Monthly Archives: March 2013

Idk How This Happened…But Here’s a Post About the Taliban!

What’s cookin’ good lookin’??

Before we get going here, let’s talk about Malala Yousafzai. She’s back in school.

Now 15 years old, Malala is out of the hospital and back where she belongs: in school 🙂 You can check out a video of her talking about going back to school here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2013/mar/19/malala-yousafzai-back-school-video

Listening to her speak, she sounds so glad to be back in school, as well as very articulate. I’m so happy that she recovered so well, and that she’s able to be learning again 🙂

Also, Malala is currently nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Now when I first heard about Malala, I thought about other girls in her situation– living close to the Taliban, and going to school despite the risk. There are many girls in this type of environment in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. I wondered how they felt about this: were they upset that someone else had been recognized for showing bravery, and they themselves were not? Despite having the same bravery? But then I thought about Balpreet Kaur. A few months ago, an image of the Sikh women with facial hair went viral, and she responded to the plentiful insults she received with grace and forgiveness. Then, people recognized her as a strong, brave women. Although it was Balpreet who was shown, there are many Sikh women who face the same types of negative comments everyday. To a small extent, I’ve faced them myself. But instead of being upset that it wasn’t my personal struggles that were recognized, I was proud that someone who represented my religion and my culture had been recognized for her strength, and every positive comment towards Balpreet Kaur felt like a positive comment towards me and my religion. So that’s how I realized that girls going through what Malala endured probably aren’t upset that it’s not them in the spotlight, because it is them. Malala being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize is a nomination for all of the girls going to school in Taliban-heavy areas. If she wins, they all will win.

Okay scratch my original post idea. We’re staying on this topic. Buckle-up, it’s about to get unplanned up in hee yuh.

Let’s talk about where Malala lived in Pakistan.

Malala lived in Swat Valley, which is an area in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa* district of Pakistan. This area borders Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, as well as Afghanistan. When many people think of the Taliban, they just think  of Afghanistan. However, the Taliban are prominent in some areas of Pakistan, such as Swat Valley. I don’t know a whole bunch about the Taliban in Pakistan, but I know that during their prime in Afghanistan, they had banned television, music, women from laughing, and women from being outside without a male relative. Basically, the Taliban grew up in acutely impoverished areas, many of them in Pakistan, and were educated with the strictest interpretation of Islam. They’re pretty much the number one example of the damage that can be done by an inadequate education and poverty. And so they took Afghanistan in 1997. At first, Afghan people were cautiously happy, because it seemed finally they wouldn’t be governed by an invader, such as Russia. However, the Afghan people soon realized that the Taliban was terrible news, and oppressed the country like it had never been oppressed before, under any ruler. In an interview with John Stewart, Afghan politician Fawzia Koofi was asked why the Afghan public wasn’t able to eradicate the Taliban as they had done with the Russians and other nations. Koofi responded by stating that the people of Afghanistan couldn’t rise up, because the Taliban created an environment in which they couldn’t even breathe. Soccer stadiums were turned into public execution arenas, where women who were raped would be stoned to death for “committing adultery.” Orphanages became full to bursting. Whoever could leave the country did. Whoever couldn’t tried their best to survive. The Taliban of Afghanistan crumbled in 2001 following attacks from the U.S, but the scars of the Taliban’s rule remain deep, and the country continues to bleed. I don’t know what it was like in Pakistan, but that was what Afghanistan went through under the Taliban.

Anyways, back to Malala. In the city she lived in in Swat, called Mingora, the Taliban had closed all girls schools at the beginning of 2009. In solidarity, the all-boys schools in the area voluntarily closed their doors for a short time. Gosh. That’s so beautiful, but really sad. No one wanted the girls’ schools to be closed, but there was nothing they could do but silently express their sorrow. After awhile, though, Malala’s school reopened, and she was continuing her studies when one day, the Taliban carried our their plan of shooting her. So begins her journey for survival that has won the world over.

