Thea Khama, wife of the Minister of the Environment, purportedly opened her mouth and put her foot in it recently when she posted on her Facebook page that she had rescued a dog which she opined was scared of dark-skinned people and unwittingly unleashed a furore, mostly around the ‘racist’ undertones.
Thea issued an apology if it offended anyone, but I was left somewhat confused about what I missed and what was the offense? Canines are easily conditioned (Google Pavlov’s dog’s if you need actual scientific proof) so if a dog is abused by its master, or, for political correctness, mistress, black or white, it is completely fathomable that the dog will recoil from similar looking people in the future due to the imprint from the experience.
That was my take on it anyway, but then I am not dark skinned so I asked one of my staff who is and he also branded the statement was offensive! Huh? Only when we really explored his thinking we concluded that sometimes we just immediately go to that place in our minds where we feel an injustice has been done. Would the same reaction transpire if the comment came from a dark skinned person? Probably not, and perhaps that’s the point – ‘y’all can call each other nigger but I can’t’ sort of thing. It’s an interesting subject and especially relevant today.
Whether it is using “Differently-abled” instead of handicapped or crippled, “Vertically Challenged” instead of dwarf or midget or some other offensive way of referring to people born shorter than ‘normal’, Political correctness (PC) is the term used to describe language or behavior which is intended, or said to be intended, to provide a minimum of offense, particularly to racial, cultural, or other identity groups…Native American instead of “Indian”, Homosexual or Gay instead of “Fag” or “Faggot”, and African American instead of black.
According to Wikipedia, the term “political correctness” is used almost exclusively in a pejorative lexical sense, i.e. words rather than deeds. I became aware of it in the 90s and we have been steeped in political correctness since then but things slowly appear to be shifting. Europe’s right wing leanings, utterance of things people wouldn’t have said a few years back and of course for the past year, we’ve been subjected to the borderline hate and unfettered lunacy of Donald Trump who is on record as saying he refuses to be politically correct.
Trump accused the previous administration of “putting political correctness above common sense and the safety of the American people, said after a Muslim gunman killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando. Throughout his election campaign, he consistently blasted PC speak , blaming it for a range of ills and using the phrase to deflect any and every criticism. He calls people “stupid” and “loser”, mocks disabled reporters, refers to Nazi Germany and despite these outspoken verbal gaffes, many people don’t care – and his fans love him for it.
When it comes to women Trump has put political correctness on its head. When Fox News’ Megan Kelly confronted him, quoting “You’ve called women you don’t like ‘fat pigs,’ ‘dogs,’ ‘slobs,’ and ‘disgusting animals’ and “once told a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees …”, Trump’s retort, to rapturous audience applause was “I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. I’ve been challenged by so many people; I don’t frankly have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time either.”
Trump might be on to something thinking America has gone overboard to such an extent that you can’t say what is on your mind without the fear of inciting a backlash. Sometimes, like Thea’s post, a seemingly innocent remark can brew up a storm in a tea cup; as if we are looking for an opportunity to be offended, we go straight to shock, horror, disbelief and offence when it is all completely unnecessary. And it’s not just an American problem.
For example, the BBC dropped the use of the terms Before Christ (BC) and Anno Domini (AD) on one of their programmes and decided that the terms 'Before Common Era' / 'Common Era' are more PC-appropriate: And what about the European Parliament which introduced proposals to outlaw titles stating marital status such as 'Miss' and 'Mrs' so as not to cause offence. Does it also mean that 'Madame' and 'Mademoiselle', 'Frau' and 'Fraulein' and 'Senora' and 'Senorita' should be banned? Shall we get rid of Mmeme and Mma at home?
Further madness is evident throughout several US councils and organisations, any terms using the word 'man' as a prefix or suffix have been ruled as not being HYPERLINK "http://www.hitc.com/en-gb/topic/politically-correct/" t "_blank" politically correct. 'Manhole' is now referred to as a 'utility' or 'maintenance' hole, a blackboard is a chalkboard and civil servants are racking their brains to come up with an alternative to public lavatory signs reading ‘Ladies’ or ‘Men’s.
