Afghan Women choose self immolation over oppression. Media doesn’t understand why.

For anything bad that happens around a woman that woman is blamed and punished with the most draconian punishments possible. That appears to be the problem in Afghanistan, and has been a problem for many years. Phyllis Chesler tells the story at Newsreal.

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In 1961, I remember meeting a rather genial relative who had come down from the Khyber Pass region to meet me, his first American woman. Apparently, he, too, was a merciful fellow who married his brother’s widow—but then shut her up in solitary. I was told that he fed and clothed her and that this alone saved her from a far more dismal fate. I did not understand then—or now—why this poor widow-wife could not have shared the family tasks and remained among the living. Entombed, buried alive—like Verdi’s great opera hero, Aida. Without a name, without even a number, the fate of this unknown prisoner haunts me still.

These tragedies are no longer confined to Third World countries.

In Afghanistan, the women are setting themselves aflame, choosing an awful, fiery death rather than one more awful beating at the hands of a husband and a mother-in-law. Amazingly, when the mainstream media finally writes about this precise tragedy in Afghanistan, it still carefully manages not to use the words “Muslim” or “Islam.” For example, see Time magazine’s recent coverage of this very subject. And, see my previous pieces on what such “soft censorship” is really about when the American mainstream media consistently fails to describe a Muslim-on-Muslim honor killing in the West as a Muslim-on-Muslim crime but is quick to note Hindu honor killings in India as Hindu-on-Hindu crimes.

In Kabul, when battered women run away, their own families refuse to take them back and the government puts them in jail and treats them as criminals. In a rather moving documentary, “Daughters of Afghanistan,” Sally Armstrong shows us what happened to one young Afghan woman who refused to take the beatings anymore and upon a lawyer’s advice dared return to her family of origin. Her own father clapped her up into solitary, perhaps for the rest of her life, to live in a cold, dark room with one bricked-up window.