Basically, the Taliban have ruined many lives. Women are in prison right now for fleeing abusive husbands. Children are beaten in the streets. And it’s down to the Taliban. But know this– the Taliban do not represent the population of Afghanistan or Pakistan. These men are from remote areas of the countries, and have very limited education. In the chaos during the Afghan Civil War, they were able to take power. Afghanistan had been a quickly developing country. For example, women were prominent in all areas of the work force, and no one strictly limited their dress. But once the Taliban took hold, the country went back 100+ years in time to a  way of life that was familiar only to the Taliban, who had grown up in poverty.

Despite this, know also that not everyone that called themselves Taliban were bad. Imagine the Taliban takes hold of your city. They shut down your business, your wife is no longer able to work, and your daughters are forced to quit their education. Your only choice of employment is with the Taliban. The other option is letting your family starve, and so you join. Many of men in these situations took jobs as local Taliban, and did what they could to help their communities.

The Taliban lost their stronghold in Afghanistan in 2001. However, questions are being raised as to whether the U.S’s pulling out of the country will allow the Taliban to take hold once more. My hopes are that the U.S will keep a close eye on what’s going on in the country, so that the Taliban knows that they have no hope of taking power. The people of Afghanistan have seen nothing but war for decades, and it’s time for them to have peace and rebuild themselves.

 

Anyways, I don’t know how exactly this turned into a post about the Taliban, but here we are, 1100 words in and counting. I have an English project to finish, and you probably have something you’re putting off as well, so I say we call it a night and meet back here next Sunday?

Goodnight/morning/afternoon!

-M

*Self-absorbed little side-note here, two of my grandparents’ parents were actually from the province Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan. Lived there and everything. I find this super cool, because the people of Khyber Pakhtunkwa are typically of Pashtun ethnicity, and I LOVE Pashtun culture 🙂

Advertisements
Tagged , , , ,

Car Horns Are Not For Everybody

ALOHA YAR.

How’s it hanging?

So this past week in my English class, we turned in our research papers. For the assignment, we could basically pick any issue and argue one side of it. I argued that the FBI should track hate crimes against Sikhs, Hindus, and Arabs. It had to be all official and MLA and whatnot, but I thought it kind of goes with the theme I have going here on ShadesofBrwn, and it talks about a lot of things I’ve been wanting to talk about on here, too, so I went ahead and copy pasted it below. The parts that I thought were most blog-worthy are hilighted in….

LAVENDER!!!!!!!! 🙂

I also threw in some pictures and headings and stuff in the hopes that you don’t fall asleep.

And so here it–

Wait hold on. I’m putting my English paper on the internet…somehow this doesn’t seem like the smartest idea. Look, just don’t plagiarize it, okay? Don’t be that guy.

Monitoring Hate Crimes in the United States

Throughout American history, various minority groups have been targeted in hate crimes. Today, Arab-Americans often find themselves the targets of these hate crimes, also known as ethnoviolence (Perry). Additionally, Hindus, who are typically of Indian descent, and Sikhs, who are often seen wearing turbans, are targeted.  After the tragedy of September 11th, Arabs, Sikhs, and Hindus living in America fit the mental image shared by many of what a typical terrorist looks like. This has caused a violent backlash of hate crimes against these three minority groups.  Joe Crowley, a congressman and the chairman of the Congressional India and Indian Americans Caucus, has recently brought this issue to national attention by addressing the FBI and requesting that they track the crimes against Arab, Sikh, and Hindu Americans (Crowley). The need for the FBI to track these crimes is evident.  Ethnoviolence has terrorized Arab communities for over a decade. Similarly, Sikh and Hindu Americans have found themselves living in fear of attack in a post 9/11 world as well. Furthermore, the tracking of these crimes will have additional benefits, such as giving peace to the families of the victims of hate crimes.

