Dear Kim Kardashian,

March 9, 2016 § Leave a comment

 

When I first saw you trending on twitter, out of curiosity I clicked and I saw that you had posted a naked picture and people were discussing about it. For several minutes I regretted even clicking on the topic. I also read your post this morning about slut- shamming and I was compelled to write a response. I just want to try and attempt to explain why I think your naked selfies or your brand in general is not the way forward for women especially young girls.

Let me begin by saying you are a brilliant business woman; the problem I have with your brand is that you have built an empire by feeding in the insecurities of women. I am in my 30s and very confident of the woman that I have grown into, but there are millions of young girls looking out for role models to help them become better women and also to empower them. I have to admit that I do not follow you on social media and yesterday I scrolled through your Instagram account. I should say they were gorgeous but I also realised that you have gone on to make millions by reinforcing the insecurities experienced by women every day: Diet pills; lip-plumping gloss; waist training; slimming dresses.

Yesterday when you took to twitter to unleash comments about Chloë Grace Moretz without understanding that she did not slut shame you and instead you asked if anyone knew who she was. Let me explain, we all know who is she. Chloe started acting when she was seven years old, she has won more than 20 awards and has been nominated for more than 15 awards and she is 19yrs old. You need not have dragged a 19yr old girl without understanding the context in which she was expressing her views.

I should acknowledge that you are an intelligent marketer, or at-least surrounded by those who know the trade. But kindly do not interpret nude photographs as empowerment. I have to agree that not all nude photographs are same. For example, in 2014 Actress Keira Knightley posed topless for Interview Magazine and she did so in protest of photoshopping. There was a strong reason behind that and also to send out a larger message that it is unethical to alter a woman’s image to make it appear ‘perfect’. “I’ve had my body manipulated so many different times for so many different reasons, whether it’s paparazzi photographers or for film posters,” Knightley expressed . “That shoot was one of the ones where I said: ‘Ok, I’m fine doing the topless shot so long as you don’t make them any bigger or retouch.’ Because it does feel important to say it really doesn’t matter what shape you are.” This is where I feel that difference is, a nude photo taken to spread a strong ethical message vs a nude photo taken in the name of empowerment/liberation. Even when Lena posed nude there was a strong message behind it and it was not just a nude photo with a caption that made little sense.

The main theme of your post today was ‘slut-shamming’, let me refresh your memory or maybe quote something that your husband posted sometime back about Amber Rose, “4th you let a stripper trap you,” “5th I know you mad every time you look at your child that this girl got you for 18 years”. Where was your stand on Slut-shamming then? Why did you not stand up and tell your husband to stop slut-shamming another woman? He not only dragged her but also her son and you had nothing to say about it? Another example, your husband recently released a song that has the following lyrics, “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex/ Why? I made that bitch famous” and he went on to tweet you did not have a problem with his lyrics. How is that when your husband goes on bullying and slut-shamming women you don’t seem to bring this up but use the card as and when it suits you? You are asking us to move past the fact that you got famous because of a sex tape but your husband can still continue to call someone a stripper? I don’t say that you need to be accountable for what Kanye says but don’t you think if you are finding it so insulting and unfair for being slut-shammed but when your own family is doing it to someone else you don’t say a word?

Kindly understand that a lot of us are frustrated because day in and out we are being bombarded by nude/photoshopped/ edited images with so many justifications and yet there is very little done towards actual change. Why is it that women with powerful influence and voice like yours are not raising real issues that women like me struggle in our day today lives such as equal pay, domestic violence, sexual harassment, race, reproductive rights? These are the issues that will bring about empowerment and change. Sadly, nude pictures which are photoshopped, edited and captioned with empowering texts do very little towards change.

 

 

 

2016!!!!!!

