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Jul 31 2011

Rights of the Silent majority – Love is a Battlefield

Earlier, I wrote about women’s shelters in Afghanistan and how the funding for them was not regarded as important even for our own governments which state that they don’t have time to enshrine the rights of 50% of a population who existed as little more than slaves.. I wrote about the horrific abuses that women had to face, even showcasing examples of them who had tried to flee horrific abuse.

Here is another such case.

It’s simple, its Romeo and Juliet, only everyone knows and wants to kill them because of some stupid idea about honour. To sum it up, boy and girl fall in love through what appears to be the most persuasive of slipped notes and decide to get married. Everyone else has a hissy fit because they aren’t of the appropriate community and everyone knows the Montagues do not deal with the Capulets. There is no other reason for this but the idea of caste and that different communities do not mingle. It is incredibly tribal bullshit.

Killings of such romances occurs in a lot more literal way with the death of the couple. In this case the father and uncle of the girl go as far as openly threatening the girl with death while she is in jail, in full view of the law which cannot do anything to protect her.

Awwww!!!

And the ultimate joke is that their romance is just utterly childish. They are being threatened for behaviour that we would find incredibly cute. Asking a girl out by surreptitious note passing based on awkward feelings that came about from a glance is what 12 or 13 year olds do. They then go out for pizza and have grandiose ideas about romance and marriage that their relationship will last through all eternity and we nod and smile because we know better. We think it’s adorable and take them out for their awkwardly saved up McDonald’s Date (oh come now! I was 13 when I took a girl I liked for a Happy Meal! My aunt thought it was adorable that I saved up. The staff thought I was being a dick because I paid in pennies).

The article even points out that they fell in love over the ridiculously sappy romantic music that comes from Iran. If they had tape recorders they would be sending each other a tape of their favourite songs.

It’s not that its romantic or cute, but that it is a basic human right to marry another human of our choice. Not to be denied that because someone thinks along such tribal lines.

In Herat province there is JUST ONE women’s shelter, in a province with 1.5 million people in it. This single bulwark protects such couples from the wrath of the people. It is run by Voices of Woman, any support you can give will go a long way to protecting Afghani women.

Let something good come out of our invasion, let us work to enshrining women’s rights in Afghan law, not showing a lack of spine when it comes to 50% of the population.

This isn’t the first couple who have been threatened, it won’t be the last. The year before a couple were actually stoned to death for the crime of love. Let’s try and make that the last couple.

Write to your politicians, this isn’t something that we should let happen in a modern world. 

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