  First up, Arabs:

arabs

   Because the people behind the 9/11 attack were from Arab countries, Arab-Americans currently face a strong backlash of anti-Arab sentiment, and need to be protected on the federal level. After 9/11, Americans of Arab descent were instantly targeted because of their ethnicity. In a report compiled by the American-Arab Anti -Discrimination Committee (ADC), hate crimes against Arabs were reported as early as the day of 9/11. On this day, “Kill Arabs” was sprayed onto multiple buildings in Chicago, Illinois (Ibish). This threat sprayed on to the buildings of Chicago showed how quickly anti-Arab sentiment spread after the attack on the World Trade Center. Although these were just words, they were an accurate prediction of the fate of many Arab-Americans in the wake of 9/11 (Ibish). The ADC goes on to detail several assaults on people of Arab descent. On September 29th, 2001, a California resident was shot and killed in his place of work because of his Arab background. Assaults such as this became common in the weeks, months, and years following 9/11.  The amount of attacks on Arab-Americans, as well as the brutality with which they are carried out, are a testament to the severity of this issue. Today, thousands of Arab-Americans still live in fear of an attack on themselves or their loved ones.

Next we got Sikhs and Hindus:

Sikh:

businesssikh

Hindu:

businesshindu

Sikh and Hindu Americans are often the victims of hate crimes as well. Occasionally, they are mistaken as Muslims—although this should not warrant an attack—and other times they are targeted for their specific identity as Sikhs or Hindus.  Once again, the very day of 9/11 marked the first attacks on Hindus and Sikhs in America. According to the ADC, shortly after the Twin Towers were attacked, a Hindu temple in Matawan, New Jersey was fire-bombed. On the same day, in Cleveland, Ohio, bottles filled with gasoline were thrown into a Sikh temple (Ibish). Whether they were mistaken for Arabs or targeted for their own identity, Sikhs and Hindus began to feel the backlash of 9/11 on the very day that it occurred.  From the fire-bombs thrown on September 11th, 2001, to recent months, Sikhs and Hindus have continued to be the targets of hate crimes. In December of last year, Sunando Sen—a Hindu resident of New York—was shoved onto the tracks of an oncoming train. His attacker was later detained, and stated that she had “been beating up Muslims and Hindus for a long time” (Erika). The quote from Sen’s attacker makes it evident that, while it is possible that he was mistakenly labeled as a Muslim, his identity as a Hindu was enough to provoke an attack. Unfortunately, these examples are a mere fraction of the assaults on Sikh and Hindu Americans. Similar attacks occur daily, and Sikhs and Hindus have learned to live with this fact. As a Sikh in America myself, I have seen offenses on various members of my family—offenses that were fueled by their identities as Sikhs. To know that these kinds of attacks are not monitored creates an unsettled fear within myself and many others, and will continue to do so until we know that the government is aware of the struggles we face. By not tracking hate crimes specific to Sikhs, Hindus, and Arabs, it seems as though the government hopes that the attacks will simply fade away. As members of these minority groups, we too hoped that the attacks would cease. However, twelve years after 9/11, this has hardly been the case.  As Hindus, Arabs, and Sikhs, we are forced to look and to acknowledge the attacks on our community. Because the government does not track these crimes, it feels as though we are the only ones who do so.

 It is made clear by the amount of attacks on Arabs, Sikhs, and Hindus, that these crimes need to be monitored. However, the tracking of these crimes by the FBI would have additional benefits as well. The primary benefit of the tracking of these hate crimes is that doing so would offer protection to members of Sikh, Arab, and Hindu communities. Congressman Joe Crowley is currently asking the Department of Justice to ask the FBI to track these crimes. In reference to the minority groups he is speaking on behalf of, Crowley states, “They want action, and they want it now. At the very least, they want the government to collect comprehensive data and respond to threats” (Crowley). If the government were to monitor hate crimes against Sikhs, Hindus, and Arabs, this would protect these minority groups extensively. Threats, such as the ones sprayed onto the buildings of Chicago bearing the message “Kill Arabs” would be responded to at the federal level, and could likely be prevented. Additionally, if the public knew that this type of crime was monitored by the FBI, individuals might be deterred from carrying out attacks, because they would know the crimes would provoke a punishment distributed by the national government.  An additional benefit of monitoring these crimes is that doing so would bring peace to the families of the victims of hate crimes, such as the one committed in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.  On a warm summer day in 2012, Sikh residents of Oak Creek gathered for their weekly service in their local temple. On this day, August 5th, 2012, white supremacist Michael Page Wade walked in to the Sikh Gurdwara of Wisconsin and shot and killed six worshipers inside the building (Rowlands).

shootingvictims

  In the month following, the son of one of the victims testified before the United States Senate.

