This blog post was originally published on August 19, 2010, but the story, published in the New York Times on January 10, 2015 about the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram using a girl perhaps no older than ten as a suicide bomber, caused me to freshly bemoan the fact that we seem to be able to no nothing for the girls and women victimized by these barbarians. As always, when no redress seems possible, I resort to my old standby: revenge fantasies. So, once again, how I, in my perfect world, propose to deal with these assholes.
There are a whole lot of reasons we need to get out of Afghanistan, but I can’t help but be terribly concerned about the plight of Afghani women left to the Taliban’s devices. Last week Time Magazine’s cover picture was of an eighteen year old girl whose nose had been cut off not to spite her face, but for running away from abusive in-laws. How bad women’s lives have been under the Taliban, indeed, how bad they are in any of the places where harsh Sharia law applies, is hardly hot news. On the other hand, I’ve never seen someone whose nose has been cut off. It’s sobering.
I used to rail a good deal against religion because of the many bad things that are done in its name. Then I read Niall Ferguson’s The War of the World and realized that it’s people who do bad things and, if they don’t justify it by religion, they will justify it by some other means. Or not. Maybe St. Augustine was right. Maybe we’re just bad.
Or maybe it’s the men who are bad.
Don’t get me wrong. I have two wonderful brothers, an incredible father and a fantastic husband. I have a lovely son, great male friends and colleagues. . . . They are not bad. But in the case of Aisha, the girl whose nose was cut off by her husband while her brother-in-law held her and the Taliban judge looked on. . . . I’m sorry. Those guys are BAD.
Or maybe they’re just Biblical.
Let’s not forget that Muslims consider the Bible one of Islam’s holy books: according to Muslims, the Bible was God’s unfolding revelation, only (again, according to Muslims) the Jews didn’t get it quite right, which meant that God had to make another stab at getting his people, whichever people that actually was, back on track: ergo, “Chosen People? Take Two.” Moreover, both Hebrews and Arabs are considered Semitic peoples, who share the same subgroup of Afroasiatic languages. In other words, they’re kissing cousins. Which is why we shouldn’t be overly surprised the same horrendous punishments proscribed in Sharia law, can also be found in the Bible.
Here’s the difference: some of us have moved on.
Sure, stoning was the punishment for eighteen different crimes under Jewish law. However, in the early years of the Common Era, the Sanhedrin – essentially, the Jewish lawmaking body – effectively put the kibosh on capital punishment. After 30 AD (CE), no more stoning. Or, at least, no more legally sanctioned stoning.
Fast forward two thousand years and they’re still stoning and mutilating people in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, and those portions of Afghanistan under Taliban. Hello! Time Warp! Get with the program, fellows! You’re loathsome barbarians! Aren’t you embarrassed?
Americans believe in freedom of religion, but you don’t notice Scott Roeder, the nut job who shot abortion provider George Teller, getting a pass because he thought murdering somebody was God’s will. Isn’t there some way we can protect these women from their ridiculous men? Because, trust me. No woman, no matter how pious and fundamentalist her upbringing, believes that she deserves her frigging nose and ears cut off for running away from an unhappy domestic situation, and, if she does, she should be rescued because she has been brow-beaten to the point of being delusional.
As this long war winds down, the accepted wisdom is that no outside power, no matter how Super, has proven capable of conquering Afghanistan. I have a plan. Let’s poll the men and see who thinks Sharia law is a good idea. Then let’s airlift any of the men who think otherwise, along with every last woman and child the Hell out of that Hell hole; let’s take them with us when we go. We owe them that much, surely. Then we can sit by and watch as the men left behind destroy one another one appendage at a time, rather reminiscent of the Black Knight in Monty Python’s The Holy Grail.
It shouldn’t take long.