Thursday, March 08, 2007

A bird named Mankind

“The world of humanity is possessed of two wings: the male and the female. So long as these two wings are not equivalent in strength, the bird will not fly”

(‘Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace).

Woman’s emancipation and the total equality between genders, is essential for humans progress and the transformation of society.

Inequality slows not only the advancement of woman, but the whole progress of all human species. And, worse, our insistence in amputate the rights of more than a half of the world’s population is not only an insulte to the dignity of our species but a cancer that destroys us from inside, leaving unbearable sequels in our familiar, social and universal tissue.

And, even worse, still today, in some parts of the world, women are seen as fragile and, therefore, inferiors. Diverse cultures from yesterday and today have an approach on this issue and we, human, haven’t still understood that they all say the same!

Notice that according to Hinduism (religion with manifold millennia of existence!), human population depends of the chastity and fidelity of women and, just like children they could “be unleaded, women have similarly the propensity to degradation. This is why women, just like children, need constant protection of the family” (A. C. Prabhupáda). Krishna Himself speaks of men saying they could occupy themselves with “prejudicial and horrible works destined to destroy the world” (Bhagavat-Gita), but He doesn’t say that of women …

At the Jewish-Christian Theology, woman is that one who has conceded “the right of redemption by the glorification of Mary’s virginity” (Carr, A., 1997), having her origin at the “the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man” (Génesis, II:22).

And, of course, we could not approach this subject without talking about the Islamic World. In Iran, for instance, a country that, unfortunately as so many others, women lack basic and simple human rights (even though we can feel some progresses), it aroused a young poet, Táhirih, that “marked [her] century (…) with heroic transcendence” Conjugated beauty, wisdom and eloquence such, that attracted multitudes of men and women, inclusively awaking the interest of the Shah of Persia himself. Abandoning the use of the veil, despite the millenary costume of her motherland (…) and partaking hot debates on mystical and spiritual themes, accumulated victories after victories against the male exponents and best representatives of the thought of her age”. It was exactly because of that that the Government arrested her, lapidated her on the streets, exiled her city to city: because she defended, feverously, the rights of her sisters, women. Finally, she was sentenced to death and, according to the testimonies of that age, she was incisive: You can kill me as soon as you like, but you cannot stop the emancipation of women!” (Araújo, W., 1994).

Táhirih’s inspiration came from the Bahá’í teachings that so bravely embraced. “The Lord, peerless is He, hath made woman and man to abide with each other in the closest companionship, and to be even as a single soul” (‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Selections from the Writings). Appearing that we are encouraged to go back to that one un-sexual being, from whom the rib was taken. It is also said that “the education of girls is even more important than that of boys, for in time these girls will become mothers, and, as mothers, they will be the first teachers of the next generation” (Esslemont, J.; 1975). Showing itself adapted to the requisites of our times, we can also find on their writings:

According to the spirit of this age, women must advance and fulfill their mission in all departments of life, becoming equal to men. They must be on the same level as men and enjoy equal rights. This is my earnest prayer” (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Compilation of Compilations, Vol. II).

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