One day in December my mother gave me 100 Afghanis to go to the bazaar and buy some bread for dinner. But I lost the money on the way. When I came home I had to explain to my mother what had happened.
“Mom, the money fell out when I was walking. I couldn’t find it again. I lost it,” I said.
“No problem, my daughter,” my mother said to me. “Take better care next time.”
Then I heard the story of a woman murdered by her husband over 50 Afghanis (less than $1 US). Have you ever heard of a man killing his wife for 50 AF? It is hard to believe, but unfortunately it is fact. According to reports, the woman, Zarmina, lived in Baghlan province with her five children. Her husband was a drug addict who came home once a week, beat his wife and demanded her money. He wanted her ring to sell for drugs.
One day, Zarmina gave her daughter 100 Afghanis and sent her out to buy a 50 Afghani phone card. When her daughter returned without the change, Zarmina shouted at her. At that moment, the woman’s husband came home and overheard. As he was beating the girl, Zarmina intervened.
“Don’t beat my daughter,” she said. “It was my money, not yours.”
Her husband demanded to know how much money she had. When she did not answer he picked up an ax and threatened her. When she refused to give him the money, he chopped her in the head with the ax, killing her. Then he fled to Mazar-e-Sharif.
It is hard for me to even imagine such cruelty. But there are other reports. Setara lived in Herat province with her four children and drug-addicted husband. He also beat her and forced her to turn over her jewelry to him to sell for opium. In the past, Setara had always stayed silent. But one day in December she said no and her husband beat her and cut her lips and nose with a knife.
Setara was taken to a hospital in Herat province. Doctors say the reconstructive surgery Setara requires is not available in Afghanistan.
This is life for some Afghan women. What can bring an end to such violence? When will Afghan women live in peace and security?
I pray for it to stop. I say to Allah: “Merciful God, I hope everyone can have beautiful and kind parents like mine.”
By Mahsa, age 13