A story in today’s Daily Mail made we want to throw up. Zakia Zaki, a 35-year-old Afghan journalist, was shot dead as she slept with her 20-month-old baby at her home north of Kabul. In the same room was her three-year-old toddler. Her four other children were asleep elsewhere in the house.
Zakia has long been unpopular with the Taliban, she was one of the few journalists who spoke out against them when they were in power. She also ran the US funded radio station Radio Peace. But what made her a target more than anything else was the fact that she was a working woman.
What kind of man goes into someone’s home along with two others and shoots a woman seven times in the head and chest as she sleeps with her baby in front of a three-year-old? I can’t imagine.
What kind of man stones his sixteen-year-old daughter or niece or neighbour to death as happened only a few weeks ago in Iraq? Whatever you think of the Daily Mail, it was the only UK paper to carry that story on its website for several days.
The fact is we’re more worried about a chief executive pinching someone’s bottom than the truly serious feminist battles that still need to be won. I can guarantee that some secretary suing would get more headlines than Zakia’s tragic and cruel death. I was amazed to even see it in the Mail to be honest.
The fact that women are being killed for being women that dare to do something, be it write, or go to school, or voice an opinion or work or even fall in love is something worth fighting against. And it’s not as if this only happens in far-flung places. There are plenty or arranged marriages and so-called “honour” killings in England.
Maybe we can’t impose our culture on another, but we can and should impose basic human rights. A woman’s right to sleep alongside her baby should never be taken away in such a brutal way, wherever she lives.
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2007