Essay: A Brutal Killing Shows The True Value of Women

By Lynne O’Donnell

Any doubts about the visceral hatred that women in Afghanistan live with every day surely evaporated after the fatal mob beating of a woman outside Kabul’s most famous mosque, in broad daylight, as hundreds of people watched and recorded it on their smart phones.

The woman, Farkhunda, was punched, kicked, stoned, beaten with planks of wood, pushed by police onto a roof and dropped from it, thrown in the street and run over by a car, and had a lump of concrete dropped on her. Her body was dragged along the road outside the mosque and tossed onto the bank of the Kabul River. A huge crowd of her fellow Muslims watched as her body was set on fire.

The horror of the attack played constantly on social media: photos show Farkhunda’s bewildered face framed by wild black hair and red with blood as though painted. Pictures of her killers (mostly men, some women) were posted apparently to help investigators track them down. People talk about how sickened they are by the event, the perpetrators, the collusive police. By their country and its culture, unquestioning reverence for religion, history of violence, poor governance… on it goes.

And, oh yes, there’s the fact that Farkhunda was a woman. Afghan women have less value in their own homes than the carpets on which they sit or the dogs that bark outside their doors. What happened to Farkhunda was merely the everyday taken to the extreme. … Read more…