Is this really Gods will? The execution of two women in Afghanistan
- July 18, 2008Hot n Sour | Is this really Gods will?Makhdoom MukhtarThe Post, PakistanThe night spread her dark hair all over Ghazna City and it sank into a sudden sadness. There was not a trace of life anywhere except some stray animals moving stealthily on heaps of stones and dirt. It was barren everywhere; mud houses broken, deserted shops and a bumpy road. The only noticeable infra-structure was a small boundary raised with bricks on the side of the road. This was a mosque. One small tree was struggling to get out of boundary wall and if it ever survived, it might be the only green landmark at this place.
Suddenly dust seemed to rise on the road leading to this place. Soon a mixed noise of machines and men could also be heard. The sleeping folks started to emerge from their broken mud houses to witness the arrival of the unknown. The convoy consisted of an age old military jeep, a small van and six motorcycle riders with modern fully equipped weapons in their raised hands and slogans in their wide open mouths. The locals understood who they were and they seem to settle and sit around a ground as if some dual is about to be staged in the ground and they were supposed to eyewitness the bout.
Nara-e-Takbeer, a big bearded man with broken sleepers chanted the slogan. God is Great replied his company of fighters and dragged two burqa clad women from the passenger van and made them sit in the centre of the ground around which local onlookers had already gathered. Both of them had blue shuttlecock burqas covering their bodies; yet the anxiety of the two souls could not be veiled. One of them was holding firmly a small plastic bag that perhaps carried some of her belongings.The other woman also had a box in her hands hidden under the burqa. Its raised corner could easily be identified from under the veiled dress and it was definitely a jewellery box. Her build signified that she was in her 40s whereas the hand that held the plastic bag with a gold ring on one of its fingers was that of young lass. Both of them were made to sit side-by-side in the centre of pitch dark ground and the four fighters positioned in a circle around them. The rest of the guerrillas entered the mosque and started praying.
The place once again sank into silence and noise of the crickets and insects overpowered the breathing humans waiting around the ground. The two burqa clad women were regularly moving their heads in round, trying to peep through the tiny holes of the veil.
What would they do to us? said the girl with the golden ring.
I do not know, replied the shivering aged woman after a brief silence.
Did they beat you last night?
No and you?
Yes. They did, she burst into tears and silence prevailed once again.
Did you tell them ? the elderly woman asked.
No. I knew nothing. How could I ? the young girl sobbed.
You must have tried to convince them their leader seems to be a kind-hearted person. He told me that justice will be done to us.
Justice? What does that mean? What have we done? murmured the young lady getting more close to her colleague.
It means that they will set us free if we are found innocent.
Will they? I am really scared. The young lady started moaning in a fit of grief. The guard standing near them raised his voice. Do not moan loudly. A womans voice must always be low as it is ordered in religion.
See! These are religious people and they will never hurt us. Do not you remember the 14th century woman in Makkah who confessed? The woman spoke in her whisper.
What if they do not? What will become of my little ones? The young lady cut short her remarks.
Yes I am also worried about my son. I do not know how he is. He was ill when they took me away for trial.
What happened to him?
I do not know what happened to him. He has always been complaining of headache since he lost hopes to find a job here.
Did he know what our captors say about us?
The elder lady kept her silence on this question.
Does he believe in you or would he believe in these commanders? Can he come to save us? He must me young and strong. Will he come? The young one again asked but the elder lady with the jewellery box in her hand under the burqa had no answer.
The two women now glued with each other and looked like a sculpture in darkness of the place. The whisper continued.
Did you eat something? asked the elder woman.
Yes. They gave me a loaf in the morning. The head in the burqa quivered and a deep sob emerged from the tiny holes of the veil. I do not know if my son has enough food or not. There was no money with him. Who would have given him his loaf of bread? She groaned.
Silence, ladies, shouted the gunman surrounding them and both of them held each other more tightly. The praying militia had now started to come out of the mosque heading towards them.
What are they up to? asked the girl with the golden ring with a frightening undertone.
I do not know, said the lady with the jewellery box holding it more firmly under the burqa.
Sister! I am scared, said the young lady, noting all of them coming towards the two.
Hold this box and keep touching it with your fingers, the elderly lady offered help.
What is it?
It is the Holy Book. I keep it with me for safety. The two ladies sat there holding one box while a dozen moved towards them and many sat in circle outside the ground.
You wretched women! Both of you had polluted this whole city with dirt. Now stand up as it is time for justice.
The two trembling souls stood with their belongings in their hand. Nara-e-Takbeer, one of the gunmen leaders raised the slogan. All those who stood with guns aiming at the two women and those who sat around the ground to witness the ceremony replied loud enough to shake the heavens, God is Great. As the holy slogans ended, the weapons burst into laughter.
(These two women were executed by the Taliban in Ghazna City on Saturday, July 12, 2008, on charges that they ran a prostitution ring for the American soldiers)