We are all Farkhunda

I AM FARKHONDEH

The below is a shortened version of my speech at Marea Feminist Review and Consulta Torinese per la Laicita public events in Genoa and Turin, Italy during 27-30 March 2015.

Today, we are all Farkhunda.

You know her by now – a 27 year old woman accused by a mullah of being an “infidel” who burnt verses of the Koran. She was attacked by a mob in Kabul, lynched, stoned, run over, burnt and her body thrown in a river whilst onlookers and police stood by. (See full report here.)

Immediately after her brutal murder, some Afghan officials like Senator Zulmai Zabuli and deputy minister of information and culture Simin Hasanzada sought to justify her killing. A mullah of Wazir Akbar Khan Mosque, Ayaz Niazi also justified it and said: “At such a situation, there is no need to go and check the girl whether she is sick or okay,” he warned following reports that she had mental health problems. He added: “Be careful O people! It will be a big mistake if they [perpetrators] were sent to the jail. The people will stand against this and then they cannot be controlled” – the usual threats – by religious gatekeepers of power – in support of the perpetrators on behalf of “the people”. Of course we heard justifications here in the west too. Someone Tweeted: “what does she expect if she burns the Koran” as if a book is worth more than a human life. Back in Kabul, her family was advised to leave their home for safety reasons; it was in fact they who had said she had mental health problems in order to safeguard their lives…

So far, this is a story we have heard many times over many years. A woman accused of a crime against religion or religious morality – real or imagined – who is tried and executed either by mob (or Islamist) violence or by the state’s violence in the form of Sharia law on behalf of “the offended sensibilities of the people”.

But “the people” as Mullah Ayaz Niazi learnt well includes many – led by women – who were outraged by Farkhunda’s brutal murder and would not justify it.

The ensuing protests meant that her family did not have to flee their home but could stand their ground. Her mother was able to say “I am proud of my daughter” and her brother, Najibullah, was able to announce that he is changing his second name to Farkhunda in memory of his sister.  It showed that people would respect her and not “the people’s offended sensibilities”. A group of young people renamed the street leading to the area of her attack as Farkhunda’s Street and a tree was planted on the spot where her body was thrown. Also 28 men have been arrested with 13 policemen suspended following the attack. And all because of protests – most important of which included that women carried Farkhunda’s body– going against Islamic customs – to her gravesite and with her family’s permission. They surrounded her coffin right until the end, gave her the respect she deserved, and chanted: “we are all Farkhunda”.

And when Ayaz Niazi, the mullah who had justified Farkhunda’s killing, tried to join them, they refused, created a circle around her gravesite, and forced him to leave.

Azaryun, a youth activist says, “That is what Farkhunda teaches me: together we can change the narrative that others write about women. We stood up against the most respected mullah. We carried the coffin and buried her.”

Neayish, a medical student, said: “I was just crying.” “It was a long trek… but all my energy was focused on giving Farkhunda a respectable burial. It was the first time I realized my real power and told myself that I’m breaking the boundaries of tradition.”

What the protests around Farkhunda’s murder show are that “the people” of Afghanistan do not all agree. That “Muslims” are not all the same. Just like “Christians”, Italians and the Church and pope and Northern League are not one and the same.

In Afghanistan, too, there are women and youth who break taboos and change narratives and there are many men who stand with them against religion’s encroachment in people’s lives and against Islamism – the religious-Right. [Read more…]

On the disgusting pro-Islamist Left

Watch this week’s Bread and Roses TV with Maryam Namazie and Fariborz Pooya in English. Persian is below.

