In the last few weeks we have seen a horrific onslaught of violence against women on every continent on this planet. In fact, the only continent that it seems you can be a woman and feel safe in is Antarctica.
We have been chronicling, filing reports, and following up on the over two-hundred girls who have been abducted in a war on women and girls in Nigeria. These victims remain in the company of their abductors, and by no means should this egregious crime against humanity fall into the darkness of a twenty-four news cycle filled with tripe jive and bickering over who wore what to where. Yet still, it has taken a back seat to a culture of narcissistic trifles. Where is the free- the- two -hundred- plus- Nigerian- girls concert? Where are the artists writing songs of fire to ignite the stove which boils the pressure of the collective conscience? Silence…
We have been on the streets painting our tears into screams of outrage for our sisters, our fellow human beings, who were lynched in the prime of their fourteen and fifteen -year – old lives. The blood they left on the mangoes reminds us the fruit of nourishment, the dreams of tomorrow, are being cut down, suffocated, beaten, in a hateful war on women. What do the so-called experts illuminate-“65% of the women in Uttar Pradesh don’t have access to proper sanitation?” I’m serious, this is what so-called experts offered as a solution following the gang rape of two girls who were lynched- lynched and displayed hanging from a mango tree. The people who killed these girls took the time to not just murder them but to hang them from a tree. Then we have politicians, the so-called voice of the people, following the incident with remarks like, “Rape is sometimes right, sometimes wrong;” or “No one commits rape intentionally, it happens by mistake…” It gets better, or I should say dumber: “Boys make mistakes, why hang them?” These brokers of hate should be hung. In the country I inhabit almost everyone, almost everyone, has access to toilets and sanitation. This country I inhabit also has one of the highest number of rapes in the world. Toilets, or lack of toilets do not make people rape, but misogyny synthesized with entitlement does. Dehumanizing women as products-inhuman, inferior, insulated by caste, prefaced by a worn out hateful predisposition enacts violence. I can go outside almost anywhere in the world and release myself and the fear of being raped will be the last thing on my mind. Silence…
We remain in the streets, burning candles for the innocent lives cut down at UCSB in a shooting rampaged by-I must stop in this case and preface my remark by saying the shooter was actually sick, he was suffering from the age-old disease of white entitlement, one of the world’s largest killers, diluted by the silence of media.
We are trying to get more information on the health and well-being of a young girl in Malaysia who was raped by 38 men. She wasn’t on her way to a bathroom, drunk, or any of the other victim blaming, social stigmas baptized in ignorance to avoid actually having a conversation, one which would ultimately indicted society and most of the people who work in this building, and other governmental buildings around the world.
We continue to illuminate the baffling ignorance and inaction of governments to follow through with strategic planning to prevent these crimes. In fact, the people of the communities around these crimes are doing more to fight back, to raise their voices, to demand change, than the governments. This is including inaction, real thoughtful, progressive, strategic action, on the parts of the intergovernmental organizations, like the one I am standing in right now.
We see more ridiculous comments, more victim blaming and impunity than action; action for progressive justice, not retroactive-it’s-too-late justice.
Retroactive justice doesn’t bring the girls lynched in Uttar Pradesh back to life.
Retroactive justice, so-called courtroom justice doesn’t put the bullets back in Elliot Rodger’s gun.
Retroactive justice doesn’t reverse a rape.
It doesn’t take back the harassment the girl raped at Columbia University experienced, nor does it take back the harassment she was subjected to by the New York Police Department, the very people who should have been protecting her in the first place.
Retroactive justice doesn’t annul a child sold into marriage because her chances are better at surviving, as she lays starving in a refugee camp in Syria, while a war criminal remains in power, uncharged.
Retroactive justice doesn’t bring back to life, or return the lost, missing, murdered indigenous women in Canada.
We want proactive justice.
We want an international anti-misogyny treaty. This means money allocated to doing whatever is necessary to uproot misogyny.
We want money which would have been spent on arms, spent, on books, desks, clothes, and food so every girl on this planet is in school. Yes, if you can do it, the money is there, it is the weak will and lack of imagination that is absent.
We want women’s education which teaches men the her-story that has been omitted from text books in order to prop up his-story.
We want every boy and man to know when he dream of university, when he steps foot in a university, it was a woman who was the architect for the very first university on this earth. Yes, a Muslim woman. So, all the centers of knowledge on this earth today, every advancement in research today, can be traced back to the will of this founding Muslim woman. Her name should be some where on the foots paths of every university on this planet, so every girl, knows…My her-story was a part of creating a hub of intellectualism which has fueled advancement.
When they walk out on the farmlands, when they are involved in agriculture, we want them to know that in ancient Egypt men and women had equal land rights. The cradle of civilization, the dawn of organizing, offered women more rights than many countries offer women today.
We want them to know who Merit-Ptah-one of the first chief physicians was, and that she operated in ancient Egypt.
We want them to know that women were educated in the early Vedic period, that Rigvedic verses suggest that women married at a mature age and were probably free to select their own husbands.
We want proactive justice that teaches equality.
We want proactive justice that teaches children how man has constructed a million centers of hate to achieve the subjugation of human beings for his own benefit. We want them to learn that race, gender, sexuality, that these were tools used to marginalize people and justify greed which brought diseases, upheavals, and violence.
We want them to know that man’s social-Darwinism has been exposed as lies based on pseudo science funded by rich white men, to keep rich white men in power, which gave rich white men the means to enact plans that has ushered destruction everywhere.
We want them to know that knowledge propels change, and stagnation, inaction, in the face of knowledge is hateful, violent and oppressive.
We want proactive justice that teaches conflict resolution.
We want children taught that there is more so be achieved by not fighting, cooperating, working together, than there is by violence, verbally, physically, or structurally.
We want proactive applied learning. As each rudiment of this education to dismantle misogyny and patriarchy is assembled, later it needs to be practiced. We want cross community integration of applied assignments requiring students to mix with communities outside of their own identities, to see that they can work together on a common goal, be graded on the outcome, and build friendships, that will give way to a generation of love and understanding.
We want a streamlined World Health Organization mandated universal gender education, put together by scientists and doctors elected from diverse regions, alongside social scientists.
This is the beginning of proactive steps toward gender justice.
Now, the first thing the so-called pragmatic man views is currency signs and conflict.
Well, if every country appropriated less, spent less to fund the weapons which annihilate the garden, and spent more in growing the garden of equality, the children of tomorrow, girls and boys, would walk forever in the richest gardens.
Proactive justice is less costly over time than retroactive justice, it cost less lives, fewer resources, and less gun powder, so consider it an investment in the future.
Consider it an investment in changing mindsets, in dismantling hate and greed.
Proactive justice will do much more to create peace, than any gun, bomb or worn out rhetoric attacking identities, victim blaming, ever has, or will, while summoning the greatest will, the human will to do better, go further and achieve what was once called impossible
So, we say to those who are stealing from the here and now of women and girls, who are looting our garden “you can cut down the flowers, but you’ll never stop the coming of spring.”
Statement by: JJ, Artistic Director of Price of Silence
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