Video Captures Taliban Executing Woman

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Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 00:31 a.m. EDT, 9 July 2012

Iconic Photo Taliban Executing Woman, Photo Courtesy Jonathan NarveyKABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban has reasserted its hold on the Afghan people and is exacting horrific punishment against those whom they have accused of moral turpitude. As in prior years when the Taliban's power was at its height, the predominant victims of their extrajudicial sentencing continues to be women.

Recently, Afghans officials have confirmed the veracity of a video circulating the internet which depicts a woman being executed by a Taliban who shot her in the back of her head then continued firing into her dead body several more time. Even more disturbing, the video captured both Taliban and villages watching and cheering.

The execution occurred on 23 June 2012 in the Shinwari district of Parwan Province which is located in central Afghanistan. The province is roughly an hour from Kabul, and the video is reminiscent of the public executions that occurred in packed stadiums during the Taliban's bloody five-year reign from 1996 – 2001.

The video below was apparently taken by one of the witnesses of the execution. It is believed that one of the Taliban captured the bloody incident with his cell phone hence the poor quality.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlAmF7CAfJ8&feature=related]                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   There has been speculation that the woman was in a relationship with some of the Taliban. Given the utter lack of freedom Afghan women possess in every area of their lives, it is ludicrous to think that this woman could have willingly engaged in a consensual relationship with not one but two men in addition to her husband.

Reuters news agency reported that the “Taliban members can be heard saying that the executioner is the woman’s husband, though Afghan officials offered conflicting accounts of what transpired in the village, Qol-i-Heer.

Colonel Masjidi said the woman’s real husband was a member of a village militia that had slain a local Taliban leader. The 20 year old woman, named Najiba was executed in revenge on trumped up charges of adultery, he said.”

Adultery is a common accusation leveled against women by extreme Islamists. It is particularly effective because it is a charge against which the woman is powerless to defend herself and confers upon her an automatic death sentence. She can expect little to no sympathy for her plight because everyone in the community, men and women alike, either tacitly or openly support her execution.

In the video, “One of the Taliban says the Koran prohibits adultery. Killing the woman is ‘God’s order and decree,’ he says. ‘If the issue was avenging deaths, we would beg for her amnesty. But in this case, God says, ‘You should finish her. It’s the order of God, and now it is her husband’s work to punish her.” (Source: Reuters)

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Waris Dirie | FGM vs Circumcision

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Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 16:00 PM EDT, 3 May 2012

Waris Dirie

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is currently one of the most egregious women's rights abuses occurring globally. It is a subject that is hard to discuss because of its intimate, sexual and graphic nature.

However, it is exactly because of the life-long psychological and physical effects this barbaric practice has on its innocent and unwilling victims, that it is incumbent upon us to publicize this abuse until it is eradicated.

This issue was first brought to the public's attention by Waris Dirie, Somalian author, activist, and victim of FGM, when she published her memoir titled 'Desert Flower.' The book was subsequently made into a movie in 2009, and Liya Kebede, an Ethiopian supermodel, played Waris Dirie in the heart wrenching but ultimately victorious story of survival.

Initially, when we featured a post about this topic, a number of readers commented about male circumcision and how this is just as barbaric as FGM and should also be classified as a human rights abuse.

Though it is true that any type of unwanted genital mutilation is a crime, the major differences between male circumcision and FGM are as follows:

    1. Most boys are circumcised at birth, or in the case of Jews and some Muslims, on the 8th day of life;
    2. Men who are circumcised later in life often elect to have this procedure for personal, religious, or health reasons;
    3. The surgery is performed in a sterile environment, usually under anesthesia;
    4. Male circumcision is usually performed in a non-invasive manner that ultimately results in few, if any adverse psychological effects.

By comparison, FGM has more in common and correlates best to physical castration in men.

    1. Girls who undergo FGM (aka female circumcision) are forcibly mutilated anywhere between 13 and 15 years of age;
    2. The 'procedure' occurs without anesthesia in unsanitary environments;
    3. Rusty razor blades, old knives, or shards of glass are used to cut the flesh;
    4. The clitoris and the inner and outer labia are torn away;
    5. Finally, the wound is crudely stitched together and must be cut open for sex and childbirth.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are benefits to men and boys becoming circumcised particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.

