A friend of mine witnessed a massacre in Syria on Dec 29th, 2012 and this was her comment, “We witnessed a massacre today in Tal Refaat village in Northern Aleppo. A Russian fighter jet from the Assad army dropped a TNT barrel on a number of houses, just 500 meters away from us. The impact was so strong that our windows shattered. It was the most unreal, disturbing, and horrendous thing I’ve been through in my life. Taking the life of 18 civilians and wounding tens others took a matter of seconds. What killed me most, is how the people reacted, like it was so normal. While I broke down from shock, they were the ones comforting me. They continued with their lives, with children playing & laughing in the streets. After two years of hell, it has become nothing for them, picking body pieces from the streets, and burying entire families that were once part of life in this village.
This is just one story out of hundreds happening everyday in Syria, yet the world goes on, watching from afar, and caring less everyday. I am trying to express how I feel right now, but no words can do the job. What I know for sure is that God will not leave those people alone. Their amazing faith, smiles, and bravery will crush any army… and the whole world will owe us a huge apology someday, one which we will never, ever accept.
may the martyrs of Tal Refaat, & all Syria, RIP.”
It’s different when you hear about it on the news and when someone sees the actual thing and relates it to you, even though if you think about it, it shouldn’t be different, because the end result is the same; entire families are being eradicated and there are men, women and children buried underground as people around us are trying to find tickets for the biggest New Year’s Eve parties in town.
On another front, the rape victim in India had died in Singapore. Her story had triggered violent protests in India as people demanded greater protection for women from sexual violence. As the reporter in gulfnews stated, “The tragedy has forced India to confront the reality that sexually assaulted women are often blamed for the crime, forcing them to keep quiet and discouraging them from reporting it to authorities for fear of exposing their families to ridicule.”
But the sad truth is, this problem is not just in India. This reality is present in many Arab countries, where assaulted women are forced not to report the attacks so as not to bring shame to their family. Which brings us to Jordan’s Penal Code Article 308, the terrible law I learnt about upon reading @nuramer’s blog, which allows allows rape charges to be dropped if the perpetrator agrees to marry his victim for a period of at least three years. So not only are attackers allowed to walk free, they are even rewarded by taking a wife home, this is just preposterous!
Another question I’m wondering about is; is the woman’s consent taken even taken into consideration in such cases? Personally, I don’t know.
But article 308 totally takes the ‘post’ out of the ‘post-traumatic stress disorder’ because the trauma will be continuous as rape victims would relive the attack day-in day-out. A story of a 14-year old rape victim who was being forced to marry her perpetrator caused outrage in Jordan six months ago, but I am left to wonder how the story had ended.
So yeah, as people are trying to figure out which of the 63 new year’s eve parties to attend in Dubai, maybe they need to take a second or two to think about humanity’s downward spiral and how to somehow stop it by bringing out the best in people, spreading kindness, doing good deeds, acknowledging the good being done to us and paying it forward.