Musings From The Empire

So many things have happened this week — besides the fact that I have the flu and writer’s block — and the Indian blogosphere is kicking and turnings its own desi arse and Handling The Situation more maturely than just donning ugly socks and drowning in coffee as I have. On to the link fest People of the Olde Interwebes!

1. Kuzhali Manickavel in There Is Something Here From Somewhere Else where she talks about the ‘Kashmir and Roy fiasco’ in the most hilarious and wry manner ever!

As an alleged Indian, an alleged writer but more importantly, as a person with a blog, it is my patriotic duty to say something about that whole Arundhati Roy- Kashmir Kerfuffle. I think the most important issue here is how awesome for Ms. Roy to sorta-but-not-really quote Mr. T.
Anyhoo, I was also going to dedicate one another GIF to all the people that got maybe even just a leeetle more informed about the Kashmir issue because of this whole kerfuffle but I couldn’t find any such peepals. So anyway, next time can we please make this about Chetan Bhagat, Naxalites and genetically-modified eggplants? Because then peepal could use the Naxalites as an excuse to unload all their Chetan Bhagat hate (which is silly because nobody hates Chetan Bhagat. also SHUTUP YOURS BLEDDY FEMALE MOUTHS!!!! ANYONE HATES CHETAN BHAGAT MEANS SUCH FOOLS ARE ANTI-INDIAN AND AGAINST COMMON PEOPLES!!!) and they can do all this while totally not talking about the Naxalites at all. I feel the genetically-modified eggplants would lend a scientific touch to the whole show because science is awesome.

2. Amruta Patil’s  story about a young pregnant girl of fifteen in two vignettes of her beautiful art in ‘Down Jacket‘.

3. Deeps on the ostracism women face while menstruating in Worshiping While Menstruating — Why Not?.

According to Hinduism, the religion I follow(sometimes blindly, I wonder), a woman is not allowed to take part in any kind of religious ceremonies for the first four days of her menstrual cycle. She cant go to temple, do poojas, eat prasadams or offerings from temples, churches, or mosques. Partake in festivals. She cant enter the kitchen. In a nutshell, she is ostracized. So much so that she is made to feel like a sinner if she goes against such beliefs, no matter how ridiculous they may seem.

4. Girlsguidetosurvival on Desi Women’s Friendship: Explore the dynamics where she shows how LadyBrains have a different way of relating to other LadyBrain’s in systems as airless as ours.

There is historical romanticization of the male friendship be it Akbar-Birbal, Vikram Betal, David and Jonathan, Duryodhana and Karna, Krishna Sudama (readers may add their findings here). Then there is bollywood singing paeans of male friendship in super duper hits like DostiYaranaDil Chahta Hai or Three Idiots. These movies celebrated male friendship, purpose, courage, sacrifice and fun time together. No such examples are found in history about women’s friendships and when Desi Girl explored bollywood track record all she could find was Raste Pyar KeDil Ashna Hai and Filhaal (readers may suggest their findings, Sex and the City is not desi, DG hasn’t watched Bach Ke Rehna Re Baba, may be she can’t survive it). Yes, few attempts are made by TV channels to copy western sitcoms but they are equally pathetic. These movies focused on how a women upheald patriarchal expectation of their gender roles and fun was only a subset of the whole friendship equation. First movie, is a love triangle so one heroine has to sacrifice, second one, is friendship between three friends who guard an out of wedlock pregnancy of one and third though is a bit different route to glorify motherhood in the form one woman surrogating for the other. In all three movies women at least one woman if not all women was unmarried. What happens to women’s friendship once they get married?


Leave your links in the comments! And remember the Open Guest Posting Policy is STILL open!

