Spring is finally here in Northeast Florida after almost three months of colder than usual weather. The snowbirds have a favorite saying when the weather is abnormally cold: "Let’s go to Florida and get out of this cold!” Even the snowbirds from Canada don’t laugh at that one any more. It has been too cold to laugh.
Today, the Spring Equinox, is a new beginning with temperatures in the 70s and the ocean bluer than the sunny skies. The major reason snowbirds flock to Florida is because the weather normally is sunny and mild in wintertime.
We hope the new beginning today, March 20, is more than just a “purple patch” in the weather pattern. If you have never heard this term before, a purple patch, according to Wiki, is a period of excellent performance where nearly everything seems to go right and work properly. It is also a general and unequivocally positive reference to outstanding achievement. When an athlete excels, he or she is said to be enjoying a purple patch.
“Purple Patch” was the headline assigned to an excerpt from my book, The Secret History of “Weeds” or What Women Need To Know About Their History, and posted by some mysterious person on the Internet February 24, 2010. What is interesting about this posting is that so far, except for a site named democratic underground, all other sites have been in the Middle East. The very first one was in Balochistan, the least populated yet geographically the largest and poorest area of Pakistan.
Balochistan is culturally tribal, patriarchal, conservative (in the sense of centuries-old traditions) and dominated by chieftains who resist educational development of the people. The status of women can be described as lower than the lowest. For example, the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) reported in August 2008 that five women (including three teenagers) were beaten, shot, and then buried alive for the crime of “seeking to choose their own husbands.”
When the world community went into an uproar over this incident, the Balochistan legislator representing the area in the Pakistani Parliament asked his fellow legislators not to make a fuss over the incident. His summing up statement as to why these women and their fates are not important in the overall scheme of things is a classic example of misogynistic thinking the Taliban is noted for: “These are centuries-old traditions and I will continue to defend them. Only those who indulge in immoral acts should be afraid.”
Now we see. Any woman in Balochistan who seeks to choose her own husband is indulging in an immoral act.
The “centuries-old tradition” of beating, shooting and burying alive women who exert their human right to choose a spouse is one of those conservative attitudes that must end immediately. It is just one more reason to add to the long list (beginning with 9/11/01) of reasons to continue the resistance against the Taliban and al-Qaida because NATO generals complain that the Taliban insurgency is being directed from Balochistan.
The “centuries-old traditions” must end if the female side of humanity is ever to be free. On this first day of Spring 2010, and in the USA, Women’s History Month, remember human rights include women’s rights worldwide.
Let us hope for a “purple patch” period in the Middle East where everything seems to go right and work properly and the female side of humanity is treated with honor and respect.