A Voice for Me – Pet Rock

[warning]TW – Rape, Violence, Acid Throwing – This is a labour of hate. This is a gigantic rant over 8 hours in the making. This charts the absolute depths A Voice for men has plummeted in a recent article. It is long. It is not fun. It is terrible. I joke about it but I have to otherwise we will spend 18,600 words weeping at the heartlessness of the author.[/warning]

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Reddit Response – Cultural Imperialism

Some questions for all the supporters.

This is a private Christian school, why is a teenager’s wishes being held higher than the rules that the school set forth?

Why did the feather have to be ON the cap, as that was what was actually opposed to?

Explain to me how a feather that was at one time only given to warriors and Chiefs has cultural relevance at the high school graduation of a teenage girl?

By the way, good luck as a member of the tribe couldn’t do it.

The truth is, and down vote me all you want, many tribes take their customs and histories from the writings of early white settlers. I’m not saying that it’s the fault of these people that their ancestors tried to reclaim a heritage that was forced away from them. But I am saying that it might be time to stop giving special treatment to anyone who yells “heritage” any time they’re told that they can’t do something. Because the truth of the matter is that there is no cultural reason for a teenager to have a bald eagle feather. And to all the people who say that the rituals and customs have been “adapted” to modern time, guess what? You can’t change a custom and then claim that you do it because it’s your culture. It’s just some shit that you made up and are asking everyone to accept.

Before you down vote me as I know you will, do me a favor. Actually answer those questions I asked.

- Springheeljac

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The Forgotten Shelters

In 2003, Orzala Ashraf Nemat had a dream. It wasn’t a big dream or one that would shake the foundations of the earth. But it was one that was important to women. Orzala dreamed of creating a network of women’s shelters in Afghanistan so that abused women would have a place to stay that could protect them from the horrific scenes of violence that we are so familiar with. 

 
[warning](The following article is NSFW as many images contained are disturbing but true and are essential to understanding the situation.)[/warning]

Of Priests and Prostitutes

There is a problem in many parts of the world with human trafficking and a lot of the charities that deal with “human traffic” are Religious and often don’t “get” trafficking. They often see themselves as “saviours” and don’t understand the underlying causes for sex work. Mainly because Human Traffic is near universally understood as Sex Work they often miss out on people who really require help but end up making life more difficult for those who want a different kind of help.

I put it down to prudishness. How can you sell your body for money? You cannot be happy! You must need help! [Read more...]

The Hags of Lag

Videogames tend to have fewer female participants in the competitive and indeed the online scene. There are a tonne of reasons which we can get into later but the primary reason is one that everyone can guess. Well if you are part of Men Going their Own Way it’s because men’s brains are superior

What i find amazing is that the cube you are viewing above is as one-dimensional as the text you are reading, yet the eye is tricked into perceiving depth.  We see three dimensional space where there is none.  My point?  Since cubes and sqaures do not exist in nature, somebody, some inquiring mind lost to history discovered that, by linking the corners of a sqaure to other squares at thier vertices one could create this 3 dimensional shape now known as the cube.  Such is the brilliance of human thought — our ability to see the unseen, to solve problems by simply imagining hypothetical scenarios and bringing them to life.

The MRA movement has it’s heart and soul in pseudointellectualism. It’s the idea that it’s members are actually the fittest and finest humanity has to offer and that women actively make terrible decisions when they don’t talk to them because the world is at some sort of intellectual nadir. They are the eloi to our morlocks.

The article then continues with a quote from the Manipulated Man, a book that espouses the idea that women in the 1970s were dominant because they had conditioned men to behave as pavlovian dogs into becoming their slaves in exchange for the right to do the horizontal mambo. It’s clearly a book written by someone who lives in bizzaro land.

