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June 15, 2005

Make Some Noise

Mukhtaran Bibi is under arrest.  You remember her, in a world of Jackos and Rumsfelds and celebrity relationships and deified presidents, Bibi is an actual hero, a Mandela-esque story of courage and forgiveness.  She's a Pakistani women whose brother committed a crime and, under the barbaric codes sometimes enforced in rural Pakistan, was condemned to public, forced gang rape to atone for him.  When the four men had finished raping her, she was forced to walk home, nearly nude, while hundreds of onlookers laughed and jeered. 

She was supposed to die. 

If all had gone as planned, she would've grabbed a knife and slit her throat, or maybe her wrists.  She would've accepted that she had been sacrificed for a male, that it was more than a fair trade, and that no one could move on until the last spark of life had vanished behind her eyes.  And she would've hurried up and and finished the affair.

All did not go as planned.

The knives stayed in the drawer.  Her nude body found clothes.  She convinced a local Islamic leader to back her as she took her rapists to court.  They were convicted.  They were locked away.  She got a settlement.

One could, at this point, forgive her for jetting off.  For paying however many rupees it took, settling back into a plane seat, and appyling for asylum in America, hitting the lecture rout, leaving.  She didn't.  Instead, she built schools.  Two of them, one for boys, one for girls.  She took special care to enroll the children of her attackers, banishing venegeance and cutting the generational cord of ignorance.  She enrolled in her own school to learn to read. She started a shelter for abused women.  She decided to found an ambulance service so the rural sick could reach high-tech hospitals.  She spoke out against honor killings and rapes.  And she was going to visit America.

Oops.

Pervez Musharraf, our erstwhile ally in the War on Terror, couldn't have that.  Mukhtaran Bibi was put under house arrest last Thursday.  When she tried to walk out, police pointed guns at her.  When she tried to make calls, they snipped the landline.  When she moved to the cell, they took her to Islamabad and put her in prison.  Then, for good measure, they released her rapists -- a warning shot.

Having Mukhtaran Bibi speak out about Pakistan's brutal side didn't fit the softer, more Western image Musharraf wanted to project.  What he really didn't count on, though, was a columnist for the New York Times taking up the case and making more noise than she ever could've.  And I bet he's not expecting outraged e-mails from all over the world to fly into his government's inboxes.  Which is why they should be.  And they should be loud, outraged, and laced with threats about how many congressmen will be informed and how much noise will be made.  They should, above all, be perfectly clear on one count: if she dies, her voice will be far louder than if she lived. 

Go.

His Excellency Mr. Jehangir Karamat ambassador@embassyofpakistan.org

Mr Mohammad Sadiq is Deputy Chief of Mission and assists the Ambassador in the overall functioning of the Embassy. He deals with both political and administrative issues. dcmsadiq@embassyofpakistan.org

Mr Aslam Khan is Minister (Political) and deals with political issues minpol@embassyofpakistan.org

Mr Shahid Ahmed is Counsellor Community Affairs and deals with the Pakistani community in the United States. shahidahmed@embassyofpakistan.org

Brig Shafqaat Ahmed is the Defence & Military Attache of the Pakistan Embassy. da@embassyofpakistan.org

Mr Ashraf Hayat is the Minister (Trade) and deals with Pakistan-US trade issues. commercialsection@embassyofpakistan.org & compk@rcn.com

Mrs Talat Waseem is the Press Minister and Media Spokesperson of the Embassy pressinfodiv@embassyofpakistan.org


Update:
Just to be clear, Tom Watson did the legwork gathering these e-mails, not me.  Credit where it's due.

