Low-Hanging Fahashi

Sando, Say What? Pt. 2

Weekly Chokus Bureau Chief: Sando Sapanwalla

I OFTEN fret our beloved Kaptan takes his moniker far too seriously.

With every speech and TV interview, he reminds me of a teenage Shahid Afridi raring to smoke the very first ball of a test match out the stadium.

And without fail, such needless verve leads to new gaffes that leave our jaws hanging.

He recently alleged the alarming rise in sex crimes squared with the “fahashi” (vulgarity) rampant in local drama.

I use “alleged” as most cases of carnal abuse go unreported in Pakistan, and thus official statistics on rape and pedophilia are poorer than our passport’s worth.

This may be hard for Kaptan and his holy djinn to process, but a rise or fall in any statistic implies a reliable baseline. Whither that?

But okay, I’ll buy the broad thrust of his argument. Mass media for sure carries a potent “cultivation effect” that governments have used to sell unpopular policies or subtly nudge social attitudes since the early days of radio.

So, sure, sexualizing women on the idiot box could to a degree inspire would-be rapists and child molesters.

What vexes me is his impulse to proclaim false causality in serving his personal narrative. How sneaky and undemocratic. He claims “obscenity” in Bollywood movies turned New Delhi into the “rape capital of the world.”

Hmm, but why not the industry’s mecca, Mumbai?

Hell, why not Hollywood or Las Vegas? They shoot half the porn floating about the internet in those cities. Why not Amsterdam, Kaptan? The city with the celebrated red-light district.

I pray you sense the shockingly specious nature of your statement.

Since I try not to shoot my mouth off without a faint contrail of facts, I refer you to a sweeping study published last year by the National Geographic titled “the best and worst countries to be a woman.”

At once I noticed a stark contrast between the top and bottom twenty countries. Developed nations by a landslide comprised the highfliers in this study; prosperous, secular democracies where cohabitation and casual intercourse are common.

And who else should languish in the basement but the so-called developing nations with strict notions of familial honor, i.e. Pakistan, Afghanistan and half of Africa.

Double hmm.

Now, I’m just a simple snake charmer, yet there’s a sturdier association between national wealth and sex crimes than mere “fahashi.” And if you mull it over, this status quo makes complete sense.

Many of the bottom-feeders are elementally tribal societies where loyalty to the communal chieftain is second only to their abiding (when convenient) allegiance to God.

In these societies, literacy rates and female participation in the labor force are pitiful. Misogyny is pervasive and legal systems, farcical. They’re intolerant to ideas of female emancipation, quick to slut-shame and mansplain, and overall treat women as an inferior species.

Ah, Kaptan, sexual violence is not Ian Botham. You can’t send its stumps flying with an in-swinging yorker and cinch the game. Neither can you deselect local drama from your team and emerge stronger.

If this cancer truly concerns you, then roll up your sleeves and plan for the long haul. Solve the problem, don’t stomp on low-hanging fruit. You’re better than that, I hope.

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