The Voices Reach Out
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Who Fights for the African Woman? Few days ago, the world celebrated the International Women Day, commemorating women contributions to the world over the years.
As an African woman, I join the world to say Kudos to my fellow women compatriots both at home front and abroad. At the same the mourn for the deplorable and harsh conditions African woman go through. It is true we are slowing hitting up for good for the African woman, but still lots need to be done to improve their lots.
A recent survey on the worst treated women in the world released by the international humanitarian organization CARE, Africa was ranked seven as the most horrible treated women in the world. Should this be a celebration or condemnation? What does an African woman has to celebrate?
It does not take a rocket scientist to understand the effects of female genital mutilation (FGM), sexual abuse, and violence, lack of access to health care, decision-making, gender discrimination and illiteracy on women development in Africa. What is most tragic is the fact that women are victimized at three levels: location in society; culturally programmed to suffer from the ills of patriarchy; materially deprived at one level and institutionally marginalized to enjoy some of the fruits of the struggle for gender equality in the modern world.
As women are celebrated around the world, there is a need in Africa for struggle to correct the errors of yesterday and address the challenges of today. Identifying the problems and woes of the women folks, one begins with the idea of womanhood and the nature of suffering on the African continent. The first grievance is the imposed silence in the relationship between the women and their male partners. Condemned to be pleasure units whose purpose in life is to satisfy the sexual needs and demand of men, and to do everything within their power to outsmart each other in the fulfillment of this role, it is imperative for some if not many of us to solve these problems. What does this mean to a woman? It means that the personality and dignity of woman needs to be seriously evaluated and the forces and factors responsible for the deterioration of women in social intercourse be fussed on and addressed immediately.
The manner in which the women defines themselves as a part of the animal kingdom must go beyond that which makes men to create endless synonyms for the defining sexual characteristics of women.. As the case maybe, women should speak up and take charge, take their gender seriously and organize themselves in a way that men look at them not as pleasure units but as partners in progress and development.
Through these longstanding methods of manipulations, women have suffered and are still continue to suffer at the hands of men. Searching for fun and sexual gratification, women have languished under the thick boots of play boys and abusing philanders.
In the African situations, many young women have suffered sexual abuse and rape within and outside their families. Rape most often is a taboo to bring to the open especially when the man committing this offence is a family member, a powerful politician, an Eze or Oba, a village Chief, bacon of society, a businessman, or even young boys. The list goes on. As if violating the woman is not enough, they also infect them with the AIDS virus.
These tragedies are compounded due to the negative impact of patriarchy which is the traditional license for men to treat women as second class citizens, marrying as many wives as possible and having as many mistresses as possible. This ancient tradition which goes to King Sulayman and his numerous wives on the one hand, and to the African kings in the pre-colonial era on the other, is now the source of grave danger to women and society. Traditionally African men hates the use of condoms, many draw on their pleasure units without precautions. As a result, the emergence of HIV AIDS becomes the brutal enemy of African health and social security. Moving from one bed to the other, this disease that has wreak havoc throughout the continent, particularly in central and east Africa has accompany the men who take pride in their sexual conquests. African men most of whom refuse to be tested even when they suspect they could have the HIV epidemic, they still go about sleeping around with women unprotected.
It is tough to get going in Africa, tougher to get going as an African woman.
To able to get a job, loan, education, you must belong to the middle class, which means the majority of the population is left out, the majority of the population are women, the majority of the population are poor. 85% of the population lives below poverty line.
Men are able to do all these because most African women are insecure; African women are yet to make a significant inroad towards economic gains, and decision-making, while at the home front, their biological human rights are constantly violated and under treat.
The man is always in charge especially, in matters of sex. The woman feels incapable and helpless to be able to make decision on how she wants her body treated. Most often, men beat women for refusing to have sex with them or refuse to have sex without protection.
As a result, they woman is infected, she got pregnant, she gave birth, the child is infected, the mother gets really sick, no money for medicine or education for the child. The woman dies; the circle starts all over with this child in the vicious circle of poverty, abuse and neglect.
Through my observations over the years and experience talking to some of these women, I identified as primary causes material poverty and social entrapments. What I am saying is that the lack of economic and material resources has made it difficult for many women to take charge of their lives.. In the absence of such opportunities, many trade their bodies for pleasure gains for men and in doing so, they become subservient to men. It is also noteworthy to say that since majority of these women are poor and uneducated, they do not know their basic human rights or how to fight for it.
