Eve-teasing on the rise in Kingdom

Dhahran harassment case

Time & time again, I have been persuaded by the Kingdom’s perturbing cases of eve-teasing. A video posted on YouTube last October, showing a group of women being harassed by a few eve-teasers in a parking lot outside a mall, sparked outrage in the media. When the incident surfaced among masses, both the harasser & the harassed were targeted by the public. While the former was accused of utterly unethical & immoral behavior, the latter was criticized to have let that happen due to the absence of a male guardian. As per the official report, Saudi Arabia had registered around 3,000 reported cases of harassment in 2013, where Riyadh topped the list with almost 650 cases, followed by Jeddah & Eastern Province. Those which go unnoticed or unreported may actually be much more than the total figure itself.

The debate drags in a host of other issues, which are said to have contributed for the proliferation of this social evil. There can be many reasons for such incidents. It could sometimes be because of a shopaholic or businesswomen travelling with unknown drivers, ignorance of people about the teachings of religion, demand for freedom of women in the guise of human rights, or more importantly a hooligan on the street searching for a prey! I think the most conducive & threatening of them all are the ones that highlight lone women travelers & uncultured youth, be it because of a force majeure or just to play a vagabond. Despite the fact that women can’t drive in Saudi Arabia, it doesn’t necessitate them to be driven around without an actual need. I too am partially of the opinion that women should be allowed to drive, but the more important question that pops up is ‘To end a single problem, should a solution such be devised that gives rise to many other problems?’. The answer would certainly be ‘No’.

If women take to the roads, they would attract unwanted attention of other drivers. I say this merely because the country’s populace is not yet mature enough to see women on the driving seats. To detail a bit about harassment cases here, I would exemplify by mentioning about a sting operation conducted by a chivalrous media personality from Saudi Arabia, Sameera Aziz. The Saudi-journalist through her investigation brought to light the voyeuristic nature of many, if not all, taxi drivers here. She exposed a cab driver accompanied by a fellow journalist in a car behind. Aziz, during the journey, was ogled at, asked personal & utterly irrelevant questions & later accused of having a bad character. This is just one among hundreds of cases of harassment.

One of my primary concerns to write about such a pervasive stigma is to bring about the third perspective associated with all such cases. I in no way intend to target the female of the species, but am just putting the ponder into words. I often observe an unpleasant sight where the both the involved parties indulge in the drama. It is usually said that men tend to start, but it is not always the case. I strongly believe that women need to act responsibly & understand the importance of a virtuous demeanor. Being skimpily dressed, wearing strong perfumes, ostentatious makeup, etc. all contribute to an uncalled for behavior on part of women. Should this & associated activities be controlled, it will definitely bring down the occurrences of harassment.

Till then, we can just pray to the Almighty to protect & guide us all!


Pedro Baranda, a melange of an all audacious being

It was with the onset of a typical Wednesday morning on the 3rd of April, 2013 last week, that a special day at office was inquisitively beginning to unfold.  A Wednesday in particular, generally, escalates the exuberance uncontrollably to the prime, for it’s a serene slumber that beckons the tired self ahead on the weekend. But, without a doubt, the ebullience had to be even more mystifying & vigorous that day as the President of Otis Elevators, Pedro Baranda, was to visit the office to meet the employees & attend an employee recognition ceremony.

Before I plunge into describing the day further, let me just brief you all about the man himself. Pedro Baranda, as the name rightly indicates such an august, grandeur & majesty, holds a Bachelors degree in Mining Engineering, Masters in Business Administration & a Doctorate in Engineering too. It goes without saying that the individual is a personality gifted, but in abundance. Baranda had joined United Technologies Company (UTC), of which Otis is a wholly owned subsidiary, in the year 1993 as a Research Engineer. With an undeterred grit &  tenacity, he had launched himself into the elevator industry in his mid-twenties. Therefrom, he exalted to new highs with every tick of the clock. Having put forth an indispensable display of intellect & charm, he held various critical executive positions later on & continued to embark on designations such as a Director, General Manager, Managing Director, etc. During the course of his success, he had even been a member of a team of Otis engineers, who won the George Mead Medal, the highest Engineering honor given by UTC. He was named the President of Otis in February last year & is now based in Connecticut, USA.

As we had all prepared to welcome his Excellency the other day, the plan was put to adore the President with a blooming paraphernalia of momentous time frames. He  was greeted in a traditional Arab style by the the Managing Director, HR Manager & other top management executives, having been offered dates & the special Qahwa (the arabic word for coffee) as he entered the office. Subsequently, having toured the office meeting each employee,  the deserving staff were recognized for their efforts at work. A few minutes of enlightenment followed, as the President shared his views about the business & our commitment to Safety in work. Those were one of the most inspiring words audible to my conscience ever. To me, truly it was his carriage that turned heads. The conduct, the mien, the deportment & above all the simplistic grace had engulfed my mind, as the facility went abuzz with the clicking of cameras & the claps & the admiration.

As the designation demands, Baranda often shares his views with the public, capitalizing the advent of a highly sophisticated social media in today’s world. In an interview, he acquainted the world with trying to innovate the modern elevators his way by introducing a small screen to the elevator design, which would attract the attention of captive passengers to what is being run on the screen. This may well eliminate, the albeit few, but monotonous moments of a vertical shift. Also, he blogs regularly for interacting with the public.

To summarize it all up, it was a great learning experience for me to witness such an audacious being, on whom the effect of his stature is  hardly conspicuous. My wishes & prayers for him in all the ventures that he would be a part of in future.

Source: http://www.utc.com/About+UTC/Executive+Leadership/Pedro+Baranda

Someone teach them values,please!!!

I may well be earning the wrath of a few optimists out there for having had a prolonged rage against one common target,the behavior of Saudi’s(youth in particular).But,with all due respect the inferno inevitably has to scrounge for an opening to disperse.And this is a perfect platform to express it to the full.Even the newspaper may edit my articles to fit their ‘Code of ethics’.What I have thought of writing today,has been sitting up in mind for a few years.And now I think it has reached the apex,hence shared.

I come across instances that leave a grave impact on me,seeing the attitude and mannerisms of some people who are in a misconception about what their stature in this world is.They are impolite,rude,arrogant,cruel,cynical when on encountering an expatriate.Be it a top management official or a policeman,it appears as if they are specifically trained to misbehave.I can easily exemplify the former statement with one of my very own experiences.Jeddah airport is a classic example of the misdemeanor of Saudi officers and the police department.A friend laments what had transpired with him on his recent visit to this ‘city of lights’.Sadly,only  a few know how dark the hearts of people are who reside therein,that fades away the external glow.Blamed is to be the nourisher more than the one who ultimately opts for being an oppressor.These are the values which should be taught,inculcated and instilled while the child toddles.At the same time,I do admit that there are a few pristine souls among them too.There are such men who are so courteous as if they never knew what being inhuman means or  it surely would be because they fear Allah and like to treat people equally irrespective of where they come from.

How ironical is it that the followers of such a religion,which promotes equality among people themselves become the catalysts for proliferating discrimination between creations.Prophet Muhammad(Peace be upon Him) too emphasized on this in his final sermon by saying “All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.”Further more,we clearly understand that there is no room for inequality in Islam rather,it teaches advocates the concept of universal brotherhood. The Qur’an itself has innumerable references relating to the same subject.And who would understand it better than the Arabs themselves.

In contrast,we are well aware how amenable and docile are the people of West.It seems as if they have taken the plus points and teachings of our religion that have for long been forgotten by us.I really hope and pray that we would someday return to our fundamental principles as per the guidance of Muhammad(peace be upon him) and treat everyone fairly.