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Gender Violence


This month has been declared ‘Women’s Month’ and many countries have had a special day of commemoration for it. This column based on the Islamic view has always stressed that women must be treated with kindness and respect. Most importantly this should not be limited to those ‘special’ months or only for the days that are declared; but this should be for their entire lives.   

In an earlier column titled ‘Women in Islam’ the following verses were quoted: ‘Among His signs is that He created for you mates from among yourselves that you may live in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your hearts (Quran 30: 21) and the Bible echoes a similar message, "God created man in his own image … male and female created he them" (Gen. 1:27).  ‘The Believers, men and women are protectors, one of the other; they enjoin what is just and forbid what is evil’ (Quran 9: 71). And; ‘…. (O Believers!) Live with them (i.e., the wives) on a footing of kindness and equity’ (Quran 4: 19).

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, "Women are the twin halves of men." The Qur'an emphasizes the essential unity of men and women in a most beautiful simile: They (your wives) are your garment and you are a garment for them. (2:187). Meaning that we are to protect one another, just as clothing protects us from the elements of the climate. It is unfortunate that the world of today some rogue elements of men treat women with complete disrespect and contempt and in many cases even with violence. Not a day goes by without us reading how the rights of women are being violated when they are beaten up, raped or even killed up by their spouses, live-in partners, boyfriends and some deviant elements of society. Frighteningly of late is that more and more do we hear that children as young as four years and even grandmothers in their 70’s are being abused and even suffer rape.

I read a piece in the media of what the Secretary of the Human Rights Foundation and chairperson, Amnesty International SA, has said, quote "Violence against women and children is a crime against humanity and deserves the focus and application of adequate resources to effectively address this extremely serious and often neglected crime" unquote. This is exactly what it is. There is a great misconception within our communities as to what the rights of women are or should be. Men are often misinformed about their rights and responsibilities over women and vice versa, of women towards their husbands. Some people in our communities are creating incorrect perceptions regarding the rights of women thus further perpetuating and creating an environment for these evil perpetrators to act with impunity.

Sometimes it is because of our cultural, traditional and some societal barriers that spousal abuse has been relegated to the side lines, almost a topic for non-discussion. Women are being so abused in our society that some people would like us to accept this as ‘normal’, they may even classify it as a ‘domestic’ affair thus private. However, I know of no religion that allows the abuse of women.

Strange as it may seem but just recently, even a Deputy Minister in South Africa is alleged to have beaten up two women after a night out at a club. If this type of behaviour goes right up to that level – the community is in crises.
It is true and very unfortunate that in many cases women are subjected to the most serious form of physical abuses, that leave visible bruises and scars that bear testimony to the abuse that was inflicted upon them. We hear of many cases of physical, verbal, emotional, abuse that take place (behind closed doors) in homes that include pushing, slapping, punching, kicking, beating, bondage, and refusing to help a wife even when she is sick or injured. This violent behaviour includes destruction of valuables, hurting pets and loved ones- and even towards children.

But what about the "silent killers", you know, the ‘verbal and emotional abuse’? Verbal and emotional abuses do not leave scars which are visible from the outside but they leave deep scars which are etched within their hearts and minds. Unlike the physical scars, these cannot be erased and many women carry and live with these emotional effects for life. Counselling or therapy may help them to ease their pain and sorrow but in many cases cannot erase them.

One may think that verbal and emotional abuse is not ‘so bad’ but the harm, it causes, is long term. Women are very often treated as sub-humans. They are demeaned, insulted, sworn at and demoralized to such an extent that they soon become emotionally dead and they are left with no choice other than to accept the abuse as being part of their lives. Many women are made to feel and to believe that they deserve such treatment and pretty soon it becomes something ‘normal'.

Nowadays the rampant use of drugs and alcohol has also increased the woes of women as it has led to many women being verbally, physically and emotionally abused. When a man gets home drunk or is high on drugs, he may beat up the wife and may use force to satisfy his desires. Some men treat their partners as if they are some kind of material possessions. They regard them as being "their property".

