Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Stoned

The writers for American soap operas such as “As the World Turns” would have to really, really dig deep to come up with a script built on unrequited love to beat the primitive, tribal family in Pakistan that recently stoned their pregnant daughter to death. She wanted to marry the man she was in love with, not the man Papa arranged, and Papa and the boys - her brothers - took offense at her insolence. So they stoned her to death. And they did it in front of the Lahore, courthouse!

According to a news report from CBS/AP:

“May 27, 2014. (Yes, 2014!) LAHORE, Pakistan- A woman was stoned to death by her own family in front of a Pakistani high court on Tuesday for marrying the man she loved, police and a defense lawyer said.
Nearly 20 members of the woman's family, including her father and brothers, attacked her and her husband with batons and bricks in broad daylight before a crowd of onlookers in front of the high court of Lahore, said police official Naseem Butt. He said Farzana Parveen, 25, had married Mohammad Iqbal, with whom she had been engaged for years in opposition to her family.”
The article continues:
"...Parveen's relatives waited outside the court, which is located on a main downtown thoroughfare. As the couple walked up to the court's main gate, the family members fired shots in the air and tried to snatch her from Iqbal, he said.
When she resisted, her father, brothers and other relatives started beating her, eventually pelting her with bricks from a nearby construction site, Iqbal said.
Iqbal, 45, said he started seeing Parveen after the death of his first wife, with whom he had five children.
"We were in love," he told The Associated Press. He alleged that the woman's family wanted to fleece money from him before marrying her off.
"I simply took her to court and registered a marriage," infuriating the family, he said.
Butt, the police official, said Parveen's father surrendered after the incident and called the murder an "honor killing."
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, a private organization, said in a report last month that some 869 women were murdered in so-called honor killings in 2013.”

Wow, top that scenario, you writers at As the World Turns, or the writers at General Hospital, or any of the remaining soap operas on American television where true love and marital infidelity are the core reason millions of American women, and a few men as well, watch television every day. I bet American, or Spanish and Latin American soaps for that matter, aren't broadcast on Arabian or Farsi TV systems. Erika Kane, and three or four thousand other characters, would never have made it out of Pine Valley alive.

The entire world mobilized in protest to save 230 young Nigerian women kidnapped by Boco Haram Islamic radicals in Borno State on April 15, 2014. Where is the anger over 869 women killed by husbands and fathers in Pakistan in 2013 alone because of religious grounds? Professional courtesy among religions? You don't comment on our brutality and sexual aberrations and we won't comment on yours?

In any other civilized country, murder charges would normally be filed against the killers. But we are talking about a civilization mired in its religion of almost two thousand years ago. It was cruel then, it is cruel now. If there were a god, he would cry at the loss of his daughter and grandchild.

The airline terminal at LaHore is actually a time warp civilized people pass through to get to that primitive, medieval partition of planet Earth where you could easily get killed if you believe in the wrong god, while the ones who kill their own daughters are considered honorable men.

Can I make it worse? Yes, I can! Remember, the Pakistanis have nuclear weapons.

[Update: May 31st, 2014.  Bowing to International Pressure, the murderers have been arrested, and the police who stood by and watched as they killed her are under investigation.  The updated story at:
http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/31/world/asia/pakistan-honor-murder/index.html]

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Anonymous


“Would that mean you would move to the east or learn to coexist with the west state?”

An anonymous comment awaiting moderation about The Case for Two Floridas – Revisited blog caught my attention. I don't usually respond to anonymous comments, – you know who I am, so return the favor and let me know who you are – and I usually just delete them. This time I think I'll try to qualify my position in writing the blog and explain why it appears I parachuted behind enemy lines.

I was raised in Miami, and left what was really just a seasonal tourist town when I joined the Air Force way back in 1960. You know, off to see the world and that kind of stuff. Eight years later, – five and a half of which were spent in Germany – recently discharged and married, ready to raise a family, I returned to Miami and was surprised by the city that was on the verge of International big-time. Working in downtown Miami for thirty years, watching Miami win a couple of Super Bowls and later become the backdrop for a popular, modern television show that soon became the most watched show in America, I saw Miami evolve into a unique, International city unmatched by any other in the United States. When I retired, family, finances, and physics dictated our reluctant relocation from Miami so we moved through the time warp that separates the east coast from the west coast and settled in Port Charlotte. It's on the map, trust me.

We were fooled by the north/south rhetoric that pervaded Florida's politics. I was raised knowing the “porkchoppers” as the state legislature was known by everyone in South Florida, treated Miamians as foreigners way before any Cuban refugees arrived. What I got wrong was Tallahassee, Capitol of Florida, holding pen of the porkchoppers, isn't just in the north half, it is in the western half as well. And that is what I missed. We had dear friends who left Miami and relocated in Hernando County in a beautiful waterfront home with Gulf of Mexico access. Still, within several years, they were back on the east coast. I assumed it was because they were north of I-4 and their visa expired, but in retrospect I now know it was because they were west of I-75!

There are pockets of resistance in either of the two proposed new Floridas. I know for certain there are people still stuck in the fifties tonight in Fort Lauderdale! There is no doubt in my mind the Villages will rise up in anger, as far up as they can at least, for being on the wrong side of the Interstate. They won't be able to fight after nine at night and they certainly aren't going to hire anyone to do it for them, so they just may be stuck. But then again, they might get a lot accomplished before tee-time. They do tend to get up early there. They'll have a golf-cart strike and cripple the industry if they don't get their way.

The sixteen years we have lived here in west Florida, not far from a John Birch Retirement Center, gives me an insight to the two Floridas many politicians don't have. Living with people who are terrified of driving to Miami, who have never been there and who will never in their lives drive south of Disney World except down I-4 to I-75, gives me an analytical edge here. I don't just coexist in west Florida, no coexist isn't the right word. I've become a guerilla fighter. A stealth influence on the unsuspecting retirees who still keep Lawrence Welk alive on PBS. Some of them even now listen occasionally to Jimmy Buffet. Well, not often, but maybe every once in a while. We have found an underground network of like-minded people here who sweeten their own tea. And that is progress.