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Brave Miss World Speaks..



The moment Former Miss World from Israel Linor Abargil was crowned Miss World, she was in floods of tears. Why? She recounted her rape from few weeks ago. Now, 16 years later, she tells the world her story through a film, encouraging female rape survivors to share their trials for the world to take a lesson from. That vicarious night in Italy, when he started to strangle her with a rope after concluding the act, Abargil thought she was not going to survive. But when he paused for a moment, she managed to convince him to leave her alive atleast. Hanging on to dear life, she barely escaped, and immediately reported it to the authorities. The Italian police let the rapist go due to a lack of proper evidence. When she was back in Israel, she informed the police again. The authorities issued an arrest warrant for Nur and he was tricked into returning to Israel.

Later, after a lengthy trial, he was sentenced to 16 years in prison. At the time of investigations and trials, Abargil was crowned Miss World. She tearfully recounts, “When I stood on stage with the diadem on my head, I think it was the first time that I realised what happened to me three months ago – and that I needed to go back to my country, my home immediately,” she says. “I couldn’t stay there for a minute more. Going from the extremes of almost being killed to being on that gigantic stage, with millions of people watching was too much to handle. “I felt like dying, basically. I didn’t even care about anything really. But God had different plans. I guess this crown was for me to do what I’m doing today. I travelled the world and met amazing groups of men and women. As all Miss Worlds quote for the sake of quoting, I want to save the world. Well, I guess I took it seriously.” Today, after all these years, Abargil is 34-years-old, a mother of three and a qualified lawyer. She’s also a global advocate in the fight against sexual violence and created a documentary, Brave Miss World, about her rape and subsequent activism. Since she was raped, she’s been on a mission to ‘save the world’ which took 4 years to complete. In it, Abargil speaks to dozens of women who have also survived rape – including Hollywood stars Joan Collins and Fran Drescher. It’s being shown at the Jewish Film Festival in the UK and is available on Netflix too. In the documentary, which is directed by Gregory Peck’s daughter Cecilia, she goes on a personal journey of acceptance.

After two years of therapy in order to deal with her own rape, the intensity of hearing so many other women’s stories affected her. Most of the women she met with have also shared their stories on her website ‘Brave Miss World’ where she motivates rape survivors to speak up. This is Abargil’s main aim. “I think it’s very important to talk. Because these women who don’t speak, they don’t want to believe it ever happened at all. They’re scared at the mention of the word rape. “If anyone says that word, they can shake all over and faint. It controls them. And for what? A victim should never let the rapist control her mind for the rest of your life! “I think when you put what happened to you aside, and you’re not afraid to confront it, at that point you realise it’s not what makes you who you are.” Speaking out came naturally to Abargil: “I wasn’t like other girls. I never blamed myself, or thought it happened because of me. I never kept it inside.” “Earlier, what I did felt normal. But now I realise that it just wasn’t. Because most victims don’t speak, ever. I’m different in that way. I speak, I shout, I’m not afraid.” To report rape is an hugely difficult process. And, as Abargil found out while making the film, not every victim has that option. Abargil says: “I don’t think every girl has the strength to complain They don’t all have the support system needed. But I’m saying everyone should speak out to such people who can give them love, because love cures everything. If you know you can fall back on the people you love and they’ll be there for you, it’s worth everything.” “While making the film, thought I was going to save the world when I started. I thought it would be much easier,” she says. “But it was too much. I started to think this world was evil again and everything was only bad. The worst horror movies aren’t as bad as the stories as I heard. I saw women who were helpless – no one supported them.” We have to change our views on rape Her hope is that by speaking out about the reality of rape, we will see a worldwide change in the manner society views sexual assaults and its victims. “Nothing will change if you don’t speak. How will it?”

