Raising the Bar…

Particular days designated to celebrating days, moments in time and occasions…often unheard of till fairly recently, seem more like Hallmark days to me rather than anything else…but celebrating a special day for women internationally…this I feel for…not only to celebrate with my own but because, across the board globally, a huge number of women have and continue to, make their mark slowly but surely at great personal cost often to establish and have themselves acknowledged in areas of life that should not need this sort of validation! A great number of them are  unsung heros, their contribution irreplaceable in the magnitude of work they have done and inspired…some of them excel publicly and reach the very apex of success…raising the bar continuously for those who will follow…against all odds , obstacles and oppression..and who continue in this struggle on a daily basis. To celebrate such strength…courage…commitment…conviction…sung or unsung…globally, to acknowledge and celebrate such achievements in the face of regular uphill struggles…makes this day, dedicated to women , a celebratory matrix…

In our part of the world, primarily due to a confusion about religious and liberal thought and a huge lack of educational processes in the true sense of the word, this disconnect sometimes translates into horrifying aspects in a  woman’s life! One such horrifying aspect was documented by our very own…Sharmeen-Obaid-Chinoy , our first Oscar winner for her bold, honest, heartbreaking and inspiring documentary…Saving Face ! Women across the social strata in Pakistan have been rejoicing and basking in the glory, prestige and awareness she has brought us and the beautifully dignified and controlled manner in which she accepted this award…particularly in the way in which she dedicated her Oscar to…”all the women in Pakistan who are working for change. Do not give up for your dream!”

The quiet dignity…confidence…compassion…shown by Sharmeen at the glittering Oscars ceremony, with her grace , glamour and articulate acceptance speech was a treat to behold and brought a spontaneous burst of euphoria across our land, manifesting itself instantaneously and hugely in all the social medias! It does however leave one wondering if this may have interfered with the image of Pakistan in many minds across the world…for this she has our respect and gratitude! Sharmeen also chose to showcase working women of Pakistan in all aspects of her appearance and presence at the Oscars…from the resilience and bravery of the the women in her winning documentary to her quintessentially Pakistani attire given appropriate emphasis and fusion whilst retaining the essence of Pakistani couture…presenting a prefect picture of a sophisticated and contemporary Pakistani woman…a face often unknown to the rest of the world…

More than anything else that Sharmeen has managed to highlight with this one high profile appearance is, as a very wise and much admired columnist wrote, quoting the last line of her speech…Do not give up your dream…”This, finally is the heart of the matter. We must hold on to our dreams even when reality hits us in the face…like acid thrown on the faces of wronged women…


12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mal
    Mar 10, 2012 @ 18:15:48

    Sharmeen made all us women proud…she’s done incredibly well…Bravo! A most excellent achievement.. 🙂


    • Shama Sheikh
      Mar 11, 2012 @ 21:20:10

      She has certainly made us all so very proud Maleeha…the prayer for her is that she continues to highlight issues which need serious redressing and that we can all be part of this movement at our own levels of endeavor….inshallah…


  2. souldipper
    Mar 10, 2012 @ 22:08:22

    Thank you to Sharmeen for putting the spotlight on this serious travesty against women in Pakistan. Sharmeen is a women we all can strive to mimic, no matter our race. How do little boys grow into perpetrators of such inhumanity? All races have them – it is customized within each culture.

    We all need to expose unacceptable attitudes and spotlight perpetrators. In that way, we say, “Enough”.

    That’s my dream. Sharmeen, I hear your plea. I don’t know how I could give up that dream – especially after seeing your bravery.


  3. Shama Sheikh
    Mar 11, 2012 @ 21:35:11

    Yes Amy the mind boggles at how such perpetrators are as you say, customized into each culture and literally get away with blue murder…

    Luckily, each culture also produces women of Sharmeen’s strength of conviction and commitment who then use modern tools to spread awareness and promote critical discourse on relevant and burning issues of the day…using the power of empowered women for those less fortunate…helping them not only to dream but setting them well on the way to realizing them too…


  4. Arindam
    Mar 19, 2012 @ 20:58:21

    I do not have any knowledge about Sharmeen before. But I am glad, I came across such a wonderful lady via this post of yours. Women across the world are now lot more independent, powerful. I just hope women Do not give up for your dream. Dreams do come true with dedication. Really great post. 🙂


    • shamasheikh
      Mar 23, 2012 @ 10:14:22

      Thank you Arindam…I am so glad that you learned about Sharmeen though my blog…she is one very committed and gutsy young lady…one of a growing number I am happy to say…in countries such as ours it is vitally important that woment stand up to be counted and play their part in the development at multi levels of life…this dream is, thank God one that a huge number of us share and work towards…


  5. Val
    Mar 21, 2012 @ 23:06:35

    Excellent post, Shama. I’ve just watched an interview with Sharmeen and am waiting for another to buffer as I type this comment to you.

    I didn’t really have much idea about Pakistan’s ‘other face’ before reading some Pakistani blogs in the last few months. Thank you for your contribution to my growing knowledge.

    Off topic, my apologies for not replying to your comments on my blog – I had to have a break from it.


  6. shamasheikh
    Mar 23, 2012 @ 10:38:38

    Many thanks Val…I am so happy that you have enjoyed this post about Sharmeen and the “other face” of Pakistan that is sadly more often than not hidden behind a stereotype image that is presented to the world. 

    We have a flourishing and vibrant society at play…one that is is successful…eclectic…erudite…cultural…happening…social…religious…and above all, philanthropic and committed to Pakistan…true, there are negative aspects to life in our country too, but there’s a very strong and dedicated movement for change afoot as well…this is one that gives all of us much hope…creates “pockets of excellence” and allows us to dream our dreams for a beloved country and march on in a  determined and committed manner in spite of all odds…I am so glad that you have beem able to look into this window…

    Pray you are well…please take good care of yourself Val…God bless…..


  7. Writes2escape
    May 03, 2012 @ 13:54:21

    Hear Hear!
    I was beyond ecstatic when they announced the winnner!


  8. shamasheikh
    May 05, 2012 @ 04:14:47

    Many thanks for coming by Tayyaba…went over to your blog, enjoyed your great sense of humor…look forward to reading more inshallah…

    God bless…


  9. justanotherwakeupcall
    May 14, 2012 @ 07:18:20

    Shama, i agree completely with you about “hallmark” days…. and about womens dauy too…. I think that is one day worth celebrating. Specially in countries like ours where women work against all odds to achieve what they do. Like arindam I too wasn’t aware of Sharmeen’s work, but will make it a point to go through it now. You have a new follower 🙂


  10. shamasheikh
    May 20, 2012 @ 23:06:31

    Am so glad you got to know a bit more about Sharmeen and her work Sapna…
    Working against the tone…tenor…prejudices…and hurdles that women are faced with on a regular basis, specially in our parts of the world…is something to be proud of…that she also has an international voice is a bonus…

    Many thanks for coming by…God bless…


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