Of all the qualities of man, his curiosity is certainly the most impressive. This curiosity differs basically from that of woman. A woman takes interest only in subjects that have an immediate personal usefulness to her. For example, if she reads a political article in the newspaper, it is highly likely that she wants to cast a spell on some political-science student, not that she cares about the fate of the Chinese, Israelis, or South Africans. If she looks up the names of some Greek philosophers in the dictionary, it does not mean she has suddenly taken an interest in Greek philosophy. It means she is trying to solve a crossword puzzle. If she is studying the advertisements for a new car, she is not doing it with a platonic interest in its technical features, but because she wants to own it.
It is a fact that most women – mothers included – generally have no idea how the
human fetus is formed, how it develops in the womb, or what stages it passes
through before birth. Of course it is entirely unnecessary for her to know about these
things, since they cannot influence the development of the embryo anyway. It is only
important to know that a pregnancy lasts nine months and that for the duration one
must take care of oneself and, in case of complications, immediately consults one’s
doctor, who will, of course, restore everything to order.

By the Power of Greyskull! If you actually believe in this woman then you clearly are stupid. Women are just as curious as men are. Reading a newspaper won’t let you “cast a spell” on a political science student. Actually knowing something about politics will help you, but you aren’t going to convert a few minutes of paper reading to political science.

And most men have no idea how a human fetus is born either.

Man’s curiosity is something quite different. His desire for knowledge has no personal
implications, is purely objective and, in the long run, is much more practical than a
woman’s attitude. One has only to watch a man go past a building site where a newly developed machine is being used, for example a new kind of dredger. There is hardly a man – regardless of social status – who will pass by without a glance. Many will stop to have a good look and to discuss the characteristics of the new machine, its advantages
and disadvantages, and its differences from previous models.

I wouldn’t stop to ask about a dredger and it’s advantages and disadvantages from previous models. Most men would probably look at the dredger for a bit because it’s interesting, but I am sure women also would find it interesting. I wouldn’t know bucket from tread on JCB, but I know the guy on the machine wouldn’t know his sacrum from his capitulum. This woman’s work seems to be quite the primer to MRA beliefs. Granted there are some women who think like her in terms of “casting spells on men” but quite frankly most women don’t think that way. Hell, I am sure most men wouldn’t want ANY woman to think that way.

Suffice to say, the male is curious for curiosity’s sake alone.  He needs no explanation as to why knowing the inner workings of some technological device will benefit him directly — the satiation of his inquiry is all the benefit he needs.  He derives pleasure from discovery, obsessing over the euphoric high he receives when his neurons fire off in just the right way, providing to him a rush of clarity and understanding.  He despises having others rectify things for him that he suspects he can rectify himself.

Which is why there are no women in science at all. And men do require the knowledge of how and why a device will help him. Yes, men hunt mammoths for women and all that jazz, but really? The idea that all men are pocket geniuses who derive a euphoric pleasure from curiosity is unfathomably stupid. Everyone has different interests.

So why are men better than women in a world of games?

It very well may be that men have a higher aptitude than their female counterparts for understanding highly technical concepts and schemata. The Purdue Spatial Visualization Test functions as a preliminary litmus test to gauge how students aspiring to become engineers will fare in a math intensive engineering curriculum. Men perform significantly better than women on this portion of the test. It seems men have a natural and superior ability to visualize and rotate objects in their mind — and yet a study conducted on gender differences in regards to performance in a game such as tetris, shows us that with regular practice, women not only shed their mental rotation deficiencies, but maintain them on par with men months after the original test. That an innate proclivity in male human nature allows them to traverse complex ideas and intricacy better than women do is certainly possible, but the degree to wich this gender discrepancy exist’s is not enough i think, to account for the massive discrepancy in male/female creativity and innovation. I wholeheartedly believe that what causes such a huge disparity between men and women in term’s scientific and creative invention/innovation is this sustained curiosity. The conviction to question any amount of convention, supplanting his own groundbreaking and revolutionary concept, while rigorously testing it against objectiv
e scrutiny until he proves his speculation true.

So women suck at videogames because they are allegedly terrible at spatial awareness. And black people can dunk and white people are prone to being bit by snakes.

