Hundreds of rocks are thrown at her head

As the Afghan Government continues its wooing overtures to the Taliban, and Karzai whines about “foreign interference” in his latest meddling in Afghan parliamentary democracy, the Taliban execute a couple by stoning them to death in Kunduz province in front of a crowd of hundreds.

The crime? The couple fell in love and attempted to elope, beyond a community where relationships based on mutual love and attraction, and not on money and perversion, might have a chance of fulfillment.

The BBC has short clips of the horrific murders, noting that “most of the video is too graphic to be shown.” The event is described as follows:

The video begins with Siddqa, a 25-year-old woman, standing waist-deep in a hole in the ground.

She is entirely hidden in a blue burka. Hundreds of men from the village are gathered as two mullahs pass sentence. As Taliban fighters look on, the sentence is passed and she is found guilty of adultery.

The stoning lasts two minutes. Hundreds of rocks – some larger than a man’s fist – are thrown at her head and body. She tries to crawl out of the hole, but is beaten back by the stones. A boulder is then thrown at her head, her burka is soaked in blood, and she collapses inside the hole.

Incredibly Siddqa was still alive. The mullahs are heard saying she should be left alone. But a Taliban fighter steps forward with a rifle and she is shot three times.

Then her lover, Khayyam, is brought to the crowd. His hands are tied behind his back. Before he is blindfolded he looks into the mobile phone camera. He appears defiant.

The attack on him is even more ferocious. His body, lying face down, jerks as the rocks meet their target. He is heard to be crying, but is soon silent.

In between the murders, a man is showing clacking two large stones together, deliriously excited at the prospect of participating in what amounts to a viciously drawn out execution. It’s a sunny day and hundreds are gathered to witness this crime, all of them undeniably complicit in it. It’s an almost unbelievable communal deficit of conscience, were it not preserved on film proving this scene devoid of humanity really did take place, in all of its grisly actuality.

A Taliban spokesperson defends the stoning, quipping about the dangers of “foreign thinking” in Afghanistan (in reference to people who call stoning to death inhuman). A spectator had used a mobile phone, one product of demonic “foreign thinking” to record this atrocity, standing idly by, gleefully filming the scene as if it were an amusing event he happened to pass by.

It’s an indefensible abomination, and nothing should signal more clearly that the Taliban have not reformed, that they will never reform. ‘Taliban’ and ‘reform’ are opposing forces in the 21st century, and the longer the Afghan Government takes to realize this, the more destructive their pandering to these degenerates will be for the citizens of Afghanistan. To even suggest power sharing or deal-making with the death-cult psychopaths that are the Taliban is a searing insult to the people of Afghanistan, and a signed death warrant to all of the country’s free thinkers, democrats, intellectuals, feminists and idealists.

Today is the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, an occasion that should perhaps inspire a solemn reminder to confront atrocities and crimes against humanity. Nearly 70 years have passed since the Holocaust and the declaration of “never again”, which set the stage for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. How is it that we continue to condone the barbaric treatment of human beings in other lands? How have we reached a point, in 2011, where we would contemplate allowing any place in the world for the ideology of the Taliban, and its ugly manifestations in the form of a bludgeoned young woman and her lover?

How very far we have yet to go.

About the Author

Lauryn Oates is a Canadian human rights activist, gender and education specialist who has been advocating for the rights of Afghan women since 1996. She is currently Projects Director for Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, as well as a founding member of the Canada Afghanistan Solidarity Committee.

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