We Are Still Using Knowledge To Cut

A few months ago, my student asked me why do I read so much — well, what is much? — and I couldn’t reply to that seemingly simple question. I made an excuse and told him I’d explain later, when I’d realise it myself. I’ve been reading for as long as I remember; I started because I wanted to be like my mum, snuggled on her side of the bed with the reading light on and lost in her little niche every night. Soon enough books weaved their magic spell on me and now I have the incurable fetish for words, written or otherwise. That is still not a reason enough that can explain my relationship with reading; for books are just my way of knowing the world. Especially after it dawned on me that most books that I read weren’t really meant for me despite the claim of their ‘universal’ status. Even as a child of 12 I knew I was never going to raft down the Mississippi with Tom Sawyer, I had no ‘crazy’ acquaintances like Mrs. Haversham, if I met Mrs. Dalloway in real life she’d frown at my skin and many such examples that made the cultural static between my world and theirs painfully visible under all the layers of Cannonisation and Universalism. And for a long time, I considered myself lacking in someway for not feeling at home in these masterpieces of World Literature. These days I just fondly call this list ‘Dead White Ubiquitous Writers’ who are just about as universal as my dog is for the rest of his species. Doesn’t mean I won’t read Wuthering Heights every year or won’t hurt from the way it treats ‘dark-skinned ruffian’ Heathcliff, but rather I am aware of this difference and am not ashamed of my subject position in and out of the text anymore, however alienated the text or the language makes me feel.

As reading is such an important part of my identity — you don’t major in Literature if you feel anything less, People Of The Olde Interwebes — the question why I read plagued me for quite a while, I even brought it up recently when my friends and I were discussing Zadie Smith’s essay on ‘Death Of The Author’. Each of us had our own reasons, one liked to read to escape to another world, another liked to escape from this world, one reads so that she doesn’t have to listen to her own thoughts all the time and another reads to feel a part of something. But my LadyBrain was still hoping for a better and a concrete answer that would stop the constant inner interrogation for good and allow me to bask in my books once again. One time I brought it up in class to see how other ‘non-readers’ viewed books and the politics behind them where one dudely student remarked that I was making a ‘personal issue’ about a harmless question, because apparently, “Seriously? Reading? Words don’t matter that much anyway, nor do they change the world in any way” is quite a popular opinion among most afore mentioned ‘non-readers’ when all I was doing was not making a problem out of a personal question; but making a personal question an absence of a problem, to borrow and modify from Foucault. Reading is a space where there is infinite potential for negotiation of meanings and implied subtexts. For instance, Kamla Das talks about making walls — “I shall build walls with tears/She said, walls to shut me in”, almost a retort back to Woolf’s statement that being ‘locked in’ is the worst possible scenario — to me it’s a resilience while my student read it as an act of submission. Such possibilities often make me giddy and for a while I thought I’d found my answer. And then last week while voluntarily melting my BrainCells watching TV I reached my happy place. Who knew the idiot box could lead to wonderful Lady Insights Of The Super Important Variety?

This Lady Insight was ushered by a DHL ad¹ that ended with the obnoxious statement, “No one knows Asia-Pacific like we do” at the end of their cocky reassurance that they are the best shipping services after all. I’m sure they aren’t as daft as I’d like to think they are, and they know full well making a statement like that does graze quite heavily on the history of colonisation and occupation South-East Asian countries have, especially so when the team who asserts this ‘knowing’ is European. I started ranting at the TV and in the next half hour they aired the commercial again and that’s when I realised what the ad also implied that I missed in the first waves of fury: they had ‘knowledge’. This knowledge would in no way be used for understanding — if they did they wouldn’t make such an insensitive commercial to begin with — or perhaps even empathasisng with the cultures they claim to ‘know’ but rather we still use knowledge for cutting, just like Foucault, Derrida and Judith Butler have been saying all these years. Knowledge used to cut across people, cultures and histories, using this weapon to somehow support the standard of supremacy and domination that the West is so anxious to uphold, albeit rather subtly as is the case with this ad. Under this façade of globalisation and ritual chanting that the ‘world is a global village’ lies a macabre truth that if some people had their way, they’d still be occupying bodies and asserting their rights on ‘alien’ flesh. This isn’t to cement the Coloniser in the draconian cast of Ultimate Evil — though they come very close — but to see we still think of Whiteness as Ideal Humanhood, that given a choice we’d chose White bodies over hued ones as our films, literature and ads amply show. This racial preference is so inexorably twisted with our collective psyches that now we don’t even realise it when we discuss actors like Katrina Kaif or Kareena Kapoor for their ‘wonderfully pale skin’ and not their acting skills. We use knowledge to hack into unavailable bodies and spaces too, for why else would knowing about some Hollywood celebrity’s dark confessions become transcendental to MudSquatters?

