“She sat cross-legged atop the bed sheet, even though her limbs were contorted by age and disease and she was able to walk only by bending over almost double and shuffling. Her White sari was draped loosely over the top of her head; in India the shearing of a new widows hair was once common practice, to announce the end of her womanly appeal, and the widow Ashikari appeared to have been recently reshorn. “I keep it this way because my hair was his,” she says, and squinted at her guests, the foreigner and the young interpreter, as though perplexed by the question. “A barber comes and cuts it for me. A woman’s greatest beauty is in her hair and her clothes. Once my husband was not there, what would I so with it?”
How old was she now? Ninety-six.”
And how old when her husband died?
Life after Lose" from a National Geographic Magazine dated, Feb. 2017
I don’t know about you, but that story had an affect on me. At first I saw only the unbelievable devotion of the woman in the article – but upon a deeper reflection I saw the truth – that she, and many others like her, are horrible victims to a world-wide system which has one set of rules for men and another for women. But the most disturbing aspect of that piece was that, she, the undeniable victim of being a woman, a widow in India, had completely accepted her circumstances, as just, fair and ok.
I don’t know. Maybe I’m reading something into this story that isn’t there, and I will concede that certainly she could be one of those rare humans who are so dedicated to their mate that, accepting anything other than a life of full self-denial would be unthinkable. However, my heart tells me otherwise … and my mind tells me that she has merely accepted her ROLE, a role that society has brainwashed into her from infancy, much the way that black women in our society have been conditioned to see themselves as nothing more than a set of breasts and a big bottom ( a paraphrase on a statement by Oprah). The true potential of women, most especially black women, is seldom shown. For the most part, women are often portrayed as second fiddle to their male counterparts, servants, sexual; John Lennon said, “Woman is the slave of the slave.”
I’m no genius and I’m not some soft-assed liberal trying to sound like I’m better than you because I’m fighting for the rights of some VICTIM or series of victims in the world. I ain’t. But when it comes to women I’m only telling you what I see as an obvious truth. Women are indeed half the population on this planet, yet, like the physically weaker in prison, they are dominated by those more powerful, more violent. Truth is, in this world, as in prison, intellect does not rule over brawn. The gentle-sex, our mothers, wives, daughters, sisters and so forth are not here to serve us, they’re here to assist us, to help us create and maintain a better world. But this cannot happen until we can see past out own desires and opinions and see our women as our equals – I say that tongue and cheek, because I am certainly not equal, at least in faithfulness, to the women in my life. One of my great regrets.
If you look at the world in which we live and are bold enough to ask yourself this question: What is the average time, in years, between the wars we as a nation have fought? Well, if you look you’ll see that in the history of this country you’ll find that it’s almost impossible to find even fifty years without our fighting a war of some kind. And, should you expand that question outwards past this country to include all of the other countries, you would see that from the beginning of recorded history we have never, not ever, been at peace. Might I remind you that during this time period the world has been ruled, by men; the foolishness of our reign is apparent in our results.
I don’t know when or how men became dominant but I do know that this dominance covers almost every society on the planet from the earliest Amerinds (Native Americans) who openly traded their daughters for things like horses, guns, pelts and alcohol, to Asians to Africans to Europeans where women are seen as less than equal, property even. I think that as far as Europeans, Middle Easterners and Africans go, religion plays a big part in how we treat women. From Judaism to Islam to Christianity women are seen as secondary to men. Crazy story: Here there is a man from Pakistan, he is here for crimes relating to terrorism. No, he’s not one of those guys who blow themselves up with a bomb, he doesn’t have the courage for that, but he is a supporter philosophically and financially of it. He is anti-anything that isn’t Islamic. Being that I’m perplexed at the concept of “religious violence and the concept of God being a man” I ask him this question: “If a Muslim man dies in martyrdom he goes directly to heaven where he is rewarded with 72 virgins to serve his sexual and domestic needs, correct?” He nods yes. So I continue. “So, if a Muslim women, dies in martyrdom, she likewise goes to heaven and is awarded 72 male virgins to serve her domestic and sexual needs. Correct?” He stood looking at me as if I was a complete idiot, then in perplexity as if I was the height of ignorance for even thinking such a foolish thing, to even insinuate that women should be treated, by GOD (ALLAH), as equal in heavenly rewards to men. Then he answered , “No. They do not get 72 male virgins. That is for martyrs who die in battle.”
