This is not hard to write; it's cathartic. Shooting the story though was anything but: raw emotions accumulated - anger, sorrow, revulsion, and anger again, jumbled in some subconscious store to be sifted and sorted later.
It was a story about Afghan women, their oppression and their desperation.
For a few moments, some of these oppressed voices surface, enter our conscience, before sinking back into the social morass. They are absorbed and returned to the bosom of inhumanity, disappearing without trace, beyond reach, back to the isolated hell whence they came.
Afghan society is closed to outsiders. Even to neighbors. But if you are a woman here you risk entrapment, sealed off more completely inside the home than out.
No one will know your pain, few will hear your screams, and if they did, it's unlikely they'd dare care.
In Afghanistan, Herat has a reputation for self-immolation, a regional trend, according to doctors, picked up by Afghan refugees in Iran. It may be an unfair label but the figures speak for themselves. In the next largest city there are six beds for burns victims; in Herat it's 54, and they often have so many patients they are forced to double up.
The last time I had come to the hospital here it was early 2002. My report back then talked of shortages of everything: doctors, nurses, medicine, bandages. Six years of Taliban oppression had rendered the sprawling regional health center barely operable.
I was coming back now in part because it was up and running and doing a good job. So good, it was drawing burns victims from all over the region including women who were not there by accident. They had set fire to themselves, so oppressed and desperate were they to escape abusive bad marriages.
On the steps outside I met Dr. Ghafar Khan Bawar, a warm, friendly Afghan who'd spent years in Canada practicing reconstructive surgery. He'd come home three years ago to run the burns clinic. Female self-immolation cases had doubled in the past year, he told me.
We swapped our shoes for cheap plastic sandals, donned clean but crumpled surgical gowns, face masks and hair covers. Stepping inside the hard, white tiled corridors, the smell was overpowering, medicinal, antibacterial, heavy with overtones of disease barely kept at bay. It inspires confidence and revulsion in equal measure.
I had an idea of what we'd see. I've talked to burns victims in other Afghan hospitals before. Young women often too afraid to tell the truth, fearful of their husbands lurking not far away.
Sad Gul was 18; Zara, in the bed next to her, 17. Both swathed in bandages covering the arms, chest, belly and thighs. Tip a bowl of water from your neck on down, what's wet is what was burned. It was a kerosene burn, although Zara and her mother insisted it was an accident.
Sad Gul was an orphan, married at 11 to an older man. She told me as she burned she finally felt relaxed, at ease, her stresses lifting. She told me she was so poor she could not afford bread. Her husband was older than her, a drug addict. She wanted him to stop but he couldn't. Feeling hopeless, she set fire to herself.
As Dr. Bawar and a nurse prepared to treat her wounds, I could see her eyeing them with utter horror. Her eyes wide open, then wincing before they even got close. She'd been in bed number 25 for almost two weeks, and she knew too well what to expect.
Tears welled up as they cut away the old dressings, and then her muted cries as they swabbed her raw chest, the open wounds on her neck and breasts running with blood. Better to have your husband kill you than live like this, she told me.
She has two children, one three, the other one-and-a-half. That's what keeps her going. Her husband tells her he has quit drugs, wants her to come home. She has no choice, no family to turn to. She says she loves him.
Dr. Bawar told me he'll give her skin grafts on the worst burns, but unless she wears an ugly, large neck brace when she's goes back to her village her muscles will contract. If she ignores his advice, as he fears, she'll need more surgery and the next time she won't be able to get a general anesthetic. But on reflection that may be the least of her worries.
There is a new law protecting women. Herat even has the first female chief prosecutor in the country who is pushing to bring abusive husbands to court. But she is bucking tradition. Custom, practice and culture ingrained over centuries block her every move, not to mention attacks on her life.
It's not that there are no enlightened minds, it's just they are a minority. Dr. Bawar is among them. He's spreading his message of medical care: Outreach clinics in remote areas teaching life- and limb-saving techniques to keep burns victims alive.
He is a smart fellow, offering the country's only training in plastic surgery to young doctors willing to study burns and reconstructive surgery together. Burns alone is an unpopular discipline in Afghanistan.
He's drawing in bright young minds to the hospital. And the country's health minister, a woman, wants him to take his program nationwide.
Dr. Bawar's own life is instructive. He learned his skills during the era of Soviet influence in Afghanistan. The country had no burns doctors and an American specialist from Wisconsin working for a Non-Governmental Organization took it upon himself to teach Dr Bawar.
