Tortured by traditions


Tortured by traditions Part 1

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Although traditions are more than necessary, when they are maintained over the years, from generations to generations without any connection to the spirit with which they were installed, they become the foundation of the most outrageous behaviour. Time has a way of making the most important thing for human beings the most dangerous things for them. How can we know therefore when to evolve without having the feeling that we are running away from traditions? How do we know what to change in our traditions without betraying them? When do we change traditions? Or should we change traditions?

When implemented, traditions are often there to help us, to support us, or to guide us toward a decent life which is supposed to lead us to an after life that is better than the one we are living here on earth. The people who are pushing for those usually have the best intentions unfortunately, either they badly explained the reasoning behind them or the people were never up to understand quite fully the spirit that lied beneath those traditions. In either case, the consequences are very tough for their population because time will simply erase the spirit of their traditions and what will remain will be the rules and regulations that will organize their lives.

The rules and regulations of those traditions will stay but their spirit will move away. Since traditions were implemented with such violence and such brutality and at the very best a bad explanation of their purposes, people learnt that they should become the traditions in order to survive. They therefore eliminated everything in them that could have restrained them from implementing the traditions in their lives. They became their traditions. Their lives depended on whether they followed them or not. They identified themselves with them. Everything in them revolved around their acceptance and submission to the rules and regulations of their traditions. They see themselves as traditions. Everything else in them has been toned down in order for them to submit themselves to their traditions. They whipped out of their head, body, heart, mind and spirit all the things that could have prevented them from meeting the goals of their traditions.

Over time, their leaders in confronting the situation they had created, realized that they could not erase the reality of humans. Girls and boys at a certain age needed to have sexual relations. They need to discover the world and try different things. They knew they could impose anything on women by strength but they needed an ally who had the strength and the will to impose their will on women. They decided that men would be in charge of implementing those rules in their family.

They decided to give them some rewards for doing the job that they wanted realise. They gave them the right to explore a little bite of who they are. They were allowed to explore their sexuality and what was known as the most depraved one, they were allowed to drink, to take drugs, to go out and stay out with their friends etc. The people in power realized that by doing so, they were encouraging their men to behave atrociously with their own girls, daughters and women.

In order to limit those kinds of behaviour, they told their men that the people who were not from their religion were actually slightly inferior because they have not reached the level of their sophisticated way of life. Therefore since their life style was only demonstrating that they were a decadent society, it was perfectly natural for them to behave like savages with women from others tribes or religion. They could give room to their most deviant and decadent sexual appetite with those women. They were allowed to let the beast in them rise to the top and behaved as such with those women. The women from their tribes and religion, they should have the best behaviour possible and the women from outside, they should do as they pleased.

Was it was intended at the beginning? Weren’t they supposed to represent the men who behaved the best in front of every woman because they were different than others? How come now by behaving like the ones they despised, they are actually liberating themselves? Once again the spirit of the traditions left and in order to accommodate the animalistic in humans, the people in power brought the men and women to their lowest level possible. Because by acting the way they did, they are bringing themselves at the level of people whom they are trying to differentiate themselves from.

Unfortunately for them, even though their religion does not allow any classification of women or of men for that matter, the need to maintain the traditions in spite of all the things that were calling for at least a change in their traditions or at worst a removal of those, they decided to lie to their people about their traditions and their religion. They made them savages and barbarians. Their people have sinned now at multiple levels because of their traditions.

Looking at it from a power point of view, it was a perfect plan. By taking away their humanity, they no longer needed to respect them. They could act however they wanted without bearing the consequences of their actions in their moral code. They were not altering their traditions because they were in front of people who were not completely humans. Who were they kidding? Their Prophet respected everybody and animals so much that he gave them a way to kill them without hurting them. When they are acting that way with their fellow human beings who do they think they are following?

As people who are supposed to be as superiors as they think they are, when they allow themselves to act that way, aren’t they diminishing their superiority? Aren’t they behaving exactly like the people they are trying to run away or distinguish themselves from? They had not realized that the classification that they did of women outside of their religion entered into their own religion. The women who were just dressed regularly were at the third class. The ones who had the appropriate dress code were of higher rank and the ones who took the dress code to a different level were at an even greater rank. They not only ranked women from others religions but they did the same with women of their own religion. They sinned against the words and actions of their Prophets numerous times.

Since humans beings are human beings whether they are women or men, the same sexual desires that men were craving for, women were also craving them. In order to avoid that boys and girls pushed each others and satisfied their sexual cravings and consequently destroying the rules and regulations of their traditions, they decided that as soon as women were of the age of having babies and sometimes before, they would get married. In marriage, they will have sex and everything would be perfect. To reduce the influence of sexual desires in women, they directed their sex only toward making babies. Any other purposes would be just wrong for women.

