Monday, August 20, 2012

No Honor Here...

I guess I must just be on a tear with Pakistani treatment of women and children. Lest we think the Taliban is the only problem facing Pakistani women, or the sole factor in the mindset that women are mere chattel, we need only consider the case of Shafilea Ahmed. This honor killing, which occurred in 2003 and is finally facing justice, took place in England. About a week ago, her parents were finally convicted of Shafilea's grisly murder, on the basis of her younger sister's testimony against her parents. Her parents had been living in the UK for more than a decade by the time they killed their 17 year old daughter for being too Westernized.

Shafilea Ahmed's teachers deserve kudos for trying, albeit unsuccessfully, to help this child. Just like recent killings in Canada however, the child welfare system seems to find it difficult to safeguard young women in these difficult situations. You can watch the CNN video report on the welfare failure here:

And meanwhile, I encourage anyone who wants to spend a bit more of their time *headdesk*-ing to check out the comments on the Pakistan Express Tribune's Facebook posting of their article on Rifta Masih, the poor 11 year old Down's syndrome child who is charged with blasphemy (punishable by death) for burning pages of the Koran. As it turns out, her mother was with her when she was jailed. But of course, the rest of the family had run off and abandoned the mother who stood by her child. The police now deny the mother and child were "tortured." Since a later Pakistan Express Tribune article opens with the statement that the child was severely beaten, I'm wondering exactly what the police mean by "not tortured." A later article still says that Islamabad police have registered a case against the Muslim cleric in Rifta's village for encouraging a village mob to set the child on fire. Reportedly, the police intervened before that could occur.

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