…Counter to What Ships Desire!

تم نشره في Tue 8 March / Mar 2016. 01:00 AM
  • جمانة غنيمات

Half a decade has passed since the “Arab Spring” that was promised liberty and dignity. The Arab woman had thought that these popular movements would lead good things her way, and might actually lift the injustice that has long endured. But winds blew counter to what the peoples’ ships craved; men and women.

Opposite to hopes and anticipations, and after the counter “Spring” and its recession, and after women led the forefront lines of these popular revolutions at first, today, women stand the far end lines lagging, if not in reserve, amid this partial recognition of their humanity!

And instead of enjoying the blessings of change, women reap its hells and misfortunes, perhaps more than any other segment of society; crossing borders either to flee slavery re-established by extremists in Iraq and Syria, to escape sectarian governments that do not recognise citizenship —at all, or to survive a regime that has killed and displaced millions of its country’s women.

Before the “Spring”, we used to complain about female unemployment; although we count the number of families with female heads, we realise they are side-lined —both intentionally and unintentionally, and that this reflects on their social, political, and economic participation.

We also thought we had gotten rid of underage marriage, or near rid of it. But in Iraq —once a symbol of civilisation, as well as in Yemen —that is no longer heavenly, underage marriage is legalised.

Alas, had we stayed there, we would not have seen harassment expand in scale to manifest, and in the ugliest of ways, the social illnesses that fester our societies; sentencing women for no more than mere looks!

We thought women would break free, but reality says otherwise. Arab women are trapped, their consciousness strained, as is their right to choose, on every level; almost non-existent. And the result? Excruciating pains; our women have minds that, regardless of all the forfeiture and chains, realise completely the confinement of their humanity, energy, and creativity, as their tongues are bound to not speak out, and in many times still fear to do so.

These women are educated. Their will to learn and change their reality is unrivalled, and is not limited to —or ever extinguished by their many shackles, as opposed to those who supposedly belong to the “elite” circles of society; they still flounder to prioritise people’s needs.

Today, and on the 8th of March —the International Day for Women, I ask the same old-new, perpetuated question; what rights have Arab women achieved; and how helpful is our reality in the discourse of achieving cross-gender equality.

In Jordan, the aspirations of elite women are all in one pit, and the dreams of the majority of Jordanian women are in another, completely different, bottomless creek. The Arab woman has not much to do with fancy conference halls and huge high-tech screens, really; their dreams are much more modest than those of their pampered peers. Notwithstanding, regardless the scale and extravagance of the Arab woman’s dreams, these small dreams are higher; they revolve around struggle; struggles over a job that reals in pay, a child receiving an appropriate setting of education, and three meals to feed the family. Most women, as it is for most Jordanians, are busy making a living, times-fold the time they put into thinking about political reformation or the election bill.

There are many models of great women whom have given a lot more to society than we do behind our computer screens, in air-conditioned and fire-placed rooms. In Ghor, female farmers beat their pickaxes to the field every single day, to make sure their families and we eat. And they strive without the slightest care given to what the searing sun and rain does to their beautiful faces and dark skins.

Accordingly, another young female despairs of the Civil Service Bureau, and turns her desperation into a private affair; a business. You see her selling her homemade soaps, or weaving traditional dresses for others to wear over a press release that has her name in the lead paragraph.

Moreover, there is now, on the Irbid highway, an early-riser —a woman, mind you, who wakes early to pick “Aekobs”, hoping she can sell it to another well-dressed woman from the Capital for just a few Dinars.

Those are the leading entrepreneurs; those are the great women of our times. More so, the martyr’s mother, who receives news of her son’s transcendence, and still prides it for Country. This lady represents me, because she recognises the great sacrifices due for Nation, as other women crown themselves in the loads of money in their bank accounts.

These ladies of land and Country deserve tribute every single day, not only on the 8th of March.