A Tragedy Named Religion

This week we read a lot about women in the eyes of religion. As it was stated in The Phenomenon of Religion: A Thematic Approach written by Momen Moojan, religion have had both positive and negative effects on women’s lives. On one hand, religion has given women the right of ownership and good association with wisdom (442). On the other side, religion has suppressed women morally and socially (436-9).
It was one of my great concerns that why Islam, has given women less freedom or to say it better, less value. Since I have started to think of having a religion or thinking of a pattern for my lifestyle, I have been wondering about Islam, the religion, which is famous for its strictness and ignoring human rights. I used to hear it all the time that in Islam, it is discouraged to counsel with women or that women cannot hold the position of leadership since their logic and wisdom is less than men’s logic. I had heard a lot of disappointing ideas about Islam and the position of women from its point of view until I read Moojan’s book and his saying that one of the reasons for negative connotation of religion and women is men. According to Moojan, it was the selfishness of some men, who changed the concepts of some religions or twisted the texts as they wanted (433-4). Similarly, some Quran interpreters and their old and prejudiced viewpoints have played an important role to taint the face of Islam in front of humans.
Today that I was surfing on the internet looking for more information about the role of women in Islam that I found an article that made me more hopeful about religion, that here is Islam.MUhammad Fazlullah, in his article “Islam and Women’s Role” says that it is the misunderstandings and misinterpretations of the Quran and Islam that has deprived women from their rights in society and family.
In this article, Muhammad Fazlullah, had written about the surah 27:33 and 34 that God says about the land whose ruler is a woman. In this part, God not only doesn’t blame men for counseling with women but also he describes her cleverness and logical way of doing her work. Moreover, God has named one of the surahs by the name of Mary, Jesus’ Mother. Islam had been the religion of supporting women and not suppressing them. What Islam has stated in the Quran and what Muslims are following as the Quran’s orders are so confusing.

Which One Is the Reason for the Faded Friendly Communications?

“Today, if you were to ask anyone on the streets to show you the direction they’d probably deliberately show you the wrong way” (Gardner). It is what some old Bengali migrants believed as it was reported in the “Narrating Location”. While reading the text, I started thinking about the reason of the change in their perception of the new generation. Is it their view that has changed or it is the society that has turned in a different manner? What is the reason that most people have lost their patience, passions and the sense of responsibility toward others? I came to this point that since the life styles have changed and made people hide themselves behind their text messages, their emails, their E-cards and avatar in their electronic accounts, they are not eager to show their respect and kindness directly. They are not willing to open their heart and offer their passion to others who need them. I believed that life in high buildings with glittering glasses and speedy cars have engrossed people so profoundly that they have forgotten the humanity. Well, if it was true, it could be a calamity for the society and for humanity. However, my teacher and friends’ idea about this topic was different. It alleviated my concerns. What our teacher, Ms. Fatema said was that when people get old, they naturally think the same, they would think that whatever they had in the past was better than what they have now. It means that it is not the society that has changed but the perception of individuals of the society. I agree with this idea too, because I have seen how elders complain about children’s disrespectful behavior toward elders, youths’ carelessness toward their responsibilities, parents’ evading from taking care of their children themselves and even the taste of food. In most of cases, elders claim that all of these things were better in the past, children used to respect more, youths were conscientious and food was tastier. Sometimes, the memories and description of some kinds of fruit or food explained by elders would lure me so much that I wish for some of them. I used to believe in this idea too. But until when I learnt about getting old and the easing time of senses and emotions. I understood that when humans get old, the abilities such as sight, hearing and others get weaker. Consequently, they think it is the tastes, people or others who have changed. It is a scientifically proved idea; as a result, I think I should believe in this idea too. However, still none of these ideas could convince me for accepting the diminishing friendly communications.

