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  • ivanildotrindade 7:03 pm on January 7, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: arranged marriages, child abuse, dowry, forced marriages, India, New Delhi, rape capital, rape in india, saudi arabia, South Asia   

    Femme Fatality — the perilous side of being a woman 

    Too Young to Marry

    Today I lend my voice one more time in defense of young women and children, two of the groups that have suffered more injustices than any other group in the history of the world.

    Young women, children really, continue to be forced into arranged marriages in more traditional parts of the world, especially Sub-saharan Africa and South East Asia. For example, in Niger (Africa), it is estimated that 77% of the women between the ages of 20-24, were married before they turned 18. In Bangladesh it is 65%. UNICEF global figures from 2009 show that 36 per cent of women aged 20–24 were married or in union before they reached 18 and the latest numbers estimates 51 million of girls under 18 are married world-wide. In the UK an estimated 1,000 out of 8,000 forced marriages every year involve a person under the age of 15.

    So in light of these grim realities, I would like to nominate a 15-year-old Saudi girl as my heroine of the week. Why? Well, she simply locked herself in a room and refused to allow her marriage to a 90-year-old man to be consummated. Now the would-be husband is suing the family to try to recoup the roughly $18K he paid as part of a dowry to the family. I say give the girl the money and protect her sisters (if she has any) against their dad’s future transactions involving his daughters.

    Whenever a youngster like this one finds the courage to do something as extraordinary as what she did, we need to celebrate. She was a lot smarter and luckier than the 14-year-old boy who was raped by a Saudi Air Force Sargeant stationed in the U.S. and she is most likely in a better place than the 23-year-old who was raped (and later died in a hospital in Singapore) by 6 men on a bus in New Delhi in India recently. The attack on this woman, a medical student from a middle class in India, was so vicious that I post the story here, but caution you not to read it if you don’t want to be disturbed by the details. On the other hand, if you read it, you will understand the reason for my being so outraged.

    This last story is repugnant to the highest degree. It is this sort of rapacious, grotesque, indignant behavior that reminds us constantly that there is something terribly wrong with our species. And then, to add insult to injury, some bearded guru in India goes around saying that the girl was as guilty as her killers: “She should have called the culprits brothers and begged before them to stop,” he opined.

    Where in the world do these “religious” types get their mores? I am so outraged that if I hear another baseless pronouncement coming out of the mouth of a clergy type, I might just create a website where people will be allowed to slap the face of gurus, reverends of all sorts, imams, and all manners of priests, until they are forced to shut up. You know, one of those where the voice keeps repeating, “Shut up, shut up, shut up, you imbecile…” Okay, I know that will not solve anything but it will at least help me deal with the anger I feel inside toward people who are supposed to be connected to the Almighty and yet fall so deeply into the abyss when speaking about matters so critical to our human dignity. I have no patience for these people anymore.

    I mourn for the family of this 23-year-old girl whose only “crime”  was to be out with a friend on a night of merry-making-moving-going. And they wanted to “teach her a lesson…” I hope the Indian judiciary will put those brutes away for life. Perhaps they will learn THEIR lesson then.

    And may the whole country of India (and the world) learn this lesson: if you don’t protect your most vulnerable, you will eventually become the victim of your own indifference.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade


    • lionjudah 7:46 am on January 8, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Dear Brother you could well be dubbed the “Compassionate Pastor of the World.” You probably are moved greater because you travel more than some of us do. Also you know how to rescue abused children from the sex trade in far away countries. May God bless you and your work!

      I would guess there is also a connection because of your “burning bush” experience this past Sunday when you were installed as Lead Pastor at Lititz Grace Church. I’m praying for your local and worldwide ministries.

      Harold, the Lion of Judah

      • ivanildotrindade 3:56 pm on January 8, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        thanks, harold. yes, there is something like that related to traveling. i call it “the burden of seeing,” and sometimes i wish i didn’t have it, but most of the times i am thankful that I have had the opportunity to travel. i have seen the glory and the gory. thanks for your encouraging words.

    • Mary Barr 8:58 pm on January 8, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      So well written. Thank you. I shared this blog on FB.

      • ivanildotrindade 9:04 pm on January 8, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        thank u for commenting, mary. this is so sad. thanks for sharing on FB. we all need to let our voices be heard on this issue.

