Around 500 Mauritians Undergo Diabetes-Related Amputations Annually

Poring over our national health statistics, the numbers look glum to say the least.  In a population of around 1.5 million people, 12.7 % are known to have diabetes whilst a whopping 17.5% have an impaired glucose tolerance.  But what’s even more shocking is the fact that between 400 and 500 people undergo diabetes-related amputations each year, which is an unsettling health crisis we’re never at ease to address.

We all know we’re quite fond of our local cuisine and we never really changed our eating habits despite being exposed to the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle.  We still swear by this culinary triumvirate-gateau de l’huile for breakfast, a shitload of greasy curries accompanied with gluten-laden rice for lunch and an even bigger dose of calories for dinner.  After all, it’s our culture, it’s what we’ve always known and it’s pretty unlikely that we will redeem ourselves overnight.  But we should at least try.

Here are some guidelines on how to stay healthy.

1.Cut down on carbs posthaste

Just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean it’s providing you with the nutrients you need.  The dholl puri you’re picking up at Rs12 has 500 calories, which amounts to a quarter of the recommended calorie intake for a normal adult.  The alouda you’re gulping down after devouring that dholl puri has heaps of artificial sweeteners that will most likely increase your dependence on sugar.  The mountain of rice on your plate alone has 500  calories, imagine adding myriads of side dishes to this, it’s easily 800 calories for lunch.  And now dinner, the propitious time of the day to murder your health.  Even more curries, this time with either starchy faratas or an even bigger mound of rice or highly calorific french baguettes.  None of these are even healthy options and yet we’ve normalized our unhealthy habits, to the detriment of our overall health.

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While it’s nearly impossible to extricate these staples from our diets, we can at least cut down on sugar, rice, dishes doused in all sorts of oil and street food.

2. Know your calorie count

An adult man should consume 2500 calories a day whilst an adult woman should keep that number to 2000.  In Mauritius, our staple food is rice, and we always forget that rice isn’t a neutral aspect of our diet.  A small bowl of rice has 130 calories.  Most Mauritians will plate up until the plate actually gets lost underneath a mound of white rice, adding other side dishes to it which can easily bring a mundane meal’s total calorie count to 1500 or beyond.  Needless to say, the excess calories you consume will transform into flabs of fat, which can be hard to get rid of if you don’t have time to exercise and many of us clearly don’t.

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So what can you do instead of gorging mindlessly on fatty foods?  Well there are a few things to keep in mind.  Educate yourself on the amount of calories that’s present in your favorite foods and ask yourself if putting your health at risk, is going to make it taste better.  It is a no-brainer that fruits and veggies are our best options, and ‘lo and behold, they’re quite cheap as well!  Some of you might ask, ‘What about organic options?’, well you’re quite lucky in that department as Mauritius has the perfect climate to grow your own food.

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3. You don’t need to go to the gym to exercise

While it’s a major marketing gimmick, exercising doesn’t really amount to much if you whip up your own routine.  Calisthenics is one of the easiest, inexpensive options out there when it comes to exercising in your home, instead of emptying your pocket for a gym subscription.  A grueling work out of 1 hour everyday can help you mitigate the effects of a bad diet, strengthen your immune system and it can also help you avoid seasonal infections, making you pretty much inured to illness.  It is heartbreaking to see so many Mauritians succumbing to diabetes related illnesses and crowding hospital wards across the island.  The most glaring reason for this health crisis is our dependence on easily available street food and our indifference to their calorie count.

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4. Share the wisdom

All this information is useless if no one uses it to sensitize their friends and family on their potentially lethal lifestyles.  Older people are more vulnerable to these illnesses as they are less inclined to change after years of commitment to the local cuisine.  But we cannot ignore its ramifications on our health and let the future generation inherit the same indifference that’s led to this crisis.

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The consequences of indulging in calorific diets are staggering and encompass all areas of your life, for your health is the driving force behind your existence.  Failing to be healthy and succumbing to easily preventable illnesses is preposterous because we have all the information we need at our fingertips and we just need to adopt a disciplined lifestyle instead of conforming to the notion that deep-rooted habits are irreversible.

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Four Reasons Why Poverty Persists In Mauritius

Turquoise lagoons flanked by sprawling sandy beaches-what’s not to love?  It’s the picturesque epitome of what peace and serenity mean to many people.  But those are just the physical attributes of our ‘idyllic’ island, what about the quality of life that our million and a half (or so) population have to contend with?  Why is the outcry more thunderous than it used to be?

