Saturday, 11 October 2014

UN International Day of the Girl Child - October 11th - TODAY

Many people acknowledge that all over the world, there is violence committed in all shapes and forms against GIRLS - young children and adolescent girls. This occurs in a way that too many of us are willing to accept as social norms in that country in which they live, or countries over there where they do these things... nothing to do with us over here!

I would like to point out that girls are human beings. Always have been - then, now and in the future. Girls never evolved from anything into a position where they are likely to accept violence towards them, whether it be emotional and psychological, or physical.

Violence against girls has always been destructive, distressing, and painful.

So, NO! Girls DO NOT accept female mutilation, beatings, inequality in society or education, or arranged marriages against their will.

As EARTH citizens, we must pull together with one voice and say NO to violence toward girls from China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, the UK, America, Japan, Jamaica, Uzbekistan, or any other part of the world.

As citizens from more fortunate and enlightened cultures and parts of the world, we must try hard to  empathize with girls around the globe who suffer pain through no fault of their own which severely limits their life and sheer existence as human beings for the enjoyment of others or for tradition or customs.

We have see girls such as Malala Yousafazi shot in the head because she wanted education for girls in her own country. Luckily she survived to win the Nobel Peace Prize 2014, yesterday!

***My novel which is at the end stages of editing, The Last Year of Childhood, is set in Trinidad 1917, and the main theme concerns two girls Latchmin,12 and Sumati 14, who are both struggling to escape arranged marriages.

Latchmin wants an education in order to become a teacher, and early marriage will put an end to that. In fact it will end her childhood. She wants all girls and women to be educated so that they can pass that down to the generations of Indian girls in the future, and bring about a situation where Indians are on an equal social and financial footing to their African counterparts, and end the devastating poverty they suffer in manual, very poor paid jobs. Whilst her mother understands because she herself was married off at 5 years old, to a much older man, and secretly wants better for her daughter, Latchmin's father wants to keep Hindu traditions. He wants her married off before puberty so that he would get the ultimate prize.... So Latchmin's struggles continue. But she is a mere child. What can she do, and where can she go? Who can she turn to for help?

Sumati, Latchmin's best friend, does not want to marry the much older man who her parents have chosen for her. And she resents the fact that he already has two children. But what choice does she have? Then she falls in love with a local boy her parents will never approve. So she takes action, and does something that will cause them heartache. The repercussions will cause her life to turn into a traumatic rollercoaster of pain and suffering for everyone involved.

This scenario was the actual situation in Trinidad at that time, early 20 C, when the novel was set. It has changed since. The British Government offered free education for all in Trinidad, after the end of slavery, and after the end of Indentureship of Indians to the Caribbean in 1917. Girls, women, Head Teachers, teachers, and the Trinidad Government were instrumental in making change happen. 

Today, the Prime Minister of Trinidad is a woman - Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

So let us remember that the Girls around the world, need us all to play our part in ending violence against them, so that they can thrive. Remember, those girls are the same as our girls, same in every way, apart from the country they live in. Let's have a heart. Let's make it right.