The reason for scientific discrepency between women and men is that women for a long period of time were not allowed to indulge in scientific pursuit or in creativity. There were no Dutch Mistresses because their paintings wouldn’t have sold and would have been derided because of their gender. Even individuals such as Madam Curie only survived because she was a complete badass, but the average woman of the time would never have had the chance to do the things she did and even she only did those things because she had the opportunity through her husband. That was the society of the time.

The finest example of the loss of gender discrimination is medicine. The field has an equal number of male and female participants due to the loss of gender roles in it. There are still a few (Surgery is a boy’s club. Gynaecology and Obstetrics is a girl’s) gender roles left that need to be broken down but overall the field is split evenly across gender. By contrast Engineering in the west is heavily male dominated. So people think women cannot do mathematics or are terrible at it.

There is no anti-female bias in Indian culture with regards to mathematics and engineering. So 50% of engineers are women, a ratio that is completely unheard of in the USA and UK. Indian women aren’t magic, they are the same as the women back home in the UK biologically. The difference is societal expectation in India for these young middle class women doesn’t involve the words “Maths is Hard”.

The advent of video games is an extension of this deep, insatiable male curiosity.  For the fist time, the force that is male curiosity has  made the intangible tangible — creating a completely fictional virtual world for men and boys.  Currently there is arguably no better place for one to observe male curiosity than in the world of gaming.  Take any newly released  modern competitive video game as an example, what you will see without exception, is a male sub-culture emerge around the game itself.  If the game allows for sufficiently intense competition, the gamers, having reached a general stalemate in skill (immediate curiosity), will then turn their attention to the physics engine of the game — looking to discover and eventually exploit whatever glitches they can find as an edge against their competitors (sustained curiosity).

When I play a videogame (I am currently rocking League of Legends despite the lag. AvicennaLast on the EU East Server) I generally am not in it because I am curious, but because it offers me a little escapism and some stress release. Yes I find a thrill in beating people at it through skill and strategy. And yes I know women who find such a thrill too. It’s not uncommon.

Yes there are more men who play videogames. And while MRA’s think it’s because men are fantastic unicorns of curiosity and competition, I think it’s because women are not encouraged to play games either by the games themselves or by society as a whole.

There are a handful of good, strong female protagonists in games. There are a handful of games that don’t portray women as sex objects to be acquired as achievements or to be oggled. When it comes to immersion in game you want to play as something that compels you to push through it. Now games can have a variety of compelling mechanisms ranging from plot, graphics, challenge and freedom. These are important to the game’s progression but what makes you want to play it?

For men it’s a virtual playground of Gordon Freemans. For women it’s a world where all women have impossible waists, even more impossible breasts and the kind of personality found on either doormats or jaded strippers. The women in games are there solely to provide an idealistic representation of what a teenager thinks an ideal woman should be. Why on earth would you want to play as that? The ideal videogame character is one who you would want to play as irrespective of gender. The only one I can think of from the top of my head is the female Shepard from Mass Effect. Women don’t want to play videogames in the same way that women don’t want to go watch strippers for the same reason. Some women will like it but frankly most find it uncomfortable and demeaning because of the subject material.

Finally, women have a terrible time playing online. Playing online is a paradise if you are straight, white and male. If you are black, jewish, asian, GLBT or indeed a woman then you are going to be subjected to every slur known on the planet ranging from the rather benign “Noob” to the “Nigger, Kike, Paki, Bitch, Slut..”.

And that’s without the actual harassment after finding out that a player is a woman. This rules women out of playing in competitive situations unless they wish to be actively harassed. This stops women from working on communications in game such as the VOIP chat necessary for modern games or from things like XFire, Ventrillo or Skype. Women have a handicap that is only avoidable if they are playing with people who won’t harass them such as actual friends. Now, some communities are more positive with regards to creating a safe area for competition but video games and indeed geek culture are forever tarnished by the innate sexism present. There is little drive to actively stomp it out. Women have to grin and bear it and many women simply don’t want to. I don’t want to deal with racists and I expect that women have the same attitude.

