Help Me Keep Oil In The Lamp

I’m still struggling with my post from yesterday. About female suicide bombers. I can’t get it out of my head. And I want to apologize for it’s length, or more precisely the lack of depth to my inquiry. It was a mere 394 words. Typically, when I am charged about something I have to be careful not to create a short novel. I’m constantly editing myself, narrowing my focus to keep it a readable length.

But yesterday, I sat there, in shock, in front of the computer screen, still trying to wrap my head around the information I found on the internet. And I found myself typing my thoughts and then stopping short. It was hard to plow through. It’s a difficult subject to understand emotionally. I’m well aware that I was lost in a stereotype. Desperately wanting to believe in that stereotype.  I wanted to tell myself this can’t be real.

And in my search for information there was a short little blurb that struck me:

“Five days after the death of Jabbar, the Awakening leader, his wife gave birth to a daughter. Last month, Baidaa Muhammed, 30, sat in their living room, in front of a gold-framed photo of her husband. The baby was named Hibatullah, or “gift from God.”

As Hibatullah rested in her lap wrapped in a white blanket, Muhammed, her face streaked with tears, declared: “I hate women.””

I hate women.

Why would she say that? Did she feel abandoned? Worthless? Angry? Possibly. Her husband was Naeem Jabbar. He was the leader of a U.S. security group, Awakening, trying to improve conditions in Iraq. For about four months Jabbar had given food and money to a 19 year old woman begging in the streets. Because of their relationship, albeit limited, security never considered her a threat. But on an evening in July 2008, as he approached her as he had many times, she detonated a bomb that killed him, herself and four others.

Now, Baidaa Muhammed is a widow. In a country that does not cherish women. Her husband died trying to rebuild a broken country. And a woman is at the root of her loss. A fellow woman left her a widow and her child fatherless.

Jennifer, from My Wildlife’s Words, asked an important question yesterday: “What else has changed for women in the last 20 or so years?” I don’t know. But I wondered that, too, as I was writing and researching yesterday. I’m going to sit on that and someday I might have an answer.

But until then I feel the need to do something.

I don’t want Baidaa to feel abandoned. I don’t want her to feel alone. Most of all, I don’t want her to hate women or hate being a woman. I want Baidaa to feel loved, cherished, valued and empowered in a positive way. Empowerment shouldn’t mean strapping on a bomb to get revenge or to join your brothers with Allah or atone for your sins.

I did a search for best non-profits for women and tried to find some of the best ones. I realize, sadly, that not all organizations are legit. But I’ve done the best I can to provide a short list here that look promising. Please give, but not without educating yourself first. And if you know of other good organizations, please mention them in the comment section of this post.

We need to band together and try to stop this madness. We can make these past 25 years merely a blip on radar. One simple step can make a difference.

“If you want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.” ~Mother Teresa

Women For Women International – Helping women survivors of war rebuild their lives.

Care – Defending dignity. Fighting poverty. A humanitarian organization that focuses on poverty, especially poor women.

Americares – They deliver medical supplies and medical care here in the U.S. or around the world in times of disaster, civil unrest or daily struggle.

VDay – A global movement to end violence against women and girls.

Polaris Project – An organization committed to combating human trafficking and modern-day slavery.

14 Comments

Filed under Be-Causes

14 responses to “Help Me Keep Oil In The Lamp

  1. You have such a good heart, my friend. While I’m fretting about potty training, you’re trying to change the world.

  2. What good suggestions…I always feel like I should “do” something too…

    BTW, don’t have your email to write back to your comments on my blog. BUT, yes, He still brings it up all the time that I didn’t eat on our first date! Let’s just say I had issues and he saved me! 😉

  3. unabridgedgirl

    Jane, I think it’s great that you want to give to these charities. Once upon a time, I was going to get my degree in psychology so I could work at a woman’s shelter, but I realized – – I don’t think I could do that every day. I don’t think I could go to work, see so much sorrow and misery, go home and put it away. I just can’t do that. Instead, I find it easier to donate my time and service to these sorts of places when I can. So, that is another way you can help, too. You’re an inspiration, and I’m sure people will be helped.

  4. Like I keep saying Jane is the best…everyone needs a friend andneighbor like Jane.

  5. Jane,
    I accidentally send you a first message from the wrong profile name.

    I wonder if Baidaa Muhammed would have said, “I hate men” if it were a male suicide bomber who killed her husband. Probably not. Women too easily adapt and express the misogyny around them rather than fighting against it. (Perfect example: The visceral hatred people have for Hilary Clinton.) I think it’s great that you’re using this tragedy as an inspiration to support women and spread a bond of international sisterhood rather than anger.

  6. Jane, you’re a good person to struggle with this and to go out and try to find a solution.

    To give you hope, one of the reasons women aren’t used as suicide bombers as often as men is because they are more likely to have second thoughts and not go through with it. I read this in an article years ago talking about female suicide bombers. The problem is the people they recruit to do this are desperate with no hope of leaving the situations they are in. Many are poor. Women without a male family member will have to turn to begging. It’s horrible.

    (Because I can go on and on) I think the reason the widow “hates women” is it is easier to grasp than the whole of the struggle. I once read that when a person is about to be in car crash, second before the impact, the person will do something perceived as helpful but not really, like grab a hold of the coffee cup to keep the coffee from spilling. This action is done because the persons mind CANNOT grasp the enormity of the situation so focuses on something smaller, something that can be controlled. Hating women might be easier than looking and understanding the whole of Iraq’s problems and then find a solution.

    Or I could be talking out of my ass because I’m blah today.

  7. Jane, I am so sorry you’re hurting about this. I think it’s one of the inevitable consequences of our culture’s freer contact with the Middle East. I think it’s important to realize that not all women choose suicide missions because they’re forced into it, or because they have no other options. You say, above: “Empowerment shouldn’t mean strapping on a bomb to get revenge or to join your brothers with Allah or atone for your sins.”- and yet, isn’t the whole point of empowerment to let women make their own decisions? If we really, really want to empower women, education is key, but even so- we have to allow for different, opposing, and sometimes even (in our eyes) *wrong* points of view. I teach middle eastern women almost every day- and every one of them are more than passionate about their faith. Am I empowering them? Yes- and praying with everything I’ve got that they choose other paths.

  8. Jane, you inspire me. I want so badly to help women. I always think of Afghanistan, and have a short post on this coming up soon. But at this point in my life I’m at such a loss what to do.
    Thank you for your exploration of this sobering issue.

  9. You are all the greatest bunch of women I have ever known. Thanks for the caring, information, and opinion on this emotionally charged (for me, anyway) issue. Your understanding and support is uplifting.

  10. CARE does excellent work.

  11. Your heart is gold. And I hope your goodness is contagious through the screen.

  12. The problem comes basically from religion or should I say extremist religions. Honor killings, burkhas, inequality, suppression, it takes it’s toll. When people have nothing to live for the value of life diminishes. Ironic when a male fundamentalist straps on the suicide belt he is promised his harem of virgins, when a woman straps hers on what is she promised? I certainly hope we as human beings can reconcile religion and humanity because fundamentalism is growing faster and faster.

  13. You know, I love telling people about the horrible things women inflicted on each other throughout the 5000 years of Chinese history. There were a LOT of astonishing, horrifying stories, esp. inside the palace. I used to believe that women are somehow intrinsically evil and manipulative, then I realized, you know what, in the oppressive patriarchal environment these women were thrown into, it truly was IF NOT YOU THEN IT’S ME.

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