June 15, 2005 in The Middle East | Permalink

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» More on Mukhtaran Bibi from CommonSenseDesk
My last post yesterday was related to the cause of Mukhtaran Bibi. [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 15, 2005 11:14:27 AM

» Blogs to the Rescue from Tom Watson
In less than 24 hours, you've mobilized a small army on behalf of Mukhtaran Bibi, my personal hero and a symbl of courage to many millions. I'll continue to update the main post below, but I wanted to comment briefly [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 15, 2005 1:57:51 PM

» Blogs to the Rescue from Tom Watson
In less than 24 hours, you've mobilized a small army on behalf of Mukhtaran Bibi, my personal hero and a symbl of courage to many millions. I'll continue to update the main post below, but I wanted to comment briefly [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 15, 2005 2:02:47 PM

» Mukhtaran Bibi from Preposterous Universe
Ezra Klein points to a post by Tom Watson about the arrest of Mukhtaran Bibi. Nicholas Kristof tells the backstory. [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 15, 2005 2:53:05 PM

» Bush II; Day 227: It's a WTF Day at the SCC DP Blog from Issues Forum
OMG. Today I am reading some stories I truly cannot believe. I can't pick just one. If I believed in Armageddon these stories would be signs that we are truly heading there: 1. First we have Jeb Bush asking a... [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 17, 2005 12:51:51 PM

» Bush II; Day 227: It's a WTF Day at the SCC DP Blog from Issues Forum
OMG. Today I am reading some stories I truly cannot believe. I can't pick just one. If I believed in Armageddon these stories would be signs that we are truly heading there: 1. First we have Jeb Bush asking a... [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 17, 2005 1:17:44 PM

Comments

So I've sent my emails and done a

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Jun 15, 2005 4:26:48 AM

So I've sent my emails and done a Kos diary on this. Hopefully it's not too late for the thing to get noticed. Feeling a bit on edge -- it's going to be a while longer before I can sleep.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Jun 15, 2005 4:28:21 AM


Most valuable post I've read all week. Thanks for the e-mail addresses.

Posted by: Joe Loserman | Jun 15, 2005 8:32:40 AM

Wrote. Excellent work EK.

Posted by: Karl the Idiot | Jun 15, 2005 9:43:19 AM

I'm glad it's summer and I have the time to email all those people along with my congressman (Bill Thomas, boooo!) and Senator (Boxer, yay!).

Posted by: Colin | Jun 15, 2005 10:28:09 AM

I blogged about this, and I'm including the URL of my blogpost in the emails. I want those guys to get the sense that for every email they get about this, many, many more American are going to end up knowing because we're hell bent on spreading the word.

Posted by: battlepanda | Jun 15, 2005 10:50:01 AM

Great post. I put it on my blog and referred people back here for links to the contacts. I have a troll commenter who thinks sometimes we have to suck up to guys like this for short-term national interest. I wish I could see the reaction when he tells his daughter that sometimes we support rapists.

Posted by: Jill | Jun 15, 2005 11:10:40 AM

Thanks for the email addresses Ezra--good job!

Posted by: Steve Mudge | Jun 15, 2005 11:25:54 AM

Musharraf isn't our "erstwhile" ally; he's, for better or worse, a "current" ally of the US, much like that guy in Uzbekistan. Unless we severed our alliance with Pakistan w/o anyone telling me.

Example: Jesse is Ezra's erstwhile blogging partner. Amanda is Jesse's current blogging partner.

Posted by: Goldberg | Jun 15, 2005 12:22:53 PM

I was preparing to do a post about this, but I'll link to yours instead. Beautifully written. I was frankly surprised by Musharref's move - what on earth is he afraid of? Clearly, we need to make it known to him and his "government" that actions like these will always make the reputation of Pakistan worse, not better. There is nothing this young woman could have said that could stain the perception of Pakistan more than this effort to silence her.

Posted by: Leah A | Jun 15, 2005 12:44:57 PM

Looks like they are letting her go now:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20050615/india_nm/india_206061

Posted by: Bill K | Jun 15, 2005 12:54:56 PM

Bill K, does this really mean that they're letting her go? They've revoked her travel restrictions... but it doesn't say that they've let her out of prison.

I think I want to see her back at our house, with her phone line restored, before I feel better about this.