How come decades of incremental growth has not resulted in the annihilation of absolute poverty, let alone relative poverty, which is gradually leaving its imprint on our society?  Is this directly attributable to our faults as a nation, or should we look elsewhere for the perfect patsy?  Here are 3 possible reasons why, in spite of being the ‘richest’ country in Africa as per ‘income per capita’, we are grappling with a rise in relative poverty.

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1. Education policies that do not benefit the mainstay of the population

Say what you will about our political leaders, but at least in the beginning they delivered the goods.  The ‘Free Education’ policy has had the game changing impact of untethering us from our ‘primary-sector’ based livelihood, which gradually paved the way for service-based industries, the tourism industry and the textile industry among other things.  Knowing that resource-wise, we didn’t have much going on, our leaders at the time chose to imbue knowledge in the youth to ensure that our society wouldn’t crumble, a la Somalia.

But despite these providential policies, reports have shown that up to 100 000 people are living in relative poverty, which is the threshold where households aren’t able to keep up with the ‘median-income’ tier.  This is nearly 10% of our population and it’s no coincidence that the poverty trap seems to be an unwilling one indeed.  Our education policies-while they’ve rightly benefited hundreds of thousands of people-have not led us to become more entrepreneurial and entrepreneurship is the cornerstone of any robust economy!  As if to concur with this sentiment, last month it was revealed hundreds of small and medium enterprises had shut down.

A lack of entrepreneurial education, in tandem with a worrying dropout rate among high schoolers have led us to believe that maybe the education process ought to be revamped.  Not in the idiosyncratically blinkered way that our government has gotten us accustomed to, but in a more far-sighted realistic way that would ensure everyone would get the education they’re qualified for-those who aren’t characteristically fitted for academic achievement should be guided toward apprenticeship and technical courses.  Why else would they recruit foreign engineers, if there weren’t a known dearth in the educational process?

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Already, 25% of the future generation cannot master basic Math, English or French.
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Almost 30% do not have the required qualifications to continue their studies.
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This is a farcical figure because at this point, only those who qualified actually entered the race.  And of those ‘lucky ones’,  25% have hit a cul-de-sac.

2. Gentrification

In a very short span of time, we’ve seen our coastal regions blossom into posh provinces, and this has led to a very genuine problem that happens the world over-gentrification.  Gentrification in itself isn’t a pressing issue when the locals can afford the rates being offered in the market, but in our case it certainly is.  Rural poverty is a scourge in Mauritius, more-so because in recent years, infrastructural development for the sole purpose of attracting tourists is pushing locals to the sidelines.  As a result, they cannot buy real estate at competitive prices, they do not have purchasing power parity and they fall into a ‘relative’ poverty trap, exacerbated by rising prices to accommodate to high-income clienteles.

The government doesn’t seem to care much about this, although it’s pretty clear they should be investing in the working class to spark genuine, cross-sectional economic development.  Instead they aim for the pecuniary benefits of the short term at the expense of plunging a vast majority of people under the poverty threshold.

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In the same area, there’s a popular tourist resort.
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Oy vey, here it is.  Best of both worlds right?

3. Lack of realistic career planning

Anyone who has attended a local tertiary institution would have known how scant their transitory guidelines are because there’s a much bigger emphasis on attending a tertiary institution per se than there is on what the economy actually needs at the moment.  So we have a bunch of ‘Sociology’ graduates who will certainly fall behind in the race for a meaningful job and there are other vacuous degree courses on offer that certainly aren’t aligned with the realistic demands of the job market.

People often have to pursue another degree, on top of the one they strived to get because they didn’t evaluate the relevance of their studies in relation to job options.  So in order to mitigate youth unemployment or unemployment altogether (metrics of poverty), there has to be a decent nationwide framework that enumerates all the sectors of the economy that need to be filled with specific occupations.

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How do erudite scholars fail to communicate the dire reality that certain courses yield terrible career opportunities?

