As I was pondering the possibility that there might be things for which I could feel thankful as Thanksgiving Day was approaching, I kept coming across things that are thanks-worthy... but mostly for people other than myself.
For instance, as I was struggling to complete my weekly missive a full three days ahead of my usual schedule - a schedule that I daresay I struggle to keep even in the
most magnanimous of weeks - I discovered that today (Friday, instead of the usual Monday) is the International Day of the Girl.
Yes, indeed, the women of the world should be truly grateful at our manly generosity that we should recognize their worth to the extent that we would grant the young females of the species one whole day out of 365 (and a quarter) to themselves! I trust that, when they've finished their day of relaxation, they will be recharged for the task of cleaning up the dishes that have piled up over the previous 24 hours - and don't forget the floors and windows - as they continue their training towards appropriate observance of womanhood.
Actually, I know I shouldn't make light of the deplorable way that women are treated around the world - from birth onward.
But I wonder how many men may have seriously considered those two irreverent paragraphs with knowing - and seriously proffered - nods of agreement.
When we think of oppression of women and girls these days, we naturally enter into thoughts of hijabs and the Middle East.
We think of the outlandish oppression of women in countries under the thumb of extremist Muslim rule.
We tend to forget how extreme fundamentalist Christians can be - have been.
And besides, it's comforting, perhaps, not to think instead of the number of women, right here in Canada, who are beaten into submission - and too often into death - by self-righteous men empowered by religious edicts, traditions, anger-management issues, alcohol, or similar cultural stupidity that somehow became accepted as normal, probably in the days when a dry cave was a godsend and the totality of human vocabulary was expressed within the range of a dozen or so vocal variations of a grunt.
It was only about 100 years ago that a law court in New York established an important precedent that began a slow process of rethinking men's attitudes towards violence against women.
In a landmark ruling, the court determined that a man could not beat his wife and children with impunity.
He was no longer allowed to use a stick thicker than his thumb.
Hence the "rule of thumb" that folks so casually toss about in the context of things that are so obvious that they shouldn't need anything more than common sense to back them up.
It was almost exactly a year ago that a girl was shot in the head - one of those shots "heard round the world" - because she dared to pursue an education.
Malala survived the attack, and bravely continues to speak out for education for girls in a world that barely grasps that the future of humanity lies with people such as she.
I was rooting for her to receive the Nobel Peace Prize - but alas, when the committee announced its decision, I was disappointed to see that her name was not there.
Right now, her name is not on the list of most popularly chosen name for baby girls, either. Who's willing to take a bet that Malala moves into the top ten within the next few years? Thanks for helping us to learn.
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