Finally, here is a gripe by someone who plays a lot of games. Exploiting the Physics Engine, is basically claiming that utilising bugs in a game is acceptable to gain an advantage. This isn’t sustained curiosity. It’s cheating. It’s what you get when you play a perfectly balanced game where there are only a handful of strategies needed to win and the winner is the one who can execute them the fastest. It is not the hallmark of a great game. It’s the hallmark of a game that is poorly designed, where everyone plays a game in exactly the same way. This isn’t a game so much as a race to match a checklist. To laud this as the epitome of gaming is to completely misunderstand what makes a game good vs. what makes a game great. To complain that an active glitch in Smash Bros Melee (A cartridge and therefore unpatchable) was removed in it’s successor is to fail to understand basic game design. There are fighting games who have a competitive scene. Street Fighter is famous for it. They are designed with this kind of player in mind.

Super Smash Bros. was never intended to be a seriously competitive game. It was intended to be a fun game where you can pound the stuffing out of Mario as Link. It had a complex fighting system but it was complex through simplicity. Each player had a simple move set that interacted in a complex way. The new game wasn’t dumbed down so much as made tighter. In the same way that the new Starcraft II punished rushing and favoured longer strategies. Because it makes the competition more fun.

In
response to this a group of about 50 professional largely male video game programmers, took it upon themselves to te tediously re-program brawl, with its new characters, stages and features, into a game that included all of the aforementioned glitches, calling it project Melee, or “project M” for short.  Over 40,000 gamers have downloaded the project M patch since its release.  It is only men that would go to such lengths to safeguard a game that allows for such a unique expression o the competitive male spirit.  It is only men that will not accept, (even from the creator of a game itself) Any amount of competitiveness inhibition.  Their curiosity, their sustained curiosity would never allow it.  We have all of the  science and innovation our species can muster as a result.

Here is the “AHA! MEN RULE! LADIES DROOL!” moment.

Project Melee’s goal is to produce the old competitive scene of Smash Bros. Melee in Brawl. These aren’t “Glitches” that are being added so much as improvements to the control system that favours mobility and offence.

If the bulk of videogame players and developers are men then it’s only going to be men who are going to be interested in “fixing” the game rather than women. It’s out of lack of interest for the afore mentioned reasons. One can equally argue that the players of this mod merely want to recreate the older game because they prefer the older play style which is impossible with the same character in the newer game and rather than play the game they want to simply go back to the way things were with nicer graphics. Not due to the undying spirit of masculine competitiveness.

There is no sustained curiosity here, only people wanting to play a game in a specific way, modding a game so that they can do so without issue. The gender of the individual has nothing to do with it, merely the desire to play in a specific way. If you as a man are going to call it the “unique expression of the competitive male spirit”, I am going to have to call you a pretentious wanker and take away your Gurren Lagaan quotes before you hurt yourself kicking reason to the kerb.

Particularly if you are going to claim that all the science and innovation is due to men having curiosity while women don’t.

If you want to see women playing a game? Create a moderated world where racial and gender slurs are not bandied around. Create a game with positive female characters or real female characters. Not ones written by men who think women behave and dress like that. Remove the stigma of women playing games. Punish sexists. If someone says that sexist smack talk is part and parcel of the gaming world then make it change.

I would want any future hypothetical daughter of mine to share in my love of videogames. I would not want her to play online though, not until we change the way players and indeed the games themselves treate women.

Back to the Grind

So I am done with exams (finally!) and can get back to regular posts and the like. And this seems like a good time to discuss the whole abortion issue that has raised it’s ugly head.

See the problem with abortion is that it’s not a good thing. None of us like abortions, even the doctors who do them. An abortion isn’t celebrated with balloons and ice cream and get well cards. It’s a tragic but necessary procedure. The final throw of a dice to deal with a pregnancy. Not one person says “I LOVE ABORTION”. Instead it’s a serious decision made when people cannot care for a child at all.

Oh it’s easy to say “Spend 9 months being pregnant then give it up for adoption!”. To which our response is “sure”. First find a way to adopt every single bloody child from the already full to the brim adoption system and foster care system. There are always more children than people willing to adopt. And while new born babies are easier to adopt, you are placing pressure on a system which is already full to the brim.

