28 June 2005

To be, or not to be, that is the question. Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to to take up arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing, end them...

It's been a while, and I've been busy. We've all been busy, and everyone of us struggles to stay afloat in the sea of troubles we know as our daily lives.

Some peoples' lives are worth noting, however, for the ferocity, bravery, and tenacity they show in opposing -- and one such person is Ms. Mukhtaran Mai.

Mukhtaran Mai lived in the small village of Meerwala, Pakistan, where in 2002 she endured an atrocious violation sanctioned and mandated by the jirga -- the village council of elders -- in retaliation for an offense allegedly committed by her younger brother. When she pleaded with the council for mercy toward her brother, they decided to avenge his "crimes" through her. To satisfy the tribal justice, she was gang-raped in full view of the village by four volunteers for more than an hour, and then left behind as if she was no more than a piece of filthy refuse in the street.

That was then. Mukhtaran Mai is recovering through the help of her friends and family, thanks to the groundswell of international support she has earned. Due in large part to embarrassing pressure from the international community, her country was forced -- from the President on down -- to take a hard look at the barbaric way women have been routinely treated in Pakistan, and to take active steps to enforce protection of human rights. After being awarded the equivalent of USD$8,000 in a civil trial against the rapists and the council, Mukhtaran Mai, herself an educated woman, founded a girls' school in her village, its first.

Here's what to do. Click the link above, or go to Google and enter "Mukhtar Mai" as the search term -- read about it yourself, and discover what bravery is all about. If you are moved by what you read, take action. Write a letter to the Pakistani government officials, make an entry in your journal or blog about how you feel, tell a friend about the story. Get the word out into the world that you won't tolerate this type of abuse, and your intention is for it to end.

If you have the means, make a donation to Mukhtaran Mai's cause. You won't ever regret it.

Excuse me. I need to go write a check, and call a friend.


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