Let me start off by saying. I respect men and I respect the battles they face outside their homes. It’s not easy and its even harder to be responsible for a household and keep everyone happy. Having said that, generally, across the world, the responsibility to provide and protect lies with men and women more comfortably slip into their roles as nurturing mothers and homemakers. But somehow men have misconstrued that as power. Every man thinks he is the king of his household but very few know that when the kingdom is not happy, it usually means the king has become a tyrant.
The Fable of a King
There is a story in the subcontinent. A blind beggar was sitting on the street asking for money. A man passed him and scorned and yelled at him for asking money. The second man passed him and gave him advice to work instead of asking for money. The third man came and with humility gave him the money. The beggar replied to the third person and said: “Thank you, your majesty”. At this, the king was surprised and asked, ” How did you know who I was?”. He said, “The first person was a common man who fought with his wife and took out his anger on me, the second person was your Vizir (advisor to the king) and I recognized you because of your humility and generosity”.
So becoming a king has nothing to do with control. It means to give respect and to get respect in return. That’s how you earn the privilege to protect the people around you. Another popular phrase in the subcontinent is that the man is the head of the household. To people with that mentality, I pose the following questions
What is your job then?
Is it to make people grovel around you?
To make your family submissive to your orders?
Displaying your might and power by brutally inflicting physical and emotional pain?
Or you have the right to abuse others because you are the breadwinner?
Your position is a responsibility bestowed upon you. You have to provide security, comfort, and shelter to the family you have been entrusted with. Your task is not as easy as sitting on a high mighty throne. On the contrary, it is incredibly hard (and not to mention scary) because other than answering for your own deeds you are going to be questioned about your role as a husband and a father as well. With power, does not come ease. Power comes with more responsibility and men mistake it for a “Get out of jail free” card.
Story: The Shafiaa Murders
The story I am about to tell can only validate what happens when men take their chauvinism too far and give in to their feelings of pride. In Canada, the trial of the Shafia family was a much-publicized event that shocked every community. Mohammed Shafia came from Afghanistan with his wife and seven kids. They were an affluent family before they came to Canada so they established themselves rather quickly in Montreal.
Time passed and his children transitioned well into the Canadian culture. His eldest daughter Zainab wanted to get married to a Pakistani Boy (also Muslim) and that made the family spiral out of control. According to Muslims, she was doing nothing wrong because she was asking consent from her father to marry a Muslim boy. However, this enraged the family and provoked them to kill this daughter and the other two sisters before they also dared to indulge in such actions. The parents and brother devised a plan to kill them all.
(Read the whole story here http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/inside-the-shafia-killings-that-shocked-a-nation/)
I would like to point out that such men are a product of their bigoted cultural upbringing. Those girls had to die because they were threatening their culture? Their father and brother’s manliness? The girls would bring shame and dishonor to the family and they would not be able to show their faces in society. That’s why they had to be given a death sentence? Such men would rather kill their daughters than to face any kind of embarrassment in the community. That’s how big and evil their pride is. To choose to end a life is much easier than the alternative even if it meant jail.
Men need to do some self-reflection. What is their manhood? Is it a power game? Is it to refuse or show that you are weak, because I assure you, there is no one weaker than an angry man who raises his hands at others. You are weak so does that mean you’re not a man either? because it does seem to serve your own logic.
What about those men, who say we do not physically abuse? Do you treat your wife like equal partners and companions in life? Do you respect your daughters? Would you allow your children to choose their own life partners and their own life paths? If not, then you are still an abusive man.
What about those men who say they don’t physically or emotionally abuse their families? They respect their wife and children. You say you are a liberal and respecting parent but what do you do when you watch other men act like tyrants with their families? Do you stop them? Raise a voice against it? Do you even show a sign of contempt? Or do you look the other way and choose to act deaf, dumb and blind.
All three scenarios describe men who are too afraid to face their own deficiencies. The way I see it, men need to speak up even when you don’t indulge in such mentalities or actions, you too need to raise a voice against such acts. We have to desperately try and become human again. Before we were made into man or woman, we were both given the same anatomy except for our private parts. That makes us human first and foremost before we indulge in any kind of feminism or male chauvinism argument. When you see wrong, you stop it in any way you can and if you can’t then find the proper authorities who can. But whatever happens, do not let go of an abusive situation.
Men who abuse, let’s not forget that the King of kings is watching over you and he can take all your power and pride in the blink of an eye. Pay heed that you will one day be answerable for your actions, for inflicting pain on anyone unnecessarily and let’s say you don’t fear the last hour. Know this that everything in life does come full circle. Someday all your actions will catch up to you and you will have to pay a heavy price for all the pain you caused in others. You are the king when the kingdom respects you for your kindness and actions. Otherwise, step down and be human.