And just like that, the fascination Colonial and Cannonised texts hold for me — and countless other hued eyes — now makes sense as I wander into texts hoping to see the Coloniser’s guilt in some texts or the awareness that the Other existed out of their theoretical discussions, to see if anyone ever felt queasy about subjecting half of the planet to their will. I use this knowledge to cut into the idea that they’re perfect, that they deserved — has there ever been another word as twisted as this? — to willfully colonise others, that their ‘culture’ is impenetrable and constantly eliding for a Woman of The Other World as I am, to see if beneath the façade of being the Master, is there a fear or a threat of the Slave, to see if our hued bodies matter at all to them, even after all these years. Using knowledge to cut isn’t the problem here, but the dichotomy that ‘We’ are somewhat different and by extension superior to ‘Them’ is. The only possible solution is to break into the cutting and ask ‘at whose cost’ at every juncture for us to stop bleeding out our last dregs of supposed humaneness.

1. I couldn’t find the ad which is just as well. Wouldn’t want to start Collective Bleeding of Lobes. Not yet, anyway.


A Reasoned Voice: Arundhati Roy

This post begins a series to recognize people that speak about the world in terms of what they observe and what they can prove.  Their voices stand out in the crowd.  In their words, they speak not of fantasy, delusion and rationalization.  Instead, they utilize the gifts of human cognition, awareness to observe what is here in the world around us.  They are not dogmatic, but analytic and take in the world ‘warts & all’ for what it is and what it is not.  They do not separate humankind from nature in any form of grandeur.  In short, they look at things the way they are and not what we would have them be.

Note: The term ‘reality’ is subjective because of differing perspectives from one person to another.  Our individual experiences with language, sensory perception and associative cognition all conspire to individuate and isolate us from each other.  The differences can range from miniscule to incomprehensible.

Then, there are shared agreements of ‘reality’ that occur nonetheless.  We can look at a mass grave and all agree that there are dead people there.

Given all of this, it’s a wonder we communicate at all.

On to Arundhati Roy.  I first learned of her this year.  John Cusack quoted her in this article about his film “War, Inc.”

As Arundhati Roy says, we need to lay siege to empire with everything we’ve got. You know? Deprive it of oxygen, shame it, mock it, tell our own stories. This corporatist revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they’re selling … their ideas, their wars, their notion of inevitability.

Something in her calling out the Empire and naming the strategy to defeat it in terms of laying siege, strongly resonated within me.  I looked her up on teh Google. I found writings, videos and many, many opinions about her.

Arundhati Roy is a person standing up in the face of military empire armed only with unbending commitment for the good of us all.  She screams for the world to hear without screaming and is heard through the chaos.  She fights armies with words and is undeterred.  She opposes tyranny and calls the liar a liar.  She has used the gift of human existence – her mind to take the world in and relate to it for what it is.

Her position in the world societies is often assumed to be the weakest and most frail.  Our world governments, economies, mythology and family models are all built around empires and bullies.  The strong dominate the weak.  Bullies get their way.  Brutality, murder and threats of them both are woven into every new and old relationship.  Call it tradition, God’s will or Natural Law – it all amounts to taking by force.

She is a woman without a gun openly declaring herself as the enemy of Empire.  All empires.  She calls us to come together in both the present and the future, where we are and where we will be.  She stands in the face of guns, religious intolerance and brainwashing, centuries upon centuries of patriarchal society, ignorance, hatred, greed and fear.  LIke the fierce determination of the students standing up to Chinese Army tanks in Tiananmen Square, she is standing up for Humanity; hers and ours.

Her voice stands out in the crowd because she is calling us to acknowledge the world as it is and to reason together for the good of us all.  She is neither selling nor buying.

I highly recommend that you take in as much of her writing and speaking as you can.  Here are a few that I can point you to for starters.  She has written several books, including the Booker Prize winning The God of Small Things.  There are better literary reviewers than myself, so I will embarrass myself with such an attempt.  I will suggest that you read The God of Small Things.  I have and found it wonderful, intimate and poignant.

I will discuss as example today, two of her public statements about the world we live in.  They are about separate incidents and different countries but they point to a shared struggle between dogma and sanity.  Between irrational insanity leading to the ruin of us all and reasoned choice as a way to find our way together.

This talk was given here in the United States.  Ms. Roy speaking as “a slave who presumes to criticize her King”.

In this work, Aruhdhati Roy calls out the Imperial structure, intentions and horrific results of the United States.  She points to common threads of empires in our time: millions of people crushed by poverty, bloodshed and suffering.  Their plight made invisible by the lies of corporate owned governments or simply erased by the global epidemic of wars.

