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Aisha and the Taliban

Aisha’s nose and ears were cut off for fleeing her husband’s abusive family upon judicial order of the Taliban – and she is beautiful and brave. My reaction to her recent cover of “Time” was abjectly visceral and I did not make it to the car before my weeping began after purchasing the magazine.

I wept for this cover girl. Not the silent – frozen, civilized kind of public weeping – but the snubbing – snotty – born of some deep and screaming place in the gut - questioning Heaven kind of weeping. The kind of weeping that makes people within earshot and line of vision walk a little faster to their cars – praying to make it behind their seatbelts before finding themselves involved in whatever it was that prompted such a public scene.

And - I wept for my young son – whom but for fortune’s placement of him - might have grown to become a man capable of acquiescing to the mutilation of his sister for shaming her marital family by seeking safety from their abuse – capable himself of wielding a knife guided by law against the women who love him. And I am grateful he was not born of such a place and hopeful that he is acutely aware of his fortune.

And – I wept for the military sons of other mothers from all over the world who have gone to one of the countries where such cover girls are made. Sons who defend sisters not their own while politicians argue over the wording of a Constitution which purports to secure human rights for women – but at the same time purports to protect against any constitutional contravention of the principles of Shari‘a by which the Taliban is governed. And I am grateful to these sons for their sacrifice and hopeful that it will not prove empty.

And - I wept for my daughter who is the same age as this cover girl – because of all the worries I have for her – losing her nose and ears in the dark of night to a knife in the hands of family and being left to die on the side of mountain – is not among them. And I am grateful such things are not in her realm of worry and hopeful she is acutely aware of her fortune.

And - I wept for myself because being grateful and hopeful and selfish in my own safety from mutilation and death for the sake of honor fails in comparison to the suffering and bravery of one young girl whose family took a knife to her guided by law in the dark of night. I wept for myself because my acute awareness as to my own fortune is comfortless given that young girl’s fear for her future when the world’s troops are eventually called home and a new paper Constitution proves no match against the Taliban.

But mostly, I wept for Aisha – eighteen years old and left to die alone on the side of a mountain after her nose and ears were cut off by her husband upon judicial order of the Taliban for fleeing her abusive in-laws.

She is beautiful and brave.

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