“ But I hope men will be afraid because they know we’re going to talk about it to everybody. I pray men learn to respect, and act like normal human beings, and not like animals. I hope that we’re going to raise kids who respect themselves and other humans alike.” She also hopes that women will start to change the way they view rape. That survivors will be able to speak about it, without any shame or stigma. Women should stop detesting and punishing themselves “Women should stop hating themselves, because we do that to ourselves in general. If something like this happens to us, we blame just blame our own selves. We’re raised in a society where we have to be perfect. Anything else is not accepted. “Instead of looking at us like a victim [people] look at us like we’re a problem – like we’re the rapist and did something wrong. I think it’s because we look at ourselves this way.” “Women do so many horrible things because of their shame,” says Abargil. “For example, the story of Joan Collins who was raped as a virgin and later married her rapist. After many women saw the film they said, ‘I married my rapist, too’. “They said, ‘I felt like I was worth nothing. I thought he was the only one who’s going to stay with me after what happened”

That’s Abargil’s only message is to rape survivors. She wants to talk directly to them and help them realise that they are not alone, and that there are people out there who want to help. And love will still prevail if only they wanted it to, and would keep their doors open for someone who would really be worthy.

by Dr. Aafreen Kotadiya
MGM University

Author is a young and energetic MD specialized in Immuno-hematology and Transfusion Medicine from Mumbai, India. Besides being from amongst the top performers since her med school days, she remains a humble and charitable human and Editor-in-chief at the Times of Youth.

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“Everyone in Pakistan is so friendly” -Jeremy McLellan



Biryani-loving comedian Jeremy McLellan is finally in Pakistan

McLellan is known for often writing about his love for biryani and his humourous commentary on American politics, immigration, Islamophobia and race. His understanding of Islam, diversity of Muslims and Pakistani culture has made him popular among Pakistanis and it’s not uncommon to see a myriad of comments from Muslims and Pakistanis on his Facebook status updates.

Jeremy Facebook Status Updates From Pakistan

Everyone in Pakistan is so friendly. If I accepted every offer I’ve received to come to people’s houses for dinner or tea I would be here for 10 years and gain 1,000 pounds.
Power keeps going out. Not a big deal for me, but whoever fixes the electrical grid would improve things by a lot.
I’m used to having a lot of personal space. Not much of that here. Takes a while to get used to. Thankfully it’s all friendly.
Weather is nice, especially on rooftops. Felt like Charleston. Way better than Dubai.
Dinner at Haveli was amazing, and the view of the Badshahi mosque took my breath away.
Finally got to see my reporter friend Usman from Pakistan Today who wrote the first articles about me in Pakistan. Great guy.
Jet lag made me sleep in too much. Hope to see more tomorrow. So far I love it.

“After two years of planning, two weeks of very little sleep, and two days of travel, I have now officially landed in Pakistan. What a blessed and fortunate life I have. Thank you to everyone. My body is tired but my heart is full.”

Dinner at Haveli Restaurant overlooking the Badshahi mosque.

Hanging out at Emporium in Lahore!

Jeremy McLellan Official Facebook Page

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Beat the Heat – tips and tricks to cool it this summer!



The cold winter months may come with its own set of headaches, but summer is no less. It’s a constant battle towards hydration, layered with the right portion of sun-block, all of this while trying to keep cool, mentally and physically.

Reports of increasing global warming make it seem that every summer the temperature is and would be getting harder to endure. Thus, as a medico and concerned citizen, I had to finally compile a list of DIY’s and other simple, efficient ways to keep one cool and happy during this hot season.

  1. Be Hydrated. As you lose water by perspiration, your body temperature rises. Replacing fluids is hence essential to keep the body cool. To replace the water that you lose by sweating, be sure to drink a lot of fluids, especially water and cool fruit juices. Avoid beverages that contain alcohol, caffeine, or lots of sugar, which are dehydrating. Also opt for hydrating foods like a smoothie for lunch, and add more fresh fruits and vegetables to all your meals. Watermelon has the greatest water content as compared to all other foods.

