WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s Shad Begum was among 10 of the world’s leading women activists the United States honoured on Thursday for their efforts to improve the lives of other women.
Shad Begum of Lower Dir district, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, received the 2012 International Women of Courage Award, at a ceremony in Washington, for working for women in a deeply conservative area. The region was run briefly by the militants before the Pakistan Army cleared it in May 2009.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama presented the awards.
Secretary Clinton noted that all 10 women had worked tirelessly to improve the lives of women and girls, sometimes at great personal risks.
Some of them were also imprisoned and abused for their efforts, she noted.
Mrs Obama noted that these courageous women refused to accept the status quote, and instead chose to remake the world “as they know it should be”. Ambassador Sherry Rehman, who also attended the ceremony, said Pakistan’s democratic government had enacted a series of legislative measures to protect and advance women’s rights.
“We passed legislation criminalising sexual harassment in the workplace. We passed legislation making it mandatory to appoint neutral mediators at all levels to adjudicate charges of sexual discrimination,” she said.
“Another revolutionary legislation made it illegal to deprive a woman of her rightful inheritance, made it illegal to force a woman into marriage to settle a civil or criminal dispute; and banned compelling or arranging or facilitating a woman’s marriage to the Holy Quran.”
In a brief biographical sketch, the US State Department introduced Shad Begum as “a courageous human rights activist and leader who has changed the political context for women in the extremely conservative district of Dir.”
As founder and executive director of Association for Behaviour and Knowledge Transformation, Ms Shad provides political training, microcredit, primary education, and health services to women.
Ms Shad not only empowered the women of Dir to vote and run for office, she herself ran and won local seats in the 2001 and 2005 elections against local conservatives who tried to ban female participation.
“Despite threats, Ms Shad continues to work out of Peshawar to improve the lives of women in the communities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” the State Department noted.
Another recipient, Maryam Durani of Afghanistan, comes from the Kandahar province, among the country’s most conservative and most dangerous areas.
“But that has not stopped Ms Durani from speaking out for the rights of Afghan women and girls,” the State Department noted.
As a member of Kandahar’s Provincial Council, director of the non-profit Khadija Kubra Women’s Association for Culture, and owner and manager of the only local, female-focused radio station, “she is both a leader and a role model for women throughout Afghanistan”.
A true woman of courage, Ms Durani has survived multiple attacks on her life, including a suicide attack in 2009 that resulted in serious injury. Although she continues to face regular threats, “she is undeterred in her mission to promote basic civil rights for all Afghans”, the State Department noted.
Other award winners include Hana Elhebshi, a political activist from Libya, Samar Badawi, left, a political activist from Saudi Arabia, Aneesa Ahmed of Maldives, Hawa Abdallah Mohammed Salih of Sudan and Safak Pavey of Turkey.
Maureen Dowd’s portrayal of Callista Gingrich brings to light the role of the politician’s wife as a glamorous nurturer and admirer of her strong husband — someone who is an agent for his success. This shiny surface reflects the deeply rooted values we hold about strong couples and leaders, which is perhaps why when the reality starts showing in the cracks it all seems so grotesque
“Draped in Tiffany diamonds, Callista is the embodiment of the divide between Gingrich’s public piety and private immorality,” Maureen Dowd wrote of Gingrich’s third wife and mostly silent actor in his Republican campaign. This silence is dictated, Dowd suggests, because “the campaign does not want to remind voters that the relationship, portrayed as so redemptive, was born in sin and hypocrisy.” Callista Gingrich’s role as the redemptive, transformational wife, therefore, is needed to justify Gingrich’s infidelity to his second wife Marianne, with whom he had also had an affair while he was still married to his first wife.
Callista’s role brings to mind the unlikely parallel of Asma Al-Assad as a poster woman for Syrian “reform.” In her response to Vogue’s profile of Asmaa-al-Assad, Sana Saeed highlights:
“Asma al-Assad is fascinating because she seems to be a Muslim Arab woman who doesn’t belong in the Muslim Arab world. She embodies the strong, self-assured, passionate White woman who is internally embattled; living in a society so seemingly ghastly antithetical to what she needs, or rather, even what she deserves. Yet despite this, her compassion as a woman and her Western-accorded sense of independence and abrasiveness have allowed her to help save her society at the most micro level, even if she chose to marry into a family infamous for indiscriminately killing almost 30,000 citizens of the state in an attempt to quell political dissidence.”
Callista Gingrich projects hope in Newt Gingrich, as Asma al-Assad once projected hope in Syria. Is that the purpose of the wives of politicians? To try and convince the world that they are agents for meaningful change, even when there is so much evidence to the contrary?
