The 4 Freedoms Library

It takes a nation to protect the nation

I wonder if they invited the poor women who's lives have been blighted to walk down the red carpet. Somehow, I think not.

Pakistan acid-attack doc wins Oscar, inspires debate

Sajjad Malik | 29 February 2012 | 0 Comments

Oscar statue

CAIRO (dpa) – The joy with which Pakistan’s first Academy Award was received this week quickly made way for debate on the subject of the film: acid attacks that leave hundreds badly disfigured every year.

Saving Face captures the stories of two women who survived attacks in which acid was thrown in their faces, and the cosmetic surgeon who has returned to Pakistan to help them.

The 52-minute documentary co-directed by Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Daniel Junge from the United States won the Oscar for best short documentary.

There were celebrations all around in Pakistan following the announcement from the glitzy awards ceremony in Los Angeles. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani promised a “high civil award” for Obaid-Chinoy.

But a day later, as activists and the media took advantage of the Hollywood triumph to cast the spotlight on one of the worst aspects of Pakistani society, the euphoria had subsided.

At least 3,017 acid attacks were reported between 1999 and 2011, according to data compiled by the non-profit Acid Survivors Foundation. In 2002 alone, 496 cases were reported.

Most of the victims are women, who in majority of cases suffer at hands of male perpetrators. The acid leaves them disfigured for life due to lack of medical facilities and social security.

“Although the award is a matter of personal and national pride, its content is matter of national shame,” The News newspaper said in an editorial.

“What is more important is that (Obaid-)Chinoy’s effort holds up a mirror to us for critical self-examination.”

Women’s rights activist Marvi Memon described the award as a “big achievement” for the filmmaker and the country.

“The entire documentary is based on the crime of acid attacks and it will help proper implementation of laws to curb this evil,” Memon said.

The use of acid as a weapon has deep roots in Pakistan society. But it is only in the last decade that the government has relaxed restrictions on media, resulting in coverage of such social issues.

The motives for acid attacks range from family disputes to land occupancy issues, but rejection of marriage proposal appears to be behind most attacks.

Mussrat Misbah, based in the eastern city of Lahore, is a beauty therapist who runs Smile Again, an organization to help victims.

“We usually find women are attacked with acid when they or their parents refuse to marry them to someone who has made a proposal, which angers them, as rejection by a woman or her relatives is considered an insult,” she said.

Last year, the government adopted stricter legislation that imposes a 14-year sentence and a minimum fine of 1 million rupees (11,100 dollars), after growing activism over lack of law enforcement forced lawmakers to act.

Memon said Obaid-Chinoy’s film could help ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.

“Now there will be more pressure on the government to implement the new laws and we hope convictions for people involved in it will begin soon.”

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Mission Overview

Most Western societies are based on Secular Democracy, which itself is based on the concept that the open marketplace of ideas leads to the optimum government. Whilst that model has been very successful, it has defects. The 4 Freedoms address 4 of the principal vulnerabilities, and gives corrections to them. 

At the moment, one of the main actors exploiting these defects, is Islam, so this site pays particular attention to that threat.

Islam, operating at the micro and macro levels, is unstoppable by individuals, hence: "It takes a nation to protect the nation". There is not enough time to fight all its attacks, nor to read them nor even to record them. So the members of 4F try to curate a representative subset of these events.

We need to capture this information before it is removed.  The site already contains sufficient information to cover most issues, but our members add further updates when possible.

We hope that free nations will wake up to stop the threat, and force the separation of (Islamic) Church and State. This will also allow moderate Muslims to escape from their totalitarian political system.

The 4 Freedoms

These 4 freedoms are designed to close 4 vulnerabilities in Secular Democracy, by making them SP or Self-Protecting (see Hobbes's first law of nature). But Democracy also requires - in addition to the standard divisions of Executive, Legislature & Judiciary - a fourth body, Protector of the Open Society (POS), to monitor all its vulnerabilities (see also Popper). 
1. SP Freedom of Speech
Any speech is allowed - except that advocating the end of these freedoms
2. SP Freedom of Election
Any party is allowed - except one advocating the end of these freedoms
3. SP Freedom from Voter Importation
Immigration is allowed - except where that changes the political demography (this is electoral fraud)
4. SP Freedom from Debt
The Central Bank is allowed to create debt - except where that debt burden can pass across a generation (25 years).

An additional Freedom from Religion is deducible if the law is applied equally to everyone:

  • Religious and cultural activities are exempt from legal oversight except where they intrude into the public sphere (Res Publica)"

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