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.