Crazy Cricket

When was it?

Friday 13th April 2018 from 8pm until midnight.

Who was playing?

We went to see the Royal Challengers Bangalore (‘RCB’) play against the Kings XI Punjab.

Getting there and getting in

We left early to get into the city and have dinner before the match. We then walked the 15 mins to the stadium. Fighting our way through the crowds, being pushed and shoved. Having found our entrance location on the Stadium map we then dodged face painters, merchandise sellers and other pavement blockers to get to our entrance. When we got to our gate the queue was the entire length of the stadium. We demonstrated how much we had become locals by walking to the very front of the queue and joined the mini queue to get in at the front of the queue (only in India!).

The police (with long sticks) where everywhere and failing to control the crowds or anything else for that matter. Some were just sat down on the pavement together looking on (what the point on them being there was lost on me.) Eventually the police directed us to the next gate and we got inside the stadium very quickly. Through security inside the gate who were confiscating everything except phones and cash; Rez had to ditch a pen! We then proceeded up the stairs (avoiding the low roof) into another queue to get past another security gate. The crush became so strong that the airport style security gate was moved out of the way as it was being pushed so hard from the crowd. We finally got in and to our seats, only to find them occupied by some lads. We didn’t even have to ask them to move – I just looked at them and they got up and left.

A note on (the lack of ) health and safety

Health and safety was completely missing. The entrance to the stadium complex was too narrow for the crowds as the narrow door opened outwards so we had to squeeze in between the door and the barrier to get in. The complete lack of stewarding inside the stadium complex led to bottlenecks and crushes and people sat on all stairways blocking access to and from seats. Sections of the seating were caged off. There were no apparent stewards at all. If the stadium had to evacuate in an emergency there would be loads of fatalities. It was actually quite shocking that the messages and history of incidents in other parts of the world haven’t translated into legislation or better practice here in India.

The match

Cricket matches in India are crazy. None of the polite calmness and clapping that accompanies English cricket matches. No. This is a party atmosphere. Every time a wicket is taken, a ball hit for four or six everyone is out of their seats shouting, dancing and drumming, accompanied by the cheer leaders. It’s mad in a great way!

Drummers waited for their cue.

Birds of prey flew overhead in the hope of catching something tasty.

Sellers continually walked the rows selling samosas and other salmonella snacks for the brave.

RCB were fielding first. 3 wickets came early and in quick succession. It was an exciting match. The Kings XI Punjab were all out for 155 off 19.2 overs.

Time for RCB to bat. Last year the opening batsman was out for a duck on the first ball, so I was hoping that the same wouldn’t happen this year. It did. Brendan McCullum hit an easy catch. I facepalmed. This was not a great start or a good omen!

Things progressed at, what seemed like, a snails pace until the 16th over and the match was in the balance. RCB needed to start tanking the ball out of the field to get enough runs before overs ran out. Then AB de Villiers came into bat and turned the game around with two 4s and four 6s. When he was caught out there was a bit of excitement at the change of batsman and then Mandeep Singh was run out in the very next ball. All the good work seemed to be crumbling away. Then Sundar came to bat and knocked out two 4s to take the match. RCB won with four wickets. We left the stadium at midnight.

This is the final ball of the game.

Leaving the stadium

If possible, the crush leaving the stadium was worse than the crush to get in. I was pushed, prodded and groped in the crowd by pervy Indian middle aged men. It was just incredible. Challenging them directly did not deter them. If I was not more concerned about protecting Zahra I would have punched the little git. The fact that it was so blatant indicates how men here think of women and that they will go unpunished for sexual harassment. Not one of the men I challenged looked bothered at all that I challenged them for groping me.Despite this – we had a great night. One of the fun things to do in Bangalore.

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Karnataka State Elections 2018

When is the election?

12th May 2018

What is it for?

To elect members to the Karnataka state assembly. There are 30 Districts and 224 constituencies.

Why is it important?

The Assembly election outcome will shape the future of Karnataka. The state has historically had a government which is in opposition to the national government and as a consequence tensions can run high during the election campaign.

