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Thursday, February 2, 2012

The gift of making our own choices (and owning up to them)

I read on an Internet news source a few days ago that a man in Afghanistan strangled his wife to death because she had given birth to a daughter for the third time, while he had hoped for a son. As if this unnerving stupidity is not horrendous enough, the man was assisted by his mother in his despicable act! I get so disheartened when I read these things, because it demonstrates that in this "enlightened" day and age, these things are still common practice in our human behavior.

There are three reasons why I am bringing up this distasteful situation: 1. It shows that, despite the global communications and information flows, there are still too many people to which there is no access possible. The question thus arises, how we will ever be able to reach a level where we can provide basic development to all people on the globe. 2. It proves that we continue to suffer from the negative impact of cultural, religious, social, and political doctrines, which still drive many to horrendous and shortsighted acts.3. In a broader sense it emphasizes how easy it is to look out of the window instead of in the mirror when it comes to finding a perpetrator for something we are displeased about.

When, in the case mentioned above, a man cannot even accept that the gender of his baby is determined by his sperm in the first place - which indicates that he should strangle his own neck to begin with - we clearly see how devastating this weak characteristic can be! The example above illustrates a sad behavior of which all of us are guilty at times: we search for a scapegoat for something of which we often know that we are (at least partly) guilty.

And now that we're on the topic: Nothing just randomly happens to us. Everything we experience is a result of the choices we once made. Hence, everything is ultimately our responsibility! To illustrate this statement with the case of strangling husband: even if it would turn out that getting three daughters was to be attributed to the position of his wife's egg, which had caused his male chromosomes not to be able to fertilize it, he was still responsible for choosing to have sex with that particular woman, right? So, even if the argument of an arranged marriage is made, it remains a fact that no man can be forced into having sex if he does not want to? This leads to the conclusion that the man and his wife were therefore both responsible for the pregnancy, and, hence, for the product of that pregnancy.

And then the social conditions: While I feel very sorry for the poor wife's ordeal, I doubt whether she would have reacted any different if she had switched places with her mother-in-law. The problem lies deeper than a marital dispute, and we don't have to be historians or anthropologists to understand that. In several societies men are simply never blamed: certainly not when it comes to baring children. The fact that this way of thinking is still valid in 2012 is extremely disheartening. It remains easier to look out of the window and condemn the specks of sawdust in others' eyes inside of staring in the mirror at the many planks in our own eyes.

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