Balochistan is a notorious place. It is a place where people are killed and disappeared on daily basis. More recently, women are found dead, targeted, tortured, detained, and killed owing to many known and unknown reasons. It has further led to many conspiracy theories and blame games to deflect responsibility.
In this context, where are we heading as a society? What is our stance at a point where women are disappearing, killed, and tortured and where civil society feels to not raise their voices? However, there are few voices from society and women’s organizations who are raising voices in favor of Baloch women but there is a lot more skepticism, nonsense, and unethical arguments.
In every society, the bond of relationships is ethics. Institutions may not feel to regard ethics of the society but society has to. These ethics and moral philosophies revolve around care. During times of conflict, civil society may not uphold the values of humanity but it can show some care. Care bonds people regardless of their nationality, ethnicity, and religion. It is also one of the pertinent features of many feminist discourses and moral theories like that of Ethics of care. The same goes for Baloch women, in particular, and the context of civil society, in general.
What’s the point of all this education if all we get blame games or conspiracy theories to define any mishap in society? Aren’t we educated enough to show some concern when women are faced with violence and death threats? Certainly, care is not about our personal lives only. It is more like a practice and value embedded in the values and traditions of any society. According to many feminist discourses, it goes beyond private lives and encompasses far more realms such as the social, political, and legal framework of any society. It may also cover the arena of war and international relations.
Owing to the ethics of care, civil society should show some emotions toward the ongoing critical situation of Baloch women. This argument may seem irrational but empathy, sensitivity, and responsiveness are the need of the hour. These features are the foundational basis of any society and may also help to cultivate any reasoned stance at a time of crisis. Moreover, it is the only to diffuse the ongoing moral crisis in the province.
On the other hand, Baloch, as a nation, may show anger at this critical juncture where Baloch women are not only harassed but kidnapped and targeted as well. This is also a case of moral indignation because they are feeling humiliated and disrespected in so many ways. Besides, they have repeatedly argued how institutions and authorities have treated them inhumanely and unjustly. More importantly, this is how human beings react and feel when they are treated inhumanely and unjustly.
It is pertinent to note that anger of Baloch is not just a raw emotion. These sentiments have been cultivated for a very long period. It can’t go in a day. Accordingly, these emotions need appropriate reflection and if necessary some education as well. Therefore, many feminist thinkers argue that the rationalist perspective to define any emotional response is not sufficient to make sense of the overall situation.
In contrast, there are arguments for how emotional responses become irrational when it carries elements of vengeance and aggressiveness. In the context of Balochistan, these emotions carry a kind of plausible view because of the already beleaguered situation of Baloch women. Perhaps, it is not the proper time to decide rationality in the anger of people protesting for the respect and dignity of their women.
In addition to that, these women are already facing patriarchal structure and tribal ethos. Tribalism is a kind of conservative setup where women have less than fewer opportunities to excel in every walk of life. Moreover, men have dominated almost every good and bad aspect of tribal society. According to the predominant tribal narrative, women’s respect lies at home where she is expected to do homely jobs. It is also suggested that these homely jobs require less hard work and are better suited for women.
Owing to these hard circumstances, women are still striving hard in every field of life. They are good wives along with being a good doctor, engineer, teacher, civil servant, etc. Whatever the profession is, women can excel in it and the world doesn’t doubt this fact. The same goes for the women of Balochistan. Baloch women have put every effort to uplift their conditions in the context of the political, economic, and social environment. All their efforts are commendable and must be appreciated at every level. And, there is no space for any kind of insensitive remark or statement.
Following that, there are some extreme values in our society. In particular, the moral standards of any society must not be stuck between extremes. In the case of Baloch women, these extremes may account for the egoistic standards of individuals, such as tribal leaders or state institutions, powerful security forces, and universal moral standards of humanity. Accordingly, society may seem to understand what are the standards of selfish individuals and what is humanity. Somehow both extremes are hard to handle and managed especially in cases of conflict zones or war-torn areas. Thereupon, the solution lies in other moral perceptions such as care for the fellow being. Civil society just needs to show some empathy, response, and sensitivity.
At this point, this debate also does not mean to forge or promote relationships but to have a collective sense of care for ourselves and Baloch women. There is a need to regard and respect Baloch women to value their honor and dignity. It is not a time to fuel more ethnic sensitivities or historical discord or ask unnecessary questions. It is also not the right the inquire about rationality in their emotional response. It’s time to show care for fellow human beings and regards their pain. That’s it.
The writer holds an M.Phil Degree in South Asian Studies from the University of Punjab. She can be reached on Twitter @TahiraGhilzai.
Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are those of the writer and Balochistan Voices does not necessarily agree with them.
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