  • ivanildotrindade 10:35 pm on May 29, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cecelia webber, making something beautiful, Malek Hammoud Tuwaijri, naked body flowers, saudi arabia   

    “Stay Beautiful, My Friend” 

    I give a “favored nation’s status” in my mind for artists who take what nature offers us and through manipulation, whether through playful acts or technology, turned their subject into something uniquely creatively, beautiful, without intruding or messing with nature itself

    This week I came across two such artists. One is a 23 year old photographer, Malek Hammoud Tuwaijri, who in a sense went playing with the sun through his pictures showing people “manipulating” the brightest star, producing a truly fun effect that makes you feel powerful and playful. The pictures were taken on a deserted beach in Qassim, Saudi Arabia. The  artist said, “We have a beautiful sunrise here, but I wanted to show the sun from a different viewpoint. I like to show things from a different perspective.” Here are some examples of his art:

    The second artist lives in Los Angeles. Cecilia Webber‘s working is even more daring and original. She creates flowers utilizing only images of naked models. The secret of the stunning results is how she uses Photoshop to manipulate her pictures. When asked about how she started doing this, she does not hide the fact that it happened accidentally, “One day it happened,” she said, “I juxtaposed a naked image against a black background and it looked like a petal.” Once I “deciphered” her work, though, I have to say that though beautiful, it does look a little raw (no pun intended) and I had to make a mental adjustment not to be distracted by the body forms. Judge for yourself:

    I don’t know about you, but I am amazed at this kind of creativity. Taking stuff that is already there and making it into something extremely beautiful. That is not only the business of brilliant artists, it is also the business of the master creator, God Himself, who through his powerful strokes, the rawness of self, and the crucible of circumstances, is able to fashion us into something beautiful — if we would just let Him.

    Stay beautiful, my friend.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

  • ivanildotrindade 11:58 pm on September 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: saudi arabia, shaima jastaina,   

    Driving While Female 

    I am outraged. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women can be guilty of this unique crime: DWF (Driving While Female). Both local and foreign women are are banned from driving there. Though there is no specific law, religious tradition dictates it. They say that giving more freedom to women would make them more vulnerable to sins. Really? What about men? Driving wouldn’t have the same effect on them? Oh wait, men are the ones making these decisions and apparently they want to keep their women subjugated forever.

    Two days ago King Abdullah made a speech announcing that women will be allowed to vote in the municipal elections of 2015. After that Shaima Jastaina was sentenced by the courts to 10 lashes for driving a car back in June. Pronto the King pardoned the woman and she will not be publicly humiliated in this painful manner. What is going on here? Is the King playing a tug-of-war with the moldy mullahs of Saudi Arabia?

    What is it about men and religion that when they mix, sometimes, this spells trouble for women? And why is the most conservative Islamic country in the world so hard on women anyway? I am telling you, if I were a Muslim, I would be deeply troubled by this. I would be on the streets protesting and I would probably be encouraging my wife to drive in defiance to a this tradition (actually, she wouldn’t need my encouragement!). No matter how they to masquerade it, this practice is nothing but blatant discrimination against women.

    I made a statement a couple of days ago that shocked some of my peers. I said that if you want to reach the family in our part of the world, you should reach the women. Surprise, surprise. Why didn’t I say men? I wish I could say without equivocation that I have full confidence that as the men go so goes society. I believe women are more influential. They are the ones on the forefront of the education of their children, they are the ones who are most in touch with the pulse of their communities and they are the force behind churches and other volunteer organizations.

    In my church women are the bulk of the volunteers that make the church alive. They teach Bible studies, lead choirs, affinity groups, and are the key people behind every crucial ministry (except, of course, the top leadership tier). In addition to all that, many women are the sole reason that men even come to church. I have met guys who have been “dragged” by their wives and girlfriends to any number of things — from Valentine banquets to Bible reading groups. I have also met guys who wandered away from God for many years and became at worst abusive and at best distant from the women they once loved. But these dear women persevered in praying for their men and with time they saw them come back first to God then to their love lost and recovered. Many women have the gift of “staying.” In fact, some of them should leave when they keep on staying — for their own sanity and physical integrity.

    Of course, I am not saying abandon the men.  I am just saying that the way I see it, when it comes to influencing families in our world of Wayne County today, it is the women who have the edge whether we like it or not.

    And that’s the reason I honor the courage of women like 30-year-old Shaima Jastaina. Because of women like her Saudi Arabia may yet be saved from total irrelevance and obscurity. Or we may just have to wait until all the old men die off…

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

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