January 2, 2016 § Leave a comment

1

I have been living away from my family for the past 7 years and spending New Years with friends is not new. However, this year I chose to spend quality time with myself and just think about the year that passed by and every impressionable memory. As human beings all of us build walls or draw boundaries around us which in many ways protect us from certain harm or experience. In the past year I had made a conscious decision to let people in and trust them even if I had known them for a short period. Sometimes that proved to be an enjoyable experience but most often it turned out to be a nightmare. For those who know me will be aware of the fact that this past year has been a challenging one in terms of both professionally and personally.

I relocated to a new country and had to learn to practice my profession to suit their context. Lemme elaborate a little more on this for those who may not know. I work as a Social Worker and also in Human Rights/ Women empowerment and advocacy related activities.  Moving to a different country in many professions maybe not be as challenging as it can be for a social worker. I had to understand the country and its people from their cultural, religious and economic perspective. I had to learn this as soon as possible and to be fair my work place has provided me that platform to grow and learn. I have fallen in love with my job and I truly enjoy the work that I do. This has been a learning and an adventure. Along the way I met amazing people and especially two women (L & S) with whom I have become good friends. All three of us are extremely different and every time we order drinks we wonder how we became friends. I love a good glass of Red Wine and the other two like Beer and Vodka. I love delicate pendants, Taylor Swift and lace/glitter and L likes Gothic/bohemian stuff and tattoos. I always felt S is the link between us, she is the balance that keeps us neutral. But weirdly they both don’t like Star Wars (Yes!! I know!! Shocking right?) and both support Liverpool..UGH!!! But one thing we all have in common is that we dislike the same people:) Well to be fair we do have a lot more in common. I still remember sobbing on my way back home when it was the last day for L as she was moving on in a different direction. I usually never get close to people but 2015 was the year I let people in so it hurt. But good thing is I knew we would meet her and also we pretty much chat every day. Two days back we had dinner and she kept distracting me by inhaling truffle fries that was being served to the table next to us ( I know what you are thinking and YES, she actually did the whole innnhaaalllee exxhallle exercise every time the waiter passed our table with a tray of fries but she did not want to order one). Then we had ice-cream and on our way back we starred at the same woman because she was wearing a beautiful skirt and top..Okay, someday I will talk about these stories..

Now back to my life!

Personally, relocating to another country meant I had to let new people in and spend another couple of years away from those who love me but I knew this was something I wanted to explore and learn. Sometimes past relationships make us stronger and more determined but for me my past relationship had left me cautious and guarded. My trust level is not always the best but it is something I have been working on for many years and I was willing to take the risk and let new people and experiences in. Along the way I also learnt that sometimes being open does not necessarily mean letting everyone in. I also learnt that sometimes those you meet for a few hours end up being more trustworthy than someone who have known for years. The past year is significant in many ways, I learnt valuable lessons for life some the happy way and some the hard way. One of my biggest challenges was to maintain my close friendship with my best friends in London and I can proudly say that we have not drifted apart rather become closer. I also learnt that being a good friend doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing to everything someone asks of you and convince yourself that is what friends do and cause irreversible harm and danger to self. But at every point I had a strong group of people to lean on and trust. 

Overall I would say 2015 has been a bitter sweet journey, old wounds healed and scars disappeared but new ones appeared!! Now I wonder what is in store for 2016, I feel excited but also nervous like a child entering school for the first time not knowing what lies ahead but always knowing that loved ones are just a step behind cheering you on. Recently I have started listening to a lot of music especially since my morning commute is around 45 mins. Couple of days back I listened to a song by Mary J Blige called ‘Doubt’. As I listened to the lyrics it struck a cord and would like to share a few lines.

