Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

Orange Wishes for the Black Days of Zahra

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Orange Wishes for the Black Days of Zahra

These days, elimination of violence against women is debated hotly by civil society activists, media, and social media. The effectiveness of annual ceremony, which is celebrated with great interest, for women is under question. Who seek to be violent toward women? I will not defame those who are involved in violence against women; this is not my responsibility. But the fact is that each and every woman has been subject to violence in this land for several times. Although there is no clear statistic in this regard, we, Afghan women, can claim that we have been the victims of violence for several times either by family or society. There are many women who fall victim to the overt and covert violence in the society. The spate of incidents that took place in recent days, including a girl that corrosive acid was sprayed on her face in Herat province and Zahra who committed suicide. What will force Zahra and many others like her to resort to suicide? There are many reasons behind Zahra’s death such as society, the atmosphere in university, lecturers and their relations with their students.
The social atmosphere in society
In our society, there is not a safe environment for girls or women. To do social activities, girls must be very bold, energetic, and hard-working in this environment or else they will not be able to tolerate this atmosphere. Those girls who live or work alone will encounter more challenges for lacking a supportive force namely family.
Psychologists believe that there is a cycle for violence which causes one use violence against another. This issue starts from family and extends to the society and will change members of family to rulers. This is easily noticeable. When we enter an administrative environment, the relations are based on the same cycle and everyone is violent toward those who are in lower rank. This cycle is hierarchical and continues from individuals of higher position to those with lower position.  
This will happen to individuals who cannot change the system or stoop so low to continue this cycle. The prevailing environment generates patriarchy in the society and one will put pressure on the other as much as they can.   
The university atmosphere
The same trend rules in universities. The atmosphere ruling universities shows that relation between lecturers and students has never been reasonable or appropriate. Their relation is the same as master and slave. Lecturers are of the opinion that their students are supposed to obey them as slaves and no one has to show reaction.
When we talk about teachers/lecturers, it means that we talk about paragon of virtue and guidance. Teacher is one who will show the right path to even a disobedient or stubborn student without violence. Teacher’s behavior is either a positive or negative example; and a tinge of misbehavior will make students lose their trust in teachers. Now the question is that how much university teachers will pay attention to such issues?
It is believed that both teachers and students have to mend their behavior in the academic atmosphere of university and create an environment for tolerance. Is such an atmosphere ever important for Afghan lecturers? In modern world, one will learn many things through technology or cyberspace but what makes teachers distinct from all these is their human behaviors and moral characteristics. Besides conveying knowledge to students, teachers have to transfer values and morality to students, too.
Relation between teachers and students should not be reduced to conveying information. Teachers’ attitude and personality are also lesson for students. Hence, a positive relation between teachers and students is an important social issue.  Relation between teachers and students is highly significant and will promote students’ attitude towards many issues. On the contrary, a teacher’s maltreatment will fill students with a sense of humiliation and disappointment, which will be a blow to the society.
Teachers can play highly significant role for students and their prominent roles are: Playing the role of a guide and teacher which is showing the right path to students. The role of facilitator, i.e., teacher should pave the ground for students to experience new things through using technics. The role of a kind adviser, which means that advise students similar to kind parents. These are the salient roles of teachers toward their students.
Students’ dormitories 
During the university period, many students go from homes to dormitories. In such a case, they will encounter many emotional challenges. As a second home to students, dormitories should be arranged in a way that help students in some issues so that they be able to pass four years of their education in this environment. That is to say, dormitories should not be arranged in a way that students feel as if they are in prisons. Dormitory is a place that lets students exchange their ideas with their roommates and analyze what they learn. Therefore, dormitories must not be the silent killer of students’ talents or morale. Unluckily, violence infiltrated every layer of society. This is easily noticeable in Zahra’s suicide. Students lack support and dormitory is not suitable. Students are not relied by the guards of dormitories, which will shatter their morale and self-confidence. Hence, not only a lecturer but a flawed educational system and a flawed society, which is full of violence, are the reason behind the death of Zahra and others like her.

Fatima Faizi is the permanent writer of the daily Outlook Afghanistan. She can be reached at the outlookafghanistan@gmail.com

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