Musings over a cup of Tea: Farzana Parveen is dead, so what?

By Bisma Tirmizi

Farzana Parveen is dead. She was bricked to death, bloody and savage, who are these people who killed Farzana? Her father and brothers, by Jove that is inhuman, unbelievable, you are lying, I don’t believe you, why would you fabricate a story like that, you have a sick diseased mind, surely one has to be mentally disturbed to insinuate and suggest a murderous plot such as this.

What? Are you now insisting that there were bystanders watching while you told your theatrical murderous tale? Lawyers and judges too, they stood there and judged the story but did nothing, nothing to prevent you from spreading your lies? Look at you, adding masala, spicing the Greek tragedy by suggesting that Farzana’s husband is a murderer too, and why is he a killer, who did he kill? His first wife you say, now he has two dead wives. It is so pathetic, almost a marvelous plot for a Shakespearean tragedy. He throttled her, simply held her neck in his large rustic hands and sucked the air out of her. Why did he kill her? Because he wanted to marry Farzana, he killed his first wife to marry another, and Farzana died because she married him. He actually killed two women. I am walking away; I refuse to let your words fall onto my deaf ears. Yes I am somewhat deaf, almost blind and clinically dumb. I make a bad witness. Get away from me, what can I do, I am merely the collective force of the people of Pakistan, and the world at large. I am helpless, why don’t you help me by spinning another tale, a comedy of errors. Sell me another story, I will buy it.

We hear this story, you and I, and are appalled why? That to me is a question that needs to be addressed. We are appalled that Farzana was killed in broad daylight, and horrifying and repulsive that is, but what about the woman whose position Farzana took, the nameless woman who was killed so Farzana could marry her husband? Three victims, two women and an unborn child, lives lost, potential aborted. Everyday countless nameless women are killed by their husbands; emotionally if not physically. Not just in Pakistan, but in the west as well. To take the example of the US, in my estimation many women are simply alive today because the laws in the US are very stringent. When a woman is reported abused or harmed the law does provide some kind of justice to her. Yes, there are many who fall through the cracks, but many are saved as well.

What is the key to curtailing physical violence and eliminating emotional battering of women? Is education the key? Is emancipation of women the key? Is a strong justice system the key? Is upbringing the key? Is social pressure the key? Or is it a combination of all?

Woman, I believe, collectively can make a paradigm shift from their current second-rate gender position into a position of equality and strength. My argument may be simple but socially powerful, it is woman who gives birth, it is a woman who raises a little boy into becoming a man; it is therefore a woman’s foremost responsibility to raise a little boy into becoming a decent man, and raising a little girl to be a strong woman. Teach a girl to become a woman who can raise her voice against physical and emotional battering, and can ignore the prejudices that come her way when she is busy taking a stand to protect herself and change her position in society.

Yes that same man, who was once a little boy, can, will and must possess human flaws, as do women, but beating and battering a woman must not be one of them. We certainly do not live in a bubble, hence a utopic bubble-like simplistic existence is not what I am referring to, and I am certainly not inferring that women are faultless, but what is undeniable is that they are the victim of rape, murder, child abuse, battered wife syndrome, domestic violence and social injustices. Society propagates this social imbalance by ignoring and in effect supporting chauvinistic values of men and raising a brow at the ideology of extreme bra-burning feminists; both ideologies are extreme, one primitive and the other an extreme reaction to the old ways of a feudal chauvinistic society, and therefore both need to be frowned upon.

How is one to correct this ill, this mentality, I ask myself. And then a simplistic answer comes to me. The best way is to clean house, it always begins with cleaning house, the answers are always very simple, we just complicate them by looking in all the wrong places. We talk about Farzana being killed because she married for love, I can name so many in society who do not want their daughters, and for that matter sons, to marry for love, educated modern parents would kill the Farzanas of society if they could. Farzana could be a daughter, or the son’s love interest, Farzana could be the battered wife, Farzana could be the girl next door. Help the Farzanas around you, clean house, everything else will eventually fall into place, and if doesn’t at least you saved the Farzana at home, or the one next door.

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