“I made it to the end
I nearly paid the cost
I lost a lot of friends
I sacrificed a lot
I’d do it all again
‘Cause I made it to the top
But I can’t keep doubting myself anymore

You think you know
But you don’t know the half
You think you beat me down
But I’ll have the last laugh
I’ll keep getting up
‘Cause that’s what I’m gonna do yea
I’m gonna be the best me”

I was deeply affected by these lyrics, in no way have I made it to the top or even come half way in fulfilling my ambitions but I do know that I am on the right track. The lyrics brought back a lot of memories of my journey till date. So many rooted for me to fall down and fail in life, but every time with the help of a very few I walked through rough paths and testing times. There were days when I just wanted to give up and go back home but the very thought of giving up made me sick and I never wanted to prove anything to anyone but I wanted to prove to myself because I am my biggest motivator and also doubter. In the lyrics the singer probably is referring to an external factor/person but for me I always felt that external factors and people affect me but not to the extent of my own fears and doubts. I am aware that my biggest challenge is overcoming self doubt and the fear of being average. I am working on making those two challenges not hinder me but rather motivate me and so far it is working well. Mistakes are bound to happen and I will fall down but I firmly believe that I will rise up and continue my journey as I have done numerous times in the past. 

So am I excited for this year? YES YES!! Oh one more thing I am a little superstitious and so I may not reveal all my plans but I have brilliant plans in store. I have set short term goals professionally and personally and the very thought of my journey is exciting. This year I will surround myself with those who motivate me and also be a positive influence. 2015 is over and so are the memories but I will always remember the laughter, scars, wounds and experience because that is what makes me who I am today!! So,thank you to everyone and heartfelt apologies to those that I may have hurt along the way! This is my year of moving forward and choosing to be happy and positive and be the best version of me.

“When you are thrown onto the ground,
you have to get back up, for no one can live your life but you,or stop you from getting what you want.

The love, The will, The strength, The fight is what keeps you alive.”

Give us FREEDOM not FEARDOM!!

August 26, 2013 § 2 Comments

It’s been almost 3 years since I left India but even today when I read the atrocities committed against women back home creates a sense of insecurity and fear even though I live thousands of miles away. I believe that every girl born in India will definitely have a story – a story of a man stalking, starring, masturbating, groping, rape and death. A few days back I got a text from a friend asking if I had read about the 23 yr old photographer who was raped in Mumbai and my reaction to it. My thoughts immediately shifted to the day when I read Nirbhaya’s news. That day I was engulfed in anger and frustration, I was happy to see the protests and the attention the story was getting among the press- every paper I read online, twitter , Facebook was buzzing with this story and the need to change laws. That day I truly believed that a change is going to take place that the anger is definitely going to yield results. But here we are months later facing similar questions and experiencing the same emotions but today I’m not angry I feel helpless like the millions in my country.

I was raised in a family that believes in the system; from a very young age I believed that the government in my country is there to protect its people. I was named ‘Priyadarshini’ by my dad because he believed that women like ‘Indira Gandhi’ change the world. He is a believer in empowering women. Today I sit in my couch flipping through pages of reports and articles of how India is one of the most dangerous countries to live and a sense of fear is taking over me.

From a young age I was the daring one in the family. My two sisters are known to be calm and cautious women. I was someone who grabbed life by the scruff of its neck; I was studying in 8th grade when I experienced my first dose of what lay ahead in life. I was travelling from school back home on a government bus which was extremely crowded. In a crowded bus people are usually standing very close to each other and that day a man was standing so close to be that at one point I realized what he was attempting to do. I’m someone who usually doesn’t take **** from anyone for whatever reason. I also knew that if I’m going to ask someone to help me chances are I might be questioned if I provoked the man to behave that way. Without hesitation I reached out to my bag and took out a safety pin (irony in the name) and without hesitation I inserted into the man’s thigh. Today if I think about it I don’t know if what I did was right or wrong but that day it definitely saved me. Since then I look at anyone standing close to me in public with a sense of fear. It might be an insignificant incident but it has definitely had an effect on me. I still remember being glued to my television when the Jessica Lal case was unfolding and today the same way I’m watching this young girl’s horrific experience.

On Friday I was watching the news and I heard an MP say that we need to let people take the law in their hands and another MP comparing India with Saudi Arabia. Even though I’m extremely disappointed with the laws in my country I would never compare it to Saudi Arabia nor would I urge public to take law into their own hands. Is this what our nation has become into? The Home Minister of the State says that women journalists need extra protection. We don’t need your paternalism; we need the freedom we deserve. We have today become a society that says ‘Oh thank God the guy just brushed against you, it could have been worse’. How have we come to this state where a guy touching or stalking is OK! What does the future hold? Are we then at some point going to say‘ Oh it’s good that it just ended with rape, you could be killed’. I fear for how as a society we have become desensitized and de – value the crime committed.

