Friday, July 27, 2007

Go, Muna, Go!

I got this picture of Muna Jabir celebrating her gold in the women's 400 m hurdles at the All African Games in Algeria. Notice any changes?

One, she has not covered her head and two, she is wearing a vest, instead of long sleeve shirt! :) The rest I leave for Drima! Is she wearing long trainings or shorts? Uhmmm . . .

But I can say this: there are changes happening in how the Sudanese their view women! Muna will do us proud in a long run.


Anonymous said...

It makes one think what you mean by changes though; are the changes for the better? must we all have western values where the line is blurred between freedom and immorallity, where the education system tells and teaches you that you can do what you like.

Globalization is a good thing but it must not override prevailing local customs and culture, I'm not saying all local customs and culture are good or does not deny basic human freedom, but one culture (especailly the western) is not necessarily better than the other.

It is predominantly acceptable for women to expose or partially dress themselves in the western culture but not acceptable in the eastern, arabic and some other culture. Why must the influence of one culture tell us that because our culture is different to theirs, then we are backward or in a lot of cases as you see in the western media that we are barbaric.

Why must we conform to the false status quo that tells us that anything or everything western is modern and good, we have our culture and norms about the respect of motherhood, the importance of the family system and high morality, why must we trade it with false "modernity" that disrespect what we stand for? It's as bad as Bin Laden and his Al-qaeda cronies telling the whole world that we must all be like them or they'll blow us all up. One is emotional blackmail, the other is physical blackmail. We can only derive fun from globalization if we all maintain or identities in our diversities.

Black Kush said...

You miss my point there, Anon. I am in no way saying that we should promote western cultures and abandon our own. That is beside the point.

I am just drawing attention to a more tolerable view that is happening around, with a little sense of humour. Our cultures has nothing to do with that. The thought that all thing western is modernity doesn't hold water.

Ofcourse, there are parts of our cultures, everyone's culture that they have to put behind them as they interact in the world. Cultures that lock women in their homes are being targeted as demeaning of segrative of women. Circumcision of women in some cultures are being banned. Why don't you let them be?

If am to stick to my culture and way of life, I could walk down the main street in London naked, because that is how my people live for a long time. Will you allow me to practice my culture like that, forcing me to wear cloths? Is that not forcing people to comform to a "wearing cloths" culture?

My point is if you decide to get into the world, there are aspects of you that will have to change. Why should I learn English if my mother tongue could do? Is my language barbaric, or I must conform in order to be heard?

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Kush that there must be trade offs and line drawn if there is to be common interactions, a common language and an acceptable unwritten conceptual framework within which everyone falls within.

I did understand your humour but as they say a lot truth are spoken in gest. The question still remains that in the trade offs to attain "commonness", single identity and mannerisms how far down are we going to go to rubbish our own?

It seems the only standard we are aiming to attain all around the world is that of western culture. Don't get me wrong there are good and bad in the all cultures as you pointed out but why is dressing decently and covering yourself up as a woman wrong or frowned upon as locking up women, it's only frowned upon because it goes against the grain of the western culture, where anything and everything goes, it's not necessarily bad but we just don't do it, it must not be bad.

What the western media does is to bring out the worst case in every scenario. There are abuses of women, children and men in every culture. The hype at the moment is that anything that goes contrary to what the western culture believes in, is bad, it is also sad that not only the western populace believes in the hype, the hype is also bought by everyone in the world.

Everywhere you go now, identities are been blurred, everyone raps, everyone is going, yo dude! as if we are in the Bronx, if you don't do any of the madness going all around now, you're not cool.

Don't perpetuate or believe the hype our culture is good not necessarily better or worse off than anyone elses, it ours. People should start looking at what makes them unique whilst respecting the what make others unique, if not, you will forget where you are from and if you do not where you, you will never know where you are going, it's a recipe for disaster.

humble simpleton said...