Good Models

To show what we have learnt from our “Critical Thinking” book, it would be good to apply them in our daily readings. In this book, the readers are requested to dare themselves and criticize others even if they are important persons. Consequently, I want to criticize Vasant Moon’s autobiography, Growing Up Untouchable in India. In this autobiography, the author seems to have the inclination to explain everything as much as he wants. Frankly speaking, sometimes you find yourself reading the things that are almost similar to each other and unnecessary. For example, in the chapter, “Heat and Rain,” Moon keeps telling about how he and his friends used to hang around, pick fruit, and eat them, or how the weather was. While reading the first pages you might enjoy because you can imagine boys, the weather and the neighborhood but little by little the story gets boring and you might feel tired since the whole pages are just describing the weather and children. In other chapters, you face the same problem too. While you expect to get to know about some serious matters, he starts talking about his mother’s memories, his neighbors, and some people that he had seen before, the girl who knew swimming and some unnecessary things. He includes these stories, while you can hardly find any link between them and the main point that he is talking about. This characteristic or fault leads the mind toward one conclusion: Although the author may have a lot to say, he or she should not forget the readers capacity and patience. A pattern or story can be effective when readers’ time, need, capacity and necessity of contexts are considered. Putting aside all of these negative comments and ideas I must confess that, his autobiography is so touching and informative. Moreover, sometimes the usage of Hindi words takes you closer to the community and neighborhood that he used to live in. To sum it up all, it would be appreciated to mention that all of the subjects that we study not only can be a good source of information but also they are good models for our writings. These models can teach us how to write.


Looking through a dictionary, I found this definition for manner: “The prevailing customs, ways of living, and habits of a people, class, period, etc.” and “Ways of behaving with reference to polite standards; social comportment” (Dictionary).Of course, you have used this word many times, you are grown with this word. For example, when you were little kids, your parents used to say not to shout or cry in public, they taught you how to eat your food and how to talk with you teacher when you went to school for the first time. Sometimes this question might have come to your mind that why your parents emphasize on the way of doing something and how do they know these things? Some of you may have received your first answer when you resisted doing something as your parents or adults would appreciate–“You have to do this way because otherwise, people would think how impolite you are.” The next question is that how they have learnt this politeness—manner—themselves? Now it is clear for you that they have learnt these manners form their parents and so on. This fact shows that manners can be common among a group or many groups in though different times. Since many years ago, you have learnt to shake hands for greeting. I think here you will say that I am wrong, because this is not the manner of greeting in your society. Yes. You are right. Despite that many “hows” and “more polites” are completely in my family and society, I cannot expect the whole world to know and follow them. The manners of one group, class, city or ethnic may be different from others. Some manners that are acceptable in one country may not be in for others. For example, I saw in TV that in a country that the gusts are expected to belch after having a meal. If the gust didn’t belch, the host would think that the food had not been good or pleasant for the guest. This example might sound strange and even disgusting to some of you—as it was so for me—because in many places belching is considered a rude behavior, but we cannot claim that it is the same everywhere. Therefore, it shows that even though some manners have been passed through the time, but they might not be able to pass the places.


Why Should They Suffer?

The woman knocked the door and asked for a glass of water. Her face was tired and upset. She seemed to be new in this neighborhood. None of us had seen her and were surprised that why she has knocked our door. She said that she was tired and asked if we could let her come home. The wrinkles on her face were telling us of a deep pain in her sun burnt face. After drinking a cup of tea, she took a deep breath and started telling us about her story. Her 16-year –old daughter, who had been the most beautiful and intelligent member of the family were suffering from schizophrenia, the cruel disease that causes the patient see and hear things that are not real (something the same as Willy in “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller). As the woman said, the girl used to start shouting at others and call them bad names. Anyone who wanted to calm her down she would beat and fight with him or her. She used to think that everyone wants to harm her. After taking seducing drugs and a while of crying and roaring, she would fall asleep and everything would return to its normal. The woman said that her daughter thinks neighbors and some other people are watching her from the window cursing her. The imaginary characters used to tell her, “You are a bad girl, no one likes you!” That day was the first day that we heard about such a disease and after that, this woman used to come to our home and share her problems about the poor girl. Before leaving Iran, we went to her home for farewell. We found the mother’s face livid; she started crying because her daughter’s mental situation had deteriorated. She had punched her mother’s face and painted the face blue. Seeing this scene made all of us so depressed, and made us ask how and why someone who had been the best student in high school, the kindest and cleverest girl in the family, should become like this, someone whom everyone was scared of.

Reading “Death of a Salesman” reminded me of that girl and again it made me think why people should suffer from these kinds of diseases? Do these types of mental disorders rise from pressures and hardships or do they have another reason? Have scientists been able to discover the main causes for such a great pain? Have they been able to find a permanent cure for them?


“Ever since happiness heard your name, it has been running through the streets trying to find you”

“Ever since happiness heard your name, it has been running through the streets trying to find you” (Hafiz).

