Count your blessings - CycleBlaze

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Count your blessings

Karen Cook

All I have to worry about is flat tires and crazy drivers...

https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2019/02/03/684438571/women-who-dare-to-bicycle-in-pakistan



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8 months ago
Mike AylingTo Karen Cook

...unless you are planning to tour in Pakistan, Karen.

Gotta keep those women in their place!

Seriously I have no idea how to educate those indoctrinated males in some of those muslim countries.

OTOH here in suburban Melbourne there is a liberal Muslim group called the Ismaillis who recently contacted our St Vincent de Paul Conference offering to donate food to us for our charitable works. They also have a bagpipes band which performs at local functions including our recent Australia day gathering. The Ismailli women do not cover their heads.

Yet in other parts of Melbourne you can see Muslim women wearing the head to foot black ensembles with a slit for the eyes.

Mike

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8 months ago
Jean-Marc StrydomTo Karen Cook

I'm not sure that I can take all of that article at face value.

One of my cycle touring acquaintances is a young Christian Chinese Malaysian woman.  The year before last she cycled solo through rural Pakistan without any apparent problems.    In fact, my recollections are that she was warmly welcomed wherever she went.  She spent some of her time givings maths lessons at schools along the way to both girl and boy learners .  I'll see if I can get her to read the article and comment on it versus her experiences.

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8 months ago
Jean-Marc StrydomTo Jean-Marc Strydom

My friend's reponse:


"

Northern Pakistan differs greatly from the rest of Pakistan. A lot more liberal in the north, they are Ismailis, a Islamic sect as opposed to Sunni in the majority of Pakistan.
Women are given more status and recognition in the north. And women are more educated there too. That’s why I didn’t encounter any problems in the north.
But the more south I rode ie towards Islamabad, the more conservative society becomes. At the city of Abbottabad, for example, I felt very unsafe coz there were hardly any women on the streets. I saw just 2 women and they were covered black from head to toe. Only eyes were exposed. And the men were just staring very hard at me. Makes me very uncomfortable

"

So maybe I should eat my words.

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8 months ago
Karen CookTo Jean-Marc Strydom

That's okay :-)

Honestly, I did not AT ALL mean for this to be a commentary on Pakistan.  Some places in the world are more bike friendly than others.  And some more liberal than others as far as anyone's freedoms.

It just struck me how lucky I am to enjoy the ability to (in this example) go off on my bike without the kind of fears the article discussed.

Chapeau to those girls.

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8 months ago
Mike AylingTo Jean-Marc Strydom

G'day Jean Marc

Refer to my previous post about the Ismaili community in Melbourne.

Mike 

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8 months ago
Jean-Marc StrydomTo Karen Cook

Just got this from my friend Siew Yung.  Seems like I hadn't understood the situation very well at all.

Quote from BikeTheWorld.pl:

"On a busy road between Shiraz and Esfahan one man came over the street to talk to us. First he asked a couple of standard questions like - “where are you from?”, “where do you go?”, “do you have children?”, “how old are you?”, “Is he your husband?” As a normal courtesy in Iran, we asked him back same questions, so we got to know that he is from Shiraz, 35 years old, married and has 1 child. After that conversation was finished, he sudeenly grabbed me on my leg near my knee. I pushed his hand away and we both started to talk to him in our language - firmly and strongly. He realised that we are angry and he had a surprised face. He said “good bye” and was trying to shake Kris' hand pretending that everything is all right. When walking away he grabbed my leg again aiming towards my private parts. I managed to push him again but that was too much! We jumped of our bikes and Kris ran after him. The man was very surprised and was still smiling. Kris kicked his knee very hard so he lost balance, then Kris punched him very strongly into his face. His nose got broken and tears of pain came together with blood. He was very surprised and was asking “what’s wrong?" He was trying to escape but due to his knee injury he was limping, so he crossed the street and was trying to throw stones at us but I already had a long stick in my hand and was chasing him. Somehow he managed to run away to his truck and drove away. In the meanwhile I was trying to stop some cars but nobody stopped. This situation made us thinking a lot. 1. Is it normal in Iran to touch somebody’s wife? We told him that we are married. 2. After a strong punch into his face he didn’t understand what’s wrong. Was the punch to soft to wake him up or Iranian men feel so privileged and empowered that they do whatever they want? 3. Iranians stop their cars all the time to ask where are we from and to take a photo with us but when this happened nobody even slowed down. NOBODY! What shows that Iranians are good in taarof (pretending that they are at your service and pretending that they will help you with everything) but when we really needed support nobody wanted to help. There were many cars passing by. It was in the middle of the day. People saw Kris fighting with the guy but they didn’t care at all! That reveals a sad reality. 4.What if I would be alone? The lack of any reaction from the Iranian drivers shows that an Iranian men can do whatever they want and nobody will react or punish them. They learns that they are free to harass ladies. 5.I was lucky that I wasn’t alone and the guy was not trying to go any further and he got a punishment from Kris but if no driver reacted, how many of such deviants get away without any consequences? We must say, that Iran is famous among travellers for this kind of situations. We heard many, many stories like that from other foreign cyclists. - Lonely girls are harassed on a daily basis. Men on motorbikes approach to grabb them, drivers stop and harass them, truck drivers masturbate on the road side when they see a solo women cyclist. This are all real life stories we heard personally! - We know also about rape attempts in Iran of solo female cyclists and also sadly about successful rapes too. Also first hand stories. - We heard stories from male foreign cyclists who were sexually harassed in Iran by other men - grabbed by private parts and offered sex on the street and at home while invited to stay overnight. - We heard also stories of Iranian men coming to touch foreign lady while she was with her husband. It was always hard to believe and imagine such rude behaviour. But now, we joined this big group of people who had such experience in Iran. What's wrong in here? Is that normal that Iranian men harass sexually everyone? Lonely girls, men and couples? Some Iranians were tying to explain to us that such behaviour is caused by lack of jobs and limited access to ladies in Iran. Well, but this guy had a job (was driving a delivery truck) and had a wife. We also heard an opinion of an Iranian man who told us that "Iranian ladies experience sexual harassment a lot but it is their fault because they don't dress properly, wear makeup and...they are too eager". It's hard to believe but this man was living 20 years in the USA and came back to Iran just a year ago. Some might say “this could happen in every county. Every country has some bad people”. Yes, could happen BUT we have never heard stories of a man touching somebody’s wife in the presence of the husband and asking “what’s wrong?” and somehow all this kind of stories we heard mostly from Iran. We are NINE YEARS on the road, we crossed 51 counties and somehow this happened first and only time in Iran. We are just visitors, we will leave this country and this story will remain only as a memory but It seems that for Iranian ladies it is a sad reality. Iranian man, you should react when you see something like that and stand to protect your mothers, daughters, sisters and wifes.

Solo cycling women - Iran is a great country full of fantastic people but think twice before you will decide to come here alone! For a reference I'm pasting a link to Ewcyna- solo cycling Polish woman who had very hard time in Iran - she was attacked twice and had a lawsuit against a man about rape. In her blog post you can find links to other solo cyclists and read about their experiences in Iran: http://www.ewcyna.com/podroz-solo-na-rowerze-przez-iran-d…/…"

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5 months ago