Hapreet Saini is in blue. Sitting behind him is his brother. 

In his testimony, the victim’s son, Harpreet Singh Saini, addressed the need for hate crimes to be tracked: “I came here today to ask the government to give my mother the dignity of being a statistic. The FBI does not track hate crimes against Sikhs. My mother and those shot that day will not even count on a federal form. We cannot solve a problem we refuse to recognize” (Saini).  As the son of a victim of ethnoviolence, Saini’s perspective is unique. Only people in his situation know the feeling of knowing that their loved one “will not even count on a federal form” (Saini). However, the unjust nature of this statement resonates with many. If the government was to acknowledge that Saini’s mother, Paramjit Kaur Toor, was killed because of her identity, not only would that lessen the likeliness of a similar attack, but it would give a small amount of peace to her loved ones and the members of her community. The prevention of attacks and the victims’ family’s peace of mind are two of the benefits that tracking crimes against Hindus, Arabs, and Sikhs would bring. Tracking these crimes could save lives as well as prevent extensive emotional anguish for those who are already suffering.

Although tracking crimes against Hindu, Arab, and Sikh Americans would offer multiple benefits, some may believe that there is no need to track hate crimes against individual groups, and that all hate crimes should be documented as the same type of offense. However, this would prevent authorities from gaining insight into the attacks, and being able to prevent ones similar to them in the future. The more we know about the individuality of a group, the less chance there is of that group being targeted. The state of Texas is a prime example of focusing on an individual group. The state worked with the Sikh Coalition, which is an organization that protects and helps raise awareness about Sikhs, to get Sikhism in the statewide Social Studies curriculum. They succeeded, and all Texas students now learn about Sikhs in their classes. One Texas teacher stated that his training in Sikh education in preparation to teach about the religion was, “a perfect introduction to Sikhism. My new knowledge will help my students understand other people in diverse communities” (Coalition). In this instance, an individual religious group was indeed singled out. However, doing so was in an effort to protect members of the group, and to enlighten others. Here, focusing on differences instead of grouping every religion together proved beneficial, as it would when tracking hate crimes against individual groups. In a similar case, the Sikh Coalition advocated Sikh education in New Jersey, and they were successful: Sikhism was added to the statewide curriculum. This time, after the curriculum was edited to include individual attention to Sikhism, Educational Commissioner Lucille Davey issued a memorandum to all of the principals of New Jersey, in which she asked that the recipients of the note take care to ensure the safety of Sikh students (Six). Because Sikhism was specifically brought to Davey’s attention, she was able to make an attempt at protecting Sikh students. If Sikhism had been grouped with, perhaps, all religions based out of South Asia, Davey would not be aware of the discrimination faced by Sikhs because of their turbans, as well as the other issues they face. In turn, she would not have taken the additional measure to ensure their safety.

In the Declaration of Independence, our founding fathers identified our nation as one in which everyone is guaranteed “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (Declaration). However, in today’s America, Sikhs, Arabs, and Hindus are often denied their happiness, freedom of religion, and sometimes even their lives. Surely this is not the America envisioned by our founding fathers, nor is it one in which we can grow to our full potential as a society. The need for the government to track these crimes is evident. Furthermore, in doing so, the families of the victims would know that the attack on their loved one was acknowledged. They would know that their country sees their struggle as worthy of a federal form.

 

Works Cited

“Coalition Continues Work to Bring Sikhi to Every Student in Texas.” The Sikh Coalition. 28 Feb. 2013

<http://www.sikhcoalition.org/advisories/2011/education-update-ongoing-curriculum-work-in-texas&gt;.