Posted by: julie | Jun 15, 2005 1:29:23 PM

I think you meant "back at her house", Julie. Though if you saw her at your house, that'd probably be a good sign too. *g*

I'm also wondering what to make of this. Did we just win, or is there more work to be done?

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Jun 15, 2005 1:41:32 PM

Yeah, I did mean her house... my mom always told me not to blog and eat Oreos at the same time. :o)

Although, I would love the chance to talk with her over dinner.

Posted by: julie | Jun 15, 2005 2:31:18 PM

Here's the text of my email, in case anyone needs something short and sweet.

Good Evening,

I am writing regard the arrest and internment of Mukhtaran Bibi by the government of Pakistan.

As a citizen of the United States, which counts among its allies the nation of Pakistan, I am personally offended at this action. Her safety is paramount. Until she is released from custody safe and unharmed, I will continue to contact my elected representatives, the local and national media, and any resource that will listen in order to express my continued outrage at this barbaric action.

Should Mukhtaran Bibi come to harm, her voice will speak louder than you could ever have imagined. I hope you will exercise your position in the Pakistani government in an effort to undo this injustice.

Respectfully,

Posted by: Left Behind Child | Jun 15, 2005 11:05:43 PM

Where is Laura Bush!!!! Shouldn't she be speaking out for women? Isn't that her special, special job for the President (aka: Our Glorious Leader ). Gee, when women are being oppressed don't we usually go to war? I seem to remember that as one of the sub-sections of the need to destroy the Taliban.

Someone should tell her! I'm sure she will rush to the radio waves!

signed<
not holding my breath to see that

Posted by: dutchie | Jun 15, 2005 11:42:12 PM

Erstwhile can also mean esteemed. See the link: http://tinyurl.com/d82ja

Posted by: Mark Wintle | Jun 21, 2005 3:18:36 PM

Honorable President of Pakistan Mr. Perwais Musharaf

Our all Pakistani Nation is proud on you and like you from our hearts. We call you Pakistan tiger and big heart President and very brave.
But Sir there are some things in our country which are big big Sin in our country which is very hurting and Qaher of Allah on us.
Big sin of Heera Mandi of Lahore which is indeed is Azab for our country. Many leader came there since 1947 but no one took noticed of this Heera Mandi in Lahore.
when night begin big Gunaas have taken place there,even 11 years of girls are involve with the support their mothers are doing this prostititution.
Ths Heera Mandi of Lahore is suitvated near the wall of Badshahi Mosque where Muslims say their prayers five time daily.Which is great shame for our muslims
Police station which is suitvated in Heera mandi is big rot of corruption and supporting this Heera Mandi they are the agents and dalals of this Heera Mandi.These police men should be hang or dismiss imediatly from their jobs and seal this police station which is not stoping sin but promoting this Heera Mandi under their supervision.
Mr President Allah have given you the power and whole army is with you and people of Pakistan and Lahore are with you please step forward and destroy this Heera mandi.Dont worry if people died here .
This Heera Mandi and police station needs commando action or hit shaheen Misile no matter how many lives will be lost because this action safe thousands of lifes of people who stole money from their houses to go there and many of diseases having people through this Heera mandi of lahore
This Heera mandi is great Aazab on us Till this Heera Mandi of Lahore exist we always be in trouble and Allah will be annoy from us.
Please Mr President take serious action and destroy this Heera Mandi of Lahore
If you did this you will be the real Hero of Pakistan and Allah will give you big Swab and great reward for this. People of Pakistan will never forget your that effort .
Sincerely yours
Mustafa Zahid
Gulshan-e-Ravi
Lahore city

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Posted by: Jennah | May 11, 2006 11:09:51 PM

I've just been letting everything pass me by , but so it goes. I just don't have much to say these days. Pfft. I can't be bothered with anything. More or less nothing seems worth doing. I haven't gotten much done recently, but oh well.

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