Gender & Identity, Life

Qandeel Baloch died because we failed as a society to support women

No one stood up for her when she was alive, so why do they care now she's been murdered?

It’s a day like any other. I have piles of homework, but I’m procrastinating. I take a break from texting my best friend and turn the TV on.

The only headline on every single channel is about the murder of Qandeel Baloch.

But why did everyone suddenly care about her? 

No one stood up for her when she was alive. Not a single soul thought twice before calling her a prostitute in the comment section of her posts. And now, the same people suddenly had turned soft for her.

Saying things like “She was the sole bread earner of her family,” and  “She funded her brother’s mobile store.”

Wasn’t she doing all of that when she was still alive? Why is she a hero, only now that she’s dead? Just like any woman who dares to challenge the norm, Qandeel was criticized greatly. The people who enjoyed watching each and every nook and crevice of her body as she stripped to nothing, were the ones hating on her.

I still remember some of my male friends gushing over how hot she was, but then foolishly stating, “yaar lekin yeh tou haram hai.” (“Dude, this is haram, though.”)

Her fans were her haters.

No matter how fond anyone was of her videos, they just HAD TO hate her because of her stained impression in society.

Nobody ever wants to support a woman who speaks up for herself.  And that, right there, is our greatest weakness. Qandeel was referred to as “The Kim Kardashian Of Pakistan.” But why didn’t her antics “break the internet?” Why did they break her? Simply put, Kim is powerful. She has her own TV show, makeup line, and is worth billions.

That’s why we all love her, right? Albeit, if she was as defenseless, lonely, and powerless as Qandeel, she could have been killed the same way.

So, no we, as a global society, don’t support women. Because all any of us are really supporting is women with security. We’re only standing by them as long as we know we can’t stop them. The minute a woman with will and power within herself is left stranded, the whole world preys on her.

And sadly enough, this is true for both developed and developing countries.

We, Desis, are extremely quick to judge people when they are living amongst us, but often tend to say things along the lines of, “The matter is now between the deceased and God,” once those people leave this earth.

But, is it really?

We, put anyone and everyone who doesn’t fit into the tapered depths of our minds, through pain, so how is it that God is suddenly in charge? If your belief in that very God failed to remind you of your responsibilities of kindness towards a fellow being, why and how is it between Him and the deceased?

This is but a matter of The People vs Qandeel and always will be.

She was brutally strangled to death by her own brother; someone she deeply cared about. So are you trying to tell me that if someone from her own family could take her life, all you bigots from the general public, wouldn’t have, if given the chance to? No one seemed to see beyond the shedding of her clothes. Nobody saw the effort she was putting into making sure her family lived a happy life.

Yes, I understand that our religion and society prohibit engaging in such acts, but this prohibition is killing women and their hopes to achieve something in life. Which is exactly what happened to Qandeel.

She had very publicly stated that her life was in danger, but the whole world remained deafeningly silent. Media spokespersons, politicians, influential public figures, and activists didn’t want to support someone so defamed because it would tarnish their public images.

That silence cost Qandeel her life.

We only want to be heroes if we get good recognition for it. Otherwise, someone living or dying is utterly pointless to us, Pakistanis.

Why support a “kanjri” (a hoe), right?