She rightly identifies the connection between the responsibilities of the citizen for its government and how the bloodshed caused by corrupt leaders is shared by we who elect them and stand by pretending to be helpless.

So here it is – the World’s Greatest Democracy, led by a man who was not legally elected. America’s Supreme Court gifted him his job. What price have American people paid for this spurious presidency?

In the three years of George Bush the Lesser’s term, the American economy has lost more than two million jobs. Outlandish military expenses, corporate welfare, and tax giveaways to the rich have created a financial crisis for the U.S. educational system. According to a survey by the National Council of State Legislatures, U.S. states cut 49 billion dollars in public services, health, welfare benefits, and education in 2002. They plan to cut another 25.7 billion dollars this year. That makes a total of 75 billion dollars. Bush’s initial budget request to Congress to finance the war in Iraq was 80 billion dollars.

So who’s paying for the war? America’s poor. Its students, its unemployed, its single mothers, its hospital and home-care patients, its teachers, and health workers.

She also states rather clearly, the all too common formula used to gain wealth for the empire and nothing for anyone else:

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft recently declared that U.S. freedoms are “not the grant of any government or document, but….our endowment from God.” (Why bother with the United Nations when God himself is on hand?)

So here we are, the people of the world, confronted with an Empire armed with a mandate from heaven (and, as added insurance, the most formidable arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in history). Here we are, confronted with an Empire that has conferred upon itself the right to go to war at will, and the right to deliver people from corrupting ideologies, from religious fundamentalists, dictators, sexism, and poverty by the age-old, tried-and-tested practice of extermination. Empire is on the move, and Democracy is its sly new war cry. Democracy, home-delivered to your doorstep by daisy cutters. Death is a small price for people to pay for the privilege of sampling this new product: Instant-Mix Imperial Democracy (bring to a boil, add oil, then bomb).

The context of this occasion was the war in Iraq but it includes demonstrations of Empire across the globe.  In so doing, she outlines the war we are all in: the battle between humankind’s survival vs. the destructive, insatiable hunger of Empire.

She posted this a while ago, regarding the ramifications of choosing the context for understanding the recent massacre in Mumbai.

Speaking this time from her home nation and through the means of the blogosphere, she points to the very real choice faced by India and the world in how best to interpret and act upon the violence.

She points to an alarming disintegration of thorough, independent journalism.  The media seems to have become a drum for the right-wing proponents of military police states.  Independent thought, educated discourse are being assaulted as unpatriotic in an effort to railroad power into the hands of those that helped cause the conditions that led to the massacre in the first place.

Through the endless hours of analysis and the endless op-ed essays, in India at least, there has been very little mention of the elephants in the room: Kashmir, Gujarat, and the demolition of the Babri Masjid.

Instead, we had retired diplomats and strategic experts debate the pros and cons of a war against Pakistan. We had the rich threatening not to pay their taxes unless their security was guaranteed. (Is it alright for the poor to remain unprotected?) We had people suggest that the government step down and each state in India be handed over to a separate corporation.

She covers in lucid detail, the consequences of choosing between understanding the conditions that caused the massacre or ignoring them for the same dogmatic blindness that is one of the causes.

She also sums up quickly, the very real world we find ourselves living in and the grim near-future.

We have a hostile nuclear-weapons state that is slowly spinning out of control as a neighbor; we have a military occupation in Kashmir and a shamefully persecuted, impoverished minority of more than 150 million Muslims who are being targeted as a community and pushed to the wall, whose young see no justice on the horizon, and who, were they to totally lose hope and radicalize, will end up as a threat not just to India, but to the whole world.

If 10 men can hold off the NSG commandos and the police for three days, and if it takes half a million soldiers to hold down the Kashmir valley, do the math. What kind of Homeland Security can secure India?

She points to the need to face the hard truths of how India and the many nations involved arrived in the current economic and political crisis.

To conclude this post, I wish to acknowledge Arundhati Roy for her single greatest contribution and her most powerful weapon in the ‘siege upon Empire’ – the invitation to join her.  So many tools in the service of Empire sell us the message of our selves as helpless.  By standing forcefully in the way of Empire, Ms. Roy is an invitation to us all to free ourselves from the shackles of Empire and the rituals of greed.

The place we are called to is a shared reality in which we are all stakeholders in the continued life or humans and everything else on Earth.  She does not believe that we will arrive in a stable society by embracing dogma.  Not only is she asking for help, she is stating that we are actively helping ourselves by thinking or we are passively assisting the Empire.

