Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What a World, What a World Redux, Taliban Edition (Part Infinitum?)

Pakistani Demonstrators Last Year Protest Taliban Flogging of 17 Year Old "Seen" With Married Man (Image Credit: Associated Press)

Between Bibi Aisha and the honor attacks/beatings/killings it's hard to imagine there's more Taliban horror out there. But there really is, isn't there?

Sanam Gul (aka Sanam Bibi, or Bibi Sanubar) was reportedly either a 35 year old or 47 year old pregnant widow murdered in Badghis, Afghanistan, according to reports by CNN and The Ethiopian Review, because she committed adultery. In what I can only sadly say is a believable (at this point) series of events, she was reportedly flogged 200 times first and then shot in the head. There are various reports that the man who impregnated her may have also received 200 lashes, though of course he has not as yet been killed because, like dude, he's a dude and you don't do that to a dude unless they do something important like steal shit or something. The CNN blog report says that he wanted to marry her but, of course, the Taliban wasn't cool with that. They liked the idea of making an example of her instead. Because there is no finer example than fear and Taliban justice all in one bloody, flogged and shot package.

Segue: Consider this portion of the post pure opinion, okay? Unsubstantiated by my usual plethora of fact and research. Fueled by suspicion and supposition:

Leaving aside the simply horrific facts of being widowed in a poor country, pregnant outside of marriage in an Islamic nation, accused of adultery, flogged 200 times, shot in the head three times,  I am totally confused at this point. So, she was widowed, pregnant by him, and he wanted to marry her but what... it didn't work out? Okay... forgive me, oh quantum field, for wondering if this is yet another rape scenario. Because really, folks, in that part of the world, I really have a very hard time envisioning a scenario in which a widow who willingly sleeps with a man and gets pregnant by him does NOT want to marry him. Other than... you know, rape by him. Yeah. Not many women want to marry their rapists. Just... funny that way, you know? Of course, men in that area of the world never go around raping without impunity...

Back on task.

I am totally confused about these two people, Sanam Gul and her unnamed paramour having had sex in front of four men? Wow, that was really flagrant of them. Because, of course, as you will recall, the Qu'ran states that in order to convict someone of adultery you have to have four witnesses ("Those who commit adultery among your women, you must have four witnesses against them, from among you. If they do bear witness, then you shall keep such women in their homes until they die, or until GOD creates an exit for them."  See here). Of course, women only count as half a witness. So maybe they had sex in front of eight women who then all snitched?

And on top of that, if indeed Sanam Gul and her paramour have committed zina (adultery) (was he like already married or something? Are you still married in the eyes of the Taliban if you're a widow?) and there were the requisite number of witnesses, then weren't they supposed to get like 80-100 lashes and be done? Because that's what it prescribes in the Qu'ran. Even that stoning stuff is just hadith and there wasn't any mention of close range firearms in hadith. Nope, just blunt, rounded, heavy objects. (That stoning part in hadith has been taken way seriously in Iran and Nigeria...) Maybe the Taliban can't count? Because if they can't count lashes then I'm wondering about their count of any number between four and eight witnesses, as well. And if there are no witnesses and it was all just because Sanam was pregnant then I want them to peruse a little book called The New Testament because there's a lot of historical precedent for being mighty tolerant of mysteriously pregnant women in it, even the thinking you should cut them major slack, like just in case that fetus will be a walking miracle or something. Like cutting them slack even if you're married to them, for gosh sakes. Why, since that whole pro-Life sector is going to be offended by Sanam's murder (the Taliban killed a fetus!?!?!), I'm thinking that it's got this whole twisted Virgin Mary element that could be spun by the Catholics, don't you think? I really think that anyone that wants to protest Sanam's murder (I am so not referring to it as an execution, which suggests some element of questionable justice was at play here....) is a good thing. Bring on the outrage. PREGNANT WOMAN murdered. Let the headlines scream. Can you hear us yet Hamid Karzai? How about Washington DC? Do we really want to negotiate with these people? Can someone in the Obama administration have a sitdown with Bibi Aisha and get her thoughts on the matter?

Anyway, snide aside, I really think that I am with Nadwa on the Islam practiced by the Taliban. And I stand with the ladies pictured above. That isn't faith. It's murder and blasphemy. Or just plain murder in the eyes of this little disbelieving scientist.

You know, for years I was haunted by this image from National Geographic, published back in 1985, of an Afghan girl:

Afghan Girl

(Image credit: Steve McCurry for National Geographic)

I thought her eyes were wild and wonderful.

Now I just wonder if they were wild and filled with fear of everything that awaited her.

© Bright Nepenthe, 2010


  1. I also have thought thought of that picture for years. Ever since I first saw it I have thought hers to be one of the most beautiful faces I have ever seen. As you said, the eyes are haunting...

  2. It's such a beautiful photograph of an engrossing face. I've always wondered, "What is she thinking".