One of the things I most remember about my childhood is that I always wanted to be a boy. My hair was always short and I used to take the role of the husband or the son when playing with my friends. A main reason for this childhood craving is the degree of freedom and love a boy was afforded in the world in general, including the society where I come from. I am the youngest of seven sisters, and when my parents delivered me many relatives and acquaintances were disappointed. Mom tells me that I was very sick as a baby and stayed in the hospital for a while; my grandfather used to say: “Though she is a girl but we do not want her to die.”

Despite the societal and traditional chains, my parents afforded me, my sisters, and later my younger brother, with the best possible care and education. As I noted in earlier posts for the VOF classroom, my parents were very open to hear from us and we, not them, were the decision-makers of major choices in our lives, i.e. our education, marriage, etc.

I personally doubt that a personal vision of life can be briefed in a 700-words article for two main reasons. First, a vision of life is not a constant thing. The vision of my life I have had five years ago is different from the one that I have today, and I am sure it is different from the one I will have in five years. Second, the vision of life is a cumulative term. More concretely, the personal vision that I am expressing in this piece is the result of the sum of experiences and circumstances I lived until today. Day after day this personal vision will be changing because it is correlational with the daily events I am exposed to.

Yet, despite this inconstancy and cumulativeness, I am aware that my vision of life revolves around particular fixed themes: justice and love. These two terms sound appealing, but their applicability is very difficult. They both cannot be applied in their ideally perceived meanings, especially in today’s world that is full of wars and hatred.

By justice, I am not claiming that I will bring justice to the whole world or that I will act as a ruler and judge or punish people. The justice I am discussing here is that when people have enough resources and information to justly and fairly perceive an event or treat or fellow human. For instance, in the issue of Muslim women that I am highly interested in, I will bring front to Muslim women that they do have rights and that they must not reconcile if this means submitting to unjust realities. Ahead of all, they must be informed that they have rights and that by their guardians disregarding and neglecting their rights, the guardians are the blasphemous and infidel ones, not them. In addition, I will bring front that refusing laws of domestic violence is not a sign of piety, for no godly religion promotes violence.

I am interested in social justice as a whole, with issues ranging from access of poor nations to minimum standards of life to the right of displaced nations in getting back to their homelands. However, the issue of Muslim women concerns me personally, for I am a devoted Muslim. I am outraged and disappointed by the interpretations of Islam that are unjust and unreasonable, particularly regarding women. Moreover, the emphasis of media outlets on these interpretations has framed Islam as the illogical extremist and discriminatory religion, which in turn increased polarization between Muslims and non-Muslims and widened the gap between the two.

Here comes the love that I am raising in my theme. If I am the parent of a victim of 9/11 attacks, how can I love a Muslim, and vice-versa. It is only by showing both sides that there are common grounds of existence despite their disagreements that each person will accept the other. Media outlets focus mostly on the difference and bring front extremist stories for they make a scoop. If I become a VOF correspondent, I will bring front the alternative stories.

Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future Application: Your Vision.

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Comments

Glad to know that you want to work for the right image of Muslims. There is really a need to tell the positive sides of Muslim which has been buried by spreading groundless negative stories. Media like to highlight the half truth just growing prejudice and hatred among religions. Show the world that how lovable Muslims are. Let them know the real stories and clear their minds from misconceptions.

keep writing

I wished many times I was a boy, a man. Not because I want to look like them or dress like them But because of the freedom they seem to have. They have the independence to move about. They have the independence to decide when they want to take up the cooperate trip. Or change jobs without much consideration to work flexibilities like maternity leave, flexi days etc etc. They have the independence to indulge in luxuries when they want. They have the independence to dip in the sea half naked :) the list can go on and on.

It would be so nice to have freedom and independence and the trust that we women can be responsible for ourselves.

but i guess these are all just wishful thinking :D

Wish you greatness Bitani. I see me in your writing and your wish for freedom.

Salaam Aminah

Dear Bitani,

Whatever it is you do, may your efforts will lead to justice and love in the lives of women who have been discriminated by their traditional, patriarchal societies.

Best, Sulo

Bitani, your words have touched my heart and have made me cry. Reading your piece brought many emotions into my mind and reminded me of some of my own feelings. You are so right, many at times we believe our journeys, visions and hopes will be the same in a few years from now, much less a few days. And because of this we always fail to look at the bigger picture.

You are definitely an inspiration for all and I have full faith in you, that you will find justice and love in the world one day to come!

Much love & respect xoxoxo

Aysha, Aminah, Sulo, Angel, and Busayo: your empowering comments mean the world to me. thank you for devoting the time to read my piece and to comment on it.

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." —Judy Garland

Dear Bitani,

Thank-you for sharing your story - your ideas about (social) justice are extremely inspiring. I wish you the very best in you endeavors, and hope that you will continue to use WP as a platform to share, learn and grow.

Best,

Gaurav Nakhare | WP Listener

Dear Bitani,

Your writing shows great depth. Not only of thought but of wisdom. You are so right about visions changing, just as we do. As I am sure you realize, you are fortunate to have had parents who gave you the freedoms to make important choices for yourself and, it seems, did not inflict the islamic fanaticism of which you speak on you and your siblings.

Your desire to inform muslim women of their rights and freedoms is courageous and important. I look foward to following your future posts on bringing social justice to women of islam and changing the way 'others' may percieve them and their religion through LOVE.

My best to you, Julie

~ Julie Thompson

Gaurav and Julie,

I appreciate your encouraging comments.

all the best,

Bayan

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." —Judy Garland

Dear Barbara,

its awesome to find someone who knows Lebanon here on worldpulse!

if you come for a visit plz tell me so we meet.

Best,

Bayan

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." —Judy Garland

Dear Bitani,

Greetings from Bangladesh!

I share your interest in interfaith dialogue. In fact, I have recently submitted various essays on this issue (I'll share once published). If I start a project soon, I will be sure to inform you!

You might like to have a look at this platform which I found here on World Pulse: http://worldpulse.com/pulsewire/exchange/post/66098

That platform accepts submissions on a rolling basis I believe.

Regards, Monica

These are important values, dear Bayan. And I appreciate the thoughtfulness with which you express yourself. I am honored to be your Vision Mentor and to be taking this journey with you. I foresee great things ahead for you. Much love and blessings, Usha

Let your light shine!

Wish i read your post earlier Bitani ! You write so beautifully my dear.

Expressive, hard hitting and seeking only the truth. Carry on my dear.

lots of love,

Mukut Ray