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Recovering The Lost Paradise: Challenging Womanhood From Slavery In The Name Modernity, Feminism And Liberation

15 September 2012

By Abdul-Warees Solanke

Here is a confession: The view I am about canvassing here concerning womanhood belongs to the old school; it is of the past, archaic. It is conservative and traditional. It has been defeated in the past by modernity, since the industrial revolution. It is like returning to the era of ignorance, jahilliyyah in the language of the Arabs. Some will accuse me of slipping back into the Dark Age from the renaissance; many will pillory me for this slavery era thoughts. But I deserve to be heard first before a fatwa is invoked on me as a renegade of modernity.

We shall first look at the basics in this discourse:   the nature of the feminine folk; role conception of womanhood; status of women; feminism and the feminist movement; women empowerment and liberation, women segregation, and denaturing and oppression of women. In all these themes, I want to raise the contention that women have become masculinised and that our society is losing the values and virtues of womanhood. Stretching further my argument, I want to conclude that the collapse of the social or moral order is as a result of the compromise of womanhood and the dearth of parenting, in which the woman as the mother is the first and real factor of human development. I want to posit that the collapse of the family is  brought about by the misguided idea of women liberation. So, accept my parochialism.

 Accept my blindness, because, there are also many who have sight or eyes but cannot see. There are millions whose eye sights are blurred, even when they have their one -inch thick lenses on. There are many, who while looking right, are actually looking the left. There are thousands whose eyes are only useful in the night and not in the daytime. Numerous have tunnel vision, very narrow one way sight and not broad view; more suffer from myopia, also blinded by cataract, uncountable are victims of long-sightedness or short-sightedness, needing visual aid all the time to correct their distorted sights. Almost every one now uses correcting lenses or some recommended glasses to see clearly in the day or in the night. In these, we all have one eye defect or the other and so are subjective or limited in our perception of what is ideal and what prevails. Only our creator has perfect sight, as the All-seeing, who suffers no sight ailment, because He is the Perfect Most Excellent master who creates and restores. We pray he cures all of us from our visual deficiency.

Now there is a saying that paradise lies at the feet of mothers. I will not take paradise from the spiritual angle however. I will take it from the aesthetic and physical perspective. Paradise denotes beauty. It denotes calmness, where you can luxuriate, surrounded by flowers, inviting fruits, lush green and well manicured lawns. It is an expansive garden with many orchards beneath under which rivers flow, singing rivers. You have a clear view of the sky and the horizon in it; the breeze is cool; its scents sweet. Get a copy of the Watchtower magazine, or its sister Awake published by the Jehovah Witnesses who are ever willing to share you the romantic stories of paradise, and you will want to replicate what you see on the pages somewhere if you inherit a swath of verdant land. In the bible, it is called the Garden of Eden. In the Qur'an, it is called Al-Jannah, which has many grades, the highest of which is Firdaus. Oh, let me stop the description here or I become a preacher of the word, which modernists run away from.

 If such a beautiful garden is at the feet of mothers, WOMEN really, it means they must be very good managers, well trained in the management of facilities, with eyes for details and perfection, uncompromising on environmental sanity and sustainability. They should be conservationists, well trained to preserve nature. As the perfect facility managers therefore, they will brooch no nonsense on the use of the garden ensuring that only those who can keep to the rules of responsible use of the garden can enter it. Your entrance into the garden is at the discretion of the facility manager.

But if the facility manager himself lacks or loses his managerial acumen or is wrongly trained to manage the facility or that he is distracted by some other things, all sorts of beings will gain entry: agberos, area boys, the deranged and the insane, the elewe omos, the alagbos  and  the herbalist aafas searching for herbs;  the firewood gatherers soon take over the garden already turning into a bush. They will compromise the environment and the peace in the once beautiful and scenic garden; the herdsmen with their  rampaging,  hungry, riotous cattle will also smash through portions of the weak fence to graze in the garden now overgrown with wild weeds and useless shrubs  What is to be done? Sack the manager for negligence?. Find another? 

 Unfortunately, women as facility managers in raising responsible children and managing the home will always remain one specie. You cannot get another. It is that same specie that you must re-orient, bring back to its original function and assignment and manage to manage the garden of the family and parenting. If you bring another specie not suited to the role of the facility manager, you will have the same result of negligence.

All these analogies (are they necessary? Permit my indulgence) is to tell all how important is the woman role in the sanity of the society and raising responsible future leaders and  that in the wave of feminism and equal rights movement, women liberation and other modernist ideas that encourage women to desert their pristine role of motherhood and mentoring, the garden of paradise  in parenting is now crowded by all manners of creatures: the scorpions with their poison; the lions and  the leopards with their long, sharp claws; the dangerous snakes; the hawks and the deadly hunters hunting for bush meat have become the occupants of the once verdant garden that is now a forest of one thousand demons. Can the dark forest become the sweet paradise again?

It is sad that in the permissiveness of modernity today, its warped thoughts and ideas are denaturing women, just as they are being deflowered unripe through the knowledge, tools and products of this so-called modern civilization. Not that I hate modernity and its bye-products, my argument is that modernity must bring the enlightenment that will enhance our civility, and not compromise our humanity. Many of the modern ideas are only turning men and women from the best of conduct to the beast of nature. With modernization, many lose sense of shame, worse than animals copulating in the open. Many abdicate parenting to the screen and some senseless surrogates and maids.

Worst hit is the woman which modernity has turned to a tool of sales promotion and object of entertainment. The woman is now the best show piece when Mirinda is to be marketed; the woman is on display when KFC is to enter a local market; her hot legs and slender arms invite to the show room of the latest benz, bmw or volvo; her snow-white teeth with wide smile keeps the banquet guests glued to their seats; her courteous greetings welcome the tired travellers at the entrance of seven-star hotels and on board flights as hostesses and cabin crew members.

But her children are in the hands of some nannies that pump them with valium to keep them asleep while mummy is away on duty. Her innocent teenage daughter is in the arms of some devils deflowering her as madam has no time to guide or groom her to a responsible adult. Her 20 year old son is at some joint, club, casino or gaming centre wasting precious time since mummy has no meaning in his life to mentor him. Now, the misguided and the unguided on air and in print are parenting on her behalf. Who should we blame? It is the world that removed the skirt and the wrapper from today's woman and forced her into tight trousers and jeans to box and fight like an agbero in the motor park while hassling for daily bread or to roar like a lion over every  little thing because she must assert and affirm herself as a strong woman. She is now so strong that a man makes no meaning in her life as a marital mate.

The thoughts and ideas that motherhood and parenting is unviable is what pushed the woman into the labour market. The woman as the perfect facility manager of the past era is mostly today an incompetent mother whose children are left at the mercy some scorpions and snakes, lions and leopards to devour. So, the paradise is lost as women lose the virtues of motherhood through feminist ideas and women liberation thoughts.

How we regain this lost paradise is a challenge for all who are concerned about the future and the successor generation. Our children will be saved from the monsters of the modern world when women return to the gates of paradise as responsible mothers and managers of the beautiful facility of Al-jannah. Again, paradise lies at the feet of mothers. Our children deserve the good life which only real mothers and not absent or part time mothers afford. Let us save our children. Let us save our homes. Let us save the family.  Let us save the society by retrieving womanhood from slavery in the name modernity, feminism and liberation.

AbdulWarees Solanke, Head, Voice of Nigeria Training Centre (Transmitting Station, ikorodu), Lagos, studied Mass Communication at the University of Lagos and Public Policy at the Universiti Brunei Darusslam and writes viakorewarith@yahoo.com , korewarith@voiceofnigeria.org

 

  EsinIslam.Com

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