This can only be achieved through the rule of law. The absence of traditional or modern institutions to protect the weak, the vulnerable and the determination of freedom from the male folk complicates matters. For example, if a woman is forced to have sex with her husband, can she pick up the phone to call somebody, an agency, is there any institution or structure where she can go for protection? Nowhere! Even families are up on the gain. The role of the traditional family plays some negative role. Most families will send the woman back to the abusive husband. In their eyes, they woman is always at fault. Women are generally taught never to refuse sex to their husbands. If a woman goes against this rule, she will never be accepted by her family. She will be sent back to her abusive husband, with the warning, “Learn how to behave like a woman to your husband” She will be forced to apologize to the man. The fate of an African woman is not a good one. They are so enslaved that they are afraid to fight for themselves.
The African women are equally in denial because they feel there must be a man in order to be recognized. They have to get up and fight for themselves; no one will do it for them.
No one is going to give you emancipation; unless you fight for it.
The good news is this struggle for gender equality is here; we are moving on to the end.
I will conclude this with Dr. Sulayman Nyang’s reflections on what he called “The Human Conditions” On Women he wrote; “Women are the mothers of men
They are the protection of children
The are the custodians of nature’s treasures
They are the eyes of the race
They are the supplementary angles in the geometric problem of existence”
In other words nothing that is would be without women. Women are the past, the present and the future, let’s treat them with respect and honor. They are our mothers.
Eucharia Mbachu is the founder and President of Voices of Women and Children in Africa and Diaspora
Thursday, February 11, 2010
The Fury of Nature
The Mid-Atlantic has been hit with heavy snow storm for the couple of days and I heard it's still counting.
How it works in Sudan
Phot by Eucharia Mbachu
A Darfurian woman coming back from the market
Despite remarkable development in Science and technology that has enhanced human development, the distribution of wealth and services remain unequal and the lack of concern among the ruling groups makes it even more disturbing as many poor families try to take care of their children. Around the globe especially in Africa, human suffering has continued to soar even as economic progress across the continent continues to be impressive.
By Eucharia Mbachu
The Horror of Poverty
Science and technology together are expected to make our lives better; however, many people are still suffering from horrifying poverty. The women shown in this picture has suffered from stroke for years without any medical help back in Nigeria due to the burden of poverty. Her situation came to my attention during my recent visit to Nigeria. Sensing the gravity of her situation and drawing upon my family’s willingness to collaborate to ameliorate her plight, I have promised to help this living dead who has neither money nor food to help sustain her life. With nothing but her loving smile, she inspired me to bring her case out. Please follow this story on my website at http://www.vowac.org/ and see how you can help.
The anger of God, the fury of February for all the lies of the so called Global Warming has turn out to be Global Warning.
How would anyone explain this blizzargdon in the Mid- Atlantic region? This means God is still in control. Politicians can try to twist God’s creation as far as they can, but the harder they try the more God shows them who is in control. These blizzargdon photos show the glory of God.
