August 6th, 2011

An Afghan Romeo and Juliet

What would the cultural relativists say about this tale of family- and village-crossed lovers in Afghanistan?

Let me take a stab at it: those who wish to stone this pair of young lovers are merely shoring up the foundation on which their society is built, which is the arranged marriage where the family dictates the choices. This couple is threatening the entire cultural edifice by its desire to take matters into its own hands, and therefore stoning (the traditional punishment), though horrific, is understandable.

I say: some things are unconscionable, and this is one of them.

I find it encouraging, though, that in this case the police and clerics are defending the couple:

Top clerics declined to condemn the couple. Police officers risked their lives to pull the two teenagers to safety and deposit them into the legal system, rather than the hands of angry relatives…After discussing the case, the provincial council decided that Mr. Mohammed and Ms. Mohammedi deserved the government’s protection because neither was engaged, and because each said they wanted to get married.

“They are not criminals, even if they have committed sexual activities,” said Abdul Zahir, the council’s leader.

The prospective groom has already been beaten up by people from his community, and it’s fairly clear that they would be killed (perhaps by stoning) if they tried to return. They are not alone:

Ms. Pakzad said most of the women and girls in the shelters of western Afghanistan had fled forced or abusive marriages, or had been ostracized from their communities for dating young men without their families’ approval. Male relatives often punish such transgressions with beatings or death.

What a great country.

If any of these people want asylum here, I’d be in favor of granting it.

4 Responses to “An Afghan Romeo and Juliet”

  1. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    Tribalism writ large. It’s why Afghanistan is a bridge too far when it comes to trying to bring modernity to the country. David Petraeus is a genius but his COIN strategy takes time, blood and money that the U.S. no longer has. It is so sad.

  2. Bob From Virginia Says:

    There are also abundant cases of young girls disfiguring themselves to avoid arranged marriages.

  3. Beverly Says:

    My lefty “feminist” friends in New York just shrug this sort of story off. Stoning a pair of teenage lovers to death is not nearly so heinous as Americans’ committing “cultural imperialism” by “imposing our values” on other cultures.


    Just one of many horrors that made me realize that the Dr. Jekylls of the Left are really Mr. Hydes.

  4. Richard Aubrey Says:

    To answer your question: “Hey, look. Over there. A squirrel.”
    More seriously, Beverly is right. She should have added that if you mentioned it, you’d be accused of various moral crimes such as cultural chauvinism. Or are looking for an excuse to invade a country and kill brown people.
    Quite simply, there is no, none, not a scrap, of sympathy for such as these Afghans except as props.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.


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