Are we serious about women rights?

Are we serious about women rights?


Saleh Al-DiwaniBy Saleh Al-Diwani

LAST week I wrote an article about the International Women’s Day, in which I apologized for infringement of women’s rights worldwide.

In the same article I expressed my doubt whether we really want to protect women’s rights or just pay lip service on important occasions.

At that time I also thought of doing something to test our faith and commitment toward the slogans we raise in favor of women and for protecting their rights. We talk profusely about the women’s important role in society and their contributions but this does not synchronize with our actions.

On March 8, I removed the remaining portion of my mustache to express my solidarity with women and their issues on the occasion of International Women’s Day. I wanted to highlight the fact that women are part and parcel of society.

I wanted to negate the general feeling that in societies worldwide woman represents an absurd idea, thus denying her the important role as a partner. Such negative thoughts are especially evident in the behavior of Arab men toward their women folk.

Actually women deserve the respect of men and their issues must be discussed in detail to enhance their happiness and satisfaction and to enable them play a significant role in society.

My action drew wide criticism as people abused me on social media, raising suspicion on my manhood and questioning my morals. They leveled a long list of accusations against me, which we usually hear from people of such mentality throughout the Arab world.

This indicates that the pre-Islamic culture that prevailed in the age of ignorance still dominates the Arab world in one form or another, especially in treating women as inferior to men. They consider women as a shame, incompetent and a cause for embarrassment.

This all-pervasive attitude means Arab woman has a long way to go. The general Arab perception that woman is inferior to man reflects that we lie to ourselves and our slogans are fake and meaningless. We fail even in the smallest test to prove the right position of women in our societies.

Let’s read together one comment written by an individual on social media.
He said: “I don’t criticize you for removing the mustache and publishing your picture but I oppose your celebration of the Women’s Day, which is an innovation that does not have any religious backing as it was not ordered by Allah or taught by the Prophet, peace be upon him.

My question to people who hold that opinion is if you people consider it as prohibited why do you celebrate the birthdays or successes of your children in exams?

Some people’s comments on my mustache removal showed they wanted to hide their calls for women’s rights and disown the slogan that women are half of society. This attitude is a kind of retrogression, which we often see in the conflict of cultures and the attitude of Arabs who arrogantly and arbitrarily decide what is good and what is not good for women.

Global societies hold mustache in high esteem so much so that the admiration and respect it receives is greater than the one received by women, especially in some parts of Europe and the Arab world, pointing to the dark ages in human history.

Those who wish to delve deep into the subject may read European and Arab history. Some people consider mustache as a family heritage while for others big mustache represents manhood, honesty, trustworthiness and nobility.

Mustache is nothing but a bunch of hairs on your face and we should not consider women, who do not have mustache, as shame and worthless. For centuries women in the Arab world have been looked down upon and this mentality has been instrumental in molding the personality and character of Arab individuals from the Atlantic to the Arabian Gulf.

Arab societies have failed in some aspects of life because of the contradictions between their words and deeds. They talk about their conviction on an issue and do something else and this can be interpreted as a quick transformation of stands, which is especially true on women issues.