Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Great Muslims Part III

This Muslim is possibly the bravest and greatest of the ones I have chronicled thus far. Her story is also terribly tragic and speaks volumes about the lack of women's rights in the Muslim world. However, it's a story of hope and survival, and is actually incredibly inspirational. This is the story of Mukhtaran Bibi. Bibi was gang raped by tribesmen in retaliation for the supposed (false) crimes of her brother (oooh, he had a girlfriend, the horror!). You can call it an "honor gang rape." (pukes at the concept) The usual response to such an atrocity is to stay silent - out of fear of death. But unlike others, Bibi refused to stay silent. She went to file charges. However, the disgusting fact is that in Pakistan, four male witnesses are needed to confirm any rape. In the case where there are even four male witnesses, it is usually because the men were all responsible for the rape itself. She was supposed to have committed suicide after the rape. She refused to do this. When Bibi went public with her brutal rape, she refused to stay at the local level - she went international. This even made Time Magazine. Eventually, the government of Pakistan awarded her the equivalent of $8,500 in compensation for her rape. Bibi used the money to build two local schools: one for girls, and one for boys. There were previously no local schools for girls and no way for girls to get an education. Her attackers were also sentenced to death, but eventually acquitted. Later, when Bibi was to fly to London at the behest of Amnesty International, Pakistan put her on a no-fly list, a move that prompted protests aroound the world. Nick Kristoff of the NY Times reported that she was under house arrest. Eventually it was revealed that Musharaff put Bibi on the no-fly list in order to "protect Pakistan's image abroad." (ironically, this move made Pakistan look ten times worse) Eventually, Bibi was allowed to travel at will, and was awarded the "Woman of the Year" award by Glamour Magazine. Bibi has spoken at the United Nations about women's rights, and on October 31, 2006, is scheduled to release her memoirs. Her story is an incredible tale of hope and survival. It is inspirational to the world. It is an example of how one woman can fight injustice and barbarism, and come out ahead, despite all odds.

7 comments:

Jason said...

Im totally linking to this on my blog.

Red Tulips said...

Jason,

Thanks! I think her story is very important and incredibly inspirational.

Jason said...

You welcome.

Why the feminists in this stupid country can't get behind someone like that is beyond me.

Red Tulips said...

Jason:

Well, she was named "Woman of the Year" by Glamour Magazine, so she has gotten some backing.

Still, I don't know what I would have done in her shoes. Her courage is phenomenal. I am glad she is writing her memoirs, because her memoirs are something I would love to read.

Jason said...

Are the memoirs going to be released in English?

You might find this a worthwhile read;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2092-2309812,00.html

Render said...

Probably because the various leadership of the various Feminist movements are also neck deep in groups like Code Pink and ANSWER.

The next question is why are Homosexual groups in San Francisco demonstrating in support of Sharia based terrorists and religious genociders?

GONE
SHOOTING,
R

Anonymous said...

While it's important to shed light on the fact that her country tried to keep her from going abroad and tarnishing their image, I think it should also be noted that her story was not told the same way round the world. The American version was "somewhat "different from the facts. To see analysis of the true story as compared to the American media version, dare I post an excerpt from an Islamica Magazine article? (sorry for length but i think it's worth the time and space)

Case in Point: The Mukhtaran Mai Incident, from First Facts to Western Spin

Last season’s attempt to package another Victim narrative was the U.S. media’s handling of Mukhtaran Mai’s story. What happened to her is horrible: A woman was gang-raped in a remote Pakistani village by members of a feudal clique that bullied the local populace. Her father tried to get into the house where the crime was being committed and later threw his shirt around her and walked her home; the village imam expressed outrage about the crime from his pulpit; a Pakistani journalist publicized her cause. They and other Muslims helped her to bring the perpetrators to justice, and death sentences were meted out thanks to shariah’s capital punishment for rape. Because a higher court took into consideration the legal checks and balances built into the country’s judicial system, the death sentences were overruled and lesser sentences imposed, causing many in the Pakistani society, including feminists and other supporters of women’s rights, to stir public debate about the handling of her case and the injustice of the lighter sentences. She was awarded punitive damages and with the money, opened a girls’ school in her hometown, surviving the horrific ordeal with her dignity and strength of soul.

A New York Times columnist broke the story to U.S. readers in September 2004. In his version, the woman had no supporters in her family, there was no concerned mullah on her side, and her entire society only wanted her to commit suicide. Readers were told that Mai’s entire village watched her walk home “naked” and did nothing to assist her. The columnist did not acknowledge his fellow journalist whose work helped bring Mai’s cause to the public, or if he did, an editor must have dropped the reference. The support of Mai’s father and other family members and the advocacy role played by the small-town imam were also left out. A photo that accompanied one early Internet report of the story showed only a veiled Muslim woman with her head bowed, weeping. Mukhtaran Bibi’s strength was left out of the story, and she was turned into a mute marionette needing Western rescue. Her faith was left out. The positive role of shariah — yes, shariah — in punishing the rapists was left out. The existence of many people in the Pakistani society who were outraged at what happened to her was left out, as was any mention of the fact that there are laws against rape in Pakistan and a judicial system that is willing to enforce them within the limits of rules of law, which exist in the U.S. and should exist in any democracy.

Thank God for alternative media such as Islamica, whose interview with Mai set the record straight on some of those missing elements. It was incomprehensible, if you only read the Western story, how Mukhtaran Bibi had the fortitude to found a girls’ school with her reparations, how townspeople in a culture that values modesty would watch a rape victim walk home naked, or why she would want to continue living in her country after her trip abroad, if it is such a dungeon for women. My office-next-door neighbor, a white American feminist theory professor, came to me questioning the story as reported in the Times, saying “something seems to be missing here,” asking intelligent questions, and seeking alternative media sources.