Unbearable Ideas that MUST be Changed, part 1 .
Traditions, customes and ways of thinking in Algeria vary from one place to another. This largest country in Africa holds between its ribs about 80 percent Arab and 20 percent Berber who are divided into four tribes, the Kabyles, the Chouias, the M'zabites and the Tuaregs. Less than 1 percent are Europeans. Moreover, 99 percent of the Algerian people are Sunni Muslim, and only 1 percent are Jews and Christians. When we move from one city to another, we would certainly find huge differences in weddings, dressing, and even in kinds of dishes. Particularly, each specific area believes in certain ideologies and ideas that are commonly shared by most people in that society. People who live in the North, in which most of the population of the country resides, for instance, are thought to be open minded and, may be, more influenced by westerners. While we the people of the Middle are living a special life that is, perhaps, not lived by other people who inhabit any other area of Algeria.
I would like to start talking about a certain kind of men , who I am sure that we have very little percentage of in the Algerian society, who are trying to draw a world that is closely similar to that of the period of Ignorance. At that era, men felt ashamed, offended and embarrassed for having baby girls, so the time they made sure that the new coming baby is a girl, they would be put in front of two choices: either leave it alive and feel the bitterness of mortification inside their society, or immediately kill that innocent small baby .This was the way women were treated at that time, not only for the Arabs of the Ignorance period only, but women were also treated so badly in the Roman and Persian empires. Then, a sun shone and a deep end was put to such cruel, violent and brutal acts by the coming of the last prophet Mohamed, peace be upon him, who came with powerful holy words, the Quran, through which God strongly forbids the killing of babies for any given reason. Unfortunately, some men - I sometimes feel that they descend from the same families who lived at that era - still exist at this modern, literate and educated age where people, supposedly, have read and understood every single word mentioned in the Quran concerning such topics. Or at least, they are logical in judging such things. Now, they cannot kill baby girls; however, I can say, do not like having daughters, only sons. When I was writing this article, my mother told me about the story of a man living in a place near our city, who left his wife in the hospital when the nurses told him that he received a baby girl. He refused taking her back home because he did not accept the idea of having a daughter, but later on her family did. I was really shocked and stunned. Honestly, I could say nothing but portray what is truly happening in our society. For a while, I hoped that I could ask one of those very few men about the reasons behind their passion or favoritism for boys and not girls. According to a study in 2014, made by the World Bank, the percentage of females in Algeria was measured at 49.48%.
I read once that "Leadership is something innate in all women, something not to be learnt, but to be remembered", so I tried to look deeper at the Algerian society to see whether this whole leadership thing exists or not. At that moment, I found that young generations, mainly women, are still tied by manacles of culture and, for me, by backward thinking. Gender stereotypes such as girls should not be in the limelight, and women are not leaders but followers, prevent thousands of women in our society from participating in public life. They are really afraid of what people might think of them, and so scared that they might be rejected by that ultra-conservative society. I personally was forcefully obliged to choose studying in the Teacher Education Institute, and be a teacher, rather than being what I truly want: to be a journalist. My family did not even negotiate or think of that idea but preferred to tell me directly, "Forget that idea!" For me, they have got that specific perspective from our society and are definitely affected by the common beliefs that most people, if not all, blindly follow.
I grew up in a family that favors educated girls, and who think that education is a sacred thing, but they, as most people in my society, don't tend to easily accept new ideas that becoming a journalist, for them, equals going beyond the limits and thus breaking one of those holy principles shared by all people in society. Therefore, they found that taking the responsibility of that noble mission, teaching, is the right choice for me. Interestingly, the last statistics in 2014, according to the National Algerian Office for Statistics, has shown that only 15.1% of women work outside the home; most of these jobs are teaching, nursing and some administrative jobs.
"Man's decision can never be broken", an expression that should be well understood and memorized by all members of our society in an early age. Both girls and boys, in some families, still live an already designed life by either their parents, mainly fathers, or their brothers. I know some families in my city who usually convince their siblings that girls' right place is at home, raising a family. Accordingly, when a girl is fifteen or sixteen, her family have either already selected the right husband for her - may be one of her relatives. When a girl is born, her large family usually make the last decision concerning her future personal life. "Y will be X's wife," they often say. Even men in some families are forced to get married to girls, commonly their cousins, whom generally they do not love. I have always been wondering, "Do not those decision makers put in their minds their children's HAPPINESS?" Four years ago, my friend's brother was harshly pushed to accept getting married to his cousin, even though his family knew that he had a girlfriend to die for. At last, that poor unlucky man agreed to get married to his cousin, in order to satisfy his parents, and now he and his wife are suffering since the main keys of happiness are absent, both acceptance and LOVE.