"Strong evidence from Africa indicates that circumcision reduces the risk of HIV infection in heterosexual men by 38-66%, and studies have concluded it is cost effective in sub-Saharan Africa. The World Health Organization (WHO) currently recommends circumcision be recognized as an intervention as part of a comprehensive program for prevention of HIV transmission in areas with high endemic rates of HIV." (Source: WHO)

The effects of FGM are profoundly debilitating and deleterious to women's reproductive health and serves no useful purpose. It is a practice deeply rooted in misogyny, tyranny and the concept of women as chattel.

Men who have been circumcised can still enjoy a robust sex life filled with numerous encounters, whereas women who have undergone FGM must suffer immense pain to remove the sutures, and as one can imagine, sexual intercourse thereafter would be excruciating.

In the Europe between the 16th and 17th centuries the 'Chastity Belt' was developed to prohibit women from having sexual intercourse. This device was also a contrivance of men desiring to control the sexuality of the women in their societies.  In comparison to FGM, a 'Chastity Belt' was infinitely less egregious, but definitely a women's rights violation.

Surprisingly, FGM procedures are on the rise in Western nations such as the United Kingdom.  It is easy for most people to acquiesce in the face of such a daunting problem that is occurring half-way across the world. It is also more comfortable to believe that this is an Islamic problem though FGM is no prescribed in the Quran.

It is easiest to effect change in one's backyard, and thus, in Western societies where there are no health reasons to recommend FGM it is up to the medical establishment and authorities to intervene and halt these procedures.

Misogyny like rape, is less about the object of abuse, in this case, women, and more about control. The net result of FGM is that it diminishes all women everywhere even if it hasn't personally impacted your life or those of your friends and family.

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The Sexual Hyprocrisy of the Taliban | Bacha Bazi

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Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 15:11 PM EDT, 6 April 2012

Young Afghanistan Boy Sex Slave (Bacha Bazi) Seated, Photo by Martin Von Krogh - Expressen

AFGHANISTAN - When the book "The Kite Runner” was made into a movie many people, including me, were shocked at the scene where a Taliban leader rapes a boy in the story. I thought that this must be aberrant behavior peculiar to the individual portrayed in the film because I know that the Qur'an strictly forbids homosexual relations.

To be clear, we are not accusing homosexuals of being predatory pedophiles; as the two are not the same, the former being consensual, the latter a sick and aberrant abuse of children, which is also practiced by straight people with this predilection. Pedophilia is an incurable proclivity which even chemical castration does not correct.

In fact, many pedophiles justify their behavior with the delusional assertion that the children they sexually abuse and rape enticed them and are willing participants.The men and women who seek out children to abuse can mentally cripple their victims for the rest of their lives.

Such is the case of with the Bacha Bazi of Afghanistan. A little known scourge, it involves older men seeking out and enslaving young boys to gratify their own sexual desires. This practice has been on the increase since the Taliban no longer controls the populace’s behavior through fear and threat of death. Instead, the moral excesses the Taliban accused and executed others for, is now openly engaged in as these once 'moral arbiters' select young boys to forcefully sodomize and enslave.

[slideshow]

Prior to this, when the Taliban was in control of certain regions of Afghanistan, women were stoned to death for what they perceived as the slightest infractions against the moral code of conduct and men were at risk of punishment or death for homosexual relations or disrespecting the religious edicts of the Taliban's version of Qur'an.

However, in many cases the Taliban's codes of conduct were not found in the Qur'an, and the men who foisted unduly restrictive guidelines upon women were egregious human rights offenders at least, and misogynist at worse.

Currently, the Taliban is either engaged in the war against America, or trying to survive in a leaderless world now that Osama bin Laden and many of his closest military advisors have been killed in targeted drone attacks and ISIS has filled the void.

Since the unraveling of Al-Qaeda's strict religious hierarchy, many Taliban are now engaged in a gross human rights violations because the energy that was previously directed at the West has dissipated. Now, this hatred and religious fervor has found expression in the abuse of the weakest members of their society.

