Taliban execution

Taliban shooting

Taliban shooting of a woman last month

I stumbled across this article by Zainab Salbi (from Women for Women International) and found myself profoundly disturbed. It talks about the recent public execution of a young woman by the Taliban (apparently for adultery) and what hit me most was the description of people cheering, as though shooting a young woman dead and filming it was a perfectly legitimate form of entertainment. It made me so angry. I cannot imagine a world where anything, even murder, would qualify for such extreme brutality, but then I’m fortunate, I suppose, to be born in New Zealand (though with the recent madness in Colorado, maybe I shouldn’t feel so secure).

I couldn’t bring myself to watch the video clip, but I did leave the page thinking about what Zainab had said. Violence against women is only going to increase with the withdrawal of the international community from Afghanistan, but what is the alternative? Can we really expect to just stay there forever, sacrificing the lives of our brothers and fathers to try and keep them in line? World problems are never easy to wrap your head around, which I suppose is why most of us (myself included) shy away from thinking about them. The only problem is, they don’t go away while we bury our heads in the sand, and sometimes, the suffering of the people we ignore gets so bad it spills out and hurts us too.

I don’t know what to do that would be of any practical benefit. I support societies like Women for Women International because I can see that they focus on empowering women and changing war-torn societies from the inside out, which I suppose is something… but still, sometimes I feel like I should be doing more.

In the end, I guess I do what I always do, I sit down at my computer and write. I try to make sense of the madness by putting it into my story and hoping my characters will come up with solutions I couldn’t have thought of on my own. What about you? How do you deal with scary big issues like this? How do you think people in places like New Zealand should react?

I really look forward to hearing your ideas.



6 thoughts on “Taliban execution

  1. “I like the idea of men fighting for their right to be more than ‘property’, to have access to education and have a say in their own lives.” – Beaulah Pragg. For someone against sexism this comment amused me greatly.
    P.S. I read your book, it was very disjointed, had many mistakes and I could barely get through it all.

    • Hi Woolfa,
      You bring up a good point with that quote, although I feel you may have misinterpreted my intention with the book. I am quite feminist in my own way, and once came across an excellent book for men explaining what women go through with certain ovarian issues by translating everything into a male protagonist who is experiencing something similar. I have tried in my own book to show how sexism would feel if it was reversed. Over the course of the story, the characters are searching for a middle ground where neither side is discriminated against, which is what I hope for our world as well.
      Thank you for taking the time to read my book! Would you mind sending me an email pointing out more specifically what was disjointed / what mistakes you found? This is my first novel and I am always looking for ways to improve my writing. Any feedback you have would be greatly appreciated!
      Kind Regards,

      • Certainly. However, where you feel I may have misconstrued that sentence I believe you may have misrepresented your meaning. Claiming that a role reversal is for enlightening purposes would’ve been a lot clearer than stating that you liked the idea in itself. Added to this a male main character would have been more suitable to express this ‘underdog’ culture in your world. I fear for anyone else who reads concisely enough to ‘misread’ this.
        P.S. Feminists generally come in two forms, the educated (real feminists) and the uneducated (biter ignorant women). As a female myself I’m frustrated that the second form is giving us a bad reputation.

        Faith: “Belief not based on proof.” aka misleading BS.
        – Science adjusted its views based on what’s observed –
        – Faith is the denial of observations so that belief can be preserved.-
        What’s the harm in faith? Go to http://whatstheharm.net/

  2. Sadly the public response to public executions are far more exultant than anything we like to imagine in western society. Look at witch burning, guillotine usage in France, and hangings. I find Braveheart (Mel Gibson’s) shows the way the public embrace these murders, whether of men or women. More modernly, Dale points out America’s cheering at the public execution of Saddam Hussien.
    Sexism is something we’ll never escape, as we are different. A man can fight to have maternity leave, but it’s still MATERNITY leave. Women birth the next generation, and in that we can never be equal. Because of that initial bond, and, traditionally, the breastfeeding that comes with having a baby (I bottle fed my baby, I’m not asking for a breast debate here) it can be no surprise that the world divides women into being mums and men into providing for the woman and children.
    Religion (in a broad statement that may offend everyone) is a MAN-made belief system that argues for their supremacy. And so the Taliban can do what they do, and have it so publicly supported because they don’t question that hierarchy. Christianity has the same patriarchal system.
    So the sexism will never go away. I think more what we’re fighting for is an equal seating on the hierarchical triangle. But then we have class issues on top of that. Just cos we’re all equal in sex, we’ll never be equal, and nor should we be. Criminals can not be given the same status as the queen after all.
    I definitely think that us writers explore world issues in our writing and that’s how we deal with things beyond our own control and sometimes understanding. I think the above poster’s feedback on your novel was dismissible Beaulah, simply on the grounds of complete lack of discussion and evidence. I think the relationship between North and South Korea has had many mistakes and is certainly these days very disjointed. You say, “so what?” I say, “precisely”. Not relevant and on top of that, no evidence to support my statement.

    Fran 🙂

    • Hey Fran,
      Very good points you’ve made there – I didn’t think about Saddam Hussien. I guess the truth is people do horrible things to each other, in any country at any time throughout history and none of us can claim moral superiority as a group. That is weirdly comforting, even as it’s confronting.
      We all have our own problems, and our own solutions. I need to search out some good stuff about Afghani people to balance out the bad press. Actually, that makes me think of a really beautiful and moving book by Marianne Elliott – Zen Under Fire – which really brought home how much we are all just people, struggling to do the best we can with what we have.
      Thanks for engaging with the post!!
      – B

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