Another prominent New Channel tweeted an Interactive graph on the most unsafe cities in India. ‘Statistics from National Crime Records Bureau’s Crime in India 2012 report plotted on a graph to highlight which Indian cities have the highest rate of reported crime against women’ (http://ibnlive.in.com/news/interactive-graph-the-most-unsafe-cities-for-women-in-india/417366-53.html)
My only issue with this data is that this is based on the ‘rate of reported crimes’. Our ineffective system has resulted in women losing faith in the process mainly due to the manner in which they are treated during the inquiry and the delay in the punishment of the guilty. Thousands of cases are not reported. I was also reading that the men accused in this particular Mumbai rape crime have previously indulged in raping rag pickers and the crime was not reported. I’m not sure if even the women wanted to report the case would have been taken seriously nor given similar attention. We are failing as a system. Today there are vigils, non-sop new coverage and protests but how long is this going to go on? Are we going to be a nation with very short term memory or are we going to stay together until there is change in the system? All of us forgot what happened a few months to Nirbhaya and went on with our lives until this Mumbai case came along and jolted us.

I have studied Human Rights and I have always wanted to come back to India and work for issues relating to women but today the fear that is so strong in me I’m petrified to go back. I do not know if I should go back to a country where women are merely looked upon as sexual objects, treated worse than animals? A country where nothing ever can happen without paying a bribe? A country where the poor get poorer and the rich get richer? A country where without political power change can never happen? Right now it might look as if change can never happen but I believe that it will. My desire to go back to my country has increased and I will not let the perpetrators win!

I believe that my country is capable of change and that nothing is greater that the power of people. I believe that just like how we fought for our freedom in 1947, today we need to fight for freedom for women at all levels. This cannot be achieved by just protests and anti-government statements rather in cleansing the system and putting in laws that will create a sense of fear and responsibility among every citizen. We need to fight as a society to bring justice to the women who have been through this and not just the women but spare a thought for the men who have suffered alongside the women during these situations; they need us to fight for them. Justice delayed is justice Denied. My heart still longs for the day I will be able to walk without fear in my beautiful country and that is the day I will believe that India has truly attained Freedom.

What about the younger group?

March 3, 2013 § 1 Comment

STOP domestic abuse

A few days back the UK government’s definition of domestic abuse is being extended in March, to cover 16 and 17-year-olds. As much as this new change is welcomed I cannot help but think what about the younger group? How are we going to protect them?

The incident of Kelsey Shaw is fresh in my memory. A young girl who went into a relationship just like the many of us do, with expectations and the love to live the ‘happily ever after’ life. To the many who do not know the short lived painful life of this beautiful girl , here is a recap.

Kalsey was a beautiful girl who had dreams, wants and wishes just like every 12yr old. She met Callum Willcocks who was 14 and started her dating life. In the words of Willcocks during his trial ‘When it was good it was brilliant, but when it was bad it was absolutely terrible,’. Kelsey and Willcocks had a baby together when she was 14yrs old ( 2008). Willcocks had dropped out of school had no career and had a string of drug charges on his name. After serving 3 years detention by 2010 he was back in her life and this time it proved to be even more difficult. It was revealed that Willcocks was engulfed with rage and overwhelming suspicion. Kalsey was said to be dating another man the very thought of her being with another man drove willcocks crazy and many a times he tried to commit suicide.

