Acid Attack Awareness (Randyjw; October 4, 2016)
The subject deserves more than the passing mention I’m affording it here. Perhaps that’s a by-product of my own dichotic nature of being too wishy-washy and not crystal clear on morality; too forgiving of the nature of humanity, including its evils.
Perhaps it’s my fears of giving impetus to the power of ideas, where bestowing acknowledgment to an accursed evil only expands its energy and gives heft to its existence. Such is what happened in giving weight to the idea that the former Arab terrorist leader of the PLO, Yasser Arafat, was a “peaceful” person, and that giving credence to a false narrative of a “Palestinian” people as indigenous to Israel, while they yet kill Jewish people and squat on Jewish sovereign land (not being “Canaanite”), made a reality out of propaganda-based lies.
Perhaps it’s also my fears of the desensitization of society — creating normative ideals of a debauched and debased society, where destructive thoughts and actions become the typical standards: the S’dom and Gomorrah of the popular culture of the day. I’m not really impressed by the trends of our youth flocking to such dark pop heroes as vampires, zombies, horror movies, and the genre of all “dark matters”. This fascination with necromancy and the macabre I find rather chilling.
When we have such obsession, we find individuals practicing their own warped realizations of their personal interpretations of these ideas carried forth into reality. The state of Ohio, for some strange reason, always seems to breed these satanic cult worshippers who actually perform sacrificial offerings of real human people on their death-cult altars. Copycat crimes are an additional worrying concern. My writing about this even shows my unformed ability to either acquiesce to its revealment, or to bury it where it should belong.
Perhaps this is as a result of being raised in the Puritanical holdover of cities and the town where I was raised, in the environment of a liberal framework I desired to adopt in my nature. The precepts of a Judaism which contains laws which are supposed to be followed, versus the Reform Judaism outlook of my synagogue, which jettisoned the rules, unbeknownst to me, until I really stopped to think and learn about the history and practices of this strain of beliefs I was inculcated with during my childhood.
Acid attacks are one form of wielding dominance over other people. It is usually carried out by an individual who sees their own outlook on societal mores as superior to those of others and who wishes to control others by dominating them. Behind it lies a very insecure individual who feels threatened by the “other”-ness of another person’s differences; stereotypically, they extend their generalizations to include whole groups of individuals for whom they’ve linked identifying characteristics.
The Muslim society is still often portrayed by itself as one which is a patriarchical society, assigning dominance of thought and action to those individuals born male. Behaviors and roles in society are ascribed to each gender, and any deviance from the proscribed sets of actions will result in swift chastisement, punishment, and even at pain of death. This could be applied to both males and females, as it relates to apostasy beyond religious edicts, or behavioral aberrations which contradict expected behaviors of the so-distinguished classes.
Blood feuds between clans and tribes often rely on upholding one’s perceived standing within the society. To let an insult stand would bring mockery and shame to the family. “Honor” killings are the so-called rebalancing of the aggrieved parties’ status within the neighborhood and to their neighbors. The practice is, very marginally, beginning to be brought to bear as murder, for taking another’s life.
Sometimes an individual, or even a regime or government, will take up the task to injure another party in an egregious fashion by maiming the individual to make them “pay” for their “crime”, real or imaginary. This is our form of punishment and deterrance. In free countries, this is upheld by the courts of laws, to the extent that such fairness and laws are upheld. Other regimes uphold their laws, but their laws are faultily with already pre-biased judgment, not fairly distributed across the axial divide separating classes, religion, gender, and other such groups that we would consider, in the U.S., as protected individuals/groups.
People commit their own vigilante justice and juridical judgments when they undertake their own measures against others, when such decisions would be relegated to the courts of law to which they most normally subscribe. Bernhard Goetz was one such man familiar to us in the United States, when he attacked thugs in the railway station. Defense or Assault?
Well, moral equivalency is an issue, often. It apparently is that way in Pakistan, particularly, and regions in that area, as a fairly commonplace practice for the perpetrators of acid attacks, a horrifically hate-filled method of disfiguring another individual with long-lasting and, often, permanent effects — physically and emotionally.
Such attacks are carried out in measures which are more than noticeable by the men in this region against the women within it. Although there has been listed a case of a man suffering this incidence by the hand of a female, it is most often identified with a high rate of perpetration, seen as dominance, by men.
It is a socially-scarring stigma for those of its victims to bear, and to have to live with the consequences of its visible transformation as bearance of proof to the outside world of their so-called “sins”. But, women are erasing that and showing that they are strong, beautiful people that have only been the recipients of attacks by someone else, who themselves are the bearers of brutally-scarred souls.
BBCAmerica yesterday aired a segment on American television introducing a comic that has been created to contend with acid attacks by bringing its issue and its victims into the open. The superhero, a fighting female with magical powers, brings the mirror of self-recognition to light. It reflects what we see inside: a beautiful person, or a villainous evildoer.
The artwork by Dan Goldman for these endeavors has been awesome. This particular installment, created with Ram Devineni, is part of the “Priya” series. The original, or first, is known as “Priya’s Shakthi”. This second one, dealing with the subject of acid attacks, is called “Priya’s Mirror”. Using augmented reality technology to bring its scenes to life, the brief excerpts I saw of its airing on BBCAmerica was unbelievably incredible. Through October 16th, 2016, it will be shown in the Walter Reade Theater’s Furman Gallery, presented in conjunction with the 54th New York Film Festival at the Lincoln Theater.
54th New York Film Festival. “Priya’s Mirror”. 2016: https://www.filmlinc.org/nyff2016/films/priyas-mirror/
Pandey, Geeta. “India’s Raped Comic ‘Super Hero’ Returns to Fight Acid Attacks”. BBC News, Delhi/BBC.com; September 26, 2016: