A great article my brilliant husband, Abaseen, just wrote recently. Please read and reflect.
We call ourselves people of “nang ow namos” (honour and esteem), and if you want to see how nangiyaal (honourable) we are then you should visit our local bazaars. YES! that’s where WE Pakhtun men walk with our chest high, often with our .32 caliber guns or AK47s hanging from our shoulders.
Our reality lies not on those high mountains, nor in the beautiful lakes, nor in the sounds of the Rabab with a bonfire and young men performing attanr, but within these crowded bazaars; a rigid reality to which even we are blind. If you gaze down from our pakols(hats) to our saplay(slippers), our reality will hit you in the face on these streets of our local bazaars.
A woman in a burqa.
Sitting on a dusty pavement.
A hungry child, sleeping in her lap.’
Exposing only her wrinkled hand through the burqa with a begging gesture.
Her head tilted to the right, she has lost the battle of life.
Most of us will claim that the bazaar is no place for women, and if they must come then they must be invisible in a burqa, but what we mean to say is that it is no place for women who are better than us; but if in misery, we accept them as a showpiece in a place where we walk so high and mighty. We walk past these women as if they don’t exist but we are aware of their existence. It’s our way of assuring ourselves that we are better than them and that those women we take care of are not on the street because our presence in their lives made a difference. The tragedy is that for us honour lies in taking lives, not in making lives better.