On the April 28th 2010 the eve of Prince William and Catherine Middleton’s wedding , Willcocks and Kalsey were spending the evening at a friend’s house when an argument broke out and anger and rage engulfed Willcocks; ‘I was filling up with anger and I couldn’t hold it any more,’ he told the court. He strangled Kalsey until she lost her consciousness and she died the following day at the hospital. A young girl lost her life , a baby girl has lost her mother and has to now live with the reality and the man responsible for this horrendous crime is serving his sentence. This is just one incident that we know of, there are numerous women going through what Kalsey experienced without knowing what to do.
Being subjected to domestic abuse at a very young age can bear a scar for the rest of one’s life if the girl escapes from the situation. What if she doesn’t? What about the hundreds of young girls in the same plight as kasley? Do we have a support system that is adequate and capable of helping these girls? What about the girls who are younger than 16?

National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline Numbers & Contact (http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/support/domestic_violence_usefulcontacts_index.shtml)

To talk to someone in confidence for support, information or an emergency referral to temporary accommodation, contact the free 24 hour National Domestic Violence Helpline.
Helpline: 0808 2000 247
Website: http://www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk/
National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)

A free, confidential service for anyone concerned about children at risk, including children themselves. The service offers counselling, information and advice.

Helpline: 0808 800 5000
Website: http://www.nspcc.org.uk
Northern Ireland Women’s Aid Domestic Violence Helpline

If you’re based in Northern Ireland and you need to talk to someone in confidence call the 24 hour helpline run by Women’s Aid, a voluntary organisation providing services for women and children in Northern Ireland.

Helpline: 0800 917 1414
Web: http://www.niwaf.org
Samaritans

Confidential support 24 hours a day for people who are experiencing distress or despair, and feelings that could lead to suicide.

UK and Northern Ireland helpline: 08457 90 90 90
Republic of Ireland helpline: 1850 60 90 90
Website: http://www.samaritans.org.uk
Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline

If you’re based in Scotland and you need to talk to someone in confidence call the 24 hour Domestic Abuse Helpline run by Scottish Women’s Aid, the lead organisation working towards the prevention of domestic abuse in Scotland.

Helpline: 0800 027 1234
Website: http://www.scottishwomensaid.org.uk
Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline

The national free support and information service for women, children and men in Wales who are experiencing or who have experienced abuse at the hands of someone close to them. To talk to someone in confidence, call the 24 hour helpline.

Helpline: 0808 80 10 800
Website: http://www.wdah.org

Useful Links:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2073217/Callum-Wilcocks-jailed-strangling-Kelsey-Shaw-confessed-affair.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/21620080

SAVE MV Albedo

October 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

Time is running out for a Dubai resident being held hostage by Somali pirates. Captain Jawaid Salim, who is originally from Pakistan, is onboard the MV Albedo along with 23 of his crew members. The vessel had left for Kenya from Jebel Ali and bound for Mombassa and was attacked by pirates on November 26th, west of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean.
They are all being held to ransom and negotiation efforts over the last ten months have failed.
Now Captain Salim’s daughter, Nareman Jawaid, is pleading for help and ARN’s Shiona McCallum caught up with her earlier:

Account info on how to donate:
Bank Name: NIB
Account Name: Shahnaz Jawaid & Neelam Mujtaba
Account no: 10052-10653622
Swift Code: NIBPPKKA

**note: you will not be charged for transfering the donation by NIB Bank.
Overseas donors CANNOT TRANSFER MONEY DIRECTLY ONLINE to Pakistan (or any other country as a matter of fact). You will have to go your bank to transfer it. As for those who have done so online, your money has not been sent.
NOTE: All Overseas donors CANNOT TRANSFER MONEY DIRECTLY ONLINE to Pakistan (or any other country as a matter of fact). You will have to go your bank to transfer it. As for those who have done so online, your money has not been sent.

Overseas donors can ALSO remit their Donations through “WESTERN UNION”. You can visit any local Western Union office. They have an account with NIB Bank so it can be very easy to send the donation via WU.