  2. Eat light. The reason we reach for salads in the summer is owing to their easier digestibility than, say, a cheese pizza or lardaceous burgers, which leaves you feeling sluggish in the high heat. Instead, go for fruits and vegetables, which are water-rich and help keep you hydrated and cooler. You could also freeze tiny slices of your favorite fruits in ice cube trays with a little water and add to your regular glass of water later for mildly flavored water or simply suck on them for the cooling effect.

  3. Apply cold water. In order to lower body temperature by lowering the blood temperature in the veins directly, apply a bottle with ice-cold water on pulsation points like your ankles, wrists, or behind the knees.

  4. Breathe like Yogis. Feeling overheated again with no cold water around? No problem. Do a few minutes of yogic breathing by curling your tongue by pulling both side edges upward toward the middle forming an O, then breathe in through your mouth. Hold your breath, and slowly exhale through your nose. Repeat five to 10 times. This age old technique should help cool you naturally.

  5. Cool that Sheet. Put soft gel ice packs on top of the mattress and underneath the sheets; try under your legs, neck, or lower back for maximum comfort. You could also try freezing a cotton sock filled with rice, then slipping it between the sheets. The rice will hold a chill longer due to its starch content. Or just simply chill your bed by folding sheets and pillowcases, placing them in plastic bags, and sticking them in the freezer for a few hours to make up the bed just before you go to sleep for a sound slumber.

  6. DIY Air Cooler. Freeze a couple of water bottles or even a shallow bowl filled with ice and place in front of a floor or desk fan, and enjoy a pleasing breeze when the ice melts and evaporates with your makeshift air-conditioner/cooler. Adding salt to the water before freezing can beat the heat for longer period.

  7. Hello Aloe. Pick up an aloe vera plant from a local plant nursery and get some cut and peeled. Aloe vera gel has a cooling effect when applied on the sun burnt skin. After a long day under the sun it can naturally soothe sunburns without spoiling skin texture or any fear of side effects.

  8. Spice it up. If you’re already sweating, why would you want to sweat more? The answer lies in this explanation. Eating spicy food increases blood circulation and makes you sweat, so as the sweat dries, you’ll feel cooler and have some brief relief. The substance which produces the hot taste in chilies, capsaicin, encourages your body to sweat more without raising your body temperature. It is a tried and tested technique by people who have lived in scorching climates since ages!

  9. Put Up Sun Blockers. The air outside when dry and cooler than that inside, one can hang a damp sheet in an open window. Incoming air will be cooled by the evaporating water. Shutting curtains and blinds (ideally with sun-deflecting white surface on the window side) can reduce the amount of heat passing into your home by as much as 40-45 percent.

  10. Squirt, Spritz. Keep a spray bottle in the refrigerator, and whenever its hot. squirt some cool goodness. For ideal thermal regulation, try to begin with wrists to quickly cool down the blood flowing through their veins. Spraying on some watery mist over your bed-sheets and room walls would also seemingly bring down the temperature of the room immediately for a while. Take it from me, it is a wonderful experience!

  11. Fan it right. If the day’s heat is trapped inside your home, try a little ventilation at night. A window fan with blades facing outside sucks warm air out of the house and pulls cooler air in. Attaching frozen water bottles on the back of the fan will accentuate the coolness further.

  12. Dress right. Coolmax and Nano-Tex are not just for athletes anymore. Wear one of the widely available synthetic fabrics designed to wick away sweat and that sticky feeling. If cotton is preferred, it should be thin, light colored, and, most of all, loose. The best thing is to have sweat evaporate directly from skin to air, the next best thing is for the sweat to move quickly from your skin to clothing and then evaporate. Loose, billowy clothes allow air movement next to the skin and help with sweat evaporation, and thus cool the body.

13.Think Cool. Relax with A Winter’s Tale, The Call of the Wild, Doctor Zhivago, or Smilla’s Sense of Snow. Reading about cold can take your mind off the heat, evoking one’s own experience of ice and snow. Could say it is like a bit of self-hypnosis. Although this needs a little determination, but may be mastered by constancy.