“Crowley Launches Major Effort to Track Sikh, Hindu Hate Crimes.” Hindustan Times 21 February 2013.

Declaration of Independence. Introduction.

25 February 2013 <http://www.hindustantimes.com/Punjab/PunjabAbroadUSA/Crowley-

launches-major-effort-to-track-Sikh-Hindu-hate-crimes/SP-Article1-1015207.aspx>.

“Erika Menendez, NYC Subway Pushing Suspect, Blames Bad Day on Decision to Shove Sunando Sen.”

HuffPost New York19 January 2013. 25 February 2013 <http://www.huffingtonpost.com&gt;.

Ibish, Hussein et al. “Report on Hate Crimes and Discrimination Against Arab Americans: The Post-

September 11 Backlash.” Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee.  Ed. Hussein Ibish.

2003. 26 Feb. 2013 <http://www.adc.org/PDF/hcr02.pdf&gt;

Perry, Barbara. In the Name of Hate: Understanding Hate Crimes. New York: Routledge, 2001.

Rowlands, Ted. “Sikhs Repair, Reclaim Temple After Rampage.” CNN 10 August 2012.

<http://www.cnn.com/.&gt;.

Saini, Harpreet S. “Hate Crimes and the Threat of Domestic Extremism,” testimony, September 19, 2012,

before the United States Senate, Committee on the Judiciary (Constitution, Civil Rights, and

Human Rights). Text from: Testimony. Available on: United States Senate Judiciary

Committee on the Judiciary; Accessed: 2/28/13.

“Six Year Journey Culminates in Adoption of Mandatory Curriculum Standard.” The Sikh Coalition.25

September 2013. 28 Feb. 2013 <http://www.sikhcoalition.org/advisories/2009/14-million-new-jersey-&gt;.

Well that’s my paper. One thing that wasn’t in there but should have been was the murder of Balbir Singh Sodhi. He was a gas station owner. Four days after 9/11, Sodhi was planting flowers outside of his gas station when a man drove up to him, and shot and killed him. My mom says that hearing this on the news that day felt like it did hearing about the Oak Creek, WI Gurdwara shooting last year. To hear the word “Sikh” on the news like that (Sodhi was a Sikh) was such a shock to her and the thousands of Sikhs around the world.

In my paper I also mentioned that my own family has suffered after 9/11. No one has been physically attacked, not to my knowledge, anyways. Mainly verbal things. But in the weeks following 9/11, my mom’s parents–my sweet, gentle Nana Nani– were out driving for the first time since 9/11, when all of a sudden, the drivers around them realized that my Nana Ji was wearing a turban, and they just started honking their horns. That was just the first time, too.

Look, I know you know the deal: Don’t be a hater. If you find yourselves forming opinions about Islam, Arabs, Sikhs, Hindus, etc., that’s great! But remember to make sure you’re learning about these groups from unbiased sources. None of those groups advocate violence for the sake of their religion or ethnicity. If someone says that they do, or should, then that person is uninformed. A lot of  folks do take the time and learn about these groups the right way, and you guys are an awesome bunch, and you deserve to be appreciated 🙂 And to brown people who fall into any of those groups, remember that we have to be just as open and accepting. After going through some of the stuff we’ve been through as minorities, it’s easy to want to shut out everyone else and not deal with it. But das not coo. When someone asks you a question, answer! Who better to tell people about us, than us?

Well with that I’m off. I have to go do cool things like hang out with friends, be a hipster, take thoughtful walks. It’s not like I have to study for a test.

Psh.

I do though. I do have to study for a test.

I guess that’s zindagi.

See your beautiful face next week!

-M

Tagged , , , , , ,

Wagah Border Keeping Order (Because it rhymes)

Hi there! So I was wondering…

Can we just talk about this.

This week I learned about the Wagah Border. Wagah is a village that stretches over both Pakistan and India, and the Wagah border is where the two nations meet in the village. This is the only road connection between India and Pakistan.

