Zainab’s death an unbearable weight on our shoulders

January 11, 2018 Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , Pakistan

AP photo

 

By

Imad Zafar

 

Childhood is the finest time, a blessed period of innocence where children are meant to spend time by catching butterflies, chasing rainbows and angels. This should also have been the case with 7 year old Zainab Ansari. At her age children do not know about the ugly world of lust and cheating, all they know is that every man or woman around them is like their father, brother, sister or mother. Zainab was raped and murdered in the Pakistani city of Kasur, her dead body found lying on the roadside. Sadly, Zainab is not the first victim however, as since last year 12 girls have been raped and killed in this town, similar inhumane acts taking place everywhere in the country.

The brutality of this crime has jolted every single individual in society. But the question remains, are we ready to address this issue, in order that no other children like Zainab are raped and murdered like this? Unfortunately we forgot the incident that happened in Karachi where a 6 year old girl Tooba was raped and murdered the same way. A minor boy, Imran, was also raped by a mullah but after gossiping about it we forget that too.

It has become the norm that after every incident like this, the media hypes it for television rating points, newspapers publish sensational headlines, politicians exploit the incident for the sake of politics and, after posting our emotional status on social media, we all think that we have fulfilled our duty.

Child abuse is the worst kind of violence and unfortunately we as a society do not recognize it. There is a problem of attitude that actually gives birth to incidents like this. It is very easy to blame the government for everything but it is hard to actually look in the mirror and see our real faces.

In society a rape victim is considered a criminal because of her clothes or attitude, according to popular belief a woman dressed in western clothes or who is bold and moves freely in society actually arouses the sexual desires of men, hence the responsibility is fixed on the woman not the rapist. Likewise the minor boys who are raped in madrassahs never get justice because the powerful clerics start propagating that it is only a one-off case and there is a conspiracy to bring a bad name to madrassahs and Islam.

The mindset that actually teaches society that having the basic instinct of sex is a crime, a mindset where even a minor child is accused of arousing sexual desires of men.

This ignorance is the result of our own self created beliefs and traditions and results in rapes and murders of women and children. The other factor contributing to these kinds of incidents is the lack of responsibility from us all. We need to teach our children about the instinct of sex and to be cautious of anyone who touches their private places of the body.

Since speaking about sexual exploitation is also considered a moral sin there are very few children who are able to complain about the molesters. We badly need an open debate in society where we should address the causes which give birth to the sexually frustrated psychopaths. Instead of brushing the social problems under the carpet and blaming everything on the West or Satan we need to solve this behavioural problem in an objective way. Psychological counsellors should be hired in each and every school, be they government or privately run.

Parents must talk to their children regularly and listen to their concerns, seeking psychological advice also if they see any abrupt change in the behaviour of children. As a collective approach we need to stop blaming the victim. It is the rapist who is the criminal, not the victim. We should learn to respect the freedom of others and stop thinking like stone age people who always blamed Satan for their inhuman acts.

Let’s open up this society and discuss instincts like sexual desires so we can get rid of the sexual frustration that is actually present in millions of minds. Let us not forget that when we appreciate violence in the name of honour and when our honour revolves around the manhood and dress of women, we actually breed a generation of psychopaths who always then try to exploit the weaker ones in society. Since the women and children are weak in our society they become a soft target for this kind of henious crime.

As a nation we are number one in online pornography searches, so to counter this, the need to discover healthy and productive activities for the masses, especially the deprived ones, is needed. We badly need to end this hypocrisy. Life is incomplete without music, colours, and dance so if we still consider these things illegal and immoral then there is no way we can stop brutal incidents such as rape and murder. After all, you cannot live against human nature, and if you impose restrictions on a society it becomes a pressure cooker where frustrated minds deprived of any kind of pleasure seek joy and pleasure in molesting children and women.

Instead of just mere sloganeering the government and other movers and shakers need to launch a massive awareness campaign across the country to protect children and women from the molesters. The need to include sexual education in text books is dire and unavoidable. The State needs to encourage women and children to participate in the activities that are the signs of life and denounce the extremist mindset of moral policing of clerics and conservatives who are actually making women and children only a subject of pleasure by interpreting their own self created beliefs and ethics.

The little angel Zainab has gone and with her the faith in humanity of this society. It is disgusting to see politicians settling political scores with each other in her name, the media gaining ratings from her death and the masses pointing at each other to humiliate one another over political affiliation. This actually shows that we are not ready to take our own responsibilities to make this world, this society, a better place to live.

For Zainab, you were born in the wrong place at the wrong time. We are busy settling our political scores and proving our own interpretations of faith and sects. We can mourn your loss for a day or two but after that we have important things to do, we have to keep criticizing the West for the moral demise of our society, we have to work even harder to deny women any kind of life by negating her individualism and making her an object of sexual desire and our male chauvinistic honour.

Goodbye little princess, you were born in the society of the living dead. It is hard to even cry, as looking into my own daughter’s face I see a glimpse of you and even I do not want to face her. Little angel your dead body is the burden on my shoulders as well as this whole society and is one we will have to carry if we are to survive.

 

 

 

 

Imad Zafar

Imad Zafar

Imad Zafar is a journalist based in Lahore. He is a regular Columnist/Commentator in newspapers. He is associated with TV channels, radio, newspapers, news agencies, political, policies and media related think tanks.

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