A daughter’s plea- Release MV Albedo and its crew

October 11, 2011 § 11 Comments

A father is someone who
holds your hand at the fair
makes sure you do what your mother says
holds back your hair when you are sick
brushes that hair when it is tangled because mother is too busy
lets you eat ice cream for breakfast
but only when mother is away
he walks you down the aisle
and tells you everything’s gonna be ok

mishal and her father

( Pic: Mishal and her father)

It was a quiet evening when I was sipping my evening tea and glancing through Vogue when the phone rang. For some reason I was hesitant to answer the phone since I had a strange feeling that something was wrong. I heard my sister’s voice on the other side trying to sound normal and calm. The first question I asked her was if my father was alright. You can call it instinct but I knew that he was not doing well. She then told me that he had a heart attack and is taken in for surgery. After I spoke to her for a few minutes I couldn’t feel my heart beating. I was completely numb and then I had an awful sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach and I could feel my lungs running out of oxygen. I knew that he was going to be fine but the very thought of losing a father can shatter even the strongest of heart. This was the same feeling I experienced when my friend Mishal Jawaid called and told me that her father’s ship MV Albedo had been hijacked by the pirates. What I went through is insignificant when compared to the ordeal the Jawaid family is experiencing.

(pic: Mishal and her father)

Mishal and I are classmates and most importantly friends.We have known each other for a few months and many found it surprising that Mishal being a Pakistani and me an Indian got along well. Its the differences that brought closer.We argued about cricket but had the similar opinion on politics and laws.We also attended the Royal Wedding together. But today it hurts me to know that she and her family are going through this agony and every time I talk to her I think of what she might be thinking and experiencing. Is she eating? Sleeping? I spoke to her yesterday and as a friend I tried to be strong for her but deep down inside I know that she might be experiencing the same fear of loss I once felt. I cannot help but wonder what is it that is keeping them strong at this hour? But the bigger question on my mind is why is this atrocious crime being ignored? Why is the International community not taking action? Why is the media so reluctant to cover these incidents?

This incident happened on November 26th 2010 and it is only now that after the efforts of the families of abductees is now aired on television and written about. The families have experienced painful uncertainty as the ransom asked for the release is impossible to collect. As each day passes the pirates are growing stronger, bolder and more demanding and nothing is been done by the Government to stop such atrocious crimes.
According to the International Maritime Bureau the pirates have killed 15 captives. Even today (11.10.2011) have hijacked an Italian ship – MV Montecrisdo with 23 crew members, including 10 Indians, on-board. The daunting question about why the International Community is not responding to this is extremely worrying. The only long-term solution to Somali piracy is ‘political securitisation’. The Government and other agencies have to design strategies to employ socioeconomic measures poverty alleviation, education, good governance in-order to deal with piracy. The only effective and sustainable development would be the education, employment opportunities, law and order, equal human rights and development in their quality of living.

On June 14, 2011 the Somalia Pirates released the captives of MV Suez. The release was not because the government intervened but it was because of one man Dr. Ansar Burney, a Pakistani Human Rights Activist. The release came after total ransom amount of $2.1 million was settled. The sailors said that Dr. Ansar Burney was their ‘God and Samaritan’. How long are we going to depend on activists when it is the duty of the Government to safe guard its citizens? Are we in a world where the voiceless continue to be silent or are we going to demand to be heard?

The Jawaid family is looking up to relatives, friends and even strangers to help them be heard. Each one of us should realize that tomorrow it could be someone we love who would be in a similar position. We all know that change is not instant and it takes a lot of time, but helping the Jawaid family to be heard is definitely a step in the right direction. There are children waking up every morning yearning to talk to their father, wives who spend endless night pondering about what is happening to their husband, fathers and mothers praying for their son’s return. Are we going to be a bystander or are we going to do something about this?

Kindly flow the link below to donate to the release of MV Albedo. You can contact Mishal Jawaid on ‘Save MV Albedo, Save my father’s life (Capt. Jawaid)’ – FB page

https://www.facebook.com/notes/save-mv-albedo-save-my-fathers-life-capt-jawaid/the-10-month-ordeal-account-details-for-those-willing-to-end-the-misery-of-the-s/227649040624707 – copy paste the link for more information and articles.