And everyday–every. day.–before sunset, this goes down.

Just let me explain.

Basically, at the end of everyday, there’s what’s called the lowering of the flags ceremony. Everyday since 1959, 12 years after Indian and Pakistani independence,  both Indian and Pakistani soldiers march in a parade sort of deal. And as the sun sets, the iron gate between the countries is actually opened, and both of their flags are lowered at the same time. The flags are then folded as soldiers from both sides shake hands (that’s my favorite), and the gate closes.

A really cool part of this ceremony is the crowds that gather on both sides. On the Indian side, there tends to be a larger crowd. (Don’t feel bad though, Pakistan. We just have a population issue.) But the Pakistan side is just as spirited. Both groups chant patriotic phrases during the ceremony, but it doesn’t seem hostile. It’s more like a “I love my country” kind of thing, not “I hate your country.”

Back in October 2012, a man known as Chacha (Uncle) Pakistan passed away. He was actually named Mehar Din, and during his lifetime, he would go to the Wagah ceremony everyday, wearing a kurta made out of a Pakistani flag. He lived about 40 km away from the border, and he would hitchhike all the way to the ceremony. He was even willing to walk.

There are quite a few videos of the ceremony on Youtube. This one is pretty good quality, taken from the Pakistani side: Click HERE to check it out. 

Part of the reason I’m so interested in this is because…I may or may not be going to India this December. I don’t mean “may or may not” like “oh I’m cheekily telling you that I am going to India,” I really do mean that I might not go. It’s not fo’ certain yet, but my grandma is saying that she’s going to take me. So can we just-just for a second…take a moment and…

image

Source: http://emilyrainbowsandunicorns.tumblr.com/

Okay, thank you.

I won’t get into my possible-trip, because this would turn into a rant like you ain’t ever seen. But I’m really excited 🙂 The other night I had a dream that I was in Amritsar. Just chillin 🙂

ANYWAYS. Where was I. Okay, and so if I do end up going, I know that my grandma loves going to Harmander Sahib, also known as the Golden Temple:

The Wagah border isn’t far from there. And in addition to seeing the ceremony, going to Wagah would mean that we’d get to see Pakistan. It would just be a glimpse of it– just beyond the border– but still. Neither of my grandparents ever went back to Pakistan after the Partition of 1947, and I don’t know how they’d take to planning a trip there now. I don’t know what it would mean to them to see Pakistan, but I know that it would mean a lot to me. Just as much as seeing India. I consider myself Indian, but my grandma  was born and raised in Lahore, my grandpa was born and raised in Sialkot, his mom was married in Rawalpindi, and my other grandpa has his roots Khyber Pakhtunkwa. I can’t deny that I’m also Pakistani. And I would never want to deny it 🙂

I think it would be cool if we visited the border on our possible trip in December, and one day I visit the same border on the Pakistani side.

I guess that’s it about the Wagah Border. And now, it’s time for a random anecdote.

This past week at my school was the International Festival. It happens every year, and is mainly run by students. Last year I performed with a bhangra group, check out more about it HERE, but unfortunately I didn’t participate this year. But I went to check it out during lunch to eat all the food I could get my hands on learn more about other cultures, and before I left I stopped by the India stand. As I was chowin down, I noticed the guy behind the table. According to his name tag, his last name was Singh, and I was like huh. Interesting. Because where I live, the Sikhs for a few cities around all know each other, and I had never seen this kid before. But I was like, he could easily be a Hindu, maybe a Muslim, etc. with the last name Singh, which isn’t unheard of, and that would explain why I didn’t know him. But then I looked down and saw his kara* and I was like aight. What is going on.

