This morning a woman was shot on her way to work in Kabul by a fundamentalist who sped past her on a motorbike. Her crime? It could have been as mundane as being female and having a job. As it turned out she was a western aid worker whom they accused of spreading Christianity.
Yesterday I read on the BBC website the tragic case of a young girl (who looked uncannily like Olivia and was around the same age as her) who has been desperately saving up money to buy medical books and who’s most fervent desire is to continue studying so she can qualify as a doctor and “help my people”.
But her brothers and her father keep telling her girls don’t go to school; only boys do. I fear she will soon be forced to give up her studies. I feel like going there and adopting her.
Her story reminded me of a conversation I had with an Iranian film-maker at the Middle East International Film Festival which was held here last week. We talked about political prisoners and women’s rights.
“The worst goalers are the husbands, brothers and fathers,” he told me. “The opression from the state is nothing compared with them. There are thousands and thousands of women in prison in their own homes.”
This was not a man who could be described as liberal. When I suggested that maybe stoning people to death for adultery was a little old-fashioned and that we too used to do things like that in medieval times but have now moved on he said that while our law is secular, theirs is religious.
Oh, so that’s all right then…..
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2008