PRAISE OF TENDERNESS
In these days we have seen dozens and dozens of dramatic images before our eyes showing the situation in Afghanistan. Among the many, the one that struck me the most is a sequence of photographs in which is depicted a couple, a man and a woman. The woman, who in the first photo appears beautiful and smiling progressively is covered by veils and burkas more and more heavy until disappearing completely in the black background.
I read an interesting article that said that 20 years ago, during the Taliban government, not only had the woman lost all rights and freedom, but they had even banned the use of heels because even the noise of a woman’s step was intolerable to them.
I wondered why Afghan women should disappear, or perhaps better: why should all (or almost all) women be erased? Yes, because there are many Taliban in the world and not all of them wear turbans and Kalashnikovs.
It is a demanding question and there is not a single answer: why do some men not tolerate that a woman arouses in them desire? Why can’t they stand someone who is physically weaker but equally intelligent? Maybe because if you make your own the rigidity of fundamentalism then every person different from you represents Evil?
The answer I want to give myself today is that women, and in particular Arab women, have not lost their tenderness and that is why they have a femininity that no veil can really hide. A way of being women that perhaps we Westerners have lost by running after gender equality, after sterile contrasts and in the end we are confused. Having the same rights does not mean being equal. Knowing how to preserve diversity without killing each other is very difficult, but fundamental.
This does not apply only to men belonging to ISIS or the Taliban. I am thinking of the increasing number of feminicides and I do not believe that violence against women is attributable to a single religion or geographical area.
So, it occurs to me that perhaps for men like God’s warriors, jealous husbands, rapists and murderers the tenderness in a woman’s heart is dangerous. Dangerous because it reminds them of the humanity they have lost, the possibilities others have and they would like to erase from the world.
Therefore, today I would like to say that tenderness is revolutionary because in a world in which becoming an adult means too often transforming into harsh and cold people, preserving tenderness allows us to live a perennial adolescence. I do not know if it resembles the permanent revolution that the generation before mine was looking for, today I just wish my Afghan sisters to flourish a thousand and a thousand times against small men who seem gigantic just for their violence.
Thanks to Chiara Fanasca for the translation of this article