I started talking to him, and it turns out he was a Sikh. The other guy running the stand was also, and I hadn’t seen him before either. We all looked down at each other’s karas (That’s when I noticed that mine was under my sleeve. I had an awkward time digging it out, and I was unsuccessful. It ruined the moment. But moving on.) and we asked where in Punjab we all were from. They both had slight Punjabi accents, so I’m thinking they must have lived in Punjab at some point. After we exhausted all the questions we could ask, we just kind of stood there. As I walked away, I was surprised at how elated I felt. It was like I had just met old family that I hadn’t seen in a long time. It’s so weird to think that they were strangers, and yet our ancestors walked the same dirt roads, and, at some point, converted to the same religion. And there we were, their descendants, half way around the world in a southern U.S state, catching up, wearing the Guru’s karas. And idk. It was really something.

I’m sorry if that was weird. And I mean, it’s not like we should only feel that way around people from our own religion or ethnicity. We are tied to people in more ways than those, like enjoying the same kinds of things or having similar life experiences. But having the same religion or ethnicity as someone can sometimes be one of those ties that brings us closer.

I mean, if you find out the person is a jerk, then the fact that you have the same religion doesn’t cancel out the jerkiness, you know? Wait– not that the dudes at the International Festival were jerks–they were really nice.

Sigh. I don’t know what I’m doing.

Anyways, I guess that’s all, folks. I hope you have  FANTASTIC week. Remember that you’re a smart, funny, beautiful, and confident individual. So you bes act like it 🙂

See you next week,

-M

*kara- A metal bracelet worn by Sikhs that is unique to the Sikh identity. Now look at my awkward wrist.

20130310-132529.jpg

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Happy International Womens’ Day!

Yo, M! It’s Saturday!

…Yeah.

You’re posting a day early?! Is this the Apocalypse!??

Naaw. I’m posting tomorrow. I just wanted to drop by real quick for International Womens’ Day!

But that was yesterday.

…Why can you never let me have anything?

I mean, I’m just saying that this is really random and–

I’m going through a tunnel.

…We both know that you are not.

I can’t hear you.

Okay, M. Go through your tunnel. 

Thank you.

Hiiiiiiiiiii 🙂

So this past Friday was International Womans’ day!

So I thought I’d talk a little bit about why I consider myself a feminist. I know that many people are either of the mind that A) Feminists are cray cray, or B) that feminism is unnecessary. Regarding this last one, I can see why some might think so. Women are gaining strength in many parts of the world. We’re in the workforce and, in some places, even the military. However, I think that there is still a lot of improvement to be made. For one thing, women in different parts of the world have varying statuses. In Saudi Arabia, women aren’t allowed to drive. For me, this alone is reason enough to advocate women’s rights. There is an entire population of us who is banned from driving. Even in the Western world there is work to be done, such as the combating the over-sexualization of women in the media. As women, this surrounds us and teaches us that we are mainly valued for one thing– our bodies. Men are taught to see women this way as well. Until women are valued for their minds as much as men are, I think that there is a need for feminism.

And to address the “feminists are crazy” mindset, I think this is just caused by a misrepresentation/misinterpretation of feminism. I don’t believe that women should be valued more then men, but I do believe that men and women should be equal. That’s what feminism means to me; equality.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I have to show you something 🙂

I saw this on Tumblr. This International Womens’ Day, 1000 flowers were handed out in Kabul, Afghanistan  to celebrate women. Check out the post HERE.

Speaking of women and Afghanistan, I just finished reading The Favored Daughter by Fawzia Koofi. Koofi is a member of the Afghan Parliament, and she is planning on running for president of Afghanistan in 2014. Her memoir was an awesome read, and I think she’s pretty dandy too. What strikes me about her is that she acknowledges that one day she will (very likely, she believes) be assassinated  But that is something that she has accepted. She has decided to devote her life to improving Afghanistan, and she knows what the price of that might end up being.

Wishing her all the best 🙂

Anyways, that’s all I got until tomorrow. Shout out to all the ladies out there– keep doing you 🙂 And shout out to all of the men who respect women. You keep doing you too 🙂

See you in the morn,

M

Tagged , , , ,

Paint the Town Blue!

WELL HEY THERE.

It’s Monday but we’re going to pretend like it’s a Sunday and get the show on the road here on ShadesofBrwn.

CUE MUSIC!