The page has a detailed report of the incident and the donation procedure. Kindly be generous and help bring back so many loved ones and also create awareness on the need to bring piracy to end. Feel free to post the link of the blog on other social networking sites. It has taken this incident for me to realize the harsh reality of piracy and I believe that it is my responsibility to share this information with others. Your support is deeply appreciated.

I end this article with the hope and faith that Captain Jawaid Saleem and his team will return to their families.

Background info mentioned by Nareman Jawaid ( Daughter of Captain Jawaid Saleem Khan – MV Albedo):

My father is Captain Jawaid Saleem is Captain on MV Albedo. He is 63 years old and has spent 40 years of his life at sea. A man who had always been big built and muscular suddenly had started to show the signs of old age. He looked weak and tired with 4 decades of service on the high seas. As I bid him farewell before he set a sail on MV Albedo I noticed his wrinkly skin.. I felt sad. I told him he should retire now and he promised me that MV albedo would be his last voyage before his retirement and he will come home and spend his retirement age with his family. He smiled maybe with the thought of a life close to home, not having to live apart from his family. I knew he always regretted missing on seeing his kids grow up. Every time he would return home from a voyage, he found his daughters on a different stage of life. We hugged and said Goodbye but what happened next could never have been anticipated by us.

On 26th November 2010, my father ship ‘mv albedo’ was hijacked on the high seas of Somalia. The 23 crew members of various nationalities (Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Iranian, Sri lankan and Indian ) were taken hostage for ransom. You cant even begin to describe the horrors we have gone through for the past 10 and a half months.

At first when we got the news that my fathers ship had been hijacked there was silence for the first 15 days. For these 15 days we dint know if my father and his crew was alive, we dint know where they were being taken. We dint know which part of the sea they were in… we did know that no one could reach there and if something was to happen we will never know what happened. To live in the anticipation of news that could either completely destroy you or bring you back to life, has been by far the worse experience of my life. The level of anxiety is so profound that it transcends every form of physical pain. Finally after 15 days, we got the news that the ship has reached Somalia and the owner of the ship has received a call from the pirates with a 10 million dollar ransom demand. This finally brought us news that my father and the crew were alive. Obviously the owner refused to pay. Who would pay 10 million dollars for a ship worth nothing now?

As a negotiation tactic, the pirates cut off communication with the owner. For the next 3 months we made desperate attempts to find out the condition of the crew, if they were being fed , the treatment they were being subjected to. The numerous biographies of pirate hostages, the degrading and tormenting treatment depicted in these interviews and on top of that my vivid imagination left me nowhere. I thought my brain and heart , both, might burst. I stopped reading these articles and just decided to resort to pray to Allah for my father’s safe return. It’s one thing to see your flesh and blood suffer and be there for them, just far worse to know all the torturous things that are happening them and not even be able to be there for them.

When the pirates knew their threats and calls to the owner of the ship were failing, their next tool was emotional black mail. The placed their first call to my mother in Karachi. My mother lived in Karachi alone in the absence of my kidnapped father. My father had been further kidnapped from the ship and taken to a jungle where he was put on gun point while these pirates gave threat calls to my mother saying if the ransom won’t be paid up, they will shoot him. Obviously my mother became hysterical with no family member around at that moment to give her comfort. She told the pirates she will seek help , she will beg , do whatever, but ‘please don’t kill my husband’. Along this entire ordeal, constant efforts were being made by my mother on every level to obtain any possible help, be it from the government, NGOs , friends, family. She left no stone unturned but nothing came out of it.

A week later the pirates called my mother and informed her that they had shot my father. It was the end of the world for her. She then decided that she will not believe this news(except the ship owner) until it was verified by a 3rd source. She continued to pray to Allah that this was a lie. Once again for the next 3 months, there was no call, no communication, no stray of hope that those on this ship were alive.

At the end of the 3rd month, my mother received a call from the ship owner. News was that the crew were alive and if an offer was not made soon this time , they really would kill someone.