Things have changed a little bite. Instead of getting married as soon as they can have babies, they are allowed to finish their studies up to high school and sometimes if they want they can even have their university diploma. After which their parents will tell them that they should get married. For the girls, the parents will choose almost automatically. I am not saying that it is always like that but it quite often the case. As for boys, if they have not been able to bring one girl at home whom he desired, his mother will choose for him.

Since many of them are living in that culture and are used to see that, it does not really bother them. It is the way things are and it is almost natural that things be this way. When boys and girls are in this situation, it is true that they do not look at it as a bad thing. Sometimes, it actually gives very good and healthy marriage. These are not isolated cases. They are numerous cases where the ones who were married by their parents end up being very happy together.

Having said that, it is important to note that many are not happy about their situation when the time of marriage is announced. This is why it is important to pause a little bite on the girls for a while. Here are young women who were told almost all the times when they were younger that they were the honour of the family, that they should be kept safe by their brothers, uncles, cousins and the friends of the family, that they should preserve their virginity as the most important thing for their marriage and many of the speeches revolved around that theme but then all of a sudden, they are asked to marry somebody that they don’t know. Sometimes, they do not even wish to be married or they do not even want to touch the person who is introduced to them as their future husbands. Is this where traditions was supposed to lead? Protecting the virginity of a girl in order to give it to a complete stranger that she does not even desire? Were all those efforts done just to take those girls to someone they do not wish to sleep with? Why all the protection then? Why all the restrains if it was to end up at a place where you will force yourself to sleep with someone? They should have been raped instead. I am not sure that if the girls knew what would have been the outcome of their restrains and their obedience, they would have followed the traditions. In front of this situation, they are simply not prepared and they do not know how to react. They were taught to obey to their parents. They see that their parents are going against their will but they do not know how to say not to them. They are trapped. Therefore mechanically, they submit themselves.

Quite often, those women are already engaged in others relations but when their parents come and tell them that they have to get married, they stop everything all at once. It is often heartbreaking. They can not even share the disappointment they feel with their family because it would be dishonour for them. They would be ashamed and would probably beat her up. Nobody in their family not even their sisters especially their sisters are trustworthy. Should they share anything with them, they take they will run and tell their parents to protect the honour of their family as they told to do so. They are trained to act that way. It is only with a distant friend that they risked telling their story and sometimes they are so scared to be judged that they keep everything in them. Nobody else will know. When they dare express their desires not to be married, they are often scolded or beaten up.

All this is happening in front of their brothers who had swore to his own death that he will protect her against anything that would hurt her. When the time for protection comes, he does not even lift a single finger. He is being told that it is his duty to let his sister go through all this pain. He is suffering or is pretending that he is not or he shows that he is strong enough to be a man and make women suffer without reacting. Whatever are his reasons, their reactions are surprising to say the least. How come he does not help her when she needed the most? How come he is so indifferent to the pain she is going through? How come he sides with the people who are making her suffer? Where is his heart? Where is his love? Where is the protector now? When he was controlling her all these times was it to give her to the thing that would pain her so much? Did he know that he was going to protect her just to give her to people she did not want to be with? If it was not the case, how come he does not react?

And the mother, she must have felt like that back in the days. Why does she react and tell her husband not to allow the marriage? Everybody is around and they play the game of traditions. They let the most cynical thing happen to their children and they stay quite. They are the accomplices of those crimes. They all see how disgusting it is but they still go along with it. All that in the name of traditions. Everybody is suffering and can not even look at themselves. They pretend it is perfectly alright to live like that but deep down deep they know it is not.

Was it where traditions were supposed to bring them? No heart but traditions. The ego to show that they are men and women of traditions is stronger than anything else. They would do anything to be labelled as such even torturing their own children. Traditions have its logic. Ego has logic of its own. When men and women chose ego versus their heart, they are bounded to live the most tortured lived in the name of traditions. It makes them do the nastiest thing to their children, sisters, brothers and parents. I am sure their Prophet expected to see them this tormented by their own traditions. He never foresaw something this ugly for them.