The Muslim psyche is embedded with the idea of the wife as source of support, a haven from the troubles of the world. One only has to recall what happened in the aftermath of the Prophet’s first revelation: when he was alarmed and thinking himself insane, it was his first wife, Khadija, who comforted and assured him that she believed him. It is worth noting that Khadija did not do this for publicity, nor to project the image of a strong, rooted marriage that could serve as the platform for prophethood. She did it out of love, compassion and conviction, not a political statement.
This is in stark contrast with the concept of public figures in the realm of contemporary politics. No longer are politicians’ wives acting as free agents. Their public images are meticulously airbrushed so that they can be embedded as selling points indicating the forthright agendas of their parties. They serve as accessories to enhance and disguise the unpleasant reality of the relationships or the unpopular aspects of those agendas. That reality might be a past illicit affair or a sexting scandal. It might even extend beyond the scope of the relationship and have to do with distracting the public from the gruesome condition of the state itself.
One thing is certain: the more perfected the exterior, the harder it is to register the ugly truths underneath. A latent part of us is swayed by the image of the strong Callista Gingrich gazing reverently at her husband, Huma Abedin clinging adoringly to her husband in her embroidered wedding dress and Asmaa Al-Assad’s smartly-cropped honey-blonde hair and Chanel suits. The values embedded in these images make it all the more difficult to register the realities these women are meant to veil. When we see our leaders through the roles of their wives, we often find that glamorization and moral degradation coexist, reflecting both the best and worst of us.
Ambiga Sreenevasan is a colossus of intellect and integrity in the Malaysian legal fraternity. Ask any lawyer and they will tell you.
Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan (born 1956) is a Malaysian lawyer who served as the Malaysian Bar chairlady from 2007 to 2009.
In March 2009, she became one of the eight recipients for the 2009 Secretary of State’s Award for International Women of Courage Awards. In the ceremony, the United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton commented, “… Ambiga Sreenevasan, has a remarkable record of accomplishment in Malaysia. She has pursued judicial reform and good governance, she has stood up for religious tolerance, and she has been a resolute advocate of women’s equality and their full political participation. She is someone who is not only working in her own country, but whose influence is felt beyond the borders of Malaysia. And it is a great honor to recognize her and invite her to the podium.”
References: “Remarks by Clinton on International Women of Courage Awards”. America.gov. United States. 11 March. Retrieved 2 December 2009.related
References: “Remarks by Clinton on International Women of Courage Awards”. America.gov. United States. 11 March. Retrieved 2 December 2009.
Shouldn’t we step out of our comfort zones?
If you get beaten on a UMNO street, you have staged the entire thing. If someone you know is murdered, the incident is a plant to defame the Prime MinisterNajib . If a woman gets raped, she has just cooked up a story to put the police on a wild-goose chase. Something is terribly wrong our UMNO-Barisan rule.
Stories of murders can be fabricated, but there has to be something terribly wrong when Nazri Aziz – the Minister of Lies jumps the gun to call it “planted” even before an enquiry has been conducted.Nazri Aziz has done that repeatedly and continues to justify them.
It started with the Rahim Tamby Penischik rape case, when the CM stuck his foot out to call it fabricated even as the police was conducting its investigation. That the rape had actually happened was proved and the CM came back to the media a few days later to say that he was misquoted. he topped it up by questioning the victim’s reasoning in approaching the police five days after the incident. It’s strange that the traumatized lady’s integrity continues to be questionreadmore.http://suarakeadilanmalaysia.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/happy-womans-day-dato-ambiga-sreenevasan-shouldnt-we-step-out-of-our-comfort-zones-kick-umno-barisan-at-their-assholes/
Raja Petra Kamarudin
The company is called Carpet Raya Sdn Bhd (company number 492434-H). The paid up capital of the company is RM8.7 million. The company has five directors who are also the shareholders of the company; each holding almost equal shares in the company.
But I am interested in only one of its shareholders/directors who goes by the name of Deepak — 37 years old, unmarried, and good-looking enough to qualify for a Bollywood movie.
The company was registered ten years ago on 26 August 1999. The last accounts filed with the Registrar of Companies on 24 November 2006 shows that the company has total assets of almost RM90 million, total liabilities of about RM67 million, and reserves of more than RM12 million.
The revenue of the company for 2005 was RM122 million and the profit in excess of RM7 million. Of course, the RM7 million profit is the official or declared profit. No company in Malaysia declares its real profits anyway. So, on a revenue base of RM122 million, you can expect the real or undeclared profit to be many times that.
But that was the accounts for 2005, which was four years ago. How much more has the company made over the last four years, which they prefer to keep hidden from public view? Take my word for it. We are talking about hundreds of millions here.
The company is supposed to be in the business of selling carpets. Is the carpet business really that lucrative that one can earn hundreds of millions? RM122 million a year is sure a lot of carpets. Ah, but that is not really what the company does for a living. The carpet business is just a front. Sure, they do sell carpets. But that is not where the real money is. The real business of the company is to act as the Bagman for Rosmah Mansor, the wife of the Prime Minister.
