penguin Peeks. Find her on Facebook.
The fashion police are now out monitoring, and threatening with pepper spray, covered women who can potentially destroy laïcité and maybe even the very foundation of French society. Gasp. Oh France, you have just revealed to ISIS and other extremist groups what you fear the most -- a Muslim woman wearing what's essentially a wet suit with a hood. Now prepare to have an army of burkini-clad women climb the Eiffel tower and declare France an Islamic state.
Women are constantly told that motherhood should “complete” them. Those women who do not agree with this idea are seen as heartless and cold. If you as a woman feel that motherhood does complete you, then I respect that and stand behind you. But no one else has a right to tell anyone that birthing a child is what will complete them.
What are you teaching a child when you hit them for doing something wrong? You are teaching them that force is a legitimate option to overpower someone under your authority or physically inferior to you. You are teaching them that violence is an effective corrective measure. You are taking away from them the ability to resolve disagreements or scuffles amicably, with reason and compassion. And then you exclaim exasperatedly "Why is this generation so obsessed with violence?" Because you are teaching them that!
Maybe what I should have heard more of--first as an impressionable child and later as an awkward, approval-seeking teen--was that I am more than enough, just as I am. That my body deserves my love and care in every stage of its growth, degeneration, and regrowth.
The posters we share, the solidarity profile pictures, or the quotes we retweet--do they give recourse or relief to the children brutally awakened from the innocent bliss of childhood to face the grim reality of the world we live in; to the mother who lost her toddler son; to the man who lost his companion of decades; to the families whose celebration turned into loss because one man decided blowing up a park is what God wants.
As you scroll down your social media feeds, you might see numerous posts about women, minorities or other marginalized groups facing discrimination. When coming across such discussions, do you ever feel that these people seem obsessed with non-existent issues? Do you lament that they are playing the 'caste card', 'playing victim', or engaging in 'reverse racism'. Do you think that if one goes looking for oppression they will find oppression? If your answers are mostly yes, this article is for you.
It was when I started studying in a university abroad that I realised the full extent of damage done by my schooling. For instance, in my first year I could not turn in an English literature essay of substance. My university education became the beginning of my un-schooling. But how many of us have this opportunity to undergo this un-schooling? I did three years of BA, followed by a year of postgraduation studies, and I still feel the effects of this schooling on me. So what of others?
In this "us and them" , we are "them" until we toe the line and shed every marker of our difference, leave every opinion that is contrary and become dumb spectators in this self-destructing circus. I am sorry, we can't and we won't accept this. This country belongs to the rest of us too and we will reclaim what is rightfully ours. Anyone who thinks otherwise can go eat a kulfi. Take that from a hijab-wearing, beef-eating, five-times-praying, Malayalam/Tamil/Hindi/English-speaking Muslim woman.