27 November, 2011


“I know the concept explaining the formation of rain but show me the law that says millions of human beings must suffer from malnutrition or live without clean water. I understand the biological explanation that humans need air to survive but show me the law which states that humans must be forced to live in slums and polluted areas. I know the law of nature where some animals hunt each other to survive but show me the law that proves human beings must kill, injure or shoot fellow humans. I know the scientific law of gravity but please explain to me which laws state that gender inequality, murder and child abuse must exist.”

This was my opening statement I had posed to my undergraduate History class of 70 students in 2009. They were all confused. They did not expect these questions on the first day of a supposedly boring History class that was restricted to the past! I asked another question- Is it possible to create a world without poverty, injustice, sadness, racism or pollution? They said no. I wanted these students to understand that WE can find solutions for problems that WE created.

After class they began talking amongst themselves and with students from other department and faculties. I wanted them to be empowered to chart a new path and make history! Likewise, International Men’s Day wants to challenge you and others to create new paths. IMD wants you to dream bigger dreams.

There is a need to develop new and more effective tactics, design better policies and monitor their implementation in an effort to eradicate socio-economic problems in all countries. Why must a developing country’s currency be so devalued and worthless that its people are forced to sell body organs or become prostitutes? Why must thousands suffer and die because of a lack of basic medicine, clean water or food? Why were we apathetic bystanders whilst genocides occurred? Have we done anything to reduce human trafficking? We must break these so-called ‘laws’ of ignorance, apathy or uncaring attitudes. We must rid society of any unwritten rules that prevent justice.

International Men’s Day must have significance to the millions of persons who confront unemployment and oppressive political regimes. On a daily basis many persons painfully endure civil wars, illiteracy, overpopulation, infectious diseases, corruption, desertification, uncontrolled crime, a deplorable health care system and a lack of clean water. In many developing countries, the debt burdens deplete already scarce human and material resources. These are the persons who must be welcomed into the ever growing IMD family.

Political and economic concepts and phrases are meaningless to the poor. The unemployed and the poor do not care about fancy economic terms or reports relating to the productivity of a country. One thought is on the minds of the sick and those in poverty – survival.

We argue and debate over land ownership and the superiority of ethnicity, religion, political ideology, gender, class and caste. The result is that nobody is fully empowered.

Is it too much to ask that you should respect and accommodate different views? Is it too much to ask that you treat others with dignity? Is it too much to ask that you treat other persons as human beings? Is it too much for our political leaders to ensure education and health care are available and accessible for all human beings? Politicians who do not want a caring society would fear some or all of the 6 Objectives of IMD. Oppressive, corrupt and uncaring governments would certainly be against International Men’s Day.

For some persons, the danger of IMD is that it threatens to uproot the inequalities and alienation plaguing our society. Those who abuse the environment will see International Men’s Day as a danger to their selfish interests. For a few, the danger of IMD is that it promises to shake foundations of stigmatization and discrimination. Some people believe IMD is the antidote for poisoned minds and the medicine which would ease the pains of the marginalized. We need to empty our minds of doubt and low confidence. We need to envision a world where International Men’s Day will be part of the solution.

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