There is a very important issue that this column has on many occasions touched upon and it needs to be prioritised, because it should be and must be of serious concern to each and every one of us regardless of our religious, cultural, political and ethnic background. This concerns our women, be it our mothers, wives, sisters, daughters and other members of the female gender.
Over the past month there have been many meetings, discussions and fora wherein this issue was discussed and condemned. The focus was on was ‘Gender Based Violence’. Violence against women and children in recent times seems to be spiralling out of control and has reached alarming and unacceptable proportions so much so that it has become a serious social problem. There are various types of violence; mental, emotional, psychological, verbal, physical, and increasingly that of rape.
The bottom line is that women deserve our respect, love and attention and we need to stand together and fight this scourge. Therefore as society we should agitate and push for very heavy penalties for the rapists. What we need to do is to ensure that the punishment for this crime must be so strict that the perpetrators of these crimes will not only think twice but must also face and suffer the consequences of their dastardly deeds.
‘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’ (Qur’an 9: 71). And; ‘…. (O Believers!) Live with them (i.e., the wives) on a footing of kindness and equity’ (Qur’an 4: 19). Readers may wonder why this subject is being tackled, but the unaffected person will never understand or know the gravity and depth of the physical, emotional, mental and psychological scars that will haunt the victims throughout their lives. These scars are not only limited to the victims but can stretch across their family, friends and acquaintances. Many a victim will be so emotionally devastated that they may even consider suicide.
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 the most heinous of crimes, that of rape.
Some two or so years ago, a report to the National Assembly contained the shocking information 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! What about the physical and mental abuse? Those figures would be more or even most shocking.
With these horrendous statistics each and every one of us should be expressing our serious concerns. This violence is against our women, be it our mothers, wives, sisters, daughters and other members of the female gender – but lately even innocent children have been targeted and are no longer safe from it.
This violence against women and children seems to have spiralled out of control and has reached alarming and unacceptable proportions so much so that it has become a serious social problem. There are various types of violence; mental, emotional, psychological, verbal, physical, and increasingly that of rape.
Women are special to each and every one of us, because without a mother we would not have been on this earth or in existence. We all owe our existence to the Lord, but after all through His Mercy we were brought into being into this world through the intervention and process of birth by a woman, so how can we denigrate her in this manner?
Islam accords the woman with great honour and dignity, and requires that she be treated with respect; as the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: "the Believers who show the most perfect Faith are those who have the best behaviour, and the best of you are those who are the best to their wives."
There are some countries that practice Shariah Law which prescribes capital punishment for a convicted rapist. Some non-Muslims may be horrified at such a stringent punishment in this day and age, they would say it is ruthless and barbaric. Here I run the risk of some who will not hesitate to jump onto the band wagon and accuse me of being a ‘religious fundamentalist‘; To those I say an emphatic NO, I am not suggesting ‘Shariah’ law, what I am saying is that we need stringent laws that preserve and protect the dignity, sanctity and honour of women, first and foremost.
The Bible also says in Deuteronomy 22: 25 -27 "But if in the field the man finds the girl who is betrothed, and the man forces her and lay with her, then the man who lay with her shall be put to death.” 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.
What we need to do is to ensure that the punishment for this crime must be so strict that the perpetrators of these crimes will not only think twice but must also face and suffer the consequences of their dastardly deeds. Some countries offenders can undergo a process of ‘chemical castration’, in other words the offender is rendered harmless through the use of chemicals injected into them, and this would ensure that his nefarious and despicable acts would be ‘halted’ forever– simply put even Viagra would not help.
We cannot allow women and children to be abused in this manner. Men should also stand up and be counted and show their support to the womenfolk – after all the vast majority of the violence and rapes are perpetrated by men, therefore we should not only be standing shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with women but should be leading the fight against these evil practices. – There must be an urgent meeting called to discuss this very pressing issue of the abuse of women in all its forms. We need to get out the message that society will never allow women to be treated in this vile manner by agitating for sterner measures against these perpetrators to be put into place.
We cannot dodge this critical issue that keeps reminding us of the horrors that our women folk face on a daily basis. We have to make it known that these evil perpetrators have no place in our society and we are willing to defend the chastity and dignity of our women and children. We all owe our being to the Lord, however our Lord brought us into this world through the intervention and process of birth by a woman, so how can we denigrate her in this manner?
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.