The issue of harassment heightened by Oscar winning film maker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy has become the talk of town and everyone is trying to put in their opinions about it, so why should I be left behind knowing the fact that I got this platform to speak aloud. Well I totally respect the lady because she brought two Oscars to Pakistan but how she reacted on the ongoing issue of Facebook request, is totally not on! What the AKUH doctor did, was highly unprofessional as it also goes against the professional code of conduct for employees set by the AKUH.
In past few months we have seen the use of harassment as the tool for exploitation and gaining leverage. Same is the case with Ms.Sharmeen who did it, either intentionally or unintentionally, meanwhile trying to show off her power and public image by creating an issue out of nothing. It was surely a stupid and unprofessional act from the doc but I don’t think it falls under harassment. Other than that Facebook always allows you to instantly block any kind of unwanted visitor. Sending a Facebook request is everyone’s right. What’s your right is that you can simply just remove the request and block the person if needed. I have seen so many memes mocking Sharmeen, particularly the one imitating the style of social media sensation Uncle Majboor. Well that’s something which we all should refrain from doing, knowing the sensitivity of the topic.
The similar case goes with Ms.Gualalai who tried to defame a well known politician of the country. But unfortunately the use of harassment card totally backfired like that of Ms.Sharmeen. Even the women rights activists refused to grant her patronage and guess what did it get her? More respect for Imran Khan as even his major critics contemplated it as a hoax. Even a nobody like me thinks ten times before sending some sensitive message to anyone particularly a woman, because I know that screenshots could be saved. So do you think IK is that stupid?
The point here is that we should not exploit this harassment thing as it may lose its essence. But wherever it is actually being done, the culprits should be punished immediately. Talking about the Hollywood mogul, Harvey Weinstein, it is so disturbing that a producer who has produced so many wonderful movies like Pulp Fiction, is a pervert and predator. In his case strict action should be taken, not only by carrying out the criminal prosecution but also taking away his awards including the Oscar he won for Shakespeare in Love and should be made a symbol of admonition so that no one would dare to harass a woman again! I also strictly condemn the act done by Kevin Spacey, yes the Frank Underwood who always mesmerized the audience by his formidable performances. I strongly support anti harassment campaigns including the ongoing ‘’Me Too’’, but what I am saying is that the abuse of power and exploitation in name of harassment and feminism should not be done.
We live in a patriarchal society and it is true to an unfortunate extent. The subject of women harassment has become a major chunk of discussion in many circles. I admire it because discussion and discourse are the firsts step in rectifying any kind of issue. So I am glad people are getting more aware about this topic.
Harassment needs to be stopped! So instead of exploiting it we should join hands to keep our country a safer place where not only our women and children but everyone can walk freely without any fear and reluctance.
The writer is Editor at LSNB
Syed Talal Shah