DO WE NEED A DAY FOR GIRLS?

I`ve heard boys and men asking the same old question: why do we have a “Women`s Day” or day for girls?

10 % of the world`s population today got married while they still were kids. Many girls don`t go to school, pretty much because the family`s too poor or they don`t prioritize her education. In many countries women unfortunately are blamed, if they get raped. “Why were you out so late?” “Maybe you shouldn`t have worn a short skirt!” The words, the accusations are many. Most child brides are women, many girls/woman are sexually assulted and many are taught that the kitchen is their home. In several industries, woman are underestimated, underevalued. In many socities, the case is that a girl exists so that she can take care of her family and the house. Her thoughts and feelings are irrelevant. Read history, and you`ll understand how men have been ruling in so many cases. Men have been “above”. Did you know women didn`t have the vote to right till 1913, in Norway? Did you know that in England or Wales alone, two women are killed each week by a current or former partner? Did you know every third girl in developing countries get married before turning 18? In Bangladesh, 66 % of girls are married before they turn 18. 

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I`m not telling you all this, to make you feel sorry for “us”, even though I hope you feel some sort of sympathy for all these girls (and women) out there, who`re living a life they haven`t dreamt of. I`m glad we have a day like this where we can focus on girls` rights, BUT it won`t help if we don`t make a change the other 364 days. Also, this doesn`t mean there aren`t boys and men struggling out there. Of course there are and we absolutely need to help them too. Nevertheless, girls and women belong to the gender that have been oppressed the most during history and we still see bits of that happening all over the world.

And to the boys and men, who ask why they don`t have their very own day? Well, you do. It`s on 19th November and is celebrated in 60 countries. So don`t worry. But like I said – we need to fight every day. Not only today. This isn`t only about the rights of girls and boys – this is about fundamental human rights.

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NO FREEDOM WITHOUT LOVE

Writing about how much it was raining here yesterday morning or how wet and cold I was, seems absolutely pointless now. Posting yesterday about things that don`t really matter in the end, when people far away are being killed, really seemed pointless. I read about the mass shooting in Las Vegas when I was at school yesterday and I must say I didn`t want to read about it, because… I`m so tired of it. I`m exhausted and each time something like this happens, I ask myself how a human being can even think of killing another human being. How does a person decide he`s going to leave his house, to go and kill as many people as possible? I really don`t know and these questions make the sadness and pain ever more tougher. No answers will be good enough.

42 weapons. 59 died.

I stayed up last night and looked through some of the profiles of the people who were killed in Las Vegas.

“Rembering Quinton Robbins”.

“Rembering Sonny Melton”

How hard it must be for their friends and family to see that one word. “Remembering.”

The empty chair around the dining table. The empty bed, the empty room. They`re never coming home again. Never ever. They left the house, never thinking they were never ever going to get back home. They never know the hug, the kiss they gave their kids or someone they loved, was going to be the last one. It was going to be the last time.

I can barely imagine the pain, the sorrows, the emptiness. The holes they have to live with the rest of the lives. The fear, maybe even anger.

I notice how the discussions about USA`s gun laws already have begun. Personally I think that`s important, we need to start acting as soon as possible and do something about the gun violence. More than 11.000 people have died because of gun violence the last 275 days.

But for the people in Las Vegas, it was already too late Sunday evening.

My thoughts, prayers and love go out to everyone affected by the tragedy. This is sick, this is awful and we desperately need to fight the hate with love. Or else it`s going to be too late for more people, way too soon.

I saw this a little earlier and thought I`d share this. Such a beautiful song. There`s no love without freedom and there`s no freedom without love. 

THEY SCREAM SO LOUD, BUT NO ONE HEARS A THING

I`m thinking of all the people, especially women, we`re not able to hear. Of all the women, who are objects of social control every single day. Of all the women who`re screaming under water. They read articles, they read what we, who`re more privileged, say and I`m sure some notice how we`re more interested in fighting each other, instead of focusing on helping these people. I can feel their helplessness. They are so many and yet, we barely hear them. Maybe it`s because we fight too much, or maybe it`s because their screams aren`t able to reach us. Maybe it`s because the worst things happen behind locked doors. I`m thinking of these people who have written something in the media about extremism, social culture or honour culture and therefore have been brought to silence. They have met their sanctions, they`ve disappointed their parents, their family and are therefore told to not speak up anymore. Since they`ve brought shame on your family, they need to shut up.

Can we, if not for our own sake then their sake, give them some attention?

