Saturday, April 24, 2010

Saudi Girls Getting Smarter or Getting Exploited???

I recently chanced upon a news report online about a pre-teen girl from Saudi Arabia who won her divorce from her 80-year-old husband. After reading the brief article I must say I am pretty impressed by the way the girl and her family handled the entire matter. I don’t know whether to term this incident as an evidence of empowerment or exploitation of women. Maybe my readers will help me arrive at a suitable conclusion.

Let me present some facts of the case according to what I read in the original news report. Apparently the girl willingly married her 80-year-old relative (father’s cousin) a year ago. In the bargain the girl’s father received a dowry of $22,000, a small fortune I must say. A year later she decides that she doesn’t want to remain married to a man old enough to be her great-grandfather and approaches a human rights group to files for a divorce.

The state-run human rights agency takes up her case and privately settles her divorce case. At the end of a year the girl is $22,000 richer and FREE. The news report doesn’t comment about whether the dowry amount was returned or not. I guess it was not, because if it were to have changed hands the girl and her family would have screamed from the top of the tallest building in Saudi Arabia.

She can now go to school, probably emigrate to the US where she will be welcomed because she fought against the oppressive patriarchal society in Saudi Arabia, find a young boyfriend, get married and settle down. She could simultaneously invest the $22,000 she got as dowry last year and use it to pay for her college.

Fantastic idea indeed. She declared to the court that she married the 80-year-old man willingly, out of “filial respect to her father”.

This is where my dilemma comes from. I understand that what happened to the girl in question is totally unfair and the father and family of the girl who agreed to Sell for $22,000 to their aged relative are completely at fault. At the same time I can’t help but marvel at the smartness of the girl who managed her family and get rid of her husband and still be $22,000 richer. Alternatively I wonder whether the father of the girl conspired with his family and manipulated the young girl’s feelings and made her do and say things she did and said.

If it were the first instance then the 80-yr-old man tried to exploit the girl’s family and got exploited in return... kinda tit for tat. If it were the second case where the girl handled the case by her own smartness, then I must say there will be lots of changes in Saudi Society in the decades to come. If it is the third case where the father orchestrated the entire incident, then I would say this is no different from any other oppressive, and exploitative incident against women in such societies.

I’d be interested to know your opinions on this subject.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Women Power in America!!!

I have been reading the Dallas Morning News off and on. Recently a news item caught my attention and when I was about to forget all about it and move on I read a follow-up column by one of their women columnists. The column titled "The pinch heard 'round Flower Mound the least of city's worries" is a well written piece of literature and conveniently takes the focus off the main issue in question. This article also highlights how women get away Scot free even when they are guilty of a serious crime such as "Sexual Harassment". Simply because the subject of harassment was a male and didn't file the complaint... probably fearing humiliation and backlash.

Anyway let us me first relate what happened as per the several news items I read. This is a fairly old incident, one that happened about five months ago. During a city function two FEMALE city officials as high ranking as the Mayor and a city council member, sneaked up behind a MALE police officer and simultaneously pinched his behind. The poor police officer squirmed in his position in surprise and the ladies just giggled away to glory watching his predicament. The police chief who saw his staff member's harassment filed a case of sexual harassment in the court against the women.

What happened after that is interesting, the court commissioned an independent investigation and considered the CCTV camera footage of the incident and concluded that the incident was NOT sexual harassment but some innocent fun. The court promptly acquitted the culprits and told disciplined the police chief. Since then there has been report after report defending the two women and now this women columnist completely brushes aside the incident and talks about how mineral rights, oil drilling, and other issues have divided the city of Flower Mound, Texas and the said incident was just an excuse for two warring factions to fight.

Well that may well be the case, I wouldn't doubt the bigger money game and politics playing in the matter. But what I would like to point out in this case is that the women have not been disciplined suitably.

Let us consider a similar scenario involving men. Supposing it were two men, instead of the women, both high ranking city officials, who had pinched the bottom of a female police officer purely out of jest, without any sexual intent. What would be the result? Would the feminists, women and human rights activists remained quiet? There would have been an uproar and the men would have been put behind bars immediately and the investigation/ hearings and trail would have been conducted later. This would have also conclusively killed the political careers of the two men concerned, while the female police officer would have been hailed as a heroine.

Now why this discrimination between sexes? Is this because men are mostly silent sufferers in crimes of this sort? Or is this because women can get away by flashing a giggle or a smile and expressing innocence?? I would really like to know????

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Visitor Center @ Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

I had blogged earlier about the visitor center and nature museum at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, India-homa, Oklahoma. Here are some pictures of the innovative, informative, and interesting exhibits in the center. The folks here have tried to recreate natural scenarios that represent the park areas and the flora and fauna present within. I must say that they have done a wonderful job at that, the exhibits and soft lighting together provide a fantastic birds eye view of the park environs. We spent a few hours in the park including taking in the visitor center, I would suggest visitors to spend half a day at the visitor center and then proceed to explore the park for the next two days. Otherwise a visit to this wonderful wilderness area would be in vain.

Lasik Video Contest Winners Announced

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