It’s on the disgusting pro-Islamist Left and includes an interview with Reza Moradi, Director of Bread and Roses, who blasted an Islamist at his university recently

Shocking news of the week is on the lynching of Farkhondeh in Afghanistan for reportedly burning a Koran
Insane fatwa of the week is Khamenei’s fatwa against Chaharshanbeh suri
Good news of the week is that rhe world did not end as one pastor had warned due to the eclipse
Background: The “anti-imperialist” and pro-Islamist Left use multiculturalism, charges of racism and Islamophobia, amongst others, to defend the far-Right Islamist movement. This politics betrays the dissenters and victims of Islamism and also the very principles that the Left has historically defended (from social justice, egalitarianism, secularism, universalism, and human liberation, including from religion).
Director: Reza Moradi
Translation: Khosro Gharib

در نقد چپ طرفدار اسلام سياسى؛ برنامه نان و گل سرخ با مريم نمازى و فريبرز پويا
۲۵ مارس ۲۰۱۵
مصاحبه با رضا مرادى کارگردان نان و گل سرخ
اخبار شکه آور اين هفته: جنايت وحشيانه عليه فرخنده ۲۷ ساله در افغانستان
چپ ضد امپرياليستي و هوادار جنبش اسلامي دفاع از جنبش افراتي و دست راستي اسلامي را در پوشش چند فرهنگي،اسلام ضدايي و مقابله با راسيسم پيش ميبرد.
اين سياست با زير پشت كردن به مخالفين و قربانيان اسلام سياسي و همچنين زير پا پشت كردن به اصولي كه تاريخا چپ با ان شناخته ميشود مانند عدالت اجتماعي ، برابري ، سكولاريسم ، جهانشمولي و رهاي بشر بخصوص از مذهب پيش برده ميشود.
فتواى احمقانه: از خامنه اى عليه چهارشنبهسورى
خبر خوب: دنيا به پايان نرسيد!
کارگردان: رضا مرادى
ترجمه: خسرو قريب

The struggle continues

On 11 July, the International Day against Stoning, brave women and men (including a 16 year old who had acid thrown on her face) marched to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs in Kabul to denounce the brutal execution of Najiba, a young woman, by the Taliban four days ago.

See more photos here and be inspired. There are some here too.

By the way, days after the execution that outraged the world, Karzai (with the blessing of coalition forces) has invited the Taliban to disarm and join the political process!

Can there be anything more outrageous?

The struggle continues…

As an aside, some reports on the execution insist that under Sharia, it is impossible to determine whether adultery has taken place because 4 witnesses are needed. They conveniently forget to mention that a confession or pregnancy suffices to prove sex outside of marriage and that is how all victims are sentenced to death. A ‘confession’ always takes place after some form of torture and abuse.

(Link of protest via Mina Ahadi)

Allah ordered the execution

Below is a Reuter’s report of a woman being executed near Kabul, Afghanistan by the Taliban this Sunday. It says she was accused of adultery and that Taliban members were ‘sexually involved’ with her, possibly via rape, and that she was tortured and killed to settle a dispute…

Watching the very disturbing video, I can’t help but think how alone she is in her last moments. She looks behind once and then faces away from the Islamist crowd.

I am taken aback by the fact that she makes no sound and no plea.

Men in the crowd say Allah ordered the execution with smiles on their faces after she is shot countless times in what seems to be an eternity.

At times like this I wonder how the world carries on.

Like W H Auden, I too wish clocks would be stopped and pianos silenced.

And of course so does many a nameless, faceless beloved left behind, maybe her loving parents, children, or the love of her life…

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message [She] Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

[She] was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

(Video Link via Mersedeh Ghaedi)

Gulnaz pardoned… so she can marry her rapist

Hamid Karzai is pardoning Gulnaz, the Afghan woman serving a 12-year prison sentence after she was raped.

But don’t get too excited. He is pardoning her so she can marry her rapist!

According to a statement from the presidential palace, ‘As the both sides [Gulnaz and the rapist] have agreed to get married to each other with conditions, respective authorities were tasked to take action upon it according to Islamic Shariah’.

It doesn’t get more [un]just than that. [Read more…]

The EU, like Sharia courts, doesn’t want women to speak up

A few days ago, Ophelia Benson blogged about Gulnaz, the Afghan women jailed for 12 years after being raped in Afghanistan. On the day, I was asked to do an interview on it by SKY TV but couldn’t as I had to pick up my 6 year old from school. Since then, I have been meaning to blog about this as it is yet another heinous example of the EU’s siding with Sharia law and Islamism rather than women. Let me explain. [Read more…]