In the midst of western downheartedness last week, I got a request to do some more editing work for Khwendo Kor [KK*] who are creating a booklet of case studies to show some of their work for women in the tribal areas of North West Pakistan. This particular set of studies is about the Gender Based Violence [GBV] that is widespread in that area. Or is it about an area and violence and dreadful experience? Well, yes, but also NO – I can also see this set of case studies as telling the story of the absolutely tremendous work that this dedicated NGO do every day, and the people who help and are helped and the gratitude, and the hope, and the sense that change for the better is possible, but no false notions that it will be either quick or easy. Just keep caring. Keep learning. Keep working. Deal with it, whatever it is, as best one can. [English speakers can join in here if you want to donate, or have time to be a friend of KK]
KK are local women and men, working throughout the area* about Human Rights for all, the 100%, not just women, and they work within a tribal culture that is mainly Muslim.
One of the things that I, an atheist by a sort of instinctive belief in death, have learned is that cultures come in all sorts of packages. There is no problem with Islam, or the teaching of the Koran, any more than there is a problem with Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Confucianism etc. There is instead a problem with those groups (cults, sects, fundamentalists) who cherry pick the wisdoms that are meant to be understood in spirit, holistically, not bit by biassed bit. KK are emotionally intelligent, and realistic, and so they work with beliefs and local custom, showing that Islam does indeed support rights, and it is a mistaken tradition that abuses, so they educate for change alongside redressing particular wrongs.
I am just a volunteer whose job is to make what is written in second language English more readable in natural English. Of course I can do it, and have the time, but some of the reading and editing of each case is only for the totally hard-hearted, requires a really weird state of mind, don’t feel anything, while I get on with it. [I remember crying buckets over Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns, and it is only a book about similar culture in neighbouring Afghanistan.]
So while I do a bit at a time, I get a re-charge of energy by getting out walking (and blogging of course). The photos are from Friday, Saturday, Sunday last week, about 4-5 in the evening, as the sun went down and the supermoon grew. There is a sunset, of course, but also, on the same evening, Friday, a 180 degree turn to face EAST where the sky is full of pink reflected light. I love it. On Saturday, at the same place, the boat left and massed crowds of gulls took wing. Those floating in rafts at the other side of the breakwater, ignore the boat. I am told there are fish all round the island at the moment, the gulls would know that. Sunday’s pictures are of the moon, same bit of sea, no gull rafts.
Hence the title of this post, because of all the feelings and differences, and viewpoints, and reflections, etc.
Focus collects from a wide view.
Don’t confuse it with cherry picking, or any other kind of narrow linear thinking. Don’t confuse it with ideology, seeking certainty, etc. You can’t focus if you are not first OPEN to the ‘all’ out there, as best as you can.
*Khwendo Kor (KK) is a Pashto language word means “Sisters’ Home”. It is a non-profit, non-partisan organization registered in 1993 under the societies Act 1860 (Registration # 2614/5/2280). It was set up in response to an urgent need expressed by women for a forum to address their issues; it has developed into a sisterhood, guiding women to take practical steps for the betterment of themselves and their families. They work in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, one of Pakistan’s four provinces, and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), now with 7 regional and project offices, besides a Head office in Peshawar and a Liaison Office in Islamabad. There is an international partner organization, UK Friends of Khwendo Kor (FROK) which was established in 2001 and is registered in UK as a charity. FROK volunteers assist KK in various activities including consultancy, fundraising and help in establishing strategic contacts. Recently KK has also initiated the concept of Friends of Pakistan.