Aug 12, 2002
In Pakistan this June, a young woman was gang-raped by four men who were ordered to rape her by a tribal council. Hundreds of men stood around laughing as she pleaded.
The gang-rape was carried out to punish her whole family because her 11-year-old brother was seen walking down a village street with a girl from another tribe. The tribe was considered a higher class than the boy’s, or caste, as it is called there.
This barbaric example of what tribal councils mean is not limited to this one village, this one family, nor to Pakistan. In many parts of the poorest countries in the world, women are kept in conditions like slavery. As the weakest members of the society, they face harsh punishments dealt out in these reactionary societies.
One reason the U.S. government gave for going to war in Afghanistan was the Taliban’s barbaric treatment of women, which certainly included rape, torture and murder. But for years before, the U.S. government turned a blind eye to these barbaric practices, especially when U.S. oil companies looked to the Taliban to control the country, while the U.S. oil companies planned to build an oil pipeline.
Today, the U.S. government may give some lip service to protests against the brutal treatment of women in Pakistan. But that doesn’t stop the Bush administration from increasing military aid to the very dictatorship under which these practices were carried out.