Our church commenced praying for the elections last month. The are fervent prayers from the congregation and there is anticipation of corruption and violence.

Bangalore has 28 seats available in the state elections. This is more than 10% of the total seats available so makes it politically important. In 2013 the seats were 13 for Congress, 12 for BJP (the party of PM Modi) and 3 for JD(S) (a regional party with negligible urban presence).

What are the key issues?

  • Drinking water and the supply of water generally
  • Sewerage and waste management infrastructure
  • Lakes (dying) and water bodies
  • Traffic congestion and management
  • Infrastructure projects, especially roadside
  • Crime

The indelible ink mark of Indian elections

Indian voters show their index finger marked with ink by the election officer to indicate they have voted. It stays on the finger for 3-4 days and on the nail and cuticle for over 4 weeks. Election ink is a permanent stain on the cuticle which only disappears with new growth. It is a phosphoric ink, using Silver Nitrate, that is applied during elections. The ink is used to prevent Electoral fraud such as double voting. It is effective here due to the lack of identity documents of the citizens.

One candidate, multiple constituencies contested

In India political candidates can contest seats simultaneously in more than one constituency under S33(7) of the Representation of People Act. This is a historical provision to maintain the right of any citizen to represent the people in any part of the country, allowing for freedom of movement and work.

The problem with this is if the candidate wins in both places. One of the seats had to be vacated triggering a by-election and the associated additional costs and time wasted. (It’s also a slap in the face to voters who supported them!).

The Supreme Court is hearing a private petition to strike down S33(7) stating these grounds and the Court has asked for the Central Government’s response on the issue. The election Commission has already made it clear that it is against candidates contesting multiple seats.

It unlikely to change anytime soon if politicians have their say. Multiple seats contested widen their chances of being elected. This election is already seeing discussions and arguments about which party member can contest which seats.

Progress

I will be maintaining a diary of events during the election campaign to see how it progresses. I will publish it after the election. Watch this space!

Easter Sunday

Easter Rangoli

Easter Rangoli

A bit of a delayed blog on Easter due to illness over the last couple of weeks. Better late than never though! Enjoy,

What is it?

Easter is the day Christians remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead after 3 days lying in the tomb. He defeated death and sin. He conquered evil so that all who believe in Him may go to Heaven. It is detailed in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and Paul the Apostle wrote about the resurrection in 1 Corinthians chapter 15.

When is it?

The week before Easter is called Holy Week which includes Maundy Thursday when the Last Supper (the last meal Jesus had with His disciples) took place and Good Friday, the day Jesus was crucified.

Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the full moon in March or April. In 2018 it was on Sunday 1st April, (which was also the same day as April Fools Day in the UK.)

What is it?

The resurrection occurred 3 days after Jesus was crucified by the Romans at Calvary and was anointed and laid to rest in a tomb by Joseph of Arimathea and a large rock rolled in front of it. On the third day God raised Him from the dead. The tomb was discovered to be empty when the women visited the tomb just before sunrise on the first day of the week. Angels appeared to them and told them that Christ had risen from the dead, not to be afraid and to tell the disciples. Peter, the most beloved disciple, ran to the tomb to find the folded grave clothes and the stone rolled away.

The belief in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the key to Christianity. It is the plan of salvation and redemption, the sacrifice was an atonement for sin. “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”(1 John chapter 1 verse 9) “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John chapter 3 verse 16).

Jesus appeared to the disciples and many people over a period of 40 days before He ascended to Heaven to sit at the right hand of God. Jesus first appeared to a woman, Mary Magdalene, and commissioned her to tell the disciples that He had risen from the dead. Jesus week later He appeared to doubting Thomas who had to touch Jesus’ wounds before he would believe it was Jesus risen from the dead. Jesus was not instantly recognisable after His resurrection and it took some moments before people recognised Him. Jesus said “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”(John 20:24-29)

My faith

I know that because I believe that Jesus was the Son of God, that He died for me on the cross and that I have asked for forgiveness for all the wrong in my life that I will be with Him in Heaven one day. My life has a purpose. There is a reason I am here on earth and that is fulfilling God’s plan for me whilst I am here.

