The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Condition of Women—Institutionalized Barbarism

Jun 23, 2014

A 25-year-old Pakistani woman, Farzana Parveen, was stoned to death at the entrance to a court in the large Pakistani city of Lahore. She was killed by her father, brothers and cousins, under the eyes of the police, because she married a man without her family’s permission. A thousand women in Pakistan are killed in this way every year.

This treatment of women in part reflects the terrible impoverishment of Pakistani people: Half the population is totally illiterate and the proportion of children not in school is one of the highest rates in the world. But it also reflects policies established by the U.S. in this area of the world. In 1979, when the USSR invaded Afghanistan, the U.S. gave the Pakistani army the job of igniting a back fire, asking it to arm reactionary Islamic warlords and reinforcing Pakistani Islamist parties. Laws against blasphemy and elements of reactionary Sharia dogma were written into the Constitution. Once the Pakistani Islamist fighters returned from Afghanistan, they used their weapons to impose reactionary views on the population. These armed bands began to hold the balance of power in Pakistani political life, as they do today.

The assassination of Farzana Parveen was a product of the Pakistani regime and reactionary Islam, but was equally a product of the so-called civilized countries, which reinforced the far right that continues the barbarous oppression of women.