Blog Archives

Day: Fourteen

This image is free of copyrights. Feel free to use this image to raise awareness about gender based violence.

Day Fourteen features a photograph by the BB team.

Fists Don’t Listen

by Abdul Halik Azeez

Fists don’t listen in my blurry state

I’m a dog without a home

My psyche can’t love; slave to a world

that never throws me a bone

The system rules the outer world

My task is your sustenance

The system makes me sub human

And my mind is past its penance

No, my fists can’t hear your blurry love

My fists are our survival

I’m angered by your garb of innocence

With no jungle nor a rival

So I beat and beat away from me

How incorrect can I prove you?

And somewhere inside I know it’s wrong

But ‘right’ is nothing I am used to

The economy’s gotten my humanity

My failings have gotten my heart

And what’s left of my morality

has gone without a spark

An animal inside human flesh

A clam a parrot an idle jest

Life is just a lark

And all I see is dark

The poem was inspired by a news clipping i read long ago about a retired champion heavy weight boxer. His son had given an interview saying that his father would come home drunk some nights and slam his mother (the boxer’s wife) with a combination. Anyone who’s watched boxing knows the power a heavyweight puts into a hard combination (a series of hard punches meant to destroy an enemy). Now imagine that combination slamming into soft, yielding flesh. imagine them pulping brittle bone. The bone of a person that loves you, or they would have undeniably left by now. I think men who beat their wives do so out of a sense of deep frustration about they way they are treated in the world. About how their illusions of reality don’t play out the way they think they should. Their ambitions are thwarted again and again and they have no moral or spiritual framework to release the tension. It is undoubtedly a failing of the man concerned, but it is also a societal disease, this shouldn’t happen in a healthy God fearing society.


Watch this blog for the next 2 days. We’ll be posting a featured photograph each day till 10 December as part of WMC campaign against GBV.

For more information about this campaign click here

The photograph concept was thought up by Halik– a board member of Beyond Borders. With the help of the BB team, a borrowed camera, bad lighting and a few doughnuts- the featured photograph was captured. Halik is a board member of Beyond Borders and blogs here when he is not bumming out or being a journalist/economist.



The good news– Sri Lanka is a ‘low prevalent country’ for HIV AIDS.

The bad news– With the country’s precipitant development, the risk of HIV AIDS spreading wildly is a burning problem.

What’s worse- The youth are highly vulnerable to contraction of the virus due to the “increase in migration internally, externally and internationally due to economic, leisure, [and] displacement”- according to the Family Planning Association.

So ask yourself- do you know all there is to know about HIV AIDS? Did you know that the virus can be contracted due to momentary carelessness?

One of the best methods of prevention is to keep yourself informed and Beyond Borders is inviting you to a Forum Theatre production on HIV AIDS. Bring your friends too and watch the enthralling interactive play and discussion.

The event is for free. All you need to do is register here- online form.

All Aboard for the Next 16 Days

We certainly are!

Joining the 16 days of (online) campaigning against gender violence- we’ll be blogging and tweeting more frequently from 25 November to 10 December.

Gender based violence is a pathosis in the world; no one- class, race or generation has been spared. The unpleasant truth is that you ARE affected by it directly or indirectly (friend or trauma induced behaviour in parents/ family). It’s been around for so long it’s deep rooted in all societies.

But that doesn’t mean we haven’t been trying to weed it out. Celebrities and popular personalities have been trying to reach the world with a message to end gender based violence. The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus sang about it with Facedown and author Amanda Adichie wrote about it in her book Purple Hibiscus. It’s going to take a lot more to bring an end to gender based violence– and your help can make a difference even if it’s in the smallest capacity.

Join the Women and Media Collective (WMC) in their 16 day campaign against gender based violence. Sing, write, tweet, draw- help out in whichever way you can!

Talking about Sex

Dinidu speaks about the importance of Sex Ed. in an interview with Sirasa TV’s Good Morning Sri Lanka programme.

Among the issues discussed are, prevalence of HIV/AIDS, the effectiveness of the peer education model, questions about whether Sex Ed. actually increases the level of sexual activity. The interview, which is in Sinhala was before the 8th ICAAP conference 2007 held in Colombo.

Despite the propensity to think otherwise, Young people in Sri Lanka are sexually active. Average age of sex for Sri Lankan males is at 15 and females at 14 (UNICEF/2006). Sex Ed., although present in the Sri Lankan education curriculum is often ignored by teachers. Experiences of other countries shows that a higher standard of sex education at an early age prolong the average age of sexual intercourse of young people.

Sex Education was one of the main action areas for Beyond Borders regionally for the year 2006/2007. In late 2007, the Ministry of Education in Sri Lanka sent out a circular to enforce a previously existing policy of requiring explicit approval from the Ministry for any external workshops conducted on Sex education thus making any informal efforts for Sex ed. extremely difficult.

Making Sex-Ed Sexy

“Because sex education is rarely sexy,
And Erotica is rarely safe.
Putting the sexy back into safer sex.”

Ever heard of the Pleasure Project? One of the few organizations working on the “sexy” aspect of safer sex. I had the pleasure of being at one of their workshops last August, during the 8th ICAAP.

Those of us who actually did get sex ed in school, got the basic biology-only kind of abstinence focused sex education. This trend continues today, as a result of the Bush administration’s Global Gag Rule (also known as the Mexico City Policy), completely cut off funding to progressive organizations who were working on safe abortion. As most of these organizations like IPPF and Marie Stopes had a large stake in the comprehensive sex ed arena, this effectively meant that the comprehensive sex ed aspect which spoke about issues such as contraception also suffered.

But the industry seems to be going strong in some areas, and the others seem to be recovering well. Modern Loving, a video done in conjunction with the Pleasure Project, is a perfect example of seamlessly combining pleasure with safer sex. The MTV Staying Alive campaign also has a collection of interesting public service media which has been used to promote safer sex. But this advert for Trust Condoms remains my all time favourite.

If you’re interested, try out MTV ME or UNICEF’s What Would You Do? interactive role playing games.

Din is a self proclaimed Photographer, Blogger, Freelance Journalist, Copywriter, Event Manager, Translator, Designer, Social Worker, Poet and BB-ite. He blogs at He is also sexy, single and available.

When will the teachers learn?

There is a strong nexus between HIV/AIDS and poverty, especially in the most poverty-stricken areas in Africa.  The World Bank Blog, Ending Poverty in South Asia exploring whether HIV could have similar negative effects in the development of South Asia  relates an interesting story from Sri Lanka,

Young people, one of the more vulnerable groups in society, are not getting enough (or any) education about AIDS.  One Sri Lankan at the conference [ICAAP8] said his high-school biology teacher, noting that chapter 17 of the textbook was about sexuality, said that only chapters 1-16 would be on the exam.   [link]

This is quite common for Sri Lankan teachers, the reasons are a combination of societal taboo about sex and their own weak understanding of sexuality. Someone should teach the teachers!