Abortions happen whether you like it or not. The difference between a Medical Termination of Pregnancy and some yahoo with a coat hanger is that it’s safer (by a lot) to get it done by someone who knows how all your bits function. It’s also less traumatic since some abortion methods are the equivalent of being punched in the stomach or having bits jabbed into your cervix and uterus which can cause infections or even shock and death. (Trigger Warning)

A non medical abortion is a terrifying incident. If the likes of Mitt Romney have their way this poor girl who was so terrified into harming herself in such a horrific way would be prosecuted for murder. Do you think it’s right or fair?

It’s insane that we can even discuss the banning of abortion as a legal alternative. Will the Republicans fork out money to care for these children? Not bloody likely! Quantity of life is not quality of life unless you think that somehow more people = better which simply makes you dumb. It shows a complete lack of grasp of any reality in the republican and indeed the various Christian denominations which rally against abortion.

The truth remains that it matters if you ban abortion. It’s not that abortion rates drop but it’s that abortion safety drops. Abortion rates drop with the adoption of responsible sex education and placing the onus on both genders to keep safe. Pro-life education however is a big fan of abstinence only education. And these are things that americans who are pro-life do know about.

Many pro-life organisations in the USA do missionary work in the Philippines. I have wrote about them before and I feel it’s only fitting for us to revisit the topic. If only to see what a world would be like where pro-lifers have their way. It’s a terrifyingly graphic article with graphic videos produced by Likhaan. It may not be suitable for all.

But I do feel it’s worth seeing what the reality on the ground is in a country with no choice. The reality on the ground in places like the USA was before the legalisation of abortion. 

If You Don’t Stand for Something, you will Fall for Anything.

I disagree with Hirsi Ali on this one.

Islam is so many different levels of screwed up at this point. It’s a religion where debate is not encouraged. It’s followers are exhorted to be as blinded and as fanatical as possible. It is anti intellectual and anti social.

The nice friendly muslims are now a cultural minority. Imams up and down the Muslim world encourage theology as an acceptable substitute for common sense and the finest minds of the 6th Century AD dictate how people should live their lives. It would be like living your life according to the teachings of Pliny the Elder. Silly but people take the opinions written in the Koran seriously with deadly effect.

It is racist, sexist and incredibly Luddite as a faith and any liberals from it’s ranks toe the line beyond which lies blasphemy and apostasy. It encourages a frankly tribal mentality and prevents a lot of muslims from living a normal happy life.

It isn’t great, but does Hirsi Ali honestly think substituting one faith with another is going to change the lot of women in Islamic society?

Blasphemy and Apostasy in islam are punishable by “death”. Same as the bible as both draw their information from the same source. Many laws in the Koran are actually biblical laws. Sharia law is in fact “bible compatible” and kosher. The ex-muslims who convert out are actually writing out their own death sentences. Encouraging these women to give up their faith to come to christianity is to exchange one patriarchal faith for another albeit less patriarchal one but it still doesn’t change the fundamental problem in that these converts are now regarded as “fair game”. Hirsi Ali fails to realise that the issue isn’t what faith these women convert to but that they convert in the first place.

The horns are to indicate
that he is a scape goat.

Islam isn’t going to change over night, no religion has and no religion will. It’s a kind of culture and breaking culture will not occur in one fell swoop but by the sweat tears and efforts of millions. The voices of the lunatics are too loud and every perceived assault on the religion forces more moderates into silence. When we strike against an imam preaching hate or a cell of muslim terrorists we aren’t striking against hate or terror, we are seen as striking against muslims first. That attitude is pervasive in islam particularly in the more conservative parts of it. Muslims get defensive over their own faith and prefer to believe in conspiracy theories rather than accepting the problem of fundamentalism that they have on their hands because it is easier to believe that the Great Satan is responsible for all your problems rather than taking responsibility for problems and solving them.

It’s horrible, but we are not going to achieve equality for women in Islam right now. It will take decades to force the change and the only way the change can be forced is by muslims themselves standing up, accepting that there is a problem with the jihadi mentality and sharia law and making the change themselves. We will forever be outsiders in this issue and we can only support and call for change, not affect it ourselves.