Hello, just few remarks. We in the west don't think anybody is barbaric, because they wear sari or something, nor because they observe their customs. But then we see in the TV weeping little girl kept by her mother and few more women and another woman with rusty, dirty, broken razor, cutting off her vagina. Or the "fighters for freedom" waving Kalashnikovs, yelling "allah akbar" and sawing off the head of some captured worker. Or we learn that people believe the superstition, that sex with a virgin will cure their AIDS, which in some geographical lattitudes means to rape 10 years old girlie. Yes, then we scream with horror in our faces and say "barbars", because for us, "violence"
means doctor with syringe.
Don't overestimate this. This is sport, I don't know the woman, but I suppose she is long runner, no? She runs and runs and runs, her body generates heat and if her body is whole covered, the heat is going where exactly? There is good reason to keep your limbs and head uncovered to allow some cooling, it doesn't mean you are getting colonized.
By the way, west is holding the fingers crossed and wish better future for the people of Sudan, Iraq, etc., but the people involved seem to do anything they can for the better future to avoid them.

Black Kush said...

Exactly the points. The way the world is moving the lines between cultures are being blurred. It is absurd. We can shout the loudest, but that will not not change the trend.

True, in most cases, the western culture is being viewed as the gold standard for everything. What deviates from it is "barbaric". That has to change.

I will tell you something: in most part of South Sudan, wife inheritance is widely practiced as is polygamy. This is culture. But with AIDS now wife inheritance has to be abolished as people are made aware of the risks. It doesn't mean that we are abandoning our culture coz of western influence.

I guess we are all in agreement here.

As for Muna, athletics has to be practiced in certain ways in order for you to compete. If she were to be all covered up and in long sleeves and trousers running a hundred meters sprint, that will be a big disadvantage for her, better she doesnt compete at all! She knows that ;)

Thanks for sharing, Humble Simpleton!

Anonymous said...

Humble simpleton you just hit the nail on the head.."but then we see in the TV weeping little girl kept by her mother etc.....". There is massive media bias. The picture you see is not the true picture of Africa. It's like saying because paedophilia is widely reported crime predominantly preparated by white Europeans in Belgium or Europe it therefore must be what is widely common/or the norm in Europe.

What you see and read in the press about people shouting Allah akbar is not necessarily the norm about the arab world, people with superstitions about sleeping with child are evil but does not represent the true African. It suits the western media to give voices to this minority nutters!, they do not represent your average Africa or Arab

The picutre you have about Africa and the Arab world backs my views on the Media agenda of cultures that are not western.

The western media is very powerful because of accessibility and reach to the whole world. It sees minority ills and reports them as if they are common ills. How will it make you feel if constant (empahsis on constant) news of some moronic right wingers like the BNP are potrayed to the world as the common behaviour of an average European.

I do like and respect the western culture but believe me other cultures especially African and Arabic are not fairly/rightly reported to the world at large.

I am a person that span 2 cultures, I spent the first 11 years of my life in the west and spent 10 years in Africa. The culutre I saw in Africa is totally misrepresented by what I saw when I lived there. The notion that women are weak and abused is totally wrong. I grew up in a culture where women are strong, far from been disenfranchised they actually run every sphere of the society. There is actually a saying in the culture that says that the man is the head of the family but the woman is the neck, the head goes where the neck tells it to go.

Go to Africa and learn more about its culture before passing judgement on it. A lot of what you constantly read in the press is actually not the real Africa. Our culture respect its women and does not in any way disrespect other peoples culture, it actually embraces other cultures almost to a fault.

Black Kush said...

Anon, news is as good as you make it. The western media is feeding a gullible public in the west that wnts to hear such stories! It is also a matter of survival for the media: if all you report are happy events, you go out of business.

Just follow the reports on Africa in BBC, CNN, FOX or whatever, all you get are the woes on the continent: AIDS, the genocide in Darfur, the economic failures of Zimbabwe, conflict in DRC, Nigeria oil crisis region etc. Does it mean NOTHING good is happening in the continent? Are there no success stories anywhere?

