Last Friday, an Afghan journalist named Mustafa Kazemi posted on Facebook a harrowing story about an eight-year-old girl in the Khashrood district of Nimruz province in Afghanistan, who was sold off into marriage to a mullah in his late 50s, and who bled to death on their wedding night.
It was one of many such tragedies in a land that little notes nor long remembers such deaths. An eight-year-old girl sold into marriage and dead after a brutal sexual assault that her body could not withstand is no more noteworthy than a pack animal that collapses under a too-heavy weight. It’s time and money wasted, that’s all. Forget about it. Get another one.
Indeed, the day after Kazemi posted his account, pro-Sharia lawmakers in Afghanistan blocked a proposed Law on Elimination of Violence Against Women, which would have set criminal penalties for child marriage. Pro-Sharia legislator Khalil Ahmad Shaheedzada denounced the law as un-Islamic, explaining: “Whatever is against Islamic law, we don’t even need to speak about it.”
That means that more girls like the eight-year-old in the Khashrood district will continue to suffer. For few things are more abundantly attested in Islamic law than the permissibility of child marriage. Islamic tradition records that Muhammad’s favorite wife, Aisha, was six when Muhammad wedded her and nine when he consummated the marriage:
“The Prophet wrote the (marriage contract) with Aisha while she was six years old and consummated his marriage with her while she was nine years old and she remained with him for nine years (i.e. till his death)” (Bukhari 7.62.88).
Another tradition has Aisha herself recount the scene:
The Prophet engaged me when I was a girl of six (years). We went to Medina and stayed at the home of Bani-al-Harith bin Khazraj. Then I got ill and my hair fell down. Later on my hair grew (again) and my mother, Um Ruman, came to me while I was playing in a swing with some of my girl friends. She called me, and I went to her, not knowing what she wanted to do to me. She caught me by the hand and made me stand at the door of the house. I was breathless then, and when my breathing became Allright, she took some water and rubbed my face and head with it. Then she took me into the house. There in the house I saw some Ansari women who said, “Best wishes and Allah’s Blessing and a good luck.” Then she entrusted me to them and they prepared me (for the marriage). Unexpectedly Allah’s Apostle came to me in the forenoon and my mother handed me over to him, and at that time I was a girl of nine years of age. (Bukhari 5.58.234).
Muhammad was at this time fifty-four years old.
Although it was many years ago, the image of a young woman with a tear-streaked face and blank stare is forever etched into my memory. She sat in front of the television cameras, shredding a soaked tissue, telling her story. Once a happy new mother, now distraught and on trial for the death of her baby — the infant died in her arms. The cause of death was starvation and malnutrition.
The first-time mother said she loved her baby and breastfed her regularly. She cared for the child to the best of her ability. She claimed that she had no idea the newborn failed to get the nourishment she needed. Nevertheless, the baby languished in her arms until she became too weak to suckle. It was only then that help was sought.
Of course the outrage came quickly. Bony fingers of blame pointed in all directions. Some held the hospital responsible, believing the first-time mother got released too soon. No doubt a direct result, others moralized, of the cold, cost-calculating insurance companies. Always pressuring hospitals for earlier discharge of maternity patients. Others cast the blame on social services. The government let this poor young woman slip through the cracks. Over and over, the resounding cries filled the airways.
Their haughty laments over that young mother’s fate still echo in my mind: “Where were the pediatricians? Where were the lactation experts?”
The answers were never found. Perhaps because no one asked the right question.
Where was her mother?
image courtesy shutterstock / JFunk
Related at PJ Lifestyle:
Anyone on a faith walk will eventually ask the question, “How do I pray?”
Except for the Lord’s Prayer that Jesus taught his disciples, there is no easy answer, for prayer is a very personal and personalized pursuit.
And, as with all pursuits, practice is the key to success and prayer is no different.
You will soon discover the more you pray, the more you will find answers to difficult questions, along with mental or physical healing from various maladies, protection for you or your loved ones and comfort from any number of storms that happen to be raging in your life.
Whatever the current state of your prayer life, even if you do not have one, or practice no faith at all, here is a powerful “prayer exercise” that you should find very beneficial.
Back in 1990 I first experienced this exercise in a group while attending a prayer seminar at my church. During the course of the exercise, the answer to a personal spiritual question that had been plaguing me for 15 years was instantly revealed.