4. Petty tribalism?

This one has to be the deus ex machina of the lot because it’s far more implicit and perhaps explains the crux of what we’re facing.  If we look at countries that maintained a gradual growth and actually implemented rigorous policies to eradicate income inequality, there’s something that stands out.  Most of these countries have a very homogeneous culture and they don’t indulge in petty tribalism nor in letting religion dictate their way of life.  Mauritius has hundreds of thousands of people who are more interested in their own selfish aspirations rather than to help their poor counterparts get out of abject poverty.  It is a sort of coping mechanism that tells them that they’ve made it, contrary to the other ‘cultural’ tribes, whom they regard with the deepest contempt.

Imagine if they actually realized they were all made of the same fiber, imagine if competition was not based on schadenfreude but on patriotism-the drive to making society more equal and less brutish for the low income tiers.  But sadly, when ‘advisers’ to the Prime Minister are making tenfold the amount of the average Mauritian, can we just stop pretending that curbing poverty was even on the agenda?

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Mauritian taxpayers have a lot to coalesce about.

Mauritian Identity- ‘Mauricianisme’

Yesterday marked a change in the leadership of the Mauritius Sanatan Dharma Temples Federation, a religious organization devoted to the handling of Hindu festivities and religious assemblies.  Somduth Dulthumun was overthrown after 15 years at the helm of this organization which is now being led by Rajenrah Ramdhean’s ”Diya” faction.  People within the Hindu community applauded this major upset as the previous camp was often accused of pandering to politicians.  But it is the existence of the federation itself that is worrying, because it defies our secular values at the core, because it is excruciatingly identity-based and therefore, discriminatory.

People who identify as Hindus are the largest religious group on the island, on top of being the majority in a ‘multicultural’ society.  But the term ‘multicultural’ itself is a misnomer because the island actually hosts a myriad of ‘mono-cultures’ who historically have clashed with one another in a bid to protect their own privileges and limiting the aspirations of other groups.  Sectarian violence isn’t unheard of and there are plenty of instances in our own history when the whole country was aggrieved by the petty communal skirmishes that resulted in bloodshed.  The death of the popular Seggae icon, Kaya, is one of the painful reminders of a society that can never put aside its imagined differences.

The persistence of religious entities that seek to maintain their independence and authority goes to show just how sectarian a vast majority of our people are.  It’s not a stretch to opine that their willful designation and distance from the Mauritian cause indicates a movement redolent in its own superiority and homogeneity .  Communalism stems from these dark alleyways of our culture, where politics is attuned to our religious biases, which might explain why a non-Hindu would never gain the support of the Hindu majority.  This might be the kernel of truth in our political system that’s awash with sectarian divide, longstanding prejudices, tribal shibboleths among other things.

It is quite remarkable that a group that glorifies Hinduism has shoehorned it into petty politics.  The spiritual aspect of religion has been overridden and it has been reduced to a movement so emphatically politicized that it points to a willingness to separate from the Mauritian identity.  Instead of reveling in our shared history, we cling to the detritus of the traditions our ancestors had left us, who themselves had fled a country that bastardized religion and created barriers among its own people.  We will never transcend beyond our current social and political tardiness if we don’t jettison the religious and dogmatic ethnocentrism we’ve infused in our culture.

The Mauritian Identity should be an inborn trait in every individual who breathes the air of this magnificent country.  We cannot hide behind our religious and tribal moats and expect that individuals won’t borrow from this narrative for political expediency.  Mauricianisme should be etherealized and engraved in our core values, for it is the culmination of centuries of reciprocity in our struggles and strife, despite the ethnic differences of our ancestors.

Légalisé Mam! 5 Reasons Why It’s A Smart Policy

One of the most contentious subjects when it comes to government policy is the fact that a significant faction of the population endorses the legalization of marijuana.  It makes sense because our ancestors were the ones that brought cannabis to this country, making it part of our cultural heritage. According to a 2011 survey, 3.9 % of our population are regular marijuana users (around 58 500 people) while 0.91% are regular opiate users, the highest number in Eastern Africa.  Recently we’ve been dealing with a surge in synthetic cannabis-related incidents and as a result, many youngsters have been committed to mental institutions.

There’s been a significant upheaval in public opinion as more and more people are being educated on the benefits of marijuana, when compared to lethal licit substances such as alcohol and cigarettes.  Tobacco consumption alone is responsible for 7 million deaths annually while that figure is 3.3 million for alcohol related deaths.  However, statistics on marijuana related deaths is as of yet unavailable although countries where it’s legal have not reported any death attributable to the consumption of marijuana.  Here are 5 reasons why it makes sense to get rid of the stigmas attached to marijuana consumption and legalize it.

