Monday, April 6, 2009

What exactly is the misinterpretation, Karzai?

I was absolutely infuriated and sickened when I first heard on CNN last week that the Afghan parliament had passed a law that, essentially, says it’s okay for a man to rape his wife. Now—when I can find anything about it on a news site, that is—I’m not sure how I feel. Supposedly, the Western media has lost something in translation, according to President Hamid Karzai:

(from CNN) “‘We understand the concerns of our allies and the international community. Those concerns may be due to an inappropriate, not-so-good translation of the law, or misinterpretation,’ Karzai told reporters in Kabul.

He added that the Minister of Justice will study the ‘Shiite state law,’ line by line, to make sure it follows the nation's constitution, which requires equal rights to both sexes.”

But, I can’t help but wonder, what exactly is this misinterpretation? And when the 249 members of the lower house, including 68 women, debated and voted for the bill, why was there confusion about what they were voting for? According to CNN, “Even some lawmakers are baffled at the manner in which it passed.”

Uhh, WHAT? So now that this is getting international attention—although not enough, in my opinion—and backlash from the West and human rights organizations, they’ll be studying this “line by line” to make sure it follows the nation’s constitution? What if the Western media hadn't supposedly misinterpreted this? No big deal?

Well, they better be studying it line by fucking line, is all I can say. I hope to hear very soon that nothing about this law actually legalizes a man having sex with his wife against her will. Rape is rape. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Christian or a Muslim, living in Chicago or living in the Middle East: RAPE IS RAPE.

That, I hope, translates.

Related story: “Afghan Law on Women Brings Societal Conflict Onto World Stage,” from The Washington Post

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