Thus, I immediately became a huge believer in this prayer exercise and since have shared it with many others over the years. You too might find some answers but only if you are truly honest and unafraid to ask or face the most difficult questions or issues in your past or present circumstances.
So without further ado, here is the exercise.
Jesus is visiting your neighborhood. He is going house to house and will be at your door in five minutes.
Will you let him in?
What will you say to Him when he appears at your door?
What is He going to ask you?
What questions are you going to ask Him?
Are there any rooms in your home that you do not want him to see?
Any closets, drawers, photos, or computer files that you want to hide from Him?
Pray about these questions for five minutes.
(Five minutes passes)
Knock, knock Jesus has arrived.
Greet Him at the door or ask Him to go away.
If you invite Him in, visualize actually letting him in the door of your home or apartment as you would any guest.
You may even offer Him something to drink or eat.
Just let the visit unfold.
Perhaps you might want to take him on a tour of your home. Or ask him to sit down as you begin chatting in your most comfortable space.
Remember to discuss the questions or issues you identified in the first part of the exercise.
His visit can last as long as you want because, as the Bible says: I will never leave you nor forsake you.
However, in my group prayer seminar His visit lasted about 10 minutes.
After that time, the prayer leader asked our group if anyone was willing to share their experience of “Jesus’ visit.” Many did, but I was still in shock from His most perfect answer to my question, so I remained uncharacteristically silent.
This exercise is effective in a group setting or when one is alone. Adults, teenagers or even children can be enthralled by this 15 minute “visit with Jesus,” if participants take it seriously and deal with sometimes difficult personal issues honestly.
For a different twist, you could even visualize Jesus walking around your office building for five minutes visiting others before He shows up at YOUR office.
Even though it has been 23 years since I was first introduced to this prayer exercise, my experience was so enlightening it was imprinted on my heart and soul forever.
Do not be surprised if you have similar results. This exercise is extremely powerful because it presents Jesus as someone who you can communicate with in a two-way conversation.
And, after all isn’t that what prayer is anyway, a conversation with God?
Finally, this week on a country music station I heard the song, If I Could Have A Beer With Jesus for the first time. This song by Thomas Rhett reminded me of my 1990 prayer seminar experience and that is the reason why you just read what you read.
Related at PJ Lifestyle:
“It must be him, it must be him, oh dear God, it must be him or I shall die.”
Before the advent of answering machines, and decades before mobile communications and social media, waiting by the phone for your man to call was an ancient mating tradition that single women of all ages thankfully will never again have to endure.
I was reminded of this dating ritual since we are on the cusp of celebrating what is traditionally known as the greatest date night of all, New Year’s Eve.
While wracking my brain thinking of a suitable baby boomer topic applicable to this holiday, it hit me… New Year’s Eve, 1971, when I was a high school sophomore and my boyfriend was a senior.
All that stands out about that evening was my having to wait by the phone for my boyfriend to call to tell me the time he was coming by to take me to a house party (where someone’s parents were out of town).
As 5 pm turned into 6 pm, turned into 7 pm, turned into 8 pm, I became extremely anxious, especially when my mother said, “Would it be so bad if you stayed home?” (Yea mom, how about the end of the world as I know it.)
When Mr. Considerate finally called at 8 pm the trauma ceased. But thinking back upon that 1971 New Year’s Eve, it was how waiting by the phone helped form five positive personality traits that women like me did not even realize we were developing. Eventually these five traits served baby boomer women extremely well as we made our way through the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s taking advantage of all the new career opportunities that the women’s movement afforded.
Here are the five personality traits aging baby boomer women learned while waiting by the phone.
When you were forced to accept someone else’s timetable you learned it was not just all about you. Waiting by the phone developed patience and was superb training for almost any career and life in general.
This feeling was experienced when you finally realized that he was not going to call after he said (or you assumed) he would. Learning to cope with rejection without feeling like a complete loser was an important life lesson. The key was to think about all your positive attributes that this man was obviously missing. Then move ahead and don’t look back. This concept was easily applied to the professional world, especially if you were a business owner or involved in sales of any kind. Women of a certain age who experienced sitting by the phone waiting for him to call learned how to be resilient in the face of rejection.
3. Self worth/Self esteem
You waited by the phone and he did call. High five! You were on top of your game. All your flirting skills worked and you were the master of the feminine universe. (But sometimes you discovered that he was not worth waiting for!)
