Archive for Family

Wake-up Call: “I never want to go to school again” Shanno Khan (1998-2009)

Posted in Asia, Children, Europe, India, United Kingdom with tags , , , , on June 30, 2009 by mariayzk

cutest-baby-ever“If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.”

Mohandas Ghandi, political and spiritual leader in India

Violence; the 21st century first aid kit. Whether we are examining the reasoning behind the war waged on Afghanistan and Iraq, September 11th bombing or an aggressive domestic marital feud between a couple, like the recent beheading of a New York based women; 37 year old Aasiya Hassan who was allegedly murdered by her husband, one no longer stands shocked at these fanatical acts of violent behavior. The subject of this article is yet another act of brutality; the culprit is none other than a school teacher; an honorable profession, which has now become synonymous with pedophiles, killers and kidnappers.

The current state of schools is fear-provoking; Sunday school teacher in California charged with the murder and rape of an 8 year old girl who was her daughter’s playmate, killers and pedophiles in UK applying to become teachers and most recently the 11 year old asthmatic girl in New Delhi who died after being punished by her teacher to stand in the scorching sun for two hours. It leaves you wondering; is it even worth procreating in such a stigmatized environment? Continue reading

Walking Marriages 走婚 in the Land of Mosuo; a Woman’s Kingdom

Posted in Asia, China, History with tags , , on June 30, 2009 by mariayzk

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There are so many knowledgeable people, but none can equal with my mother.

There are so many people skilled in song and dance, but none can compete with my mother.

There are so many skillful people, but none can compare with my mother.


This beautiful folk song is intrinsic to the Nari culture; an ethnic group based in southwestern China more formally known as the Mosuo, which is quite often referred to as a ‘Girl’s Kingdom’.

American writer, Joseph Rock has described the land as:

“The last peaceful place on the planet, the last place where war has never existed, where people live in harmony, is Lugu Lake. The lake is home to the Mosuo minority, one of China’s 56 ethnic groups, hidden in the shadows of the Xiaoliang Mountains.”

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In the Mosou tradition; a man and a woman never leave their mother’s home. When a woman reaches puberty, she is given a coming-of-age ceremony at which time she can begin engaging in ‘Axia’; a walking marriage. It starts of with both men and women interacting with each other through group songs and other activities and if there happens to be a love connection between a pair, the woman invites the man through some form of gesture, i.e. gift. The man returns to this woman after dusk, when night falls and leaves before dawn to return to his mother’s home. If the woman desires, he returns; otherwise they end the relationship and move onto someone new. A relationship goes public to the families once a man and a woman decide to have children, until then the lovers will pretend not to know each other in public. Continue reading

I am Alive – Restoring Family Links

Posted in Children, Disasters with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 27, 2009 by mariayzk

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Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one. Jane Howard

You wake up in the morning, get up to brush your teeth and there in the mirror pops up a familiar face. Beneath your exterior exists another you, a part of you that carries a million memories with your loved ones spread across borders. What if one day due to  a  natural disaster or armed conflict you lose all ties with your loved ones? What would you do to reunite with them? In this article; I’ll be highlighting one such case; an Aunt’s search for her lost blood ties, her twin nieces who are fighting their lost identities in a small camp based in Tanzania.

In a day and age when domestic violence has become an open day policy in every other household; it is highly motivating to see people who are still keen on restoring family links. I dedicate this article to all those people who have sacrificed their lives in hopes of sustaining a peaceful family life.

Bound under confidentiality, I will be unable to disclose names here. The case revolves around twin sisters, born in early 1990s in Nyanza Lac, Burundi. Having lost their mother at an early age; the girls were being raised by their mother’s employee who passed away a few years ago, leaving them all alone in a world they had yet to understand. To escape the conflict zone, they fled to seek refuge in a camp based in Tanzania; where the girls are presently living. About a week ago, they were led by camp officials to the Burundi embassy, where they were notified that they will soon be sent back to Burundi.  The girls didn’t take this too well considering they have no family ties in Burundi; it seemed like a whole new world to them. In fear of being deported back to Burundi they managed to escape from the embassy and spent the next few days on the streets. However, they couldn’t get too far and were brought back to the camp. Continue reading