I can assure you there`s a girl out there, that`s crying herself to sleep because she can`t do what she wants to do. It`s not like her parents, her family or her friends always directly tell her she can`t wear a t-shirt or a short skirt, or that she`s not allowed to hang out with boys. Of course these were things she was taught when she was still a little girl, but now she knows these things by heart. She knows what she should do and not and therefore, she stops herself many of the times from doing everything she wants. Whether it`s writing an article in the local newspaper or it`s wearing the sleeveless dress she`s hid inside her wardrobe. Because what`ll happen if she doesn`t follow the rules of the game? She`ll bring shame on her family, she`ll disappoint people she loves and that way, she`ll end up disappointing herself.

They know how to play with her conscience and they know how to make her push the right buttons.

It frustrates me how the more “privileged” ones act like these things are okay. Or they act like not many are living with such circumstances. Many of us don`t notice the silent girls, the girls that are too scared to share whatever`s on their mind because they know very well that`ll cause them trouble. WHY don`t we help these girls more?? There are so so many girls out there, who`re afraid. Afraid to live their own lives the way they want to, afraid to go out late at night, afraid to fall in love with “the wrong boy”, afraid to dress in an inappropiate way. Maybe a friend of her mum will see her with a boy and call her mum to share the “latest news.” Or maybe one of the taxi drivers will catch her and let her dad know what she`s doing 12 am in the city. There`s always someone stalking you and making sure you follow the social rules and norms, and these women (and men, of course) have to be careful or else it can go very, very wrong.

We`ve already seen that. Women have been burned alive for falling in love with the “wrong guy”, for doing something they tought was right. Zeenat Rafique, 18, was strangled and set alight by her mother and brother in June 2016 after she eloped against their wishes. Jer mother and brother tied her to a bed, poured gasoline and set her on fire. What about Souad`s brother who killed his own sister with a telephone cord? Or what about all the mothers who kill their baby girls right after giving birth to them, simply because they are girls? Women have been killed in the name of “honour”, they have been killed by families who wanted to make their daughters shut up forever. We don`t hear that much about the men who suffering, but they exist too. Many men are married to women they don`t love and they are victims of a shame culture too. I could mention many more horrible consequences many human beings who don`t follow the rules the family or the community has set, have to live according to on a daily basis, but we talk more about the “worst things” than everything that happens in silence or the things we barely notice.

We barely hear about the girls and boys that are suffering in silence. They don`t let anyone know what kind of life they`re living. Many live double-lives, because that`s easier, in many ways. You can be who they want to be in “another world.” Many are locked up inside, but act like nothing. Letting anyone know, would be shameful. People shouldn`t know. God, it makes me sad to think of all the girls and boys that have no wings and aren`t allowed to be free. They suffer in silence, they can`t satisfy their own expectations and needs.

And instead of focusing on these people and giving them attention and love, way too many of us focus on how people who point these problems out, are racists or hate Muslims. Some of us even ignore it all, we act like these things barely happen and that the real problems lie somewhere else. I`m sure victims of social control would appreciate it if the privileged ones saw them and cared about them way more. I`m sure they`d appreciate a helping hand, I`m sure they`d be more than happy to know some of us, who`re more privileged, are spending some of our lives to help them live the life they`ve always imagined for themselves, and replace control and fear, with dreams, hope and love. I know they`d be thankful if we saved them from drowning.

 

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I WANT TO WRITE A BOOK

I was a little girl when I realised I wasn`t going to live forever. I`m going to die one day, lie in a grave somewhere and be gone. My feet won`t carry my body anymore, and nobody will be able to find me on this earth. There`ll be no blood running inside my body, and I will no longer be able to make the world a better place.

That is, if I leave no pieces of me, no words written by me or no footsteps for the world to see.

I`ve always wanted to write a book. A book about feelings and lived lives. A book which makes people shake their head, which makes them laugh, which makes their stomach ache because they can feel everything so purely. I want people to feel like they`ve gained everything and nothing, when they finish the last page. I want to make people cry, I want people to feel the sadness so much, that the sadness itself makes them want to cry. I want to inspire, I want to touch, I want to leave something. I need to know the day I die, that I? I`ve left something for people to read and to feel. I need to know I`ve been honest with not only myself, but other people, in order to help someone who might believe they`re the only ones encountering something. Who`re in a situation they believe no one else can understand.

