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.