“What about women who die in battle?”
“They do not get the same rewards as men!” he answered firmly. Ahh, I said to myself … there’s the truth of it right there. Women are second class, even to God. When did God get into the war business anyhow. And am I the only one who finds exception with the Muslim “Virgins” part of that equation? Why “Virgins?” Do they believe that once a women has lost her virginity she’s somehow diminished, less desirable, so much so that once she’s in heaven she’s perpetually returned to her status as a virgin? Yeah, they believe that once a man deflowers one of his 72 virgins that they miraculously, overnight, begin the next day a new virgin. Has anyone, God for example, asked a woman how she feels about that? I don’t know, but I’ve never heard of a woman saying, “Losing my virginity was the best sex I ever had!” In fact it’s just the opposite. Most women will tell you it’s painful the first time … but, I suppose since the God of Abraham is a man he cares nothing about the comfort or satisfaction of a woman. I will make a point here that the Abrahamic religions of which Islam is derived, are all anti-woman – to include Judaism; Christianity is better, but not much better, just read anything by Paul; just last week I read an article in the USA Today about how Sothern Baptists were trying to figure out the role of women in the church … TODAY, not a hundred years ago, but TODAY, they’re still trying to decide if women can be equal servants to GOOODDD! Am I the only one appalled by that? Really dude. Is this where we’re at in 2021?
Religion? Me? No, I have very little respect for organized religion as a whole. Yes, I talk Buddhism, but truth is, I prefer Hinduism over it; I simply love Hindus, love their culture too. MOMENT OF TRUTH: I actually have a Guru! Yes, a Guru, a spiritual teacher and my Guru (Siddhayoga.org.) has never, not ever, in my 12 years plus of study with them, has NEVER, not ever, put-down another religion; that is the thing that galls me about Christianity; the reason I turned my back on it, not Jesus, just Christianity and its fake piety as it’s taught today. I will add here that my Guru’s message applies equally to Christians, like me, as surely as it applies to others from all different religious foundations. Her teachings to her 4000 plus children in prison is about how to be better human beings and to see God in our daily others. My Guru sees to our spiritual development, sans religion … did I mention that my Guru is a woman? Yeah, she’s beautiful, loving and she is always with me in spirit, of this I have no doubt. No, I’ve never physically met her, but that won’t prevent me from telling you how much her teachings and her … spiritual presence, have helped me to cope with this difficult life of mine. Here’ a little secret … I speak covertly about her in my book “A Poet Dreams” … yep, my Guru’s a woman and she’s awesome … as good as any man.
I don’t know why I’m talking about this, I guess that I wanted to say something positive about women and, maybe to apologize to those I myself have mistreated, that and as I look around me at a world dominated by men, I see a world in turmoil. Maybe this constant turmoil is a bi-product of a male dominant society, maybe it isn’t … maybe things like war, famine, greed, hatred and crime are a human condition instead of a male trait, I don’t know, but the reality is, well … the reality. And by the process of deduction, since men were in control of the world at the time of its declination, the right to question now becomes undeniably valid, so here goes.
Would the world be different if women were in control?"
That my friend is the question to ponder here. And on the issue of the toilet seat being down, well, now that I clean my own toilet, I can tell you that it has nothing to do with convinience, women want the seat down because it looks neater, so I must side with them on this issue as well.
Women … mothers, wives, lovers, sisters, daughters and granddaughters. Equal in all ways. Respect the women in your life.
FYI: On May 31st at 5:05pm of this year, my mother passed from this life into the next. Her birth name was Lelia Hege. She was from Dutch decent … I was her greatest dissappointment. She is missed.
Peace be with you.
Three Rivers, 7-8-21