There are several ways to die, but this will be the worst way

Vice has a new documentary about the war on women’s rights in Afghanistan. The Huffington Post has details:

In a new documentary for Vice, filmmaker correspondent Isobel Yeung shines a light on the ongoing human rights abuses Afghan women endure on a daily basis, despite domestic and foreign promises to improve their quality of life. 

In a hidden shelter discreetly operating to support women fleeing violence, Yeung spoke to a pair of 17- and 18-year-old women who are sisters-in-law and had escaped an abusive family.

“[My husband] would beat me as if he wanted to break my arms and knees,” explained the younger girl, who said she had attempted suicide by poison at least twice since getting married at age 12.

Since being married off, that is. She didn’t “get married” – that’s something adults do of their own free will. She was twelve. Twelve.

She said they ran away to the shelter together after her father-in-law brutally beat them both when she denied him sex.

“They are looking for us everywhere,” the teens told Yeung. “And once they get us out of here, they won’t let us live. There are several ways to die, but this will be the worst way.”

The two young women were discovered by their family six weeks later, Vice reports.

The article doesn’t say whether they’ve been killed yet or not.

While the country initially made headway — a new constitution approved in 2004 enshrined basic rights for women, including access to education, and the government adopted the Elimination of Violence Against Women law, or EVAW, in 2009 — the demand for gender equality still faces opposition.

Parliament, for example, refused to ratify EVAW, and its implementation has remained “slow and uneven,” according to the United Nations.

Without the effective enforcement of laws like EVAW, women remain vulnerable to discrimination and abuse. Married Afghan women can actually be jailed and punished for being raped by men, which is considered a “moral crime” akin to adultery.

Nazir Ahmad Hanafi, a prominent Afghan legislator, strongly opposed EVAW in Parliament, claiming it contradicts Islamic values. “The EVAW law will destroy Afghan families and our way of life,” he told Yeung in an interview.

That interview is part of the documentary, and I saw that part last night. It’s so disgusting it’s hard to watch. He radiates contempt for Yeung throughout, and at the end he just tells her, rudely, “Stop talking now” – and then goes on to sneer a threat at her.

When Yeung asked him about rape, he said there are two different kinds: “There is a kind of rape you have and another kind we have in Islam.”

He then proceeded to interrupt Yeung, abruptly ending the interview with one final thought: “Maybe I should give you to an Afghan man to take your nose off.”

He smirks when he says it, as if it’s a funny joke.

But before that, there’s an infuriating bit where she asks him why the law against violence against women is bad for the family, and he has a tantrum, shouting that there is no evidence, there are no bruises. And before that part he rudely ignores one of her questions and tells her to ask another. His loathing of women is horribly obvious. He sits in front of a lot of handsome leatherbound books, presumably all saying that Islam is absolute and true and no one must ever dispute a word of it.


VICE correspondent Isobel Yeung interviews Afghan parliament member Nazir Ahmad Hanafi.

2 Responses to “There are several ways to die, but this will be the worst way”