There may not be much to be happy about, really. From Brazilian churches defending the "human right" of fetuses to kill or seriously harm a 9-year-old waif of a child, to an Eastern European head of state defending the killing of women for "honor", to Indian tradition-peddlers defending attacks on "loose" women like thrashed pub-goers and gangraped lovers, to Pakistani Taliban shutting down women's education, the situation looks pretty disheartening. Even where women have made strides in getting employment and supporting themselves, it leads them into the clutches of predators. And let's not even get started on what's happening in the Congo.
But for those who have been strong and/or lucky enough to go through life without getting totally screwed over by the traditionalist patriarchy, congratulations on making it this far, and best wishes for the future. That's not just for women, by the way, because this is a day for men too; any system of oppression is not just bad for the oppressed group, it also corrupts and damages the oppressor group. Not to mention that we men all have mothers, sisters, daughters, lovers and wives, after all. As long as feminism and masculism are seen as an us vs them thing, gender-identity extremism and reactionism will inevitably thrive in the collision zone. But when educated aware men join hands with educated aware women to ensure dignity and rights for each other, extremism will be tempered and reactionism will wither away.
So Happy Women's Day to all women AND men.
02 March 2009
By Lynn Berry / The Associated Press GROZNY — The bull-necked president of Chechnya emerged from afternoon prayers at the mosque and with chilling composure explained why seven young women who had been shot in the head deserved to die.
Ramzan Kadyrov said the women, whose bodies were found dumped by the roadside, had "loose morals" and were rightfully shot by male relatives in honor killings.
"If a woman runs around and if a man runs around with her, both of them are killed," Kadyrov told journalists in Grozny.
The 32-year-old former militia leader is carrying out a campaign to impose Islamic values and strengthen the traditional customs of predominantly Muslim Chechnya in an effort to blunt the appeal of hardline Islamic separatists and shore up his power. In doing so, critics say, he is setting up a dictatorship where Russian laws do not apply.
Kadyrov's bluster shows how confident he is of his position. "No one can tell us not to be Muslims," he said outside the mosque. "If anyone says I cannot be a Muslim, he is my enemy."
Few dare to challenge Kadyrov's rule in Chechnya.
Kadyrov describes women as the property of their husbands and says their main role is to bear children. He encourages men to take more than one wife, even though polygamy is illegal in Russia. Women and girls are now required to wear headscarves in all schools, universities and government offices.
Some Chechen women say they support or at least accept Kadyrov's strict new guidelines.
"Headscarves make a woman beautiful," said Zulikhan Nakayeva, a medical student whose long dark hair flowed out from under her head covering, her big brown eyes accentuated by mascara.
But many chafe under the restrictions.
"How do women live in Chechnya? They live as the men say," said Taisiya, 20, who asked that her last name not be used for fear of retribution. She was not wearing a headscarf while shopping in central Grozny, which she said was her way of protesting.
I know the Russian culture is also a bit misogynistic, but this article makes me wish for Chechen War III with a Russian victory. His brazenness just goes to show how confident he is that neither the Russians nor the Chechens will oust his despotic dynasty. The Russians prefer to allow him his little tinpot moments as long as he toes their foreign policy line, and the Chechen want to avoid more conflict badly enough to put up with this crap. But ...
Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.
- Benjamin Franklin