Open Letter To Pakistan

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Thursday, October 11, 2012            6:03 PM

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen:

The USA has subjugated women in the past. In many ways, some or all of us still do today. But our society is against it, in an ethical sense—that is, in public places right-thinking folks will shout down any voice favoring male chauvinism; in private, the police can be called to jail a husband who physically abuses either his wife or their children. Honestly, many American men of misogynist outlook still feel that it is the ‘natural order’ of things to subjugate women as inferiors. But they are by and large forced to do it secretly or risk losing their own freedom. The majority of our people face the truth implicit in the following questions: How can we be superior to our mothers; how do we deserve better than our sisters; and how can we withhold humanity from our daughters?

We feel that we cannot. Our collective conscience won’t allow us. We see a difference between ‘difference’ and ‘hierarchy’—surely the two genders have many differences—but the females are only different, not less than the males.

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We do not accept scriptural citations that suggest this is immoral—not in context of the overall message that commands us to love and respect each other. We see such aberrations as a product of the cultures and times of the setting down of our holy books. We see their citation as deliberately self-serving, since men are the chief ‘officers’ of these interpretations. There are many women who accept this as truth, as well, only because they have been taught these ‘truths’ from the day of their birth—and because they are denied literacy, cutting off any input beyond the men who subjugate them and the Imams who persecute them.

We Americans are called by some “The Great Satan”. Is not this title itself sinful? Are Pakistanis immune from Evil because they despise a far-off country? I believe all men and women are equally vulnerable to Evil and equally capable of Love. If there is much to hate about my nation, so be it. If Pakistan wants to pluck out the mote from America’s eye, it will still need to remove the beam in its own.

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Don’t we want our children to learn more about the world made by their Creator? Don’t we do better when everyone shares ideas and questions? Only religious zealots ever answer those questions in the negative—because secrets and sacrifice are part of their stock in trade. Humbler believers take responsibility for their own knowledge and their own actions—they don’t presume as much on their Supreme Being because they respect that they themselves are responsible for what happens.

Only with religious zealotry are we shamed by the persecution of a brave little girl such as Malala Yousafzai. Only with the conviction of our own beliefs can we overpower the insanity of religious extremism.