When we discussed the meaning of happiness in class, students unanimously said that happiness is the result of satisfaction. However, satisfaction can be in two forms. First, people may lack something and make effort to get that. By reaching to that point and goal, they will become happy. For example, as the humans in the new world that almost every success and achievement is linked with money, many people try to earn money, as much as they can. They work their fingers to the bone to make their ends meet. They go to work early in the morning and return home late at night, while they do not have energy enough to share their feelings, thoughts and dreams with their families. They get tired of work, become exhausted; consequently, they cannot bear anything at home, even their children’s voice playing and laughing. Sometimes they might be so tired that shout at their children when children ask them to play. In this situation, how can they be hopeful to find happiness? Their lives go on when they have thrown their happiness far from themselves and then chase it to catch. Just some years later, when these young couples become middle aged, they will regret for not spending their past life happily. They will have spent their lives seeking for happiness when their lives were the epitome of happiness and they were not aware of that. They loose their youth, the moments that they could laugh and be happy. As a result, I believe that the second way of satisfaction, being happy for what they have now,  is better and more logical. The proverb “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” Can show this idea very well. People should try to look at their current lives. The good things they already have and the bad things they do not have can be the good reasons for being happy. This idea not only does not defer people from having dreams and making efforts to achieve them but also by giving them happiness, reinforces power and motivation to find the great and greater happiness. In short, what I believe is that happiness is around all only if they be more careful and sees it. If people imagine their happiness far-fetched and go to find them, happiness will go further and further. Therefore, they will lose their current and future happiness.

If You Cannot Choose One

When you make a choice means you have been able to give up some options to pick one. Making a choice never leaves humans alone. Children start making decision when they are small. In a shop, they pick a chocolate, they choose one doll among several, they do not eat some food or they sing one of the songs that they know. Later, when they grow up, they come to make choices more important and more difficult. They choose their friends, the clubs and groups to join, and the field they like to study in high school. The more they grow up, the more the situations and conditions get serious. When they are young enough, they have to choose their jobs, their houses, and their partners.

However, making a good choice is not so easy. Choosing one option means giving up the others. As a result, there should be something to evaluate the options. Children usually evaluate thing based on their emotions. They choose what is more attractive and beautiful. Later, they learn to add a little logic to their criteria. The more they get old the more they think reasonably and logically about the available options.

Emotion or logic both can be a good power to push someone for making a choice; however, it is not always the same. Sometimes, they might be in a situation that they cannot put the priority on one option. In their ideas, all options might have the same value, they cannot sacrifice any of them for the other one. Therefore, some people may ask others’ help and opinion. For example, they ask their parents, friends, a counselor or someone who has experience in that case. Some others may choose another way to get rid of this dilemma.

Here, I will tell you one way of asking opinion that some people in my society believe in, Tafaol, or Faal gereftan. When someone is unsure about something and does not know what to do, he or she can try Hafiz’s, the Persian poet, help. First, he or she is required to pray for Hafiz and then open his book of poetry, Divaan-e-Hafiz randomly. Any piece of poem, which was at the beginning of page, will imply the answer. He or she will understand which way to choose or what to do. However, this way might seem very silly for some people, some others strongly believe in that.

In conclusion, despite that making a decision has a strong relationship with our feelings or reasons, sometimes neither of them can help us. We cannot always rely on ourselves and it is better to share it with others and benefit from their helpful experiences.

“If the bald person were a real doctor…”

To be frank, the more I read the The Joy Luck Club by
Amy Tan, the more I get confused. If I have interpreted correctly, mothers
(Suyan, An-mei, Lindo and Ying-ying) are trying to teach their daughters the
lessons of life. They want to show their daughters how to behave and how to
live. Mothers in this story usually are teaching their girls to be quiet, reserved,
and use their invisible power to discern the best way for combating the
problems. Mostly, it sounds awkward to me, because finally they cannot conquer,
they fail, they have failed in their marriage and relationship with others. We
see how Waverly and Jing-mei are scolding each other despite that they are
grown up now. Looking at the lives of these characters, we see almost all of
them have some failures in their lives. They cannot be the one they want;
mothers cannot bring their children up as they wished to. Suyuan wants her
daughter to be attached to her Chinese culture, while she shows up the opposite
and becomes a stranger to her mother and her culture because she has lived in
American society. Rose and Waverly, also do not fulfill their mothers’
expectations. Waverly undermines her mother’s rules and argues with her, even
she stops playing chess just because she wants her mother to apologies first.
We have a proverb in Persian which says,If the bald person were a real
doctor, first, he could cure his own baldness.” This proverb means that if
someone who pretends that knows everything and can do help others, indeed was
able to do that he shouldn’t have the same problem in his life since he knows
the answer. So why do I speak about this proverb! Well, in my idea, if these
mothers knew the secrets of life and were able to solve their problem with the tricks
that they teach their daughters, why their lives are so miserable? In the
chapter “ Megapies,” An-Mei’s mother advices An-Mei not to cry, but she,
herself, cries. She wants her daughter to follow her advice and not to show her
sadness and regrets, while she has not found the happiness of life with being
silent. I want to know what these mothers are going to tell their daughters. As
a result, it is really a nuisance when again they try to dictate the same tricks
and traits to their children. In my opinion they are repeating their history
over and over. Do you think the same or you think this story will end