Today I thought we’d kick it old school, to the year 1459, to be exact. In 1459, the city of Jodhpur was founded in the Indian state Rajasthan. It’s also known as the Blue City.

The Blue City of Jodphur at dusk.

Jodhpur is crazy beautiful. The state it’s located in, Rajasthan, is home to many of India’s historically important forts, such as the famous Merangarth Fort, which was also built in 1459. This fort happens to be located in the Blue City as well. So Rajasthan is known for it’s architectural beauty, but as you can see above, Jodhpur maintains a charm that’s pretty unique. Because…you know…it’s blue and whatnot. This color comes from the blue houses surrounding the Merangarth Fort. I read on one website that people local to the area say that the houses are painted blue because the color keeps the inside of the structures cool and it keeps mosquitoes away.

My chacha and chachi (uncle n aunt) recently came back from a trip to India. I was bummed that they didn’t go to Punjab during their visit, but they brought back crazy beautiful pictures of the places they did see, including the city of Jodhpur. I highly recommend you check out my chacha’s online album HERE.

Also, they were in India during the winter, and Punjab was experiencing record-breaking cold temperatures and a constant fog that decreased visibility substantially  so probably a good call.

But still. No Punjab pics is like taking out my heart and wrapping it in my soul and throwing it under an 18-wheeler, and then driving the 18-wheeler away and my heart and soul think they are safe, but then the 18-wheeler comes barreling down the road, and comes to a screeching almost-halt when it approaches my heart- soul-bundle and slowly–slowly–runs it over. And then a dementor comes straight out of Harry Potter book 3 and performs the dementor’s kiss on my soul. And then a raccoon comes and eats my heart.

…Too much, M.

Yeah, I know.

Like way too much. Like woah. At least you got to see pictures of India at all.

You’re right, they’re beautiful pictures.

Yeah. Like way to be ungrateful and just over the top and-

I SAID YOU WERE RIGHT, VOICE OF REASON. LEAVE IT ALONE NOW.

But-

NO, YOU NEED TO KNOW WHEN TO DROP IT.

Okay. You’re right.

NO WAIT DON’T DO THAT THING.

What are you talking about, M?

THAT THING. WHERE YOU ACT LIKE YOU’RE ALL CALM AND IT MAKES ME LOOK LIKE I’M OVERREACTING.

I’m not doing that, M. 

YOU ARE THOUGH, OKAY?

Okay. 

…K guys. I think it’s time for me to peace out. And I apologize for this post. It appears that my preventative poo-post measure from yesterday did not prevent this post from being poo. I’m taking the ACT tomorrow and there’s a chance that I’m subconsciously a tad stressed out over it, and I may or may not have taken that out on voice of reason. I’m sorry you had to see that. If you need to give yourself a mental relief from all of the drama that just went down, check out this set of pictures of Jodhpur on Tumblr right HERE. They’re pretty breathtaking.

Well, I guess I’ll see you next week. I promise I’ll get my ish together and have an organized post that progresses logically and whatnot.

-M

Tagged , , , ,

This is a Preventative Poo-Post Measure

Hey there! How’s it goin? Unfortunately this week I didn’t have time to plan a post 😦 So I thought I’d write one right now and post it tonight, but that would just make me feel like poo because it would probably end up being a poo-post. And nobody likes poo-posts. Then again, Monday posts are pretty poo as well, just because they’re a day late and all…but I think they are less terrible than hastily-written poo-posts on Sunday nights so I’m going to opt for the Monday post.

However, I won’t leave you empty-handed here– I know how intense those cravings for South-Asian culture can be. I’m not a villain. This is a playlist I made a while ago with my favorite Bollywood numbers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHZn85RsrCE&list=PLDGFF7mTdC9zHrx5Pga-BcfBk9UM2jTBd Some videos are on there twice, some videos have been deleted, and it’s basically a hot mess of a playlist. But at least that’s reflective of this hot mess of a blog, so do I get points for consistency?

See you tomorrow 🙂

-M

Tagged ,