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Friday, June 17, 2011

Mukhtaran Mai (on BBC)

A lot has been said about the case of Mukhtaran Mai. Here is a recent interview that she gave to BBC. This interview is in Urdu hence, some of her main concerns are translated in English...!

Mukhtaran's case is an example of justice delayed is justice denied!

She was gang raped in 2002 and instead of committing suicide as the tradition goes, she challenge the authorities, raised her voice against the heinous crimes - women in this part have to go through.

Nicolas Kristof of the New York Times also covered her story among many others - a story of perseverance, bravery and standing against the odds, he considers her as 'one of his heroes'. In one of his articles on Mukhtaran he wrote:

"...although I did not find Osama, I did encounter a much more ubiquitous form of evil and terror: a culture, stretching across about half the globe, that chews up women and spits them out.
We in the West could help chip away at that oppression, with health and literacy programs and by simply speaking out against it, just as we once stood up against slavery and totalitarianism. But instead of standing beside fighters like Ms. Mukhtaran, we're still sitting on the fence. "

Nine years on- Supreme Court of Pakistan's decision led many to lost faith in the judiciary - at least, this is Mukhtaran's strong belief. Moreover, she thinks that if people can get away with crimes -that will only encourage others to follow...the judicial decision in her case may have closed many doors towards crimes regarding women if justice was given to her ( watch from 10.01 min.).

Nevertheless, there is one front that Mukhtaran Mai is ready and willing to fight until the end - and that is to fight oppressive values: these are not rooted in religion (any religion) but in poverty, ignorance and lack of education. Mukhtaran Mai's organization is striving hard to fight these evils - taking a step at a time. Though she does NOT have much financial resources and therefore, most of the welfare work she is doing such as schools that she is running depends on donations - even a dollar can do wonders, can help these young girls & boys to continue their education!

Mukhtaran Mai told BBC that 700 girls are studying at her school - this school started with only a few girl with almost the entire village against opening of school for girls but now, people come and request her to admit the girl child...this change of attitude is the biggest success and reward for her. Her schools' motto is: "Ending oppression through education". Nothing can be a bigger contribution from a woman of meagre sources but strong desire for change!
Mukhtaran Mai's organization is also running a boys school with 300 students registered. She said that boys education is extremely important, even more than that of girls because, it is men who initiate crimes against women, most of the time. She said education is the catalyst to any improvement that we expect to bring in our society. One of the main subjects taught in her schools is about rights and responsibilities as well as awareness...which is also an important factor.
How she generates funding(watch from:16:00 min)for her projects? Mukhtaran Mai said, that the money she received through the book "In the Name of Honor", was used to built a school and then articles by N. Kristof and the New York Times also donated money through which they bought land for women's shelter, mobile team and other projects. The Embassy of Netherlands also helped her to set up a center and also in buying land but after floods things have been a little tough for her particularly financially - one of her schools is completely deptroyed by floods and for a long time the remaining two schools in Miranwala were used as refugee camps for flood victims. Her efforts are extraordinary and particularly in a Pakistani context where Pakistan is the third most dagerous country in the world for women. We must support Mukhtaran Mai at all costs.

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