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No smoking (if you are a woman)

  • Published at 07:16 am January 19th, 2018
No smoking (if you are a woman)
What has always struck me as funny in an absurd kind of way, is how much we all seem to care a bit too much about what everyone else is doing -- especially women. I bring this point up because of a recent video that is making the rounds on social media, or had gone viral before being taken down, as the news point out. You know the one I am talking about -- it’s about a young lady who is besmirching the honour and atmosphere of our country by having the audacity to smoke a cigarette in public. Let us set aside the fact that the accuser in question lights his own cigarette just to talk to the woman and to prove a point. Let us set aside the fact that cigarette smoke harms all and it doesn’t discriminate in doing so based on gender. Let us also set aside the fact that the accuser was hanging out with his group of friends while they smoked. And also, more importantly, the fact that the protagonist of the video declares how he doesn’t mind that she smokes, as long as she does not do so in public.
As if women in this city do not have to face enough abuse already
The protagonist also encourages the audience to go through the streets of Dhaka with mobile phones in hand to avenge the angels aiming to purify the land and prevent this scourge from the Western consciousness to poison the innocence of our fair city. As if women in this city do not have to face enough abuse already. The protagonist makes the point that he doesn’t want his poor mother to see the depths that our society has sunk to, lest it tarnish her fragile heart. While admirable that the creator of this video wanted to make a difference to the country, one really must laugh at their choice of battlefield. Is this the gravest concern that we should have regarding the state of our affairs? Despite the countless human rights abuses that happen across the country, day after day -- the abuse of minorities, children, women, and men; how can it be that the bone of contention is that of whether women should smoke in public or not? Are they harming anyone else other than themselves? If women smoking in public is a concern for public health, then what about the miasma of cigarette smoke that covers our cities like a blanket because of the crowd of men who choose to puff away their lives with death sticks between their lips, all day, every day, out in the open? If one must make a stand for the public good, then please make a stand for public health in a way that is not asinine. If you wish to be a true hero, then please go out to the streets and rally against  anyone who you see smoking. XX or XY -- do not discriminate. If you are not going to do that, then don’t bother to take your phone out and try to shame women for doing what men constantly do on our streets, all day long, in every corner of the block, without a care in the world. Zubier Abdullah is an engineer and a short story writer. 
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