Some husbands are overprotect ive and jealous keep their wives within their homes like prisoners. If the wives make and attempt to socialize or call their friend over to their homes for a get together, the husbands may even accuse them of engaging in extra marital affairs, immorality etc. Very often these women suffer abuse due to suspicion and accusations, which are falsely levelled against them. Islam forbids this: ‘And those who launch a charge against chaste women and produce not four witnesses to support their allegations – flog them with eighty stripes……’ (Quran 24: 4)

Going even from bad to worse is the issue of rape, which seems to have spiralled in our society. Sometime back figures were given to Parliament which said that between 2012 and 2014, there were 6167 reported rape cases against women and children – that translates to 2000 per annum – almost 5 people per day! Stop there for a moment and think about it: this concerns our women, be it our mothers, wives, sisters, daughters and other members of the female gender – but lately even innocent children and even old ladies up to 70 years of age have been targeted and are no longer safe from it.

Rape is one of the most heinous crimes that can be committed against a woman, it is soul destroying, it carries with it deep emotional and psychological scars that will never heal. Therefore as society we should agitate and push for very heavy penalties for the rapists. This is a rallying call to each and every one of us in society to stand up and demand that our leaders in Parliament debate the issue and enact even more stringent legislation to protect those special people, our women – they are special because each and every one of us are on this earth because of them. Yes we owe it to them.

Remember this beautiful saying: “A real man never hurts a woman, be very careful when you make a woman cry, because Allah counts her tears. The woman came out of a man’s rib; not from his feet to be walked on; not from his head so that he is superior, but from his side, to be equal, and under the arm to be protected, and also from next to the heart to be loved.” Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) said: The more civil and kind a man is to his wife, the more perfect in faith he is.

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Export Processing Zones: How to Get SEZA to Sizzle

23rd September 2020
Export Processing Zone (EPZ) factory in Kenya

In 2005, the Business & Economic Advisory Council (BEAC) pitched the idea of the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to the Mogae Administration.

It took five years before the SEZ policy was formulated, another five years before the relevant law was enacted, and a full three years before the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) became operational.

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Egypt Bagged Again

23rd September 2020

… courtesy of infiltration stratagem by Jehovah-Enlil’s clan

With the passing of Joshua’s generation, General Atiku, the promised peace and prosperity of a land flowing with milk and honey disappeared, giving way to chaos and confusion.

Maybe Joshua himself was to blame for this shambolic state of affairs. He had failed to mentor a successor in the manner Moses had mentored him. He had left the nation without a central government or a human head of state but as a confederacy of twelve independent tribes without any unifying force except their Anunnaki gods.

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23rd September 2020

If I say the word ‘robot’ to you,  I can guess what would immediately spring to mind –  a cute little Android or animal-like creature with human or pet animal characteristics and a ‘heart’, that is to say to say a battery, of gold, the sort we’ve all seen in various movies and  tv shows.  Think R2D2 or 3CPO in Star Wars, Wall-E in the movie of the same name,  Sonny in I Robot, loveable rogue Bender in Futurama,  Johnny 5 in Short Circuit…

Of course there are the evil ones too, the sort that want to rise up and eliminate us  inferior humans – Roy Batty in Blade Runner, Schwarzenegger’s T-800 in The Terminator,  Box in Logan’s Run,  Police robots in Elysium and  Otomo in Robocop.

And that’s to name but a few.  As a general rule of thumb, the closer the robot is to human form, the more dangerous it is and of course the ultimate threat in any Sci-Fi movie is that the robots will turn the tables and become the masters, not the mechanical slaves.  And whilst we are in reality a long way from robotic domination, there are an increasing number of examples of  robotics in the workplace.

ROBOT BLOODHOUNDS Sometimes by the time that one of us smells something the damage has already begun – the smell of burning rubber or even worse, the smell of deadly gas. Thank goodness for a robot capable of quickly detecting and analyzing a smell from our very own footprint.