Later in life this same initial exhilaration was experienced when you landed a new job or a new client/contract/project was won. But you never let it go to your head. One learned early on that you must never be cocky because rejection in love or life could be lurking right around the corner.
He called, (maybe even weeks after he said he would) and you refrained from telling him that he was an insensitive jerk. But since you were really glad to hear from him you said no such thing. Later in the business world this skill came in handy when “the customer was always right” even if he/she was not.
5. Playing the Game
Once while chatting with some guy friends in my high school classes they admitted to me that often they did not call a girl after they said they would because they did not want to appear “pussy whipped.” (Yes, that was the operative term at the time.) So from this conversation I learned that there was a lot of game playing going on when it came to the timing of “the call.”
As a result, my friends and I would discuss when it was time to stop waiting and time to start living. (However, flirting with his friends was always an appropriate response.) The lesson “stop waiting and start living” developed into positive personality traits that were applicable to many future life situations.
But alas, girls/women today don’t have to deal with any of this waiting by the phone. In fact, waiting is a thing of the past since now there is no stigma attached to calling a boy before he calls you. Girls today will call, text, tweet, Facebook, or email and if that does not get his attention they will have their friends call, text, email, Facebook or tweet. From what I have heard about today’s dating habits, “whatever it takes” to catch the attention of the man of the moment seems to be acceptable behavior.
This behavior is a result of both the instant communications revolution and the women’s movement which generally has made the girls/women of today much more aggressive than my friends or I ever were in high school and college.
Perhaps this more aggressive behavior is cultural “payback” for all the countless hours their baby boomer mothers and grandmothers spent waiting by the phone especially in the weeks leading up to important date nights like New Year’s Eve. For around that time whenever the phone rang, teenage girls and young women were conditioned into thinking, “It must be him, it must be him, please be him or I will die.”
Happy New Year’s everyone!
More on generations at PJ Lifestyle:
The latest Muslim mob violence mobilized by religious clerics over the video Innocence of Muslims was indeed disturbing. However, the more troubling issue that merits true outrage is the uptick of Islamists targeting children with charges of desecration or blasphemy as a means to intimidate local non-Muslims.
The shocking October 9 attack on Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani 14-year old girl, sparked worldwide outrage. Islamist militants came to her school and shot her in the head and neck for “promoting Western culture”; several of the girl’s classmates were injured in the attack. Al-Qaeda’s media arm publicized its reasoning for the need to kill Malala, claiming it was not her educational activism, but rather that she “had denounced jihad” and thus insulted Islam. Young Malala was airlifted to the UK for treatment, and for fear of further harm to her and her family.
The zealotry of these defenders of the Muslim faith extends to all who would defame their prophet, including young children. One would think that children, in some cases illiterate, could never be judged responsible for such heinous acts, punishable by death according to sharia (Islamic law) and Pakistan law under Section 295-C. Unfortunately, poor Malala is not alone in being a young child targeted for the crime of insulting Islam.
Perhaps October was “Defile the Quran month,” as a number of cases have appeared recently of non-Muslim children in Muslim countries accused of desecration or blasphemy against Islam.
The unedifying saga of Amanda Todd is one with a single victim, no heroes, and too many auxiliary vampires and vultures.
Every update about the adorable looking 15-year-old girl who was apparently driven to suicide by online “jailbait” bullies simply increases the world’s toxicity.
So I hesitate to add to this mess, and am unsure whether I have anything original or useful to say.
Except one thing, the thing I haven’t seen mentioned much in all the bandwagon-jumping articles condemning “cyberbullying” and “rape culture,” and calling on Somebody (always Somebody Else) to Do Something.
Here it is.
Are you ready?
DON’T POST NAKED PICTURES OF YOURSELF ON THE INTERNET.
In Mega-City One, there is one constant: Judge Joseph Dredd.
Cloned from the first chief judge, Eustace Fargo, Dredd’s growth was artificially accelerated. After his brain was electronically implanted with all the appropriate information he would need, he was “born” at age five, just in time to enter the Academy of Law.
Called the toughest school on Earth, it takes fifteen years to make it through the Academy. Judge Dredd was fast-tracked.
He made it through in thirteen.
He is by far the most famous street judge in Mega-City One, known for his unshakable devotion to the law and the swift and brutal punishment he brings to anyone who violates it.
What can he teach us about being a good parent?
I can think of five things.
Photo Credit: Boyce Duprey
Did you guys read about Elizabeth Hurley’s line of sexy kiddie bikinis?