Tortured by traditions Part 2

A_Wedding_Procession    (97.5 x 140 cm)

What exactly makes people follow traditions even when it is obvious that they are suffering because of them? What makes them close their eyes to the pain of their own children? Why do they choose the sufferance of their children instead of their happiness? Why do they accept to submit themselves to situations such as the ones we talked about? Why brothers and fathers after they had given their words to protect their daughters against every danger are the ones who are giving them to the person whom their daughters want absolutely nothing to do with? How can they betray their words so easily? How can they spend all their lives protecting their daughters and when the time comes, they become the one responsible of their sufferance? How come they do not see that they are suffering because they are being married to someone they do not wish to be with? How come at that moment, they do nothing to protect them? What a betrayal? What a lie? How is possible that they do not see the struggles their daughters are going through when they sent them to marry someone they don’t know, someone their daughters would not have chosen if they had the right to? How come the love they have is not able to see the pain of their daughters? What exactly is blocking their vision? Was it “love”? And if it was love, for whom that love was destined for? When we see how they dragged and pressured to marry the man their parents have chosen, the question needs to be asked: when they used to say that they loved their daughters, did they mean that they loved what their daughter will bring to them? Did they mean that they loved what their daughters represented? Or did they mean that they loved their daughters for who they were? What was it?

The love they have for their daughters or sisters should have make them wait that she brings someone she loves, someone of her choosing at her parents home when she wanted to get married.

Unfortunately, it does not happen like that quite often. The parents usually discuss and almost decide whether or not the marriage will take place. After that, the parents accompany with the boy will go to the daughter house and officially ask to marry one of their daughters. If the parents agree, they ask the chosen daughter what she thinks and if she does not want to, everybody in the family will pressure her to accept the offer. Rare are the ones who are able to say no. Even if they are able to get away with the first one, when the second will come and ask, she might fight a little and she gets away with it, at the third one, she will cave in. It is a battle that is way too tough to handle more than three times. When the girls are fighting it, they feel so guilty about it that the psychological damage is huge at the end. Most of the time, after fighting that much, they end up doing exactly what their family wanted anyway.

Girls_Of_The_Harem    (82.6 x 97.8 cm)

The brothers, the sisters, mothers, aunts, cousins are pressuring because there is usually an interest behind it. If the daughters married who the parents want them to marry, the family will gain something. The parents will always choose someone who will enhance the family standing. This is primarily what they will look at when the parents of a boy will come to propose. Then if the girl is lucky, they will look at the honour of that family but usually money bring honour with it. With the marriage, the honour of the family will be preserved or increased. The parents’ choices are always turned toward that goal. In front of the honour of the family, the daughter desire does not weight that much. If she insists on fighting for what she wanted, she would be seen as someone who is egoist and careless. It is the biggest shame of all. After everything they have done for her, she would dare put her parents to the misery of having a daughter who is disobeying. When the guilt of making their parents suffer comes in, they usually do what they are told. They can not handle to be responsible of their parents sufferance.

At the end, everything comes clear. All those efforts to protect the girls, the sisters, the daughters were done having just one thought in mind: if the girl has been well protected, she would be entitled to a man who would raise the family standard of living or the reputation of the family. It was not really for the girls or because they were so loved and so cared for or because they represented the honour of their parents, it was simply because the men who had the most influence, the men who were the richest were looking for a girl who had been raised under those circumstances. All the talks about how precious their girls, daughters and sisters were, were just a facade. They had value because they would bring something to their family and the more they are protected and untouched by others, the more valuable they are. It was the only reason they were protected.

The stricter the family was, the more control their daughters were, the more appealing the girls would be for men. They know that with this type of girls they will have everything they had ever wished for. They will have virginity, an obedient wife, devotion to who they are and want. Above all, they will have someone who has not really looked at the outside world. Therefore, it would be easy to live with her which is another way of saying she will not fight their decision.

Parents sacrificed the well-being of their daughters and sometimes their sons for that honour. Traditions were made for men and women. They were designed for men and women. When human beings forget about their humanity and they only seek to live under the rules of traditions, they behave as if humans were created for traditions. Traditions are nothing without humans.

Instead of using everything that is making us humans to evaluate whether we should apply a tradition on a case by case situation, we implement it regardless of the troubles and damages it can cause. The suffering that comes out of it is immeasurable.

Consequently, women will see themselves lower than what they could be. After going through something like that, their expectations in life are lower. When the time will come to raise their daughters, they will not be able to arm them with the necessary tools to defend themselves against attempts to be married by their fathers. As the matter of fact, they will do what ever is necessary to make their own daughters behave and go through the same thing they went through when their parents got them to marry theirs husbands.

Traditions and the honour to follow them have a way of torturing the people for whom they were made for. Unless men and women claimed back their humanity, they will continue to be tortured by traditions. They will suffer the consequences of their renouncement of being humans. If you whipped out humanity from men and women, traditions become an instrument to control and direct the lives of others according the people who have the power. We are suffering because we lost our ability to observe, think for ourselves and decide what was good for us or not. We abdicated that and we swallowed traditions. This is where traditions and the honour of following them had leaded us to.

