We are all party to the naked parade

Not to much surprise, these policemen have only been suspended and there is little hope that any action will be taken.

Anam Abbas August 07, 2012
This country has a strange relationship with sexuality. Our TV dramas are rife with innuendos, Meera is shaking her stuff for a Ramazan special, Veena Malik will now officially be facing all her haters with the relaunch of the grand joke, "Astaghfar" and a man and woman were paraded naked on the streets of Khairpur for their 'illicit intentions'.

The news report of these so-called intentions is vague at best. While the man was caught in the confines of his 'own house' with two ladies, only one of the women was forced to strip naked by the police, and the fate of the other is circumspect.

It boggles the mind that many good people of our country will stand and stare as two human beings are dehumanised and paraded like lambs to a slaughter house. The people who swear by the chivalry of the men of our country, who unlike the men of the big bad West are supposed to protect the honour of their women; the same people who ‘tsk tsk’ at the 'city women' who dare to bear their arms and ankles, failed to stop the police from committing this act of inhumanity.

What should have been a knee-jerk reaction was instead a paralysis of scruples. The woman, still naked, was whisked off finally in a police car, to suffer only God knows what further indignities at the hands of the police. The medium is the message: Human beings in this country must be sacrificed to uphold our imagined collective chastity!

Not to much surprise, these policemen have only been 'suspended'. There is little hope that any real action will be taken unless the media, and we, the people, cry out for justice and deterrence to be served. But will we care enough? Lets face it, the police reacted to what was for them an ample opportunity for voyeurism to which they probably feel entitled.

I suppose we are not alone in committing acts of perverted hate against our own. I am reminded of the Christian Witch trials in Europe and America, where mostly women were burnt naked and alive at the stake for their witchery, often a euphemism for what was considered 'immoral' behaviour. But that was the 16th century, society then was premature and primitive.

We in the cities, fie at the unruly masses, tucking our privilege more tightly around us, contend that it is the 'other' that infects our country, an 'other' we are at a safe distance from. We are wrong. The hysteria that may crystallise in our culprits here, is diffused amongst all of us. You might not know it but your neighbour will dismiss this story with a sniff, believing that the victims deserved what they got for their indiscretions. The same seed exists in the minds of the men in our country who believe that women who make themselves available in public, deserve to be stripped naked. The same virus infects the police who avert their eyes at domestic abuse, dismissing it as 'family matters'.

There is prostitution in this country, people fornicate and are adulterous, watch pornography and make pornography and engage in homosexual activity, but our tongues are tied. We are infants in the wake of our realities. Instead of understanding, initiating dialogues, and taking constructive action, we deny the complications of sexual behaviour and instead weave our troubled psychologies into a burqa (veil) and immolate it.

What more is left to say. Many of us have written scores of indignant pages, reviling, analysing, despairing and chastising, but the plague does not show any signs of respite.

In Pakistan the tyranny is born by the common man and inflicted by the common man, and the middle class continues to maintain the status quo by their conservatism and fear. The rest of us wring our hands. I pray for all of us- sinners and saints alike- for we are all party to this madness.

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Read more by Anam here or follow her on Twitter @anamabbas
Anam Abbas A film maker, science fiction enthusiast, and a certified yoga instructor at Omni, Islamabad who Tweets @anamabbas
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Nobody | 11 years ago | Reply @Vikram: I don't know if I should be more disturbed by the fact that you seem unaware of the atrocities committed by police on your side of the fence, or by that fact that you Googled Pakistan and rape on YouTube. More to the point, I'm a bit speechless about this incident. More so because this isn't the first time this has happened, and I know it won't be the last unfortunately. "And it seems to me important for a country, for a nation to certainly know about its glorious achievements but also to know where its ideals failed, in order to keep that from happening again." -George Takei
sherry | 11 years ago | Reply @Vikram: once again point less, we can have the same search on youtube for india as well n will surely get "better" results,
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