The bizarreness continues when we see a UK council banning the term 'brainstorming' – and replacing it with 'thought showers', as local lawmakers thought the term may offend epileptics: And then, one of my all-time favorites is, from 2007 when Santa Clauses in Sydney, Australia, were banned from saying 'Ho Ho Ho'.
Their employer, the recruitment firm Westaff that supplies hundreds of seasonal Santas across Australia, allegedly told all trainees that 'ho ho ho' could frighten children, and be derogatory to women. Why? Because it is too close to the American (not Australian, mind you) slang for prostitute; or in this case 3 female sex workers standing in a row.
In this instance, as far as I can see there’s only one course of action; the offending canine must be immediately sent on a course of sensitivity training so that henceforth it ceases to see mankind, sorry, peoplekind, in terms of either black and white. Oh, wait, one small problem – dogs are all born colour-blind!
Seventy-seven years ago, on the evening of December 2, 1943, the Germans launched a surprise air raid on allied shipping in the Italian port of Bari, which was then the key supply centre for the British 8th army’s advance in Italy.
The attack was spearheaded by 105 Junkers JU88 bombers under the overall command of the infamous Air Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen (who had initially achieved international notoriety during the Spanish Civil War for his aerial bombardment of Guernica). In a little over an hour the German aircraft succeeded in sinking 28 transport and cargo ships, while further inflicting massive damage to the harbour’s facilities, resulting in the port being effectively put out of action for two months.
Over two thousand ground personnel were killed during the raid, with the release of a secret supply of mustard gas aboard one of the destroyed ships contributing to the death toll, as well as subsequent military and civilian casualties. The extent of the later is a controversy due to the fact that the American and British governments subsequently covered up the presence of the gas for decades.
At least five Batswana were killed and seven critically wounded during the raid, with one of the wounded being miraculously rescued floating unconscious out to sea with a head wound. He had been given up for dead when he returned to his unit fourteen days later. The fatalities and casualties all occurred when the enemy hit an ammunition ship adjacent to where 24 Batswana members of the African Pioneer Corps (APC) 1979 Smoke Company where posted.
Thereafter, the dozen surviving members of the unit distinguished themselves for their efficiency in putting up and maintaining smokescreens in their sector, which was credited with saving additional shipping. For his personal heroism in rallying his men following the initial explosions Company Corporal Chitu Bakombi was awarded the British Empire Medal, while his superior officer, Lieutenant N.F. Moor was later given an M.B.E.
Remember: bricks and cement are used to build a house, but mutual love, respect and companionship are used to build a HOME. And amongst His signs is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you may find contentment (Sukoon) with them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you; in this behold, there are signs (messages) indeed for people who reflect and think (Quran 30:21).
This verse talks about contentment; this implies companionship, of their being together, sharing together, supporting one another and creating a home of peace. This verse also talks about love between them; this love is both physical and emotional. For love to exist it must be built on the foundation of a mutually supportive relationship guided by respect and tenderness. As the Quran says; ‘they are like garments for you, and you are garments for them (Quran 2:187)’. That means spouses should provide each other with comfort, intimacy and protection just as clothing protects, warms and dignifies the body.
In Islam marriage is considered an ‘ibaadah’, (an act of pleasing Allah) because it is about a commitment made to each other, that is built on mutual love, interdependence, integrity, trust, respect, companionship and harmony towards each other. It is about building of a home on an Islamic foundation in which peace and tranquillity reigns wherein your offspring are raised in an atmosphere conducive to a moral and upright upbringing so that when we all stand before Him (Allah) on that Promised Day, He will be pleased with them all.
Most marriages start out with great hopes and rosy dreams; spouses are truly committed to making their marriages work. However, as the pressures of life mount, many marriages change over time and it is quite common for some of them to run into problems and start to flounder as the reality of living with a spouse that does not meet with one’s pre-conceived ‘expectations’. However, with hard work and dedication, couples can keep their marriages strong and enjoyable. How is it done? What does it take to create a long-lasting, satisfying marriage?
Below are some of the points that have been taken from a marriage guidance article I read recently and adapted for this purposes.