1.In Mauritius, a vast majority of our prison population have been indicted on consumption or possession charges

Three quarters of the prison population comprise of marijuana users who’ve been subjected to the harsh penalties attached to marijuana possession and consumption.  A prison term of up to 5 years is mandated, as well as a fine not exceeding Rs 100 000.  In other countries, such penalties would be deemed ‘brutal’ if not ‘inhuman’ as research has shown that marijuana alone hasn’t been linked to an increase in crime or mortality.  After some states legalized marijuana in the US, a follow-up revealed that road rage, traffic violations, accidents and public misconduct had not gone up, henceforth proving that legalizing marijuana doesn’t lead to a rise in criminality.

2. Reports have shown that there was no rise in teenage marijuana consumption in the wake of its legal status

In Colorado, they debunked the myth that teenagers and children would be exposed to marijuana once it would be legal.  The findings are pretty clear in that regard-legalization didn’t lead to an increase in its use among teenagers or children.  In Mauritius, teenagers have easy access to cigarettes and alcohol, which are known to inhibit brain growth among other things.  In Uruguay the government controls the marijuana trade by means of registries that ensure no one under the age of 18 is exposed to marijuana.  Conversely, in Mauritius it’s not unusual to catch a glimpse of an underage person smoking or drinking as the laws are pretty lax.

3. Legalizing marijuana could lead to a decrease in opiate consumption

It’s been established that countries and states that have legalized marijuana saw a significant decrease in opiate consumption.  In Mauritius, there are currently 13 650 opiate users, most of whom are battling disease and poverty.  The rehabilitation process for these individuals is one of the most nerve wracking experiences anyone could ever go through and yet we’ve not come up with concrete solutions on how to solve this crisis.  As it happens, although some detractors have posited that marijuana consumption is a slippery slope that leads to the consumption of harder drugs, facts have proven otherwise.

4. The dismantling of notorious cartels

The legalization of marijuana could have the advantageous aftermath of eradicating the influence of the Peroomal Veerens of our country.  We all know that the dealers will be up in arms should such a policy attract significant interest and consequently, it could lead to the demise of the black market which has been responsible for the dissemination of synthetic drugs and the associated deaths.  The black market has enough leverage in the political realm, which might be one of the reasons why the government hasn’t considered legalizing marijuana to this day.  Marijuana legalization is a no-brainer policy in a country that consumes a large amount of it.

5. A tax policy that could be used to finance social projects

Or in other words, legalize it and tax it.  Following Uruguay’s example, we could set up micro-governmental branches that would oversee the trade of cannabis and enforce the regulations, incidentally creating new jobs.  The revenue from the sale of cannabis could be used to finance a myriad of social projects that have been in limbo for years now, such as the renovation of our public hospitals and further training for our teachers.  Those aren’t even remotely unrealistic endeavors and could be very well put in motion once we establish a framework to distribute and profit off this new policy.

Only a government that’s in cahoots with the black market would overlook the propitious aspects of legalizing marijuana.

La Pensée Unique à Maurice

Avant de rentrer dans le vif du sujet, définissons tout d’abord l’expression <<pensée unique>>.

L’expression pensée unique est employée avec une connotation fortement péjorative pour dénoncer le conformisme d’idées considérées comme majoritaires et incontestables, auxquelles les gouvernants et les grands médias ne confronteraient plus d’idées opposées et sur lesquelles il faut nécessairement s’aligner.

Cette pensée unique à Maurice est omniprésente.  Elle nous hante dans chacun de nos choix.

La libéralisation économique à outrance

Nos politiciens ne jurent que par les investissements directs provenants de l’étranger. S’il n’est pas question de grandes multinationales qui délocalisent une partie de leurs activités en utilisant les sociétés offshores et d’outsourcing à Maurice, il est question d’accaparement des plages mauriciennes pour construire des hotels de luxe et autres propriétés privées pour une clientèle sélecte.  

L’honorable Showkutally Soodhun, ministre des Terres et du Logement, est un ami intime de la royauté en Arabie Saoudite. Il va souvent rendre visite à la royauté pour demander le soutien de l’Arabie Saoudite pour le financement de projets à Maurice. Fait marquant: Maurice a proposé à l’Arabie Saoudite d’investir dans des projets de smart cities en 2015.

