The suicide bombings have become so routine here that they did not propel me to write about them, even though they happened very near where my mother lives. Nor was I inspired to write by the smoke, overpopulation, lack of electricity or inflation.
This afternoon as I write, however, something so intolerable took place that I simply had to write down my reflections. A Pakistani woman was flogged in public. Under the Taliban law, if a woman steps outside of the house with a man to whom she is not related as daughter, sister or wife, she is deemed fit for the punishment of flogging. She was seen in public, allegedly, with her father-in-law, and the elders of the tribe decided she should be punished.
This is such a repulsive story to write about, yet because of its level of insanity, psychosis, tribalism and the “talibanization” of Pakistan, it must be written. What has gone wrong with Pakistan? A mix of politics, religious intolerance, right-wing fundamentalism and geopolitical tensions all contribute to the answer. Can the Pakistani government control this madness? That is another loaded question. Can America intervene to help? Many political analysts wonder.
My mind cannot get rid of the images of a woman lying on a muddy field, hoards of bearded men watching as if she were a circus animal, and two Taliban officials holding her down while one takes a flogger to hit her again and again.
My own father watched his mother being beaten by his father and was suitably repulsed by it to make it a cause as a human rights activist and to fight for human rights as a writer, economist, political figure and member of the United Nations. Will Pakistanis watching the video clip being aired internationally be enraged enough to say “enough” and take Pakistan out of the clutches of the ever-increasing hold of a fascist group that controls increasing areas of Pakistan and targets international borders?
I hang my head in shame to be a Pakistani on this abysmal afternoon.
• Samina Masood is a 2½-year resident of Tracy and is among a select group of local Town Crier columnists in the Tracy Press. She is a mother of two who has masters degrees in both journalism and clinical psychology.