Cheat-Seeking Missles

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Countries We Die For!

“This is a society where being born a woman is not a gift,” the Italian doctor told The Times of London, in what might be one of the most unfortunate understatements of post-Talian Afghanistan.

Behind the attention to girls going to school and a woman in Parliament -- a woman who gets regular death sentences -- there is an Afghanistan that is very cruel to women. The Times reports:
THE first thing one notices about 16-year-old Gul Zam is her eyes, pretty and dark yet as watchful as a hunted animal’s. But then the scarf covering her head shifts slightly, exposing a livid red scar on her neck. The hands that play nervously in her lap are ridged with pink burns that reach up her arms, across her chest and down her legs.

Three months ago Gul Zam poured petrol over her body and set herself alight. To her it was the only way out of a marriage so abusive that her husband Abdul had beaten her until her clothes were soaked in blood.

“I felt all other ways were blocked,” she whispered. “My husband and his family treated me like a slave. But I could not go back to my family because of the shame that would bring. So I crawled into the yard, poured a can of petrol over me and lit a match.”

Gul Zam's husband stood by and watched her burn; a neighbor saved her. By then the flames had fused her head to her abdomen. She's had ten operations and needs several more.

In this country we libertated, only the women are liberated. Between 60% and 80% of all marriages in Afghanistan are forced and more than half of all girls are married off before the age of 16. Some are sold off to husbands as young as six, often to settle debts -- as if they were goats or coins or any other commodity.

Don't you have to ask yourself, "Why do we bother?" Someone has to shine a light into the darkness. If it illuminates, we save the world. If it stays dark, it will be very clear what we're dealing with.

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