C’est dans ce but que l’Arabie Saoudite est grandement sollicité pour participer au financement de ces projets ; dans ce cas, l’acquisition des terres serait soumise à un bail de 99 ans pour construire ces villes intelligentes qui aideront économiquement, socialement et technologiquement le pays. — Source: ict.io

Alors que les grands débats au niveau mondial se portent sur la mondialisation et les effets néfastes du capitalisme libéral, à Maurice tout va bien, nous ne nous posons aucune question.

Les partis traditionnels

Le plus grave, selon moi, c’est que la pensée unique concerne aussi le choix des partis politiques. La population mauricienne vote majoritairement pour les partis traditionnels. J’espère que les mentalités ont évolué depuis les dernières élections mais en règle générale, la population mauricienne considère que les seuls partis dits “serieux” sont: le PTR, le MMM, le MSM et le PMSD.

Il existe un sentiment de fatalisme hallucinant de la part de l’électorat!

Il faut voter pour le parti qui va gagner!

Ayant discuté avec certains observateurs politiques, j’ai aussi réalisé que les Mauriciens votaient pour la formation politique qui avait le plus de chance de gagner, ce qui permet de comprendre la frénésie autour du clip “Vire Mam” sur Facebook, qui a eu un impact direct sur les intentions de vote, lors de la victoire de l’Alliance Lepep aux dernières élections.

Les Mauriciens suivent la tendance générale. Ils ne votent pas pour le parti qui va être le représentant de leurs valeurs et de leurs idéologies sociales et économiques. D’ailleurs, ils ne se posent même pas ce genre de question. Il y a très peu de Mauriciens qui prennent le temps de lire, de comprendre et de critiquer les manifestes électoraux des partis politiques.

Par ailleurs, les partis politiques traditionnels à Maurice ne mènent pas de vrais combats. Il n’y a pas aucune démarcation claire et nette au niveau des idéologies politiques. Ils ne sont que des opportunistes qui flairent les bons coups quand le parti au pouvoir abuse de la bienveillance du peuple mauricien dit <<lepep admirab>>.

Blanc bonnet, bonnet blanc!

Le systeme éducatif et les différentes formes d’intelligence

Notre système éducatif ne favorise pas l’émergence des idées contraires. Je conçois qu’il existe quelques exceptions qui confirment la règle. Cependant, que ce soit au primaire, au secondaire et meme au tertiaire, on n’encourage pas les élèves à questionner ce qu’ils sont en train d’apprendre. D’ailleurs, il n’existe souvent qu’une seule bonne réponse aux questions posées lors des examens.

Nous n’encourageons donc pas les élèves à s’ouvrir à toutes les possibilités mais nous leur disons comment réfléchir…il n’y a qu’une seule bonne réponse donc une seule façon de penser.

Ceux qui échouent aux examens sont considérés comme des moins que rien. Ces gens là n’ont pas d’avenir. Par ailleurs, ceux qui reusissent brillamment leurs examens sont considérés comme faisant partie de l’elite intellectuelle ! Ce genre de réflexion peut indiquer deux choses, soit:

Soit:

  • Nous considérons une certaine forme d’intelligence comme étant la plus importante pour réussir au sein de la société.

Une nation de droite, qui rêve de gauche!

Nous avons les politiciens que nous méritons.

Nous voulons du progrès mais nous sommes conservateurs à la base.

Nous voulons une économie prospère mais nous continuons à élire les memes chefs d’état qui sont corrompus jusqu’à la moelle.

Nous voulons avoir plus d’opportunités pour nos enfants mais nous rejetons les nouveaux partis politiques qui font confiance aux jeunes.

L’esprit humain est comme un parapluie : il marche mieux lorsqu’il est ouvert. — Darryl Cowl

Il n’est pas trop tard pour changer…

4 Reasons Why Your Idea Of Love Is Sometimes Wrong

The internet is replete with articles answering your existential questions and one of those highly requested topics concerns what is arguably the most intense human feeling of all, love.  We all want love in our lives, and the type of love we most desperately yearn for, is romantic love.  It’s the impetus behind everything we do, we plan our lives around that big adventure which marks the beginning of when we really start to live.  There are so many ideas about love that it’s almost impossible to echo all of them at once but in this article we’re going to highlight the 4 most bizarre circumstances that can lead to someone mistaking something else for love.