POSITIVITY Spouses should have far more positive than negative interactions. If there is too much negativity — criticizing, demanding, name-calling, holding grudges, etc. — the relationship will suffer. However, if there is never any negativity, it probably means that frustrations and grievances are not getting ‘air time’ and unresolved tension is accumulating inside one or both partners waiting to ‘explode’ one day.
“Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames.” (49:11)
We all have our individual faults though we may not see them nor want to admit to them but we will easily identify them in others. The key is balance between the two extremes and being supportive of one another. To foster positivity in a marriage that help make them stable and happy, being affectionate, truly listening to each other, taking joy in each other’s achievements and being playful are just a few examples of positive interactions. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best character and the best of you are those who are best to their wives”
Another characteristic of happy marriages is empathy; understanding your spouses’ perspective by putting oneself in his or her shoes. By showing that understanding and identifying with your spouse is important for relationship satisfaction. Spouses are more likely to feel good about their marriage and if their partner expresses empathy towards them. Husbands and wives are more content in their relationships when they feel that their partners understand their thoughts and feelings.
Successful married couples grow with each other; it simply isn’t wise to put any person in charge of your happiness. You must be happy with yourself before anyone else can be. You are responsible for your actions, your attitudes and your happiness. Your spouse just enhances those things in your life. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”
Successful marriages involve both spouses’ commitment to the relationship. The married couple should learn the art of compromise and this usually takes years. The largest parts of compromise are openness to the other’s point of view and good communication when differences arise.
When two people are truly dedicated to making their marriage work, despite the unavoidable challenges and obstacles that come, they are much more likely to have a relationship that lasts. Husbands and wives who only focus on themselves and their own desires are not as likely to find joy and satisfaction in their relationships.
Another basic need in a relationship is each partner wants to feel valued and respected. When people feel that their spouses truly accept them for who they are, they are usually more secure and confident in their relationships. Often, there is conflict in marriage because partners cannot accept the individual preferences of their spouses and try to demand change from one another. When one person tries to force change from another, he or she is usually met with resistance.
However, change is much more likely to occur when spouses respect differences and accept each other unconditionally. Basic acceptance is vital to a happy marriage. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “It is the generous (in character) who is good to women, and it is the wicked who insults them.” “Overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.” (Quran 15:85)
COMPASSION, MUTUAL LOVE AND RESPECT
Other important components of successful marriages are love, compassion and respect for each other. The fact is, as time passes and life becomes increasingly complicated, the marriage is often stressed and suffers as a result. A happy and successful marriage is based on equality. When one or the other dominates strongly, intimacy is replaced by fear of displeasing.
It is all too easy for spouses to lose touch with each other and neglect the love and romance that once came so easily. It is vital that husbands and wives continue to cultivate love and respect for each other throughout their lives. If they do, it is highly likely that their relationships will remain happy and satisfying. Move beyond the fantasy and unrealistic expectations and realize that marriage is about making a conscious choice to love and care for your spouse-even when you do not feel like it.
Seldom can one love someone for whom we have no respect. This also means that we have to learn to overlook and forgive the mistakes of one’s partner. In other words write the good about your partner in stone and the bad in dust, so that when the wind comes it blows away the bad and only the good remains.
Paramount of all, marriage must be based on the teachings of the Noble Qur’an and the teachings and guidance of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). To grow spiritually in your marriage requires that you learn to be less selfish and more loving, even during times of conflict. A marriage needs love, support, tolerance, honesty, respect, humility, realistic expectations and a sense of humour to be successful.
The past week or two has been a mixed grill of briefs in so far as the national employment picture is concerned. BDC just injected a further P64 million in Kromberg & Schubert, the automotive cable manufacturer and exporter, to help keep it afloat in the face of the COVID-19-engendered global economic apocalypse. The financial lifeline, which follows an earlier P36 million way back in 2017, hopefully guarantees the jobs of 2500, maybe for another year or two.
It was also reported that a bulb manufacturing company, which is two years old and is youth-led, is making waves in Selibe Phikwe. Called Bulb Word, it is the only bulb manufacturing operation in Botswana and employs 60 people. The figure is not insignificant in a town that had 5000 jobs offloaded in one fell swoop when BCL closed shop in 2016 under seemingly contrived circumstances, so that as I write, two or three buyers have submitted bids to acquire and exhume it from its stage-managed grave.