Migration: Leaving Everything Behind

Since one of the themes of The Joy Luck Club was migration, it would be a good idea to write a little about migration, “the movement of people across a specified boundary for the purpose of establishing a new or semi-permanent residence” (In depth Resource). This was an academic definition of migration. Many researches have been done about migrants and migration and their effects on globalization, economy and so on, but here I want you to know a little about the emotional aspect of migration.

Tired of being worried for a long time, the woman looks at her husband pleading:
: I’m sick of being alone for two years. I can’t see your vacant place at dinner again. You even were not here when our son was born. Last time after you left home, Hamid kept crying until night and he became sick for one month. Please, not this time. Don’t leave me here.
– So what do you say? I am tired of being far from you too. I am worried all the time that what are you doing here in this lonely place.
The next day, the husband comes excitedly to his wife.
– I have decided to take you with myself. Let’s go to Iran. We can be together and you can be more comfortable too.
In just a few days, the wife starts packing their bags. She is preparing for going to another country – to migrate. She gives many things away, her favorite dishes, her favorite clothes with embroideries that she had made by her hands and all the beautiful things that she had gathered. She was giving them away since she was going to somewhere else that was not like Afghansitan. People in Iran were not wearing what she used to; they did not like what she liked. In months, they are leaving their hometown, where they had been born and grown up, where they had learnt to talk and play. The woman, while leaving her village, is looking at the house which her son started to walk in. the man was looking at the yard and the trees that he had planted, they were young and green. Shedding tears, both of them leave their home and wish to have a good life in Iran, to be together.
After twenty years, they are all together, the man, the woman and their children. They are together but something is left behind – their country, nationality and memories. The children have finished school. They have learnt to say Madar to their Abay (mother), to wear dark and gray clothes instead of the bright pink and yellow clothes. They are almost Iranian when they decide to return. All are excited to see Afghanistan again. They start packing their bags again. They had been looking for finding dresses to look like what they could remember from Afghanistan. Leaving another home behind, they reach to their dream country, but they find themselves in another world. Everything has changed since twenty years ago and now they wonder how they can adapt another environment!

“Waiting Between Trees.” Then What?

Ying-ying, the tiger girl with the power of tiger falls in the trap of a man. The man leaves this beautiful and innocent tiger alone and goes to catch another prey. The tiger feels full of remorse that she couldn’t do anything to save her live. Indeed, she liked being with the predator. She liked the predator and devoted her life to him; she used to wear whatever could please him. Anyway, the predator is gone now and the prey is alone. No, sorry! She is not alone since she has another prey inside herself. But…she doesn’t want to have any sign of the escaped predator, from when she had forgotten herself to please him. So she removes all signs that can remind her of being a prey. She goes to a village to filter her spirit. She hides weaknesses and so her powers. She waits until she can find a good time to show up. But, wait! To show up and what? To bounce and catch a prey!? She? She waits until she finds another man. This time she is not immature anymore. She doesn’t let the man to get her so soon and without any endeavor. The tiger waits four years to see whether this man is worthy to live with or not. Yes, and she “allows” the man to catch her.

She, the tiger, still is waiting for a chance. However she’s found her man of life, she does not show her real characteristic to him. Despite that the man is kind to her and so she is, the tiger does not reveal her emotions. She is still the waiting tiger between the trees.

Here is the question: she is waiting between the trees for what? To find a chance to come out or to die? I can’t understand how long she wants to wait there and what she is following there. She is waiting to have a daughter and then give her spirit to her! She is silent, she has thrown away her emotions and love and passion –she has thrown herself away– so to have a baby girl in future and maybe she can talk to her and reveal her secrets!? Honestly speaking, it does not make sense to me that Ying-ying waits between the trees in order to find someone to tell her not to wait for anybody and say whatever is in your mind – the thing that she has done to herself!