Acid Attacks on Women, an Offshoot of the Zanzibar Incident

on Saturday, August 31, 2013

We are living in a civilized world now. We are well past those days when women were tortured, and treated as second grade citizens. Now, Men and women share equal rights, women have earned these rights through their hard fetched work, and their capability to cope up with the world head to head with men. This is what we hear from most of us when we talk about the social stature of women, Is this really true?

Are we really well past those times of gender discrimination? Are we perfectly clear of male chauvinist societies where women cannot and will not stand on a par with men? Are we done with incidents of torture against women simply for the sake of gender domination? Yes, we still need to ponder over this.

I finished my brainstorming and net surfing, and here’s what I found. Two women were attacked in Zanzibar, Tanzania with acid. These two women, rather girls just over 18 years old, had volunteered to spend time in the city of Zanzibar to support an educational program. I am not trying to make an allegation, but most of the people in that region are Muslims, and the two girls are Christians. The British girls, Katie Gee and Kirstie Trup were attacked in the street by motorcyclists with acid that left their faces, chests and hands burnt.

We all know that there are extremists all over the world, not just in the Islamic countries; we all know that whatever religion or creed they belong to; they are despicable as they try to prove their point by any means even if it is too extreme. We all know that their point is unacceptable as they are full of discord, prejudice and bigotry.

The Zanzibar incident is not the only one of its kind, and not just the Muslims who take on such vile atrocities. In the same country, Tanzania, a Muslim cleric was burnt with acid in November last year. A church was also burnt and a Catholic priest was shot dead. Another woman far away from Zanzibar, Ameneh Bahrami; the Iranian woman was burnt and blinded with acid by a guy who was frustrated because she didn’t agree to marry him. Sergei Filin, a Russian ballet dancer and director, had to face the same agony by the hands of a fellow dancer who had professional animosity against him. Katie Piper, the model, was attacked by her ex-boyfriend in the same manner. So yes, it is a worldwide phenomenon which is not restricted in the Muslim Countries, it is dominantly gender-driven.

Only in India, nearly 1,000 cases of acid attacks are reported. In the Disputed Territory of Kashmir, the Indian administered region, mass protests have been held against such atrocities against Kashmiri girls by the law enforcement personnel. Poor old fathers were calling for the security and safety of their Daughters. This tells us one thing, that it’s an act that needs to be stopped before it takes tolls on a mass level as depicted  above.

We really need to ask ourselves these questions: Do we deserve to laud ourselves for having overcome such inner demons? Do we have the right to call ourselves civilized when over 1500 cases are registered every year in regard of acid attacks only? Apologetically, No. Whether the reason is religious hatred or the more dominant gender discrimination, we are still knee deep in this mess.

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