Lost in translation: Pakistani ‘bangle protest’ fails as insult at UN

United Nations, Aug 25 (IANS) With the UN committed to empowering women and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon proudly declaring “I am HeForShe”, a protest by women in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir offering him bangles as an insult was lost in translation here and failed to ignite ire.

Ban’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said nonchalantly, “We are fully supportive of everyone’s right to demonstrate their opinions peacefully about issues that they care about,” when a reporter asked him about women offering Ban their bangles “as a kind of insult”.

On Tuesday hundreds of women held a march against the UN and India in Muzzafarabad, the main city in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, holding up their bangles and placards saying the ornaments were for the UN, according to media reports. A protester was quoted as explaining that if Ban couldn’t act on Kashmir he should wear the bangles — a symbol of femininity.

While portraying a man as acting like a woman is considered an insult in some parts of the world, it does not translate in the same way at the UN. The world body is committed to empowering women and changing the traditional portrayal of women.

When UN Women, the organisation for empowering women launched its campaign to engage men in its gender equality campaign, Ban was the first to declare, “I am HeForShe”.

Earlier this year, Ban proudly accepted “Delivering for Girls and Women” award from a group called “Women Deliver” for his role in championing the rights and health of women.

(Arul Louis can be contacted at arul.l@ians.in)



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