In the West merely using the word Jesus (in a religious rather than cursing context) makes people uncomfortable and shy away from being near you. That one word – Jesus- makes people think that you are some religious fanatic but the reality is that I am just like any other person with my successes, failings, inadequacies, skills, worries and joys and I swear (I am getting better, slowly) etc. We all have faults we try to correct and improve on throughout life. I am on a journey just like everyone else. I am the same on the outside as anybody else – what makes me different is my belief in the Son of God, that He forgives me and that gives my life a purpose.

How is it celebrated?

In the UK church services were held at sunrise to mark when Jesus was discovered to have risen from the dead. Other church services were held in the morning. There was a celebratory atmosphere with joyful singing that the Son of God has risen from the dead so that we may be with Him in Paradise.

Families gathered and have roast dinner together. I was quite jealous of some of the meals being ate by my family back in the UK; they kindly shared pictures of their feast! Chocolate Easter Eggs were exchanged and lots of chocolate eaten.

Most shops in the UK were closed on Easter Sunday. Shops in the UK are only required to close on 2 days each year – Christmas Day, when Jesus was born, and Easter Sunday, when Jesus rose from the dead.

The ‘Easter Bunny’ paid a visit in the early hours of the morning and left chocolate eggs lying around inside (or in the garden in the UK). Zahra got quite a haul. Parcels from the UK added to the fabulousness. Chocolate eggs were eaten for breakfast (as is common place on Easter Sunday).

Want to know more?

If you want to know more or, best of all, welcome Jesus into your heart take a look at http://www.crosscheck.org.uk for more information.

Holy Week

When is it?

In 2018 it starts on Sunday 25th March and ends on Saturday 31st March. Sunday 1st April is Easter Sunday (and also April Fool’s Day in the UK – I can see some tricks being played!).

It is a holiday in the U.K. schools will close for (at least) two weeks over the Easter period. Businesses shut on Good Friday to Easter Monday. Retail outlets are closed on Easter Sunday, one of only two days in the year that they are required by law to be closed (the other being Christmas Day, the birth of Christ).

What is it?

Holy Week marks the betrayal, arrest, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It climaxes on Good Friday with Jesus’ crucifixion and ends with the joyful celebration on Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Palm Sunday 25th March 2018

The sixth Sunday in Lent is Palm Sunday which marks the beginning of Holy Week; the final week of Lent immediately preceding Easter. On Palm Sunday we celebrate the Lord’s triumphant entrance and arrival into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey, where He was welcomed by crowds worshiping Him and laying down palm leaves before Him. This was a customary sign of great respect and homage at the time. The arrival on a donkey is highly symbolic representing the humble arrival of someone in peace (rather than a horse in war).

Palm branches are widely recognized symbol of peace and victory, hence their preferred use on Palm Sunday.

Wednesday 28th March 2018

Wednesday of Holy Week commemorates Judas Iscariot’s bargain to betray Jesus. On Wednesday Jesus left for the Mount of Olives. Here He foretold the apostles the events of the next several days, including His impending death.

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Maundy Thursday 29th March 2018

Thursday of Holy Week is known as Maundy Thursday and is a day Christians commemorate the Last Supper shared by Christ with his disciples in Jerusalem. It was at the Last Supper, a Passover meal, that Jesus established the Holy Communion of breaking the bread and taking the wine and sharing it in remembrance of Him. During the meal Jesus predicts His betrayal and following the meal the disciples went with Jesus to the Mount of Olives where He was betrayed by Judas Iscariot. The Temple Guards, guided by Jesus’ disciple Judas Iscariot, arrested Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Judas received money (30 pieces of silver) (Matthew 26:14–16) for betraying Jesus and told the guards that whomever he kisses is the one they are to arrest. Following his arrest, Jesus was taken to the house of Annas, the father-in-law of the high priest, Caiaphas. There he was interrogated with little result and sent bound to Caiaphas the high priest where the Sanhedrin had assembled (John 18:1–24).