In reply to her call, I declare that I have heard her call and my answer is ‘yes, I stand with you to oppose empire’.  I invite my readers to make the same choice for the good of us all.

– arvan

Jaded16’s Note: Who knew White Dudes could speak more than sensibly about Dusty Ladies? If you thought this was in improbable event, I’d like you to check if your head is still there on your shoulders. Speaking of things that are still there, you know what page is still there? The Open Guest Posting Page of course!



On Charting Invisible Bodies

As a Lady born on the brink of globalisation, English is something that comes to me as naturally as breathing. As a kid, I had access to all sorts of books, movies and songs from the ‘Center’ of civilisation — U.S. and Europe of course! — and was encouraged to speak in English as much as I could. Apparently, an English speaking person is a marker for a ‘civilised’ and a ‘cultured’ individual, even roughly about 50 years after the The White Buggers Left India Alone And Took Their Annoying Bulldogs With Them. There was a sense of shame or even guilt when my native tongue Gujarati would be brought up; I went as far as to believe that the person speaking Gujarati was a different ‘me’ than the one fawning over Austen and Disney and somehow they must be relegated into different spheres of seeing and believing. It took a few years for me to realise the dynamics of the DoucheColonial Gaze I had internalised and am still trying to see the person inside who speaks her native language as a fully fleshed organism rather than something out of visions E.M. Forester had in a Passage To India.

Memories of reading Wordsworth’s Daffodils are clear, so is the sense of disappointment that settled in when I realised I’d never see the flower on Indian soil, but I have very few memories of easing in to my native language, letting it unfurl against and within me. Till date, I dream think talk rant rave in English and occasionally in French — for having one language colonise you is simply not enough, the Queen said — and the person who I am in my native language sits inside and aside. This weekend, while watching a performance of Wilde’s ‘A Lady Of No Importance’ and hearing people thunder and applaud at the ‘perfected British and American accents’ did Caliban’s idea of ‘red plague’ and the notion of turning language to curse at the coloniser¹ came to its full appeal for this LadyBrain. Numerous instances where people feel embarrassed to sound ‘Indian’ come to mind, where you perform an accent and a manner of speaking till all that is left behind are dregs of another being rather than you. While there is no one way of speaking a language you don’t belong to — too bad geographical proximity doesn’t count, for that way I should speak American as I live obnoxiously close to the WorldWide Embassador of America: McDonald’s — or can ever dream of ever possessing fully regardless the number of degrees you have in this said tongue. Most of my favourite authors are from the Center, hard to undo the cannon and numerous whinyarsed problems in the same vein can be talked of time and again. What really sticks with this LadyBrain is how as post-colonial subjects anything we consume today, from the copiously auto-toned baritones of Taylor Swift to Foucault’s Genealogy,  we’re inevitably fixed sideways, invisible, alloted the space of the Proverbial Other. Even in spaces that are decidedly ‘intersectional’, colouring the Other invisible is a game we play right after the first rounds of Subtle Cultural Appropriation and before Packaging The Other As One Of Us.

As a ‘invisible body’, being in such spaces and cultural texts is a duplicitous position to hold namely because there is no specific direction or position to occupy in theory, whereas literally you’re fixed and pinned down in borders and boxes. Like Jane Eyre, I can sometimes slip in and out of these texts and corners, if the Omnipresent DoucheColonial Liberator is present like she did in and out of rooms and moors. At the same time, the ‘bestial’ Bertha still awaits my position beside her as the Woman of the Other World. The problem is, “I don’t always want to be Bertha, to be castigated and locked off” like one of my students put it. This isn’t to insinuate the internalisation of colonialism is a strictly one-way process, I’d like to think it’s a negotiation, despite how silently it’s whispered. There is an overwhelming desire to identify and even step right into the coloniser’s shoes, to feel giddy with the power, to be free and disseminate agency and rights among Othered, lesser spaces and individuals. Like George Bernard Shaw, it would be nice to be socialist and endorse FABIAN ideals while keeping the eye glazed whenever any talk goes beyond the borders being English, it would be nice — where nice translates to nausea — to have such cultural amnesia, to constantly slip up and about the boundaries of deciding who is ‘oppressed’ and to what degree. I won’t lie that I’ve never dreamt of a world that wasn’t Eurocentric, dedicated to keeping and maintaining the ‘Up‘ status-quo or thought of everyone speaking Hindi the way the world does English or if everyone was simply happy with their designated borders.  But when reality sinks in, I still break myself up while speaking in this NotMotherTongue and alienate myself when the overbearing gaze of the native tongue that is evaporating daily from my mind and body sets its hold on me. And the bigger problem that this ‘splitting into half’ is how much of this conflict is welcomed, or even self-inflicted. As an ‘invisible body’ it would be reassuring to categorise the Coloniser as the ultimate source of All Things Evil; especially for bringing to this LadyBrain’s mind the legend of Pandora before The Curse of Yellama (which is the MudSquatter version of Pandora, perhaps two shades more dustier). Like Caliban, the impulse to bite back at the oppressor is equally overwhelming as well. And stuck somewhere in the middle is the invisible body.

