Thanks to all who attended on Tuesday, for an insightful evening led by Magi Gibson and Glaswegian author, Shazia Hobbs (exploring the latter’s extraordinary life story, as fictionalised in her debut novel: The Gori’s Daughter).
‘Gori’ is a derogatory, Urdu term which implies that white, Western women are sexually promiscuous and to be looked down upon; this colloquialism offers a window through which to view the dualism of prejudice between communities. Also, it unveils the central dilemma of Shazia’s life: a woman of mixed race, born to a white mother and Pakistani father, looking and often failing to find acceptance in either culture.
This is an important Glaswegian story of significant international export, that urges to be told. The abuse to which Shazia was subjected (“shot by both sides”) abandons us to a veritable no man’s land, where sexism and racism overlap (and where the misguided tendency for political correctness can lead society – specifically, police and social services – to retreat and ignore, instead insisting that elders within ethnic communities resolve issues privately). Such an approach can prove catastrophic for those most vulnerable, as Shazia’s tale affectingly attests.
And this no man’s land is a minefield; no one seeks to play into the hands of that vile minority, which waits for any opportunity to categorise – holistically – a religious or racial background as inherently hostile to certain human rights. Nonetheless, the central concern must be with enabling women and children to escape abuse from any theological or cultural milieu.
By the night’s close, one is left certain that if only those voices of the unheard Shazias could be discerned more frequently, then diverse communities might lower barriers and acknowledge the overriding failings and frailties that unite all – and what we are all, then, morally obliged to do about them.
** The SWC’s intern, Charlotte Morgan, has reviewed this event; Charlotte’s piece can be viewed here.