the crisis of masculinity

Benevolent patriarchy is not the solution to toxic alpha masculinity. I understand baby steps and folks market these olde school versions of ‘chivalry.’ But misogynistic masculine domination is just a thin veneer away in them.

This version of masculinity comes with a core of homophobia, transphobia, and a hunger for gender essentialism. We’re going to need men to do better than this. The question is this:

Can they imagine giving up male privilege? That’s the first step.

If they can’t take that step, they will self-destruct. Because the world is moving ahead and there never was a binary.


miracles and angels

I want to share something that happened this week. My mother called from Lahore (Pakistan) to ask me if I knew of special prayers they could make to find a lost child. She said Bashira’s 12 year old grandson Hamza had vanished.

(Bashira has worked for my mother as household staff for at least a decade. She and my family are very close. Bashira often stays over (she sleeps in a comfortable bed in my mother’s room). Bashira cared for my dad in dementia. My mother, bro, and SIL care for Bashira’s family.

There are gangs of child traffickers in Lahore, and we were worried young Hamza had been taken. The thought struck a chill to my heart. Police are useless, except for fleecing people.

I urged my mother to contact the police on her behalf. Cops wouldn’t help Bashira; she’s just a poor widow. But my family hate having any dealings with police: they make things worse for you if they figure out they can get bribes from you. It didn’t look good for Hamza. We prayed for him, but my heart had difficulty finding hope.

Unbeknownst to us, Hamza had suffered a hit and run, and had a concussion. He couldn’t remember anyone’s phone numbers. Remember, this is Lahore. A big, busy city. A lot of people are in need, and people don’t have much time.

But a stranger picked Hamza up from the road. He took Hamza to a nearby hospital, and got him the care he needed. Paid for his care. Watched over him for three days.

Bashira dreamed of Hamza, saw him injured. She thought of the hospital nearby and went there with a photo, asking everyone if they’d seen Hamza. People ignored her. As I said, she’s a poor woman.

Then one attendant said, that child is in the ward upstairs!

That’s how they found Hamza. The man was still sitting by, caring for him.

There are good people in the world. And they do good for no recompense and no recognition, for random injured kids who have no one to care for them.

Pakistan is in dire straits right now, a third of it underwater. International donors are looking away.

But I know that Pakistanis have opened their pockets as much as they can to help others.

Not everyone is good. But there are a lot of good people in Pakistan, with a lot of compassion. And in the world.