Friday, January 8, 2010
Nigerian Headache (Part3) Eucharia Mbachu
It is in this context that, what Umar Farouk al- Abdulmuttallab, the Nigerian terrorist did on the Christmas Eve, became simply a nightmare that is incomprehensive and frightening. We can see how a Nigerian, whose father is as rich as Osama Bin Laden’s family, could engage in such a deadly and unacceptable action as that perpetrated at 9/11. Through the monopoly of power by the likes of this young man’s father, the wealth of Nigeria is siphoned off and the victims in the North suffered the same global shame and humiliation as other Nigerians. . To explore the dynamic interaction between religious bigotry and political instability in the nation, some serious attention must be given to the occasional eruptions of ethnic and religious violence in the land. The most brutal are those inspired and driven by religious intolerance. The most recent religious outburst in the North a few weeks ago testifies to this. What is most disturbing to me is that, despite the fact that a Northern petrodollar rich Muslim man tried to kill about three hundred innocent people aboard a Northwest Airlines carrier, and his activity which has turned every Nigerian a suspected terrorist in the world, the northern leaders have not yet taken effective action and are yet to promise better ways of using religion as a means of political pursuit. Adding insults to Nigerian injuries, let us just remind ourselves about the cohabitation between local terrorism and internationally inspired terrorism. According to local news report, “thirty eight people died at Zango village on the outskirts of Bauchi in what the police said was a clash between members of a fringe Muslim sect described as the Kala Kato. This nonsense is in place because some bad elements among the northern clerics allow these kinds of groups to form in order to use them as their religious tools to achieve their selfish narrow-minded and myopic political illusions. The action of these Islamic radicals, such as the Kala Kato, the Maitatsine, the Boko Harem groups and others not so well known, belongs to that category of system-challenging operations need to be cleaned out of the Nigerian system for the sake of national unity. These bad eggs in the society are subversive; their provocative preaching does not foster unity and social solidarity in the country. Apparently linked to the much discredited Maitatsine group, whose activities were forcefully brought to an end under President Babangida, these new groups claimed to be the resurrections of the old Maitatsine Movement and are characterized by their religious fanaticism, militancy and superstitions. . Taken together, this volatile religious craziness in the North, plus the Nigerian criminally- minded, corrupt bad government, has added heartburn to strings of problems facing this nation of 150 million people. The radicalization of religion in the northern part of the country has not been helpful in getting Nigerians on the path towards development. Being wedded to state power, the leaders from that region have not solved the problems of elite-mass gap. And illustration of this crisis was captured when, during the recent uprising, Alhaji Abubaker said: “before they were subdued, the sect members were shouting at the top of their voices that they were the real Yan Tatsine, i.e. followers of the late sect leader Muhammad Marwa alias Maitatsine who was killed during a major uprising in Kano in 1980.” What these utterances from the resurrected Islamic fanatical group tell us is the survivals of Old bigotry in the country. While modernization and social change are being effected in many African countries, there are the paradoxes of the Boko Haram. Like many religious bodies today, technology and science are seen as partners for social change. However, in their affirmation of their metaphysical beliefs many of these groups act opportunistically and aggressively towards the destruction of anything progressive. . Could there be a worst moment of a religious uprising in the country than this time when the world sees Nigeria as a terrorist nation due thanks to the misadventure of Umar Farouk Abdulmuttallab and his Islamic nut heads. In as much as I strongly disagree with the Islamically deep-seated fanaticism of the North as well as a Gambialization of Nigeria, it is also important to ask ourselves, if it would not be better and safer for the nation to say, to your tents oh, Nigeria. We can call this DIVIDED STATES OF NIGERIA (DSN) under different religious attitudes and political principals. Although every sovereign nation has a right to decide how individuals enter and leave their country, it is equally important to know and reject any form of cut and dry and clear evidence of name profiling because of a country’s geographical location. By saying this, I mean to ask if Great Britain, Germany or France citizens had carried out this senseless act of terrorism, would the United States have black listed any one of them as sponsors of terrorism? This brings flash blacks on the inferior relationships between the West and Africa. President Obama and his ruling class know very well that Nigeria is a sticky rotten 419 crook who loves good life. This is true, and sure we are. But to say that Nigerians are terrorists is not a simply argued case; rather, we know Nigeria has better representatives than this fellow in the news. And this very terrorist has a father who has lots of money in the USA, the father’s money was not ceased because the Obama administration felt that he tried to prevent the terrorist act to happen by informing the security agents who by their omission or commission missed the point. So tell me, where in the world does Nigeria have anything to do with this? If not, because Nigeria is a Third World country with leaders as rotten and corrupt as dead vultures? Therefore, the situation facing Nigeria is not a Nigerian problem, it is an African problem, as the saying goes get the leader and his disciples will scatter. Nigeria has a big role to play in the stability in Africa; so once Nigeria is hit and cowed, then the other African countries will be yummies for the rest of the world. Let history be everyone’s best teacher, We all remember a couple of years ago when President George W. Bush called the sleeping North Korea and Iran “axis of evil” Bam, there began trouble that seem to be spilling out of country. Or Pakistan, see what is happing in that country today. So my suggestion is that The United States should remove Nigeria from this harsh categorization in the name of peace and unity for the rest of us. I want to be able to go home with pride without being treated as a hardened terrorist.
Eucharia Mbachu is the President and Founder of Voices of Women and Children in Africa and Diaspora. (VOWAC.org)
Labels: conflict and Religion
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