This is a 15-year-old Afghan girl. She was sold as a wife when she was an illiterate 12-year-old. Her in-laws waged a campaign of unimaginable torture. They starved her, chained her in a basement bathroom, beat her, burned her with red-hot metal pipes and pulled her fingernails out, trying to force her into prostitution.
Another problem in Afghanistan and many other Muslim nations is the systematic and institutional sexual abuse of young boys, something that has been going on for thousands of years in those cultures, and something that is going on today, every day.
Remember your own childhood. Remember how vulnerable you were being in this magical world where adults were gods and omnipotent, where you didn’t know the rules and were completely dependent on your parents for nourishment, shelter and emotional well-being. Now imagine that those parents had looked the other way when you were an eight-year-old boy and some uncle came to the house and spent the night in your room, your bed.
As a girl, imagine if your father had sold you to some old guy for a few sheep or goats when you were twelve years old.
Yet, while I sit here safely in the United States, sipping my Negra Modelo beer while typing this post, this is exactly what is being done to thousands of children in the Arab world, right now, right this minute.
I know I cannot change the system of what is religiously acceptable in an Islamic country. I cannot change what other sovereign nations allow to be done to their people, and particularly the weakest members of their society: children – and unfortunately worse – female children.
But I can stand up and state that I do not agree that my country supports the regime that allows this to occur. I despise that our own young men and women are being sent to this country under the pretense of “securing our freedom” only to come back in body bags, in the worst case, or maimed physically, or permanently damaged emotionally due to having had to observe atrocities, and being asked to look the other way.
I can stand up and categorically state that I do not believe that United States taxpayer money should be sent to a country that promotes this type of atrocious abuse.
In God we trust?