It is our national shame

CricketShucheesmita Simonti: Just got the news: The captain of Bangladesh National Cricket team, Mashrafee Bin Murtaza now customized his Facebook page; limiting its access to Bangladeshi users! What a lovely news to be highlighted by the media! Why? Only because of our insane facebook users. 

Earlier, it was Shakib Al-Hasan’s wife Shishir who was targeted vehemently in Facebook. Shakib’s official Facebook page was flooded with vulgar and obscene comments about his wife, particularly with reference to her westernized dressing style and advices on how he should be a “man” and make sure his wife maintains purdah, how immoral it is of the cricketer to upload selfies/photos of him with wife and so on!

The harassment was not only confined within social media; eventually Shakib got into trouble for engaging into physical fight with some perverts who teased his wife. His miseries were further multiplied when conspiracies were plotted against him to jeopardize his career. So much drama only how Shishir dressed up!

After Shakib, it was Tamim Iqbal who expressed his frustrations about how people badmouthed his wife; blaming her for his poor performance. Obscene jokes about the couple went viral and even a large number of so-called “educated” youths enthusiastically shared them on Facebook.

Around the same time, in our neighboring country India, cricketer Virat Kohli’s girlfriend Anushka Sharma, an established Bollywood actress, was subjected to vicious attacks on Facebook and Twitter- being called names, blamed for Kohli’s poor performance, criticized for coming to watch the match-what not!

All these incidents make me only feel sick to the stomach. Lastly, before a couple of days, Nasir Hossain, another Bangladeshi cricketer, had taken a selfie with his younger sister on their way to Saidpur, his home and uploaded it on Facebook.

A large number of comments that followed were downright absurd and disgusting-ranging from wanting to have sex with his sister to calling her a slut (for no apparent reason).

Finally Nasir removed the status and wrote on Facebook, expressing his frustration: ‘Dear fans, I really get hurt by your comments. I posted this pic on request of my younger sister; many of you put bad comments on it. And some of them made fun posts with it. I have removed the picture.

Are you happy now? I do not need fans like you. Whoever do not like me, please don’t follow me and put comments in my picture. Thank you!” But just because he deleted the post we must not think he is a coward; I feel extremely sorry for the online sexual harassment of his sister.

The reason why women are always often subjected to online sexual harassment in this part of the world is due to the patriarchal, chauvinistic mindset deeply embedded in most people’s mindset. A large number of people still want to see women confined in cages called “homes”; a woman’s chastity is an important determinant of the family’s honor.

Large number of people are disillusioned into thinking of themselves into moral police and resorted to using social media as an effective platform for preaching their thoughts.

These days, there are so many wannabe preachers who believe the society is on the brink of destruction and they have descended on the Earth to save the nation from immorality! The classic saying “Behind every successful man, there is a woman” has been tactfully twisted in South Asia and rephrased into something like “Behind every failure, there is a woman!!!”

Otherwise, when Shakib or Kohli plays brilliantly, do people ever thank Shishir or Anushka for inspiring their spouse/boyfriend? To this date, I have not come across any such posts. I am certain most of these people have mothers and sister, if not wives or girlfriends.

I shudder at the very thought of how these men (or animals, I would rather prefer to call them) treat women within the confines of their homes. Or is it only in social media that they are displaying this high level of hatred?

Our cricketers being our national assets do not imply that the women of their families are national properties which can be inspected or criticized by any one! In fact no woman is a property. They are individuals too; with one nose, two eyes, two ears, two hands and so on! It is indeed saddening to see that even in my generation, many might be “educated”, but not civilized.

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