I’ve just finished reading George Orwell’s Animal Farm and it amazes me how a book written in the 1940’s can still be relevant today’s time. SA’s Farmer Jones (Apartheid) has been abolished and we have been a democracy since 1994. However, even though a new government starts out with good intentions should we be fearful of the fact that a Napoleon could be in our midst? Almost 20 years later there are still so many promises that has been made to us that has yet to be delivered.
…how 9th August became National Women’s day in South Africa, most of us are just happy to have a day off from work without realising the significance of this day.
On this day 55 years ago in 1956 20 000 women marched to petition against legislation that required African persons to carry the “pass”, special identification documents restricting freedom of movement. Petitions with more than 10 000 signatures was taken to Prime Minister J.G Strijdom’s offices in Pretoria. They stood outside silently for 30 minutes and the women also sang a protest song that was written for the occasion.
This day celebrates and commemorates those brave women who risked arrest for their freedom and the freedom of generations of women to come.
August 9th is Women’s day and well August is unofficially women’s month so I would like to focus on all things relating to us ladies for 1 month. Other important things happening this month is my mom’s birthday and it’s the month of Ramadan for Muslims which for me is also a time for sacrifice, reflecting and spiritual upliftment.
This reflecting time got me thinking about what occurred a few years ago in Europe and one of the many problems that faces women today. For those of you who don’t know France is the first of 4 countries that have passed a law (in 2004) which bans Muslim women from wearing hijab (head-covering and modest Islamic styles of dress in general) in public schools, universities and government buildings. Guilty parties will be fined if this law is violated. What saddens me about this is what happened to freedom and the right to live your life and practise your faith how it has been prescribed to you.
Many in the Western world believe that women who wear hijab are being oppressed by their husbands or family and many Muslim countries certainly does give one cause to worry as so many of these Middle Eastern countries have twisted the faith of Islam to suit their selfish needs. But I also know of so many women (young, single women) who willingly choose this as a way of life and how did it get to the point that a country can pass a law where they tell you what you can and can’t wear (but cavorting around semi-naked and having no respect for one’s body or scarves as a fashion trend is perfectly acceptable of course)
Barack Obama said the following in his 2009 speech in Cairo when he called on the West “to avoid dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear”, and he elaborated that such rules involve “hostility” towards Muslims in “the pretense of liberalism”.
Many people fear what they do not know or understand and the media does not help as the picture it usually portray is a somewhat altered version of the truth. I have read so many comments on the web of people who think all Muslims are terrorists and that women have bombs strapped under their hijab or burqas but I would like to challenge them to befriend a Muslim before they formulate an opinion because wouldn’t it be unfair to call all Germans Nazis? So much hate speech. Has the history taught us nothing?
I think it is time the world wakes up and smells the diversity and a time where we all respect one another regardless of race, gender, religion, etc. As quite a liberal Muslim who has been raised in the Western world and more specifically in South Africa a country that has been plagued by apartheid and oppression for years, I just want to say one thing. People deserve the human right to live and do as they please as long as it does not affect anyone and is not illegal.