Conflicting testimony against Jesus was brought forth by many witnesses, to which Jesus answered nothing. Finally the high priest adjured Jesus to respond under solemn oath, saying “I adjure you, by the Living God, to tell us, are you the Anointed One, the Son of God?” Jesus testified ambiguously, “You have said it, and in time you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Almighty, coming on the clouds of Heaven.” The high priest condemned Jesus for blasphemy, and the Sanhedrin concurred with a sentence of death (Matthew 26:57–66).

The Last Supper has been the subject of art for centuries, including the great masterpiece by Leonardo Da Vinci. The cup used by Jesus is known as the Holy Grail. It has been rumored to exist throughout history with films made based on the search for the Holy Grail. There is no reason to believe the cup would have been outstanding in any way, and was likely a typical drinking vessel, indistinguishable from many others. As a consequence it is unlikely to still be in existence today.

Good Friday 30th March 2018

The next day is Good Friday on which Christians remember Jesus’ crucifixion, death, and burial. He was crucified at Calvary on Friday, outside the gates of Jerusalem. It is a public holiday in the UK – schools and businesses are closed. People toast and eat hot cross buns on this day. I really miss having hot cross buns – they’re delicious. I’ve ordered some this year – let’s hope they’re similar enough to the real thing. At £1.20 for 3 I am hoping not to be disappointed!

The Gospels account the final hours of Christ. In the morning following His arrest, the whole assembly brought Jesus to the Roman governor Pontius Pilate under charges of subverting the nation, opposing taxes to Caesar, and making himself a king (Luke 23:1–2). Pilate authorized the Jewish leaders to judge Jesus according to their own law and carry out sentencing. The Jewish leaders replied that they were not allowed, by the Romans, to carry out a sentence of death (John 18:31).

Pilate questioned Jesus and told the assembly that there was no basis for sentencing. On hearing that Jesus was from Galilee Pilate referred the case to King Herod (the ruler of Galilee) who was in Jerusalem for the Passover Feast. Herod questioned Jesus but received no answer so Herod sent Jesus back to Pilate. Pilate told the assembly that neither he nor Herod found Jesus guilty of any charge. Nevertheless, to appease the crowd, Pilate resolved to have Jesus whipped and released (Luke 23:3–16). Under the guidance of the chief priests, the crowd asked for Barabbas, who had been imprisoned for committing murder during an insurrection. Pilate asked what they would have him do with Jesus, and they demanded, “Crucify him” (Mark 15:6–14). Pilate’s wife had seen Jesus in a dream earlier that day, and she forewarned Pilate to “have nothing to do with this righteous man” (Matthew 27:19). Pilate had Jesus flogged and then brought him out to the crowd to release him. The chief priests informed Pilate of a new charge, demanding Jesus be sentenced to death “because he claimed to be God’s son.” This possibility filled Pilate with fear and he brought Jesus back inside the palace and demanded to know where he came from (John 19:1–9).

Coming before the crowd one last time, Pilate declared Jesus innocent and washed his own hands in water to show he had no part in this condemnation. Nevertheless, Pilate handed Jesus over to be crucified in order to forestall a riot (Matthew 27:24–26) (and ultimately to keep his job).

The sentence written was “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” And nailed to the cross. Jesus carried His cross to the site of execution (assisted by Simon of Cyrene), called the “place of the Skull”, or “Golgotha” in Hebrew and in Latin “Calvary”. There he was crucified along with two criminals (John 19:17–22). Jesus agonized on the cross for six hours. During his last three hours on the cross, from noon to 3 pm, darkness fell over the whole land. Jesus spoke from the cross, saying “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

With a loud cry, Jesus gave up his spirit. There was an earthquake, tombs broke open, and the curtain in the Temple was torn from top to bottom. This tear signified a removal of restriction from the Temple’s “Holiest of Holies, and that God’s people could now communicate directly with Jesus Christ rather than needing the Temple’s High Priest as an intercessor.The centurion on guard at the site of crucifixion declared, “Truly this was God’s Son!” (Matthew 27:45–54).