If I were to map the invisible bodies on the globe, a majority would take up The Third World; and the other half would take up half the world’s population that is biologically or culturally inclined to being feminine. Imagine if you’re a Double Invisible Body and then someone, magically, gives you a pen and you start reclaiming your body and space; only to realise that body you mention is already in someone else’s possession — namely capitalisation, neo-colonisation and cultural appropriation — and that space never existed but between the cracks of your own mind? Only when we stop fixing, cartologising, mapping and charting both ways — our and the Coloniser’s identities — do the gaps and breaks help us build a cohesive language of silence, expressed through feeling and not saying.



absences the spaces we con


build and

no one comes

the silences — speak volumes

the gaps start creaking songs

of virtual ashes

bytes unto bytes.


1. You taught me language, and my profit on’t/Is, I know how to curse. The red plague rid you,/For learning me your language!. Who knew I could even like Shakespeare at times? Wonders never cease.



Musings From The Empire

It’s incredibly easy to lock myself high up in the ivory tower, to think I am the only one from India writing about the Olde Woman Problem, that I am that whinyarse proverbial ‘lone’ voice and ad nauseam in this vein of self-pity. Only when Arvan asked me if I was interested in doing a weekly round-up of Indian feminist blogs, did that tower come tumbling down. As I read these women’s words, I felt reflected, mirrored and most importantly, just belonged here. So here a few voices from the Empire, speaking out. Give them your love people of the Olde Interwebes!

1. Bhavia on ‘I hate being an Indian woman‘ where she discusses the claustrophobia and the ‘hysteria’ a few women she knows feel.

If we don’t do things that we wanted during our one life,then when will we ever do it?Looks like the purpose of educating us and teaching us to aim high was to get married off without allowing us to do what we wanted in life.Then what was the need for spending/investing/wasting money on us? The problem is when parents expect us to do everything in the traditional way.They are happy and proud when we top school and college.But they show frowney faces and wrinkled foreheads the moment we tell them that we would like to post-graduate or work abroad

2. Unmana in ‘And, in More Sexist News‘ discusses the overtly sexist IAF policy that restricts women from being put in combat positions.

I am not surprised at the IAF’s policy; I am not surprised at the obvious sexism in a government agency. I am appalled though, that the Vice Chief Air Marshall doesn’t seem in the least embarrassed about his own sexism – or about making such sexist statements as a defense of those sexist policies.

3. Indian Homemaker in ‘Of Housewives, Beggars and Prostitutes‘ on the lack of recognition women’s labour gets.

Housewives can’t be clubbed with beggars and prostitutes says Supreme Court. And why were they clubbed together? Because, according to Census, all these non workers are not engaged in economically productive work. No wonder so many women prefer ‘work’ to ‘non-work’.

4. Shail in ‘Some Thoughts On Domestic Violence‘ describing poignantly her memories as a firsthand witness of domestic violence.

Even as a child, my blood pressure shot up when I witnessed such scenes of violence. I longed to barge in and give a piece of MY mind to the bullies and their pliant victims. My blood boiled in anger and roared in my ears. I clenched my fists in anger as my heart raced. I so wanted the women to object to what was happening, hit him back and throw him out of the house. I wanted the women to stand up and look the perpetrator in the eye and say, “No, you will not!” None of them did of course. Some of them groveled trying to please their Lord, others stood dumb, some answered the questions he hurled but got hit anyway, others argued or even abused in return which then became a free for all. But none of them stood up straight looked the man in the eye and said, “No you will not!”

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