Written by 
Dr. Aafreen Kotadiya

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‘Health is Wealth’ – Explained



As the old saying goes ‘health is wealth’, have you ever wondered why they say so? Mahatma Gandhi also says, “It is health which is real wealth, and not pieces of gold and silver”. So basically, it means that there is nothing in our life that is more valuable than good health. Health is more valuable than money, as the latter can never buy healthiness and happiness. But a healthy person remains in a state of bliss despite of being poor. Without health there is no happiness, no peace and no success. A person with bad health cannot enjoy the pleasure of being wealthy.

By health we do not mean the absence of physical troubles only. WHO defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. Thus, a healthy person is completely free from any illness or injury. A person with sound health enjoys a stability that also includes a healthy mental condition. Our health depends upon several factors, such as food habits, hygiene, fetishes, pollution, sleeping habits, mental condition, air, water, sunlight etc. Some of them are elaborated further below.

Importance of light, air and water: Fresh air and sunlight are very important for our health. Brisk morning walks are very helpful for the fitness of our mind and body. Breathing the fresh air each morning rejuvenates the mind and soul and surmounts the energy that one would need to keep going throughout the day. Sunlight helps our body to produce vitamin-D. A dirty and damp atmosphere breeds a lot of diseases. Fresh and pure drinking water is also necessary for good health. Impure drinking water causes many ailments. So, we must take care of these things.

Food:  Good food, too, is essential for the body. A healthy fiber-filled breakfast each morning is imperative for a good start of the day. Fiber rich foods such as oats, whole grain wheat, bran rice, etc. help us improve our digestive system. Nutritious foods helps us to maintain good health. We all should know, how, when and what to eat.
We should always include a portion of green vegetables, fresh fruits or salads with minimal dressing in our meal. All of these are sources of vital macro and micro nutrients. A balanced and nutritious diet helps the proper growth of the body. But we must remember that we eat to live and not that we live to eat.

Physical exercise and sports: We all know the proverb, “A sound mind in a sound body”. In order to keep the body healthy, we need to keep the mind sound. Physical exercises keep us fit. There are varous kinds of physical exercises. We may walk a kilometer or two every day. We may take some yogic or aerobic exercises or even zumba, dancing and swimming. At the same, games and sports are very useful for health.

Cleanliness: Cleanliness is crucial for good health. Without cleanliness, it is very difficult to maintain fitness. We should clean our house and the surrounding areas every day. Alhough bathing  should ideally be twice a day, in the morning and in the evening, yet once atleast is mandatory. After eating food, we should clean our hands with soap. Various types of diseases erupts from unclean surroundings. We should always throw the garbage in the dustbin. Cleanliness is the key to great health.

Some rules of hygiene: We must know some simple rules of hygiene. Our house must be airy and sunny. Apart from all this, we must form good habits. We should keep ourselves free from  unwanted cares and anxieties. Early rising and early to bed is equally necessary for good health. So we must try to keep fit.

We should take proper care of our health so that we can enjoy our life completely because when we are ill, we do not want to play or work. Our bad health robs us of our daily efficiency, sound sleep and appetite. Life becomes a burden if one  is constantly ailing. Life is left with little charm then. He feels tired of life, always bickering about one thing or the other. On the other hand, one with good health enjoys his life. A healthy person is mindful of all food he eats and enjoys sound sleep.  A healthy person is able enough to sing the glory of life and works hard to realize his dreams. He is cheerful and hardly complains. He may be poor, with limited income and may have to work very hard to earn a living, but even the richest man if ill would envy him for his good health and cheerfulness. A  person with sound health can lead a happy and enjoyable life. A rich person can afford various luxuries of life such as a costly car, posh house, branded accessories, air-conditioners, good furniture, trendy clothes, delicacy foods etc. But, he can enjoy these luxuries only if his health is good. Health is, thus, definitely much more important than wealth. Health is a greatest treasure and  the highest blessing.

Let us plan now to cherish the health we are blessed with, and try to give this gift to all we know so they, too, would enjoy the wonders of this life while being grateful.

Written by Dr. Aafreen Kotadiya

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