Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The power to change Afghanistan

I am a fan of The Tudors series. I don’t know how accurate the story is but wish that history lessons in school can be made more captivating like the series.

It would seem that King Henry VIII’s reign in England during the 16th century was plagued by religious upheaval; mainly the Lutheran movement in a predominantly Catholic nation and the creation of the Church of England.

The series portrayed King Henry VIII as a monarch who was so obsessed and occupied with his love affairs that he would rule the country with great misjudgement, tyranny and oblivion towards the suffering of his people.

In order to marry Anne Boleyn, he went against the Catholic church (what was considered as the Divine faith) by divorcing his Queen, Catherine of Aragon. This would mark the beginning of England’s separation from the Holy Sea or The Vatican as commonly known today.

King Henry VIII, once discovered the Boleyn family’s plot to manipulate him, ordered for the execution of his new queen. Eventually, he married Jane Seymour who died shortly after giving birth to his first legitimate son.

He then married again for the fourth time to a German aristocrat but succeeded to get the marriage annulled.

This post is not really about the history of England. I’ve mentioned it because there’s one scene in the series which is linked to what I read today on the BBC news.

Apparently, Afghanistan has officially endorsed a law which provides the right for a man to starve his wife if she refuses to have sex with him. It baffles me that such a law should exist in this day and age, especially when Afghanistan is trying to move towards democracy.

To me, instead of moving forward, what’s happening in Afghanistan today is a huge regression towards an archaic period filled with brutality, lawlessness and injustice practised only  by medieval Kings and Emperors granted with unlimited power.

When Jane Seymour was told by Lady Rochford, her lady-in-waiting, that King Henry VIII has taken a mistress, the noble Queen, while feeling dejected, implied that she had accepted the subjugation of women as part and parcel of life. Basically, whatever the King wishes for, it shall be granted without resistance. Whatever he decrees, let it be law.

I couldn’t help but notice too that the King uses religion to suit his whims and fancies. He doesn’t question the sinfulness of debauchery, adultery, corruption and summary executions but will not hesitate to punish those accused of heresy or treason in the name of religion.

Afghanistan is reliving this dark period and I ask myself how could this happen.

The men who support this law stand up boldly and say, this is what our religion says and it is divine. The women, hidden underneath their burqas, remain silent and helpless. In the mean time, what does the President of Afghanistan say?

When I looked at King Henry VIII, he is nothing but a man, made of flesh and blood; pathetic even. He eats, drinks and releases his bowels to stay alive. He falls ill, ages and dies as nature would have predicted him to. And yet, he holds the power to determine who shall live and who shall die.

Who gave him the power? The simple answer is, the people. Without the acceptance of his people to submit themselves to him, he would be nothing but just a common man, like you and I.

A friend asked, "”What can we do for the women in Afghanistan?” The simple answer is, the Afghans themselves. Stop giving power to those who use religion to control and to subjugate. Stop giving power to those who allow these religious fanatics to create senseless and archaic laws.

Stop voting for the person who is responsible for this. Without your support, they will not have the power.

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