Child sexual slavery in Afghanistan is on the rise as men groom young boys, many who are in their preteens, to be their sexual slaves until they tire of them. Many of these men are married but in fact are pedophiles. Now they can openly flaunt their preference for young boys because this type of behavior can be practiced without fear of reprisal.

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Published: 6 April 2012 (Page 2 of 2)

In this Eurasian country young boys are often sold by their impoverished families to abusers because of the handsome fees they can garner. If the boy is an ‘unsoiled’ virgin and very beautiful, meaning they are androgynous and can easily pass as a woman, they can be quite expensive. However, these sunk costs are easily recouped by their masters by hiring the boys out as entertainers at men only parties or as prostitutes.

The Bacha Bazi, which means 'boy for pleasure' are sometimes kidnapped, but just as many are homeless and hungry and will do anything to get off the streets. Normally, when one thinks of sexual abuse, in particular rape, the focus is on women and girls.

Because of my personal experiences, I am passionate about informing readers of human rights abuses, with the hope that others can feel that their stories are worth telling and that they are not alone in their suffering. It is also a core mission of The Report to reach exploited and abused people world-wide to provide them with topical and relevant knowledge which will hopefully encourage them to put their experiences behind them to live fulfilling and productive lives.

One of the most powerful statements about moving past old hurts and wounds is by Aldous Huxley. “Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him.”

However, these Bacha Bazis who are sexually abused by the Taliban had little to work with in the beginning and once discarded because they are too physically mature, have nothing to turn to other than dancing and prostitution.

The most heinous thing about this epidemic of pedophilia, rape, and child abuse is that it is under reported. Perhaps it is easier to think of women as victims because we have been powerless for so long and continue to be abused in certain societies. But, these boys’ stories needs to be told; and America, a country that is raging war in Afghanistan should be on the front line, vociferously condemning this practice.

The U.S. should at least try to fund NGOs so that they can build shelters, educate, provide health care, and facilitate the punishment of the men who engage in this practice. Because Taliban members flaunt this behavior by regularly parading their Bacha Bazi in public, the U.S. has no excuse for not addressing this visible and obviously pressing human rights issue.

America is already at war with Afghanistan and is trying to root out Al-Qaeda and other radicals in the country. It would be but a short step to at least intervene to make it difficult for these men to engage in this type of aberrant and religiously prohibited behavior.

So much aid money is wasted on military effort, weaponry and outright larceny, a small portion of these funds would go a long way toward saving thousands of children.

If India can implement such a program, SCRP (Street Child Rehabilitation Project) as well as Pakistan to which the U.S. gives $1bn annually and where various NGOs like ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography, and the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes) operate; it is reasonable that the U.S. could fund an NGO to implement a similar program in Afghanistan to help these boys who are suffering.

Please share this post because even though you may think that it may touch only a few people, one never knows the positive impact your actions may have on someone you don't know. The movie “Pay It Forward” proved that. Though it was not a true story, the ideas inspired by the book and film are easily implemented and incredibly rewarding. Think about what you could do to help all abused children throughout the world, and tell everyone you meet about the continuous rape and abuse of the Bacha Bazi.

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This post was inspired by award winning photos of the Bacha Bazi taken by Martin Von Krogh. He is the 2012 1st Prize Winner of the Photographers Giving Back (PGB) contest. PGB is the only contest in the world that gives monetary charity to the depicted people in the awarded pictures.
 
Photos reprinted for this article with permission. If you are interested in publishing any of the photos included in this post you will need written permission. Per the photographer, photos can only be used for stories written specifically about 'Photographers Giving Back' and for no other purposes.
 
For permission send email requests to: jonas@thepgbphotoaward.com

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The Fallacy of Western Love | Meriam Al Khalifa

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Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 02:12 a.m. EDT, 15 June 2011

BAHRAIN - This post is about Meriam Al Khalifa who is a young Bahrani woman who eloped with an American serviceman and left her home in Bahrain during the night without the consent or knowledge of her family.

The picture to the right is of another beautiful Arabic woman Fathima Kulsum Zohar Godabari, who unlike Meriam Al Khalifa, has comported herself with the dignity expected of a woman of her station within the confines of her society and Islamic faith.