Tortured by traditions posted Part 3

One could always say that the important thing is that women are praised. It is better to be appreciated for something than for nothing. The problem is that if she is only praised for what she will bring to her family by her marriage, the vision she has of herself is limited. I am not at all saying that she should not see herself through marriage but if this is where the attention of her family is focused when they talk about her, it will put her in a situation where if she does not go through marriage the way her parents want, she would not be able to like herself. When her parents come with a marriage proposal and the girl who is being asked rejects the offer, whether she likes it or not because she was raised in an environment where she was expected to be married in these conditions, her head is already leaning toward that direction.

By saying no to her family, she disappoints her parents and it is a massive problem. Indeed she was always someone who used to be loved because she obeyed to her parents’ wishes. When she starts to say no to them, especially on things that she was expected to say “yes” right away, she loses that appreciation of her parents. She becomes the source of disappointment.

She knows how to please them and to get the appreciation her body, mind, soul and heart need. If she does not have it, she will not be able to live correctly with herself. When she sees how devastated her parents are because her refusal to do what they want, she will most probably do what they had asked previously.

She was not raised to be able to love herself because she had determined what she wanted, fought to get it and ended up reaching her goals. It was the other way around. She was brought up in an environment where the love she had of herself depended on the love her parents and family gave her. They did not allow her to appreciate herself because of what she was. Whether it was conscious or not, her parents and her family made sure that she depended on the approval they gave her. I am not sure they did it in purpose or they just behaved the way their parents were behaving with them. The answer of that question does not change the fact that the girl in that family which is in that community is extremely dependent of that approval.

Even when she is fighting to do what she wants, to marry who ever she wants, there is a big part of her who is playing against her will. It is as if 10% of her was fighting to get what she wanted and 90 % was telling her not to do so or even worst, 90% was simply going the other way. Therefore, before her family even starts to pressure her to do what they want, she is already fighting her own will. The guilt of going against what her parents want is already affecting her mind in a way that restricts her ability to fight for what she wants. The guilt game her family played with her is so well installed in her mind that in these situations, she can not fight alone. If she does not have an ally in this fight, she would most probably do what she is being asked to do.

At the end, because she was raised in an environment where she could only love herself through the appreciation of her parents and family, when the time comes to fight for what she wants and her family is against her, she does not know how to love herself in that situation. She can not handle that lack of love. She was not trained to love herself in these circumstances and she does not know how to do it.

When she is engaged in that battle, there is a big whole in her created by the fact that she is experiencing the lack of appreciation of her family and most of all the lack of approval of her parents. This situation torments her more than we can all imagine. Even the toughest character can not handle this. When they try to, their guilt is so strong that in order to cope with what they have done, they often drink, party and take drugs. They do everything they can to forget that they are a disappointment to their parents and family. They hate themselves so much for what they have done that they do all the bad things that a supposedly “bad kid” does. They act badly because they see themselves as bad. They punished themselves because they judged that they have done something wrong. They hate themselves for fighting their parents. They would like to vomit who they are because they have done the thing they were not supposed to do. They wish they were different but they are not. They wish they could take out the bad part of who they are out of them.  But they can not.

Rare are the girls who go through this battle and stay the course. Raised in an environment where there was no encouragement what so ever to live for your own self, when they are taken away from that, they can not survive. They found that they miss the love and approval of their parents and family and above all, they miss a reason for living. Before they were living for their family and parents and now they are living for what they are. It does not seat well in their head and mind. They were not trained for this. It is almost a sin to live in such a way. They see themselves as egoist. It is the worst of the worst possible behaviour in their family. They are suffering because they are not able to detach themselves from their family. Away from what had always been their reason of living, they are lost and they will only survive if they are helped.

Usually after running away from their house either because they were kicked out for bad behaviour or because they did not want to marry the person who was chosen for them or they decided to go with the person they loved, they are alone. Since the people they ran to after leaving their house do not understand what they are going through, they are not able to support them adequately. They feel abandoned and alone. It is as if the freedom they got out of their house for is actually torturing them. It has a bad taste and after a period of trial, they end up going back home because they were not able to survive outside. Their experience of freedom was so bad that they become the symbol of what should not be done in their family or their community. Their failure to succeed is not only a failure for themselves but for all the women who stayed before they were scared to challenge their parents. Indeed they would be used as an example of what girls should never try. When traditions are applied without observing and learning from the consequences on humans and their behaviour, we end up being tortured by what was supposed to help us.

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