Much like the author of the article, for me, the problem is a combination of two things – the bikini itself and the child model’s pose or, I should say, the pose she was instructed to do by someone. If she had floaties on her arms and was building a sandcastle, I might not have focused as much on the pint-sized string bikini. What really bothered me, however, was the wording that apparently went along with the pictures on Hurley’s site, such as a caption next to a bikini for the 8-13 age range, which said “great for girls who want to look grown up”. I checked out her site, elizabethhurley.com, to see for myself, and received an error message. I can only assume her reps are doing some damage control with regards to either the pictures or the descriptions.
It’s even worse when you go to Hurley’s website — which is still very much up. Here’s a screenshot from the UNDER 8 page which I’m not all that happy about posting here, but which seems necessary to preserve as evidence:
Vesta poses the usual questions to stir up debate about whether it’s better for young girls to wear very adult swimwear.
Here are a few questions that were on my mind: how do the fathers of the girls wearing these swimsuits look at themselves in the mirror in the morning? Do these men actually feel comfortable taking their girls in public with strangers seeing them dressed like this? Are they in denial about the damage done to an 8-year-old girl training to be “sexy” or do they not care? Or would most fathers today be proud of daughters growing up to be underwear models and porn stars?
From my friend Bethany Mandel at Commentary, “Dems See Women as Objects, Not Voters”:
At the Democratic Convention this week in Charlotte, we’ve learned what mainstream feminism has become. What was once a movement to fight for equality for women in every sector of society has somehow turned into a parody of itself. Since the feminist movement began in the mid-1800s, feminists strove to move past the era where women were seen merely as sexual and reproductive objects. These feminists fought for women to have roles outside of their marriages and their homes, to have equal opportunities in education, the workplace and the political arena.
Cut to Charlotte in early September 2012 and these “feminists” are representing themselves solely as human beings with female reproductive organs. At the DNC this week, women are promoting the Democratic agenda by walking around the convention wearing pins that read “I’m a slut and I vote” in addition to dressing up in costume as birth control dispensers and vaginas. These female reproductive organs, devoid of any other identifying characteristics, are duty-bound to vote for Democrats in order to protect themselves from government (while simultaneously demanding governmental involvement in their reproductive choices).
I thought to just instant message Bethany to tell her about this book that I started reading the other day, but then it seemed to make sense to just throw it out as a blog post instead because I’m sure there are commenters much more versed in this subject than I am who can provide their own recommendations:
I used to think it strange that my leftist friends who were the most outspoken about abortion “rights” and their own promiscuous sex lives were also loud about worrying about overpopulation and the proliferation of unwanted poor babies cursed to miserable lives. But when we understand Margaret Sanger’s ideology as institutionalized within the platform of the Democratic Party then suddenly it comes into focus how the two subjects of hedonism and eugenics would be related in today’s progressives. “Feminism” and “women’s rights” and “coat-hangers” were just the cups of the shell game distracting guilty, do-gooder “liberals” from Sanger’s eugenic utopianism. Here’s an excerpt from page 14 that seems relevant today:
Hmm… “Thus the working classes are pressured to copy the particular reproductive choices of society’s elite.”…
Her voice was low, steady, and unfamiliar:
“We haven’t met. I know you just moved in not too long ago. You have a boy about ten, is that right?”
With a rapidly growing concern swelling in the base of my throat, a hesitant “yes” was all I could muster.
“He’s made friends with [the boy that lived behind us]. I’m not going to say too much. But please don’t let him play inside their house.”
With little else said, she hung up. There really wasn’t much more to say. She articulated the unspoken message quite well. I took her advice without any further questions.
Our kids learned about “stranger danger” beginning in grade school. We followed up at home by making it a point to tell them that we would never send someone they didn’t know to pick them up — for any reason.
We also took the experts’ advice and established a secret code word for safety. I worried about, and took many deliberate precautions against, abduction.
Like most parents, I didn’t have to read these statistics. I could practically feel them:
US Department of Justice reports, nearly 800,000 children younger than 18 are missing each year, or an average of 2,185 children reported missing each day.
Abductions happen. We see the children’s faces on the walls at the store, and cringe with every Amber alert. But we don’t mentally subtract the fact that of those 800,000, only 115 children were victims of the “stereotypical” kidnapping of a stranger snatching them — what we fear most. With all of the attention drawn to it, we tend to think sexual assaults are more likely to come with abduction.