So? One day I`ll tell about the 8-year-old girl who didn`t want to sleep and cried at nights because she was too scared to die. I`ll tell about little me, who met her way too old step-grandfather and wondered if his body was going to fall apart if she dared to touch him once. I`ll tell about a little girl in the kindergarten who played with an African little boy most of the time and once put all of her mum`s make-up on her face. I`ll tell about all the times she jumped on the trampoline in her garden and felt like nobody could ever harm her. About the 12-year-old me who came home, furious and sad, because she was tired of being bullied. I`ll tell about a girl at 14 who was told to go and kill herself, by people she considered to be her friends. I`ll tell about a girl at 19, who saw her grandmother dead. I`ll tell about a little girl who found her relatives laughing, when they when asked what she wants to do when she grows up and received “I want to be a author” as an answer.

I`ll tell about the pain and joy behind this smile.

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DEAR GRANDMOTHER

Where to begin? You`ve been gone for months and I can`t get over what happened with you or the fact that you`ve been gone for months. The last time we talked, was on the 12th December.

I remember it all too well.

I had a hope inside me, Grandmother, even though I must admit the situation was too complicated. Many complicats. Back and forth. Hospital, then home for one week, until you again had to visit the hospital and later a nursing home. You didn`t say as much as I hoped for. The first weeks were alright, but the last weeks? You lied in your bed and stared at the roof for hours as if there were countless stars only you could see. What about me? I sat next to you and didn`t know what to say. “Grandmother, tell me something.” “What shall I tell you, daughter? You tell me something.” I barely came up with something. I wondered what she was thinking of. Did she know she was dying? I don`t know and most likely I`ll never get to know.

It`s so damn weird and sad how you just have to get used to not have a person you love and care about, around anymore. A person you`ve known all your life. I can show up at your place, but I`m never going to see you again, Grandmother. I remember all the times I had sleepovers at your house, when I was still a little girl. I remember being fussy about not being able to watch this Pakistani drama series, because you rather wanted to enjoy your stupid Pakistani news. You never got tired of them. I remember how you told me to be quiet because girls shouldn`t talk so much and from the beginning of I told you to give me up when it comes to that, because I talk just as much as you, perhaps even more.

Now I`m the one left to do the talking.

The last weeks you said too little. And you weren`t that interested in those stupid Pakistani news. Two years ago I might have been happy about that. When you were at the hospital, I wasn`t. All I wanted, was to see you happy. Even if it meant you watching the boring news.

A lot happened, dear Grandmother. I regret a lot, more than anyone even knows and maybe you`re carrying a lot of regrets too, up there in Heaven. I don`t know, but if there`s anything I want you to know, it`s that I`m sorry about everything. I loved you and still love you. I`ll forever miss you and think of you. I hope you were and one day will be proud of me. Despite everything.

Thank you for everything. Hopefully we`ll see each other, one beautiful day. And then? Then we`ll watch Pakistani news together.

Your Granddaughter

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HELLO HI SEPTEMBER

 

September. I love autumn, but I have an off-and-on-relationship with this month. September. I like how the autumn leaves change their colours, how the air gets colder, more fresh somewhere. I like how it gets dark sooner and how I can crawl in my bed and enjoy it making me warm again. I enjoy the misty and frosty mornings. The wind whistles more and the rain keeps pouring down. I`ve been using my new sweaters and hoodies from Amsterdam ever since I got them, but it`s going to be even better to wear them the next weeks. Oh, and let`s not forget my coat and boots. Autumn is all about knitwear, scarves, hot chocolate, autumn leaves and early dark nights. At the same time, I don`t how it gets so cold here sometimes and how it`s my birthday. I like and don`t like my birthday at the same time. Each September I grow up a little, if I can put it that way. I`m turning 20 and… let`s not just think about it for now. o.jpg

This summer has been amazing in many ways – I FINALLY went to Amsterdam and made some of my dreams come true. Ah, I can`t believe I was there about two months ago?! This has definetely been one of the best summers ever – perhaps even the best one. I was enchanted to meet you, Amsterdam and Anne Frank. That`s what I did – I went where she used to be and learned something I needed to learn. Everybody needs to learn about how good and awful life can be at the same time. I`m for sure going to keep this summer close to my heart forever – this is only the beginning. Thank you so much for everything you gave me. Welcome September and autumn. It`s unbelieveable to see how people already are wearing their coats, boots and scarves, but that`s just how it is, I guess.

Summer`s a whole bunch of memories now and we`re back to watch the autumn leaves fall down.