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Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Sanhedrin and secret follower of Jesus and who had not consented to his condemnation, went to Pilate to request the body of Jesus (Luke 23:50–52). Another secret follower of Jesus and member of the Sanhedrin named Nicodemus brought about a hundred-pound weight mixture of spices and helped wrap the body of Jesus (John 19:39–40). Pilate asked confirmation from the centurion of whether Jesus was dead (Mark 15:44). A soldier pierced the side of Jesus with a lance causing blood and water to flow out (John 19:34), and the centurion informed Pilate that Jesus was dead (Mark 15:45).

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Joseph of Arimathea took Jesus’ body, wrapped it in a clean linen shroud, and placed it in his own new tomb that had been carved in the rock (Matthew 27:59–60) in a garden near the site of crucifixion. Nicodemus (John 3:1)  brought myrrh and other spices and placed them in the linen with the body, in keeping with Jewish burial customs (John 19:39–40). They rolled a large rock over the entrance of the tomb (Matthew 27:60). Then they returned home and rested, because The Sabbath was starting (Luke 23:54–56).

Easter Sunday 1st April 2018

Matthew 28:1 “After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb”. “He is not here; He has risen, just as He said……….”.(Matt. 28:6). On the third day, known as Easter Sunday, Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus arose three days after being crucified on the cross at Calvary defeating death and sin so that all who believe in Him may be forgiven and have everlasting life, a life eternal with Him. God so loved us, that He sent His only begotten Son to die for us, so that our sins maybe forgiven.

The belief in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the key to Christianity. It is the plan of salvation and redemption, the sacrifice was an atonement for sin. “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”(1 John chapter 1 verse 9) “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John chapter 3 verse 16).

How is it celebrated?

In the UK church services are held at sunrise to mark when Jesus was discovered to have risen from the dead. Other church services are held in the morning. There is a celebratory atmosphere with joyful singing that the Son of God has risen from the dead so that we may be with Him in Paradise.

Families gather and have roast dinner together. Chocolate Easter Eggs are usually exchanged but especially for children.
Most shops in the UK are closed on Easter Sunday. Shops in the UK are only required to close on 2 days each year – Christmas Day, when Jesus was born, and Easter Sunday, when Jesus rose from the dead.

In India, All People’s Church have ‘Big Sunday’. A service specially tailored for people to invite their friends and family along. There are games and activities after the service and lunch is provided (usually biryani). The poster advertising the service this year is pretty awesome.

Easter Eggs

Easter eggs are specially decorated eggs or chocolate eggs given out to celebrate Easter festival. For Christians the Easter egg is a symbol of the empty tomb. The oldest tradition is to use dyed chicken eggs and paint them. Now the custom is to have chocolate eggs or plastic eggs filled with sweets such as jellybeans (especially if one lives in a hot country). The ‘Easter Bunny’ pays a visit in the early hours of the morning and leaves chocolate eggs lying around in the home or garden. Children excitedly hunt for them as soon as they wake up. Chocolate eggs for breakfast is common place on Easter Sunday!

As this year Easter Sunday also falls on April Fools Day in the UK, I suspect there will be a lot of tricks played on children with Easter Eggs!

Want to know more?

This is an incredibly important week for Christians. Our Saviour was crucified but rose from the dead 3 days later. There will be much joy and celebration on Sunday.

If you want to know more or, best of all welcome Jesus into your heart, take a look at http://www.crosscheck.org.uk for more information.

Ugadi

Yugadi Habbada Shubhashayagalu! (Kannada for “Greetings for the festival of Ugadi”)

What is Ugadi?

Ugadi is New Years Day and falls on 18th March (in 2018) and is a public holiday. Ugadi literally means “the beginning of a new age”. It falls on a different day every year because the Hindu calendar is a lunisolar calendar so signifies a change in the moon’s orbit.

How is it celebrated?

It is celebrated with gatherings of the extended family with lots of food and feasting. The day begins with a ritual shower or ‘oil bath’ followed by prayers. Mantras are chanted and predictions are made for the new year.