  1. Limerence 

Limerence is also known as infatuated love and it’s pretty much self explanatory.  But for the purpose of being more insightful, let us explore the nitty-gritty of this theory.  Limerence can be translated into ‘obsessive crush’.  We’ve all had obsessive crushes on people, daydreaming about them and mentally planning our wedding and the names of our children.  Well, while it may seem to you that you’re in love, you most certainly aren’t.  Limerence usually fades in a short amount of time but it can last longer, depending on how bonkers your fantasies are.  Limerence is definitely not love because you’re not really tempted to act on it, which is based on the premise that it might lead to unrequited love.  For love to exist, it must be at least recognized by the other party.

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Mindy doesn’t take it that far though.

2. The Manic Pixie Dream Girl

This is mostly a male fantasy, where the person experiencing those feelings wrongly mistakes them for love.  It’s different from limerence in that the person isn’t really obsessed with the fantasy of being with someone, but rather, they’re projecting their own hidden expectations onto their partner, which inadvertently leads them to believe they’re in love.  A famous example of this conundrum is when a guy finally meets someone with the same interests and fixates on that aspect alone. ‘Oh well, how amazing is she, I’m so in love with her‘, disregarding the obvious differences in their personalities.

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I hate this movie but it really captures the MPDG experience.

3. The Stockholm Syndrome

No this is not about a hostage falling in love with their kidnapper although that has been known to happen.  This feeling is mostly concerned with how we often subconsciously relate fear to love, a vestige from our childhood where discipline was rewarded with affection.  Sadly, many human beings are attracted to people who evoke feelings of fear in them-a famous example of this type of occurrence, is when law-abiding women fall for hardened criminals with no plausible explanation as to how such a thing is even possible.  Well, there you have it, sometimes fear can be interpreted as love.

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In Top Of The Lake, Mary falls for a much older criminally-inclined man.

4. Daddy Issues/Mommy issues

A vast majority of people are attracted to people who display the personality traits of their parents and this familiarity can coax cushy feelings of love and affection in their mind.  In some cases, due to unresolved conflicts with their parents, these individuals bend over backwards to commit their reverence and loyalty to the person they think they love.  In fact, they’re only submitting to something beyond their power because subconsciously they want to repair their damaged relationship with their parent/s.

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Cute but creeeeeepy.

All these different feelings can be mistakenly attributed to love. But love isn’t beholden to your expectations or your fantasies, love is for the most part unconditional and pure.

Are Women Safe In Mauritius?

We shouldn’t mince words when we describe the state of affairs here especially given the astonishing rise in crimes committed against women.  Last week, the corpses of two lovers were found in a valley and this immediately sparked concerns about what seemed to be a crime of passion.  There’s nothing passionate about a jilted husband going on a murder spree but oh well, we’re not here to debate misnomers.  The nature of the crimes was so morbid that it elicited a maelstrom of sympathy for both the victims…and the perpetrator of those crimes.  That’s right-certain people rued over the fact that the young bride shouldn’t have provoked the ire of her husband because you know, she was just asking for it.  Certain people are so painfully oblivious to the plight of women that they fail to see the humanity in them.

Then there was the rape of another young woman, which occurred recently in a secluded sugarcane field and the alleged rapist was none other than the driver of the van that was supposed to get her home.  The reaction to this particular tragedy was even more mind-boggling- some men were intent on contextualizing and over-analyzing the paltry details to prove that it didn’t happen, that the victim was just lying.  Why would anyone lie about being raped in our purity-obsessed society?  Didn’t you know that virginity is a badge of honor here?

All this is a direct repercussion of our archaic beliefs as a society and like I said in the beginning of this article, we’re not here to mince words.  The reason why females are often the targets of vitriolic jibes here is because there’s this sexist undertone in our norms and this is upheld and proselytized by ignorant people in the guise of ‘culture’.  I don’t want to offend anyone but if your culture regards one gender as being inherently inferior, well maybe it doesn’t belong in the civilized world.

Women, you don’t need to prove anything to anyone but more importantly, you need to become the catalyst for social change in this society.  Debunk their sexist myths one by one and unite in fighting against the tyranny of their dated beliefs.  We should never forget that our society doesn’t value our reproductive independence, nor does it care about the myriads of little girls who are forced to become mothers to placate their medieval values.  Great strides are yet to be made in the achievement of TRUE equal rights.