Once on a journey with the noble Prophet Mohammad “Salla Allahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam”, Anjasha, an Abyssinian servant, was walking ahead of the camels and was singing. Some of the women of the Prophet’s family were travelling with him on that journey, While Anjasha sang, the camels began moving faster, causing the women to feel uncomfortable on thier carriers. At that, The Prophet “SA’AW” said, “Anjasha, take care lest the crystals (the women) may break.”
I woke up this morning with this comforting thought in mind!
International Women’s Day was celebrated this month on March 8th, the UN theme this year promotes the pressing gender agenda, specifically towards taking action to end violence against women.
The size of the issue is too big to grasp unless you do your research, run some math and get the numbers in check. The recent statistics are truly depressing, but if you are curious about them read this post from the 50 Year Project Blog on International Women’s Day.
Also, last year I read the International bestseller “Half the Sky” by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, the Pulitzar winning married couple wrote this engaging book, which was hard to put down until the end, in it they focused on the violations of women’s rights and human trafficking around the world, in such a transparent manner, that will help you get a clear perspective of the issue. It is by far one of the most important references on this humanitarian subject. Visit the Half the Sky Movement website for further inspiration.
It is very easy to get overwhelmed by all this information, you might imagine that whatever action you will take in order to become part of the solution, will undoubtedly be dwarfed by the inflating magnitude of the demoralizing reality. In fact, at first glance, effecting change at an individual level sounds as impossible as eating an elephant for supper tonight, but you know what they say, it is defiantly achievable if you eat it one bite at a time, especially if you commence armed with belief and determination.
So I spent the last two weeks thinking, what is it that an ordinary, uninfluential, Middle Eastern woman like me can do to stop the constant and daily suffering of millions of women around the world. I figured, I should probably start with what I know best; talking, writing, and photography.
Fortunately, talking comes naturally to me! The plan is to seize all available opportunities to bring the topic up with members of my family, friends and colleagues. I shall at least ensure that they know what I know, whatever they decide to do with the knowledge later is their own predicament.
In terms of writing, I am starting with this post; perhaps more will come in the future. Will see how that goes, but I will certainly try to work something out.
Photographing women, as a tool to highlight their stories, and by extension indirectly participate in solving their problems sounds very interesting to me right now. After all a picture can speak a thousand words, which is more than I can sometimes pack into an entire post!
To demonstrate my serious intentions to engaging in this exercise, I searched my photo archives for expressive shots of women that I might have taken during my past travels, to share in this post. I was greatly surprised to find not enough material to make a decent story.
Big wakeup call! I have apparently refrained from photographing women, most probably because I have been guilty of carrying my cultural background and certain aspects of my upbringing with me, as I travel. Where I come from, women don’t like to be photographed by strangers, especially if those photos are intended for publishing, hence I must have subconsciously thought it disrespectful for all women.
Isn’t the whole point of traveling is to keep that kind of baggage at home, and seek a new perspective of life in a new place? I still don’t want to force it, but I guess I need to make the best of each situation; and I defiantly need to posess the wisdom to know the difference between an inappropriate photographey style and identifying the right moments to shoot….
Anyway, enough with pouring my brains out for today, now I will let these (women) photos do the rest of the talking.
Chinese grandmother in Lantau Island, Hong Kong. She sheltered us in her store when it was pouring rain outside, during our tour of the Island.
Walking to the market, to sell today’s produce. Moshi, Tanzania
Fashionable street artist. Barcelona, Spain
All I can show of my good looking local friends. Abu Dhabi , UAE
Why is it that women always feel the need to feed, and someone else is always trying to make money out of it?
Afterschool pastime and job. Moshi, Tanzania
Unhurriedly crossing the dirt road, leading home. Al Dhafrah, Abu Dhabi
Mommy will show you the way, until it’s time to show mommy the way. Gran Canaria – Spain
Tiny hands, big attitude! Abu Dhabi, UAE