When you consider terrorist groups like the Taliban or “the youths” of banlieues like Clichy-sous-Bois, it can be difficult to come up with a real solution to the problem of those who are willing to defy the social mores of the place in which they live…simply to assert that it is they who are in control. Attempts to resolve the crises these groups present have so far proved futile.
Please don’t tell me we should “kill them all and let God sort it out.” That is a solution without any resolution. For one thing, it invalidates our own moral code. For another, such draconian measures simply feed the fire. Individuals can be subdued and obliterated, but there are always others, even angrier and more feral, to take their place.
In some ways, this reminds me of the drug wars that took place in many families during the 1970’s and ‘80’s. The scenario went something like this: suddenly the once-reasonable kid you thought you knew morphed into a secretive, ill-mannered monster who stole your money and lifted family possessions in order to sell them for drugs. The child you had raised from infancy was gone, utterly obliterated by drugs. Loyalty to the family and a desire to achieve was replaced by a drug habit and loathsome druggie friends.
Any attempts to curb bad behavior resulted in a startling escalation into foul-mouthed violence that left the whole family in tatters. Home sweet home became Ground Zero. Sometimes blood literally flowed.
Working in this atmosphere required a sharp learning curve for the other family members. There weren’t many choices. Perhaps the child was ejected from the family – which was painful and could be dangerous if he or she decided to up the ante by, say, coming home when no one was there and trashing the place. Parents – the ones who survived the mental anguish – quickly learned to turn the tables by upping the ante themselves. The police could be called for either the damage or the child’s illegal drug use. Or perhaps this drugged monster could be hauled into a treatment center.
In other words, the parents couldn’t change their drugging child’s behavior but they could protect the family by taking legal or medical measures to quarantine the problem while they hoped for change.
The news from RAWA today, about a twelve year-old girl’s rape by warlords in Afghanistan and her family’s distress, reminded me of those parents…
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Needless to say, the family is distraught. They have a ruined child [by the standards of their culture] with no future and they know the authorities will do nothing…because those in control are part of the problem:
A 12-year old schoolgirl was gang-raped by five gunmen in Sarpul province in Northern Afghanistan.
While crying, the rape victim told journalists that she was raped in a village called Baghabi in Sarpul province. She says five gunmen poured into their house in mid-night and after beating and abusing the family members, gang-raped her.
Ali Khan, uncle of the girl told Ariana TV that he has reported the case to the police and visited the police chief a number of times to ask for justice, but they do not pay attention to the issue and even abused and threatened him to be silent otherwise he will be jailed.
He accuses the police chief to have links with the gunmen responsible for such crimes. But General Abdul Khaliq Samimi, police chief says they have arrested three people connected to the issue.
On February 18, 2008 a fourteen-year old girl named Bashira was gang-raped by three men in the same province. One of the rapists is Najibullah, the son of Haji Payinda, a member of parliament from Sar-e-Pul.
Sayed Noorullah, father of Bashira told Tolo TV on July 19, 2008 that the case against the rapist has not been followed properly by the court, because the rapist is son of a member of parliament and they bribed the Forensic Medical Investigation department to show the 22-year-old rapist as being less than 18 to escape the charges based on law.
Yes, these are just two of many cases of child rape by warlords and those in power in Afghanistan. Most rapes aren’t reported because people fear the consequences if they inform on these criminals. They know they’ll be the targets of even more violence as the warlords up the ante to keep them in line.
What makes these two cases different? The families themselves are upping the ante…as in “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose”:
The girl and her family asked Hamid Karzai to prosecute the rapists and take their case seriously. They threatened that if they are not provided justice, the whole family will commit mass suicide to get rid of such life. They say, the local authorities keep silence on such cases and did not act to arrest those responsible.
And the other father is carrying it one step further:
Sayed Noorullah threatened that if the rapists are not punished, he will become “a dangerous suicide bomber” and take revenge himself.
Will this change the warlords’ predatory behavior? Probably not. But it may have an effect on other families who feel their lives and honor are in permanent ruins. If this becomes a trend and bitter, shamed families start wreaking random public violence, Karzai may have a revolution on his hands.
These parents are telling him that some things are worth dying for and they have just discovered one of them. They cannot extract themselves from their own culture which views their ruined daughters as worthy of death and themselves as shameful objects. There is simply no way around such a global social structure.
However, there is a radical way out of the situation and these folks may take it. They will sow a terrible vengeance if attention is not paid to their demands for simple justice.
Let’s see what unfolds.
RAWA is The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghan. Here is their news site, “The Reality of Life in Afghanistan.” Here is their home page, which lists their other endeavors.
The founder of RAWA was assassinated in 1987. Her death seems to have strengthened their resolve.
Thanks to Other Cheek for the tip.