In all my precautions, it never occurred to me to tell my son that not all moms and dads were good. And I certainly wasn’t prepared to explain to our ten year old that I suspected his new best friend’s dad was deeply disturbed.
Most children can’t begin to comprehend the depraved acts a person with a friendly face can do. They’re still looking for bad guys with black hats and a sinister laugh. How do you protect a child’s innocence physically without devastating him mentally?
The FBI tells us that predatory pedophiles, like the obscure man behind us and Jerry Sandusky, the Penn State assistant coach just convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse, have a pattern of seduction.
It sickens me to admit that, had I not gotten that call, I don’t know that I would have recognized the signs.
Ask yourself these questions…
The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl goes against everything the mainstream media knows about making a hit TV show.
Issa Rae directs and stars as Jay, a black woman who is not a size zero, as she navigates through life’s many awkward and embarrassing moments. Through YouTube, Rae has found a huge international audience, proving that you don’t have to be a white man to be an entertainment success.
“[J]ust because she’s a black female lead doesn’t mean you can’t relate to her,” Rae once told NPR. “And I think that that speaks more to mainstream media because there just is this sort of perception that, you know, if a black person is in the lead, then it has to be for black people.”
From faking phone conversations in order to avoid coworkers, to dropping a tampon out of her purse in front of a date, there’s now no doubt that Jay’s awkward moments are universally relatable. Today, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl has 450,000 viewers, a Shorty Award for Best Web Show, and funding from rapper Pharrell Williams’ creative company, iamOTHER.
It’s a far cry from last summer, when Rae and her cohorts were concerned that if they couldn’t meet their Kickstarter goal, they wouldn’t be able to afford the second half of the season. That all changed when Williams contacted her, Rae told Essence.
Hat tip on Orsini: Susannah Breslin who highlighted her at Forbes.
Here’s the first episode of The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl in season 2:
I’ll have to watch a few more episodes before making any solid judgments about the show but this seems to be a variation of the same genre as Lena Dunham and Girls on HBO which I wrote about yesterday. And my reaction is the same: I’ve known too many people who are just like this. So yes, it’s entertaining and clever — but watching it is more an awkward stumble down memory lane, not a lighthearted escape.
Commentary’s John Podhoretz with an enthusiastic write-up of HBO’s Girls at The Weekly Standard:
HBO’s much-discussed new series Girls is just concluding its first season, and it’s extraordinary. Girls offers the most interesting and original televised portrait of upper-middle-class American angst since thirty-something went off the air in 1991.
Like thirtysomething, it is simultaneously an infuriatingly self-referential thumbsucker and an extraordinarily intelligent dissection of infuriatingly self-referential thumbsucking. But it is, thankfully, far more the latter than the former. And it is one of the most prodigious media stunts since the heyday of the very young Orson Welles, given that it is largely the work of a 26-year-old who created it, wrote most of the episodes, directed a few of them, and stars in it to boot.
Her name is Lena Dunham, and two years ago she did the same triple duty on a do-it-yourself movie called Tiny Furniture that I actively disliked because it was purely a self-referential thumbsuck. Something good happened to Dunham in the interim between the movie and the TV series, because Girls takes the world of Tiny Furniture—post-collegiate types with no marketable skills wandering aimlessly around New York City—and gives it heft and shape and dimension.
It’s often very funny, and given that each episode runs a half-hour, I guess you’d call Girls a sitcom. But it really comes across more like a loosely linked collection of Ann Beattie stories updated from the post-1960s anomie of Beattie’s characters to the media-soaked seen-it-all world-weariness of Generation Zynga.
Read the whole thing. And let’s consider this post the conclusion of the Girls vs Women and Boys vs Men discourse for now. (Though don’t be surprised if more articles on the subject of growing up show up at PJ Lifestyle. It’s one of Kathy Shaidle’s specialties.)
Seeing the promotions for Girls, two impressions emerged:
1. Looks like they nailed the Millennial “post-collegiate types with no marketable skills wandering aimlessly.”
2. Therefore, I have no interest in watching it right now.
Just the previews alone reminded me of myself and too many people I’ve known over the last decade who were in the same limbo zone in life: just emerging out into the “real world” and wobbling between being a girl and a woman, a boy and a man, struggling to find their path to a happy, satisfying life of meaning, worth, and dignity.
With only so many entertainment hours in the day, why spend them being reminded of all the people I care about who were making themselves miserable by refusing to grow up?