Girls, in some families, are usually obliged to be gently obedient and kindly silent for some already taken decisions, like choosing the field that they are going to specialize in because if a girl strongly says, ''NO" and be against such decisions, she would end up washing the dishes, cooking in the kitchen and sitting in the corners of their home watching TV or maybe getting married with someone she does not like. This would be if the groom is found; if not, she would continue going through the same routine every day. So following rules is sometimes beneficial!
Here, in my city, most men strongly believe that women should not go outside, especially housewives, so the only places they may visit are the doctors' clinics when they get sick or their relatives' homes whenever there is an occasion. They consider women as robots that are made only for cleaning, washing, and cooking; however; they have forgotten that women are not cold stones, but HUMAN BEINGS who feel, want, love and hate things.
There are a lot of people, here, who would have no doubt about a man's manliness if he stops his daughters' studying, or prevents his wife from going shopping. My uncle, for example, seven years ago, stopped his daughter's studying for no reason, even though she was a brilliant student and got high marks. Now, she is married and has two daughters, but she really wishes that she had been given the chance to study and get high degrees. Therefore, in every home, we find three or four men: the father and his sons who are well trained in a very early age to be that unique kind of men who control their sisters, wives and daughters, and oblige them to follow rules, saying, "Do this; do not do that," and "wear this kind of clothes, not that you like or want," etc.
"Pressure generates explosion" is a natural, well-known law which says that the time we harshly put pressure on any given substance, solid or liquid, explosion is certainly expected. The same rule can be applied to human beings who usually live under pressure. Some families have created sacred lists of fixed laws that have to be followed; the main noticeable point in that is no personal freedom is allowed. For example, my friend is a very beautiful girl who lives in a very strict family, who have created certain unbearable rules like," Don't go shopping!", "You shouldn't have Facebook'', ''Girls are not allowed to have self phones '', and ''They should watch specific channels on the television, not all". After getting her Baccalaureate Degree, she discovered a new world, the university, where she felt the real meaning of total personal freedom and which is full of things she has never heard of as she was isolated in her family home. She found that wonderland which she had always been dreaming to visit, and met girls who would later be, for her, a model for pleasure, joy and the perfect life. So she started trying anything new, began taking drugs, visiting forbidden places like bars, and having indecent relationships with men. Even when my friends and I try to convince her that she is walking in the wrong path and living in the dark side, she frequently does not accept our advice. Her family were probably the reason that led her to do all those degenerate things and are responsible for destroying her whole innocent life.
Having mentioned all of these circumstances, we do have, on the contrary, very educated and open-minded families, whose very first goals are to cultivate knowledge among their children, teach them the right values, try to be flexible, and draw a well-built religious platform and realistic, practical values to be followed. This kind of families may make choices for their members basically because they undeniably know what is right for them, but they have a sense of soft persuasion and concrete, reasonable judgment, not like the other families I mentioned earlier in this article. They understand their duties and are aware of their rights so that women are considered shining diamonds that should be gently dealt with, and men are supposed to be strong beings that must protect - but not control women as if they are machines - advise and love those bright and precious diamonds. Those families give the chance for their children to discuss any obstacle they may face in their lives, give them the sense of confidence to say things and be relatively free in doing whatever they want simply because they have taught them the right principles that pave the way for them to respect others and be respected, and have built, indirectly, inside their minds those red lines that should NOT be passed. This is the way I was raised in my family, to say my point of view concerning things, but NEVER insult others or be rude; they have given me the chance to go wherever I want since I know where I should NOT go. My parents have created who I really am since they have tried to instill deep self-confidence and self-esteem traits in me, they did help me to note, write and express things. Most importantly, they taught me to NEVER be silent the time I notice incorrect and wrong things, which are happening inside our society, which require urgent solutions so that they are either changed or removed. Therefore, we need that kind of families to be widely spread in order to better our society.
There are some ideas that are unbearable and unacceptable; normally, they should NOT exist in our society or any other part of the universe. Hence, we, the young generation, have to try really hard to develop those weak sides and raise people's awareness to the appropriate ways of living and make Algeria a better place to live in.