Upon my mothers desperate pursual, a kind man named Ahmed Chinoy (Head of Pakistan Citizens-Police Liaison Committee) decided to help us with the negotiation process. We begged the pirates to not harm anyone and negotiate with us on a reasonable basis and a solution that was acceptable and realistic for both parties. It has been four months since these talks have been ongoing. After 10 and a half months of guarding the ship , the pirates are now desperate to see their millions. We have been given a deadline to raise the ransom otherwise they will start shooting crew members.

The most recent information was received from reliable sources was this that the ship crew are in feeble physical state, due to lack of clean drinking water , extreme shortage of food and physical torment . They need to be rescued and cannot continue to survive in these living conditions. We have tried every possible way in the past 10 and a half months but the company has refused to pay ransom and no intervention has come from government authorities as far as ransom collection is concerned. As our last resort we are raising ransom through donations to release our loved ones.

Every day is a struggle without them and every second a prayer for their return. May you never experience what we are going through and God continue to keep your loved ones safe in front of your eyes.The pirates ransom demands are high and our means scarce. We are now convinced that if ransom is not raised the repercussions will be beyond our repair.As per the most recent news on the condition of the ship crew, the physical state of the crew is deteriorated drastically. There has been extreme shortage of water and food and some of the crew members are critically sick. No Medical care is given to the sick crew .

Chief Officer Mujtaba ( who is also on MV Albedo) has three daughters, ages being 7 , 6 and 4 years). They recently had a baby brother who is now 6 months old. Mujtaba is not even are that he has a son since he has not spoken to his family in the past 10 months. There are 22 other crew members on this ship who have children and wives at home longing for their return. There are young 20 year old cadets on the ship who’s parents are desperately hoping every minute to see their return. Little is worse than bringing up a child for 20 year and finding out his life is in the hands and whims of the most dangerous criminals of the world.

We need your help for the sake of humanity. We need funds and donations to offer the pirates some amount for release of the crew. Please help us. We need you. Below are the account details set up in the name of captain and chief officers wife who are campaigning in Pakistani through all available media sources for ransom collection. The governor himself has stepped forward and urged people to donate for this cause. Please , we need you.

Account Name: Shahnaz Jawaid & Neelam Mujtaba

Account no PKR: 10052-10653622

Account no for donation in DOLLARS ($ US ): 10052-10653789

Account no for donation in POUNDS (GBP ) :10052-10653808

Swift Code: NIBPPKKA

Branch Name: NIB BANK LTD. UNIVERSITY ROAD BRANCH- KARACHI. PAKISTAN

Nareman Jawaid ( Daughter of Captain Jawaid Saleem Khan – MV Albedo)

Karachi – Pakistan

July 1, 2011 § 2 Comments

”People say that the purpose of a relationship is not to have someone who might complete you but to
have someone with whom u might share your incompleteness”

Most often we spend so much time planning details on how our life should turn out to be. I’m obsessed when it comes to ‘planning and order’ . I have this need to decide everything before hand, plan every step and I should be in control of everything that happens in my life. This is the beauty of life when we least expect something so wonderful happens that you no longer want to have control over everything. I’m sure a lot of us go through terrible relationships that shatter us and then we come to a decision that ‘this is it’. No more relationships and we start enjoying the single status. A friend of mine called a few days back and told me that something wonderful had happened to her. She was one such person who had written off relationships. I was definitely skeptical but as a friend I was obliged to listen to her. There were times when i thought she was completely crazy. We have been friends for many years and she is a lot like me. Obsessed when it comes to planning and having things under control and this made it even harder for me to understand what possibly could have changed her mind so quickly.

My head was spinning and i was trying to make sense of what she was saying. At the end of it all I understood was that she was head over heels in love with someone. He loved her too but the obstacles they have to meet is mind-boggling. In India if two people are in love they just cannot get married,there are million things that come into play.I asked her if she even thought about all this and she says that they will fight through it. As a friend I couldn’t be happier.

I came home and I wondered that a few months back it was love that broke her spirit and sucked the hope and courage she had and today it is love that has made her smile again and has restored hope.

Do we need to succeed in a relationship to have faith in love?