What are the preparations for the festival?

Preparations begin a week before the festival with houses given a thorough wash, shopping for new clothes and buying other festival items. On the morning of Ugadi people wake up before dawn and take a head bath after which their house door / entrance is decorated with fresh mango leaves (to signify good crops and general well being). People also splash fresh cow dung water on the ground in front of their house (can you imagine the smell!) as well as drawing colourful floral designs.

On the day of Ugadi

People perform the ritual worship to god invoking his blessings before they start off the new year. They pray for health, wealth and prosperity and success in business -it’s a good time to start new businesses.

There is a symbolic eating of a dish with six tastes called ‘Bevu-Bella’. It symbolises that life is a different mix of different experiences: sadness, happiness, anger, fear, disgust and surprise. These experiences should all be accepted equally throughout the new year. The six tastes are: sour (tamarind juice), sweet (jaggery), salt, bitter (Neem buds), astringent (unripened mango) and spicy hot (green chilli) or pungent and are called Ugadi Pachhadi. It is only served during this festival.

In Karnataka (the state in which Bangalore is) there is a special dish called Obbattu (or Holige) which is a filling of jaggery and boiled sugar to make a paste which is stuffed inside a roti. It is eaten with ghee, milk or coconut milk and can be eaten hot or cold.

International Women’s Day 2018

When is it?

It is held on 8th March every year.

What is it?

International Women’s Day (‘IWD’) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

IWD 2018

The UN theme for IWD in 2018 is “The Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives

They say:

“This year, International Women’s Day comes on the heels of unprecedented global movement for women’s rights, equality and justice. Sexual harassment, violence and discrimination against women has captured headlines and public discourse, propelled by a rising determination for change.

International Women’s Day 2018 is an opportunity to transform this momentum into action, to empower women in all settings, rural and urban, and celebrate the activists who are working relentlessly to claim women’s rights and realize their full potential.

Echoing the priority theme of the upcoming 62nd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, International Women’s Day will also draw attention to the rights and activism of rural women, who make up over a quarter of the world population and majority of the 43 per cent of women in the global agricultural labour force.

They till the lands and plant seeds to feed nations, ensure food security for their communities and build climate resilience. Yet, on almost every measure of development, because of deep seated gender inequalities and discrimination, rural women fare worse than rural men or urban women. For instance, less than 20 per cent of landholders worldwide are women, and while the global pay gap between men and women stand at 23 per cent, in rural areas, it can be as high as 40 per cent. They lack infrastructure and services, decent work and social protection, and are left more vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Rural women and their organizations represent an enormous potential, and they are on the move to claim their rights and improve their livelihoods and wellbeing. They are using innovative agricultural methods, setting up successful businesses and acquiring new skills, pursuing their legal entitlements and running for office.

On 8 March, join activists around the world and UN Women to seize the moment, celebrate, take action and transform women’s lives everywhere. The time is NOW.”

Bangalore

In Bangalore there was a silent protest to draw attention towards obtaining justice for rape victims. The New India Charitable Trust founded by Vijay and Amrita Tata asked women to wear black (I am and so are my neighbours) and also join a march in the city centre to demand that the judiciary expedite judgement in rape trials. 90% of rapes in India go unreported. Of the 10% that are reported (and that was 34,651 in 2017) only 30% (2017: 10,395) of those go to trial. Of those that go to trial only one third (2017: 3,500) result in an imprisonment. The statistics are horrifying enough but the personal tragedies and lives destroyed behind those stats is even worse.

Indira Canteens (subsidised food canteens) across the city will serve meals for free to women tomorrow as a gift from the BBMP (city council effectively). It includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Various hotels are holding special lunches today for women too.

Messages are circulating on Whatsapp supposedly supporting women but the majority I have received are patronising and concentrate on how to be a lady and not how to be a strong woman. For everyone I have received I have responded with the following (which was sent to me by my German neighbour):

Women are not delicate flowers to be protected. We want to be treated as the equals we are.

Wherever in the world you are, enjoy celebrating mighty women everywhere.