Mullah Mchungu’s Spanking Dilemma
So, I am frustratingly trying to extract impossible to get information about a reported Taliban attack on the city of Ghazni, Afghanistan where 50 orphan boys cared for by CAI are located when my cellphone farts, flashing Mullah Mchungu’s name. I curse, almost. I have tons of pending fires I need to douse, with so little time and now this pest. But I answer, the entrenched need for respect to my elders gives me no choice. Even through the grainy Skype connection from Dar es Salaam, Mullah Mchungu’s teeth sparkle a ghastly white; throwing my attention from what he is saying. Something about taking a caning stick to a wayward, unruly teenager’s behind? My attention and worry are focused on Ghazni.
Sorry, Mullah, can you please repeat that? I ask for the umpteenth time, and I clearly see and hear the old man’s dentures clicking annoyance across thousands of miles.
Aree, ghadeera, are you deaf? Why do you keep on making me repeat my questions? Aree, I am 20 years older than you and I can hear you fine…
I hurriedly apologize and avert my eyes away from the captivating clicking dentures. The old cow has woken up after a long hiatus; I have not heard from him in almost a year and now here he is, demanding my attention and short in supply time.
I politely ask him about his health, but he brushes my concern off, as usual.
Kisukaali, he hisses, my health is of no concern to you, you don’t care, nor does your fitness interest me, so let’s skip the pleasantries.
Ouch! This Mullah is touched by Iblees personally, I am convinced. So, he repeats his perplexing question. Can a parent spank a defiant, hardheaded child in Sanford, FL and get away with it? This gets my mind in an even greater whirl. The answer is obviously no, it is against the law in all of the US, I am certain, to spank anybody. Child abuse, at the least. Time in jail, for sure. Much worse, denial of access or contact to the child in the future.
You Americans are a dumb lot, snorts the irate Mullah. A good thumping or caning does an errant child a world of good. No wonder you guys end up slaves to your children. You know what happens to children in Korea? How are they disciplined?
I want to tell him I care not what happens to anybody in Korea or wherever, that I am busy, that I am on pins and needles due to the unfurling tragedy in Ghazni, but the Mullah beats me to opening his mouth.
There is a cane, specially earmarked for disobedient students, very rarely used, but very effective nevertheless. The mere threat of its use is enough to make the child wet his / her pants. The shame to the child at school and more critically at home is unbearable. So, Korea is on par with children in Japan. Disciplined, obedient, highly rated in education and never disrespectful to their teachers or parents.
Mullah, sorry, but I must go; there is a crisis unfolding in Afghanistan…
Aree, wait na? I want your opinion about my granddaughter, she lives where you are. Ali, my son’s daughter. Do you know her, ever met her? I shake my head to answer no, but he does not let me.
She is being combative, silly girl, highly influenced by her friends. Now she wants to discard the hijaab. Can you imagine? An eleven-year-old has the guts to tell parents that the hijaab is a hindrance and a distraction at school. Claims her non-Muslim friends exclude her from parties and football events…
My ears perk up at this. The Mullah is talking about a dilemma affecting many parents throughout the West, largely. Why, I struggled with similar situations within my close family in the past as well. It’s a quandary way beyond my ability to advice on or offer possible solutions. The Mullah continues…
Ali was so enraged at his daughter’s behavior he wanted to whack her. But that wife of his, my daughter in law, the daakan, intervened and nearly called the cops on Ali, her very husband. Can you imagine?
Mullah, I could interrupt him this time. Whacking a child is no solution to any problem. Ali is lucky his wife saved him from a certain time behind bars or even worse. His daughter could have been taken away to a foster home.
I hear a snort.
Kisukaali, in my days, I could not say uff to my teachers, and a good whack, a kibaao, would put me in my place. And if I complained to my parents about it, a reinforcing slap or the burning feel of a leather belt delivered in the butt with considerable force by Baba would put a stop to all the nonsense. And if I had the guts to take the matter up with the authorities, why, they would make sure I got a bonus thumping before calling my father and congratulating him for doing a splendid job at raising a fine son…
I think I’ve had enough of this nonsensical nostalgia going back 50 years. So, I hurriedly bid the old hag goodbye. The last I see is his smiling dentures clicking at me, as if he wants to take a bite of my backside. I hang up. Now, where was I?
Happy to report, alhamd’Allah, all 50 orphans, and staff, survived the Taliban onslaught and ordeal of a few days, before the invaders were repelled by the Afghan security team. Although nobody was physically hurt, the phycological trauma of the violence, the sight of dead bodies littering the streets and the wanton destruction to buildings and property will need its own time to recover from.
The orphanage has now reopened, the boys returned and life is back to ‘normal’, Afghan standard.