Posted on UP Integrated School Batch '82 Newsgroup
19 June 2005
IN SUM: On this day, the commercial world unites in saluting fathers everywhere. I salute the women
who complement them.
LAST Friday, I underwent surgery to remove a sebaceous cyst from an upper thigh. Although the
work was routine by medical admission, the experience affected me considerably. This was my first surgery ever: no matter how minor—or
routine—it was, the memory of the operation will remain as piercing as the knife that accompanied it.
More importantly, the experience left me with a deeper understanding of the great burden
and great work of women. As I lay on the table for half an hour, trying so hard to ignore the sensational tug of medical tools
under my pus-infected skin, the pain gave way to thoughts of women that I have met and known in my life, the aches they have suffered and the
strength they have endured in order to nurture other lives.
I thought of my mother, who gave birth to (and raised) eleven children:
her ordeals in delivery rooms must have been a thousand times greater than my experience last Friday. I thought of the mothers in
Palestine and Israel, whose tender hearts must have been torn with the killing of their sons and daughters in the fields of war. I thought
of the women that I met in Battambang, who lost their men in the horrors of Khmer Rouge and are now devoting their energies and abilities
to providing livelihood for and education to their fatherless children. And then I remembered the younger women that I saw in Moscow, who
were deprived of education and are now plying bravely the darksome city streets in search of bounties for their siblings in Eastern Europe
and Central Asia.
As the doctor sewed up my wound, I appreciated once more the balance between the fortitude of
women and the force of men. I recalled the truthfulness of the words of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá (1844-1921), Son of the Founder of the Bahá'í
Faith, who wrote about how “the world of humanity consists of two parts of members: one is woman; the other is
man. Until these two members are equal in strength, the oneness of humanity cannot be established, and the happiness and felicity of mankind
will not be a reality.”
There can never be doubt: both genders are equal. Both are human, and the powers and functions of
one complement those of the other. I remain hopeful that equitable access to opportunity and education will continue to demonstrate the
universal truth of gender equality, and that the day will come when our children and their children will join a more united world.
On this day, the commercial world unites in saluting fathers everywhere. I salute the women
who complement them. And to you, the women of UPIS Batch '82, I offer my renewed appreciation of your nurturing fortitude.