Her photo is used to both illustrate the nature of the wealth, lifestyle, and religious nuances that doomed Meriam and Jason Johnson's relationship from the beginning, as evidenced by their divorce filing on November 17, 2004 after five years of marriage. Several news programs featured the story of her 'escape' from Bahrain with her loving boyfriend when his tour of duty ended. As I watched the interview and how they interacted together, waves of emotions came over me.

First, the American media glorified the enormous disrespect Meriam displayed toward her family in allowing the exuberance and headiness of new love override common sense and propriety. The portrayal of this story was subtly propagandist in the assertion that despite the odds Western ideals can vanquish Middle Eastern tradition. Ultimately, their story demonstrated nothing more than youthful naiveté and indiscretion.

We have all been young and even as adults we can become intoxicated by the powerful and euphoric feeling of new love. During this time we can't bear to be separated from our new romantic partner, in our eyes they can do no wrong and the exuberance that we feel seems as if it will never dissipate.

Second, it didn't work for Romeo and Juliet, and in general it doesn't work in real life either. As I watched the interview during which they chronicled her journey to the States and her subsequent meeting with her in-laws, it became almost unbearable to watch. Meriam came from a very privileged background and as she sat a picnic table in a tiny back yard it was clear from her reaction that this was not the life that she thought she would have when she fled Bahrain.

In Bahrain, Meriam lived in an extremely affluent neighborhood that is home to families associated with the Royal Family and other high-ranking government officials. Her family's compound as depicted in the interview was a mansion worthy of a Palm Beach estate. Although, some would classify her existence as that of a beautiful bird in a gilded cage; she was nonetheless cared for like a bird whose wings have been clipped. Because of this and other reasons, it became apparent that she was ill-equipped to live as the wife of a hardworking, family-oriented, blue-collar serviceman.

Finally, there was the issue of faith. Unfortunately, in all faiths the pull of the world is often too strong to resist and thus religion becomes loosely worn by many of its practitioners. Unlike Islam, Orthodox Judaism and Christianity with which most people are familiar, Jason is an observant Mormon.

The fact that he is Mormon was less emphasized in the interview than the fact that Meriam is Muslim. Having grown up within a very patriarchal Islamic family, I know that the formative years and the nuances of culture, society, and faith which are inculcated at that time are not easily sublimated. I suspect that this may have also played a part in the demise of their relationship.

In Orthodoxy it is the responsibility of the a wife to take her husband's family as her own and to accept their ways as her ways. This would be nearly impossible for an Islamic woman to do, especially if the faith to which she would be subject is vastly different in its understanding and core beliefs. For a Muslim one of the basic tenets is that there is only one true God, and there were no other prophets after Muhammad.

This would, from a Muslim's perspective, disqualify members of "The Church of Christ Latter Day Saints (LDS)," who believe that the true, restored church was founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith, Jr., who is considered a prophet. Through religious revelation, he embarked upon the literal restoration of the early church, which included the re-establishment of the Church of Christ and later propagated by Brigham Young who is also known as the Modern Moses. (Source: Wikipedia)

I am not normally in favor of divorce, nor am I happy at the dissolution of someone's marriage, but in this case I differ. I feel that this marriage should have never occurred, and I believe that by its dissolution a whirlwind affair was revealed for what it was, a Western fairytale.

Though fairy tales often dispense cautionary wisdom, the lesson here is that illicit love adversely impacts more people than intended, and in the end little more than sexual pleasure is gained and often with regret and recrimination.

I could glean nothing more about the outcome of Meriam Al Khalifa's life upon her return to Bahrain, but I hope that this youthful indiscretion does not mar her life forever, nor render her unsuitable for a future marriage or motherhood.

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Naija Style Gele | Nigerian Fashion

Have you ever seen gorgeous, impossibly intricate head wraps and wondered how these beautiful, exotic women fashioned them? Well, when I was a child in Nigeria, these were my very thoughts until Mama Nyiyi taught my mother and aunt how to wrap the "Gele" as this Yoruba head wrap is named. The Gele goes beyond mere head covering, these wraps are creations of art. This post also contains an instructional video on how to properly wrap the Gele.

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