Only those who seek to see the good side of Africa will see.

Anonymous said...

Black Kush, at least we agree on something there. It's all about survival for the western media never mind what damage is been done to a whole continent.

Saying that though, I don't think it's all about survival, there is something ingrained in the human psyche that makes the denigration of others a fair sport, by denigrating others they feel superior and uplifted be it a race, a culture, at work etc..My only gripe is that it's about time that our side of the stories starts been told.

I remember the fear I had as an Eleven year old going to Africa for the first time, I thought I was going to be killed, I was going to be without food, I was going live in a hut and travel miles to get drinking water etc because that was what I saw on TV and newspaper about Africa, I cried buckets. My first surprise was to see an African pilot! I thought whao, black people fly planes?!

You can't even begin to imagine my shock and sense of scandal when after a few weeks when I found that the Africa I knew through the eyes of the Media in the west was not the Africa I met. The Africa I met was where, their old is properly taken care of, very strong family unit, where the women as far I knew ran everything, very strong women and responsible men.

It's just that in every society, there will always be abusers, the abuser will use the same structure that empowers the weam/minority to abuse it's victim.

Black Kush said...

I guess there are people out there who still think the same, the Africa they were taught abut where people live on trees. You see, this human psyche thing will take a long time to accept the realities on the ground.

Maybe it is time too African media takes up the challenge to counter the stereotypical thinking about Africa with messages of its own. But we couldn't deny the fact, though, that there are parts of the continent are in a mess.

Those were very enlightening exchanges we had there, Anon. Do come around often.

Anonymous said...

I will do from time to time Kush...

One love.

Eman said...

b.k. said: (Muna will do us proud in a long run.)

well, do u mean she'll make u proud by winnig or by bein uncovering her limbs & head??

I think u need to decide if u r happy because there is a sudanese woman who win long run races, OR because there is a sudanse women who can be seen on media uncovering here limbs!!!!


Black Kush said...

Eman, if you followed our discussions above REALLY well you will know what I meant.

Don Cox said...

" the education system tells and teaches you that you can do what you like."____That is certainly not true in Britain. Did you get that idea from the media? ___As for the amount of clothes people wear, look at some pictures of women in Britain in the 19th century - they were as covered up as most Muslims today. Times change.

Anonymous said...

You know we can argue all day long about the good and bad of the education system, which is totally besides my point. The point I was at pains to get accross is that, it still remains a fact that the west does give a wholly wrong perception of cultures that are not western almost to the point of denigrating especially when it comes to African and Arab cultures, as they say, "perception sometimes does belies the truth".

I take your point that in the 19th century British women were in the habit of covering themselves up, but I couldn't recollect anyone (especially outside the British culture) accusing the British culture of backwardness or locking their women up when this was going on, that was just how it was then period.

It's all about respecting each others differences, one culture does not have the right to force its own value on the other by whatever means, by ideological brainwashing or by force.

Mrs.Yeye Akilimali Funua said...

BLACK people everywhere need to keep the best part of their culture and discard anything not relevant now. BLACK women should be respected like that have been traditionally in BLACK/AFRICAN cultures(not Arabic/Islamic) so imitating the bad culture of whites should not be done. Exposing your body for all to see is not AFRICAN except that it is in its authentic setting. Copying another white man's culture is out. There is plenty in our BLACK cultures we can update and create new alternatives that respect the BLACK woman and show her traditional modesty,and issue forth respect for her chastity is what we should be about. As a SISTER who has gone back to AFRICA like Marcus Garvey taught,to raise 4 of my 5 children as Yorubas in Yorubaland,Nigeria I so much respect the way AFRICAN women are protected and behave,and my children have this aspect.
Your Sister,
Yeye Akilimali Funua Olade

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