And it has happened again

A bomb blast.

In my country, Pakistan. 

My people, bleeding, dying.

About 69 people have been declared dead so far and over 100 have been injured.

But this one hit a little too close to home.

The park it took place in, Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park, it’s really close to my grandparents’ house and I’ve been going there since as long as I can remember, the last visit being only a few months ago. I have fond memories of that place. And now, it’s full of blood.

It’s always bustling with people and since it’s Easter Sunday, it was even more crowded than usual. Most of the dead and injured are young children and women. People have been separated, parents can’t find their children, hospitals are overflowing and it’s just… 

This is too horrible. Too horrible.

All I can do is pray. Please, I request all of you to pray.

Pray for Pakistan, Pray for Iraq, Pray for Africa, Pray for Turkey, Pray for Syria. Because the lives of these people matter too. Because the world needs to wake up and realize that they do not deserve this dehumanization. Because the world needs to realize that the oppressed need to stop being categorized with their oppressors.

2

From The Independent:

A group of female students has been pasting sanitary towels on the walls of a Pakistani university in protest against the taboo over discussing menstruation in the country.

The six women and men [Mavera Rahim, Eman Suleman, Mehsum Basharat, Noor Fatima, Sherbaz Lehri, and Asad Sheikh], who study at Beaconhouse National University (BNU) in Lahore, wrote slogans on the towels such as “it’s something so natural” and “I’m not flawed or poorly made”.

In addition, they painted stains on their white kameezes (traditional dress shirt) and stood next to the hygiene products where they talked with male students explaining “nothing is gross, weird, or wrong”.

One of the students, Mavera Rahim, posted a picture of towels on Facebook. She explained: “The protest was against the stigma attached to menstruation and the sharmindagi [shame] with which we discuss it.

"We are made to put pads in brown paper bags when we buy them, we are made to talk about periods in hushed voices as if it’s a dirty secret, and all-in-all made to act as if it is something we should hide more so than other bodily functions, when it’s really a natural part of our biology.

"Our idea was to break this taboo around the subject in our society.”

The group said part of the inspiration for the protest was that Pakistani women contract diseases because “they are not fully informed of hygienic practices”.

Ms. Rahim told the Express Tribune newspaper that her brother and sisters are “very supportive”.

“This is not a campaign; this was merely an aesthetically based protest as a class project … Women face a lot of stigmatisation and ridicule for menstruation, something they have no control over,” she said.

“No, I’m not some shameless libertine, but I don’t think I should feel shame for this, even though I do feel very embarrassed and self-conscious about this whole experience.”

This work echoes a demonstration by students at Dehli’s Jamia Millia Islamia University in India who last year covered the establishment with sanitary towels to protest discrimination and sexual violence against women.

Eman Suleman, quoted from Scroll.in, had this response to the protest: “The response goes to show exactly why this is an important issue that needs to be addressed. Especially when girls too are disgusted by it. A friend of mine wrote ‘Internalized hatred is real, especially when you’ve been conditioned to view your healthy body functions as disgusting and unnatural’. It’s a life-long process to unlearn these behaviours, for women and men alike. I know that I’m still struggling with it. The patriarchy runs deep.”

The pads were up on the wall on April 7 and April 8.

“In love’s circle there’s
another kind of serenity;
in love’s wine, another
kind of hangover.
What you learned in
school is one thing,
love is something
entirely different.” -Rumi

Sheesh Mahal.
Lahore, Pakistan. (Instagram: aabbiidd)