What's love got to do with it?
June 5, 2004
As the hunting term goes, it would appear to be 'open season' on our girl children in Guyana, and the sex tours catering to paedophiles, which now go to Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, India, and other Asian countries, may now be coming our way. Somehow I don't believe that this is quite the kind of clientele the tourist industry in Guyana is seeking.
Mr Abu Bakr's letter was repugnant to me. The arguments contained therein, while hiding under the cloak of religion, are nothing short of primitive.
I will not address here the morality/ immorality of the Guyanese society or the world at large. The raging hormones in the body of a teenager as it prepares for adulthood, result in a heightened sexual state. A properly educated thirteen-year-old in the 21st century in Guyana, should have that information and surely a 37-year-old man, intelligent enough to run a business, ought to know the same.
I do not know what the other "Holy" books define as love, but the Bible's definition can be found in 1 Corin-thians 13:1-13: "Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things... Love never ends..." It is one thing to admire the beauty of a child and an entirely different thing to use one's influence and/wealth to take possession of that child.
Who will write on behalf of the poor young girls who are "traded" to older men, under the guise of marriage, without being given the options to ever fully develop their God-given intelligence and talents? I neither hear nor read stories of the 13-year-old daughters of the Guyanese bourgeoisie being offered in marriage to men of little means. Instead we read about and share in the pride their parents feel at their stellar performances at the 'O' level, CXC and 'A' level examinations, their acceptance into great institutions of higher learning, their MBAs, BScs, PhDs and MDs. What in heaven's name has love got to do with it?
Thanks to people who sought and continue to seek knowledge beyond what they are told, we now live longer and healthier lives, thus the need to start 'breeding' at the tender age of puberty so that a few of our children would survive, is no longer a necessity. No one can argue about the benefits an educated mother brings to her children. The duties of a wife, "thank God and Allah be praised" have evolved over the last three thousand years. Would a businessman in the 21st century not be better served by a wife who is educated, articulate and confident, rather than an unsophisticated child? If he requires someone to take care of his domestic needs, I would suggest that he hires a maid!
The divine wisdom set down by the Holy ones two to three thousand years ago, which still serves as the cornerstones of the major religions of the world, gives great richness to the societies of the world. I read only this week in your column Mr Sultan Sattaur's letter, informing us that the Koran was the first book which regarded women and men as equal, and it has prompted me to get a copy of the Koran in English.
I know that Jesus, in the New Testament, appeared quite even-handed in his treatment of men and women. Having said this, three thousand years later, all things being 'equal,' when I read about the anguish of a wealthy Guyanese father, running back and forth to the police/courts of Guyana for assistance to retrieve his 13-year-old son from the grips of an impoverished 40-year-old woman who has seduced him, then applied to the courts to marry him without the permission of his parents, I'll buy that novel!
What 13-year-old child, male or female, living under impoverished conditions, would not be dazzled by the 'sophistication' (and I use the word loosely) of an older man, a father figure with money and a house full of food and toys? "What's love got to do with it?" Nothing Mr Bakr! While you reminisce about the good old days, do not be fooled for one minute that this tragedy is about love and/or religion. It is about economics, and it could just have easily been your son!
May the moral majority in Guyana use this opportunity to correct the ill done by Mr Khan to one of our daughters by adjusting the law immediately so that no other Guyanese child would be exposed to predators legally!
Cheryl E Noel