I met the Carpetman more than a year ago. He asked to meet through a mutual acquaintance because he was alarmed that I was about to reveal that the Carpetman is actually Rosmah’s Bagman. But that was not the thing that got him all flustered. What did was the revelation I was going to make that he is not only the Carpetman who is Rosmah’s Bagman but that he is also her Toyboy.
I only do business with Rosmah, said the Carpetman. My relationship with Rosmah is only for business purposes. I am not sleeping with Rosmah, he pleaded. So please do not tell the public that I am Rosmah’s Toyboy. The impression he wanted to make is that his relationship with Rosmah is confined to the boardroom and does not extend to the bedroom.
Well, that is not what Mumtaz Jaafar says. And who is Mumtaz Jaafar? Hey, if I start talking about her then I would also have to mention her relationship with Saiful, the person who alleges that Anwar Ibrahim sodomised him. And if I start talking about that then we will end up talking about the Sodomy 2 case as well. So let’s get back to the subject of the Carpetman, Rosmah’s Bagman cum Toyboy.
The whole country is very focused on Najib Tun Razak’s extramarital affairs. Sure, every Malaysian knows about this. And every Malaysian also knows about him getting caught in a Port Dickson hotel room with Ziana Zain. In fact, Isa Samad even had photographs of Najib clad only in a towel with the delicious young thing in his bed. And Isa handed the photograph over to the then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. (And that is why Mahathir just does not understand why Najib would choose Isa to contest the Bagan Pinang by-election when it was Isa who tried to bring Najib down with the photograph).
Anyway, let’s not digress too far. As I said, every Malaysian knows about Najib’s extramarital affairs. But how many also know that Rosmah has a penchant for Bollywood types. Hell, she will even arrange datukships for them if they treat her the way she loves to be treated, if you know what I mean. And this particular chap I am talking about, the Carpetman cum Bagman cum Toyboy, is far better looking than Shahrukh Khan (or is it Datuk Shahrukh Khan now?) — not to mention younger as well.
Yes, I have been keeping this story under wraps for more than a year now. But it is now time that the story be told. There is more, though. Deepak the Carpetman cum Bagman cum Toyboy has been very naughty. And all these naughty deeds were done on behalf of Rosmah.
In due course more will be revealed about the role of the Carpetman and how he has served Rosmah. Today is not the time to do that though. So stay tuned for further episodes of the Carpetman cum Bagman cum Toyboy of the so-called First Lady of Malaysia.
ALLING IN LOVE IS JUST POSSIBLE, AND EASY TOO. JUST CLOSE YOUR EYES AND BELIEVE!
Falling in love is not just possible, but easy too. Just close your eyes and believe!
Rose-tinted happily-ever-after images in fairytales and romantic fiction spoil us for the real thing. Pre-conceived notions and expectations ensure disappointment even with the best. So sharply focused are we on expectations that we sometimes fail to objectively evaluate or appreciate reality. So, if you have been brought up on the raging passions and sky-rocketing Big Os of Mills & Boon, or on stories of a Prince Charming who carries girls away on white steeds, your real life romance has fizzled out even before it got a chance to sizzle.
However, don’t lose heart. This is not to say that love cannot happen. It can and does but only to those of us who believe in it and make the effort to build it for ourselves. Note, not find love, but to build or create it for yourself. Most make the mistake of looking for that ‘one’ man, or that ‘one’ woman, who is perfect for them. There is no such thing as the perfect soulmate — there could be any number of them and so long as they fulfil your basic criteria, all is good. The critical part is recognising one of them who crosses your path and then to fall, or rise, in love. Research has shown that it takes between 90 seconds and four minutes to decide if you are attracted to a person. Fifty-five per cent of your decision is influenced by body language, 38 per cent through tone and style of speaking, and just seven per cent is dependent on what is said. Rest is all a matter of intent and application readmore.http://suarakeadilanmalaysia.wordpress.com/2012/03/07/ane-se-uske-aaye-bahar-deepak-ever-ending-love-story/
To many,who get charged with CBT is still exciting, it is a bit like the old days – when the phone rang, you did not know who it was till the other person identified himself. You hoped it was that pretty liberal girl doing fine arts in “D” Section, but chances were that it would turn out to be the Headmaster’s conservative clerk, demanding to know more about why the report card had not yet been signed and returned. this charging with CBT has been of no use to the chattering classes, because most of the announcements which matter have already been made and quietly gone under in the course of the huge PR blitz we are being subjected to lately about the new soap opera unfolding in UMNO. There is nothing new about Looters in UMNO. But every time they change, life for the common man and woman simply becomes more difficult. This is a historical truth.
The latest but by no means most egregious example of these sordid scandals involves the National Feedlot Corporation, tasked with spearheading a meat-production industry to help poor rural dwellers. At least that is the rationale, hence the generous government low-interest loans.