The issue is that women are treated as property in Islam, women are regarded as incapable of doing anything and that their role is that of the brood mare and housewife rather than as equals. The other issue is that Islam treats reality as if it were a war. All the muslims (of the right sort) are on one side and everyone else is on the other side of the argument. Anyone who leaves is a target and anyone who does anything to disrupt the rules of Islam are seen as fair game. Be it two people who fall in love over passed notes or if someone says something that you disagree with.

What can we do? For starters, we need to enshrine secular rule in our laws. We need to stop pandering to all religion, Islam included. We shouldn’t treat the veil as a cultural choice and instead insist that it not be used. We should criticise all that is wrong with Islam and there is a lot of it. We should encourage moderates to criticise it as well. It’s not apostasy to state that “I think the Ayatollah’s crackdowns on democracy are inhumane and barbaric and we shouldn’t tolerate that” or that “Kashmiri militants aren’t fighting for freedom they are fighting for an Islamic state which would reduce the freedoms of non muslims, women and anyone not wanting to live in an islamic state” or “Hamaas are terrorists and not an appropriate solution to the Palestinian’s problem even if Israel are equally bad”. These are not dirty words, dissent is not dirty, its part of dealing with issues.

We need to create a voice for the moderate muslims to fight back against the crazies and we need to provide services to protect both men and women from the abuse. Simply encouraging these women to swap between gods will still place them in the firing line but with the added problem of creating hatred between christian and muslim faiths. Which is basically like arguing over whose invisible friend can win in the fight but people take both of their invisible friends seriously, serious enough to kill. It doesn’t improve the situation these women are in since they are still potential targets.

Yes, some people cannot live without their god, but a new one is not the answer. Christianity seems mild mannered because it’s been beaten into submission by feminism, science and humanists who realised how bad it was. Islam has not had that treatment, I am proposing we should start working on that by encouraging voices in Islam to speak for the moderates and to campaign for the liberalisation of Islam.

Atheists cannot make the change, we are universally unliked and often with good reason. We are ornery and don’t understand religion. We treat it like a joke and deride it at the drop of a hat. Other religions are seen as the enemy and so cannot effect change. Only muslims can through sweat, blood and through tears as I fear fundamentalist Islam and the tribal mentality of Islam has been given such a free reign that there will be a lot more blood and tears before this fight is done. As of now, the moderates are in the minority because they are quiet and not one will raise their voice because they don’t realise how many of them there are. No one is willing to lift their head and speak out lest it be struck off.

That is where blogs and the like can come in. The Greater Internet Theory may hold true in both ways. I wish to postulate the Lesser Internet The
ory.

Normal Person + Anonymity = Superhero
It’s so obvious!

A normal person with anonymity can affect change in a positive way as well. There are Muslim moderates, Muslim gays, lesbians and transgender and Ex-Muslim atheists all out there who don’t have voices so people assume they don’t exist. Their criticisms go unheard. All we hear is the same fundamentalists and luddite islamicists who are holding the moderates hostage and making them seem like the minority.

Anonymity will protect those moderates who have something to say. It will help protect ex-muslim atheists who wish to say something. Muslim GLBT can realise that there are others like them. It can make a movement out of nothing. And it can fight against all the the tragedy and fanaticism that pervade Islam ensuring the safety of it’s early campaigners and spreading the movement. Open bravery will get them killed, that much is known and asking good honest people to take that risk when I wouldn’t is foolishness. But they can be a little brave when no one knows who they are.

And do you think that unto such as you

A maggot-minded, starved, fanatic crew

God gave the secret, and denied it me?

Well, well-what matters it? Believe that, too!

Any muslims who do read this would heed these words carefully. They aren’t written by a christian or atheist or hindu, they are from the Rubiyaat of Omar Khayam. Ultimately there are no secrets in the Koran hidden away by your Imams nor does any solution lie in the christian priests or hindu brahmins. All you have is yourself and the humans around you, and isn’t that enough to be happy.

And remember, if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything. 

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.