Monday, March 17, 2014

Shocking Discovery: Afghanistan Still Medieval

From Stacy McCain: Afghanistan Resists Modernity
Does this really surprise anyone?

More than 12 years after the U.S. first invaded Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban and deprive al Qaeda of a base operations, the sexual abuse of Afghanistan children has reached an all-time high, according to the U.S. State Department.

The department’s 2013 Country Report on Human Rights in Afghanistan, which was released this month, says that 60 percent of girls in Afghanistan are married before their 16th birthday.
“Despite a law setting the legal minimum age for marriage at 16 for girls and 18 for boys, international and local observers estimated that 60 percent of girls were married before the age of 16,” the State Department said in its most recent human rights report. . . .
A marriage contract in Afghanistan requires verification that the bride was 16, “but only a small fraction of the population had birth certificates,” the report noted.
One of the follies of U.S. policy in Afghanistan was the belief — or at least the claim, since we don’t know if the policy makers were actually fools enough to believe it — that we were going to impose modernity, including “women’s rights,” by force of arms.
Even if you consider cultural modernity an unalloyed blessing (an idea that conservatives, being skeptical of claims of Progress, are obliged to resist), such modernity requires a degree of economic vitality and affluence that Afghanistan does not possess.

Per capita income in Afghanistan in 2012 was $687. The 15-year-old daughter of a family of goat herders, whose parents marry her off to the son of another family of goat herders, is not thereby being deprived of any actual opportunity. Whatever we in the affluent West may imagine her “rights” to be, as a practical matter, her future is going to involve goat-herding, and whether she marries at 15 or 16 or 18 isn't really going to make much difference in that regard. . . 
It was a little out of character here of for Stacy McCain, a staunch social con, to yield even a little to the idea of cultural relativism by acknowledging that the state of civilization in Afghanistan is sufficiently backward that it doesn't make sense to hold them to our standards.  But I agree.

On the other hand, that relatively advanced Muslim state, Iraq is preparing the way for girls as young as 9 years old to be married: Iraqi Faction Drafting Law Detailing Rules of Divorce for 8-Year-Olds, as a Backdoor Way to Say that Adult Men Can Marry Third Grader Girls
The law actually specifies 9-year-olds, but, due to the vagaries of the Islamic calendar (which is shorter than an actual year), "9-year-olds" actually means, at their youngest, girls 8 years and 8 months old. The current law in Iraq says that girls of 18 or older may marry at will, and those as young as 15 may marry with their parents' permission. And 15 seems young, but we've got laws like that in some states of the USA, too.

This new draft law, on the other hand, is unspeakable.
The proposed new measure, known as the Jaafari Personal Status Law, is based on the principles of a Shiite school of religious law founded by Jaafar al-Sadiq, the sixth Shiite imam. Iraq's Justice Ministry late last year introduced the draft measure to the Cabinet, which approved it last month despite strong opposition by rights groups and activists.
Of course, when they say "parental permission," they only mean the father: Only the father has the power to bless or refuse an underage marriage. And they've got even more good stuff in there for women (or 8 year old girls, as the case may be) too:
Also under the proposed measure, a husband can have sex with his wife regardless of her consent. The bill also prevents women from leaving the house without their husband's permission, would restrict women's rights in matters of parental custody after divorce and make it easier for men to take multiple wives.
Well that's just special.
 Now that's just insane.

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