A*Library Bot The A*Star (Singapore) developed library bot which when books are equipped with RFID location chips, can scan shelves quickly seeking out-of-place titles.  It manoeuvres with ease around corners, enhances the sorting and searching of books, and can self-navigate the library facility during non-open hours.

DRUG-COMPOUNDING ROBOT Automated medicine distribution system, connected to the hospital prescription system. It’s goal? To manipulate a large variety of objects (i.e.: drug vials, syringes, and IV bags) normally used in the manual process of drugs compounding to facilitate stronger standardisation, create higher levels of patient safety, and lower the risk of hospital staff exposed to toxic substances.

AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY ROBOTS Applications include screw-driving, assembling, painting, trimming/cutting, pouring hazardous substances, labelling, welding, handling, quality control applications as well as tasks that require extreme precision,

AGRICULTURAL ROBOTS Ecrobotix, a Swiss technology firm has a solar-controlled ‘bot that not only can identify weeds but thereafter can treat them. Naio Technologies based in southwestern France has developed a robot with the ability to weed, hoe, and assist during harvesting. Energid Technologies has developed a citrus picking system that retrieves one piece of fruit every 2-3 seconds and Spain-based Agrobot has taken the treachery out of strawberry picking. Meanwhile, Blue River Technology has developed the LettuceBot2 that attaches itself to a tractor to thin out lettuce fields as well as prevent herbicide-resistant weeds. And that’s only scratching the finely-tilled soil.

INDUSTRIAL FLOOR SCRUBBERS The Global Automatic Floor Scrubber Machine boasts a 1.6HP motor that offers 113″ water lift, 180 RPM and a coverage rate of 17,000 sq. ft. per hour

These examples all come from the aptly-named site    because while these functions are labour-saving and ripe for automation, the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the workplace will undoubtedly lead to increasing reliance on machines and a resulting swathe of human redundancies in a broad spectrum of industries and services.

This process has been greatly boosted by the global pandemic due to a combination of a workforce on furlough, whether by decree or by choice, and the obvious advantages of using virus-free machines – I don’t think computer viruses count!  For example, it was suggested recently that their use might have a beneficial effect in care homes for the elderly, solving short staffing issues and cheering up the old folks with the novelty of having their tea, coffee and medicines delivered by glorified model cars.  It’s a theory, at any rate.

Already, customers at the South-Korean  fast-food chain No Brand Burger can avoid any interaction with a human server during the pandemic.  The chain is using robots to take orders, prepare food and bring meals out to diners.  Customers order and pay via touchscreen, then their request is sent to the kitchen where a cooking machine heats up the buns and patties. When it’s ready, a robot ‘waiter’ brings out their takeout bag.   

‘This is the first time I’ve actually seen such robots, so they are really amazing and fun,’ Shin Hyun Soo, an office worker at No Brand in Seoul for the first time, told the AP. 

Human workers add toppings to the burgers and wrap them up in takeout bags before passing them over to yellow-and-black serving robots, which have been compared to Minions. 

Also in Korea, the Italian restaurant chain Mad for Garlic is using serving robots even for sit-down customers. Using 3D space mapping and other technology, the electronic ‘waiter,’ known as Aglio Kim, navigates between tables with up to five orders.  Mad for Garlic manager Lee Young-ho said kids especially like the robots, which can carry up to 66lbs in their trays.

These catering robots look nothing like their human counterparts – in fact they are nothing more than glorified food trolleys so using our thumb rule from the movies, mankind is safe from imminent takeover but clearly  Korean hospitality sector workers’ jobs are not.

And right there is the dichotomy – replacement by stealth.  Remote-controlled robotic waiters and waitresses don’t need to be paid, they don’t go on strike and they don’t spread disease so it’s a sure bet their army is already on the march.

But there may be more redundancies on the way as well.  Have you noticed how AI designers have an inability to use words of more than one syllable?  So ‘robot’ has become ‘bot’ and ‘android’ simply ‘droid?  Well, guys, if you continue to build machines ultimately smarter than yourselves you ‘rons  may find yourself surplus to requirements too – that’s ‘moron’ to us polysyllabic humans”!

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