It was a five-year course crammed into three. But the seed was planted. One man's goodwill, transformed decades later into a generation of new hope.
And in Afghanistan's awfulness, individuals can make a difference.
This may come to news as some, as most Americams who are healthy and employed know -nothing- about disability, but I have a Chiari malformation which causes constant neck/shoulder pain (a "cape" of pain). I got symptoms when I was 16 and despite being one of the schools top students and having severe pain, because of the state having an issue with oxycontin abuse(it's a wealthy state with lots of spoiled rich kids), I was written of for 2 years as a malingerer trying to obtain drugs --*despite being a teacher pet and very popular. I had to take classes at home and lost all my friends.
I view myself as a victim of a completely irrational war on drugs AS WELL as the victim of an totally irresponsible , nearly homicidal drug company(perscription drug abuse of opiates had been going on for years and a rocket scientist wasn't needed to know what would happen in a market flooded with oxycontin as the only Chronic pain/cancer pain long acting opiate.
Fast forward. I now live in an apartment. Despite the fact the neighbors can hear me screaming in pain on a weekly basis,usually near the end of the work week due the all the strain on my Chiari Malformation, in 2 years not a single soul has offered to help me, and Im even ignored despite having a close to my age brother explain the problem. Because I'm only partially employed and on the "dole" even family members will criticize me for robbing tax $$ b/c a lack of manliness and proper prayer and Christianity. Look up Chiari malformation if you dare.
Ending a long story: in the wealthy world, people STILL ignore suffering and even wealthy school districts DONT problem solve for even one of the top students SO how are we AMERICANS from a totally different culture supposed to help? We can't even solve our own minor issues.....
Arabs have a gutter culture, a gutter religion and I hate how they treat women. The National Organization of Women in America are completely silent on the arab treatment of women because they do not want to "offend" muslims.
This is insane. You set yourself on fire and then don't expect severe consequences?? You marry a drug addict and you deal with it like this?? You have children and you do something to help them by torching yourself ??
It does not matter if you are an Asia, Africa, NA, SA, Europe wherever, this is inexcusable stupidity. To live on this planet you have to be more responsible than this.
And don't give me that crap about society & women, women are as capable as any one else of resistance and agents of their own behavior. If you can give your life to this idiocy, you can give it to struggling for freedom of yourself or others. It is to bad that Darwin is not more effective, this poor planet could use it....
I'd burn the entire house down too, if I were an oppressed woman in that country... YOu might as well, right? Make the SOB lose something he really values...
wow that is sad anything to get away huh all we can do is pray for these people
Anyone else notice the CTU ringtone at 1:13?
What bothers me is they never talk about the good men there who even tho their culture turns a blind eye on it, cannot in their hearts cause harm to their wife. It makes it sound like all men there are just terrible soulless wife beaters which is about as true as saying men here never treat their wife bad. It happens here too the only difference is the law steps in when it happens and stops it and I am sure there are wives there that are happy and treated well.
We need to establish a comprehensive drug screening program for our returning troops. The military will try and hide the problem instead of treatment and counseling. Lets all face reality. The biggest most corrupt system/corporation is OUR OWN GOVERNMENT.The reason being , its so large nobody really want to put their own jobs on the line creating WAVES. It stinks from the bottom right up to the house and senate and perhaps beyond that.The system is truly BROKEN and NOT TO KNOW THE TRUTH IS JUST STUPID.
The crazy thing about this is that there are American women that are willing to marry men from Afghanistan and then wonder why they are abused and can not change the ingrained Islamic ideas that these idiots have been taught since birth.
Some People are retired and Others can't get a job!!!
There are some People that can't get jobs and Others that were force to retire!!!
A Buddhist can set himself on fire out of desperation in the middle of a street and it makes headlines around the globe and wins the photographer a Pulitzer Prize. Maybe she should have shrouded herself in a sheet and sat very, very still?
She tried to burn herself because her husband is a drug addict. Come on now, if you want to give me a good reason to burn yourself go head but don't tell me you did it because your husband is a drug addict. She should have burned him.
That paragraph made no sense what so ever, and that is the truth the way I see it.
She set the wrong person on fire. She should have waited until that worthless husband came in and fell asleep and doused him with fuel and lit him up.
I think that after scanning over the posts made here, my iq score will have dropped at least 5 points and i am even more happy to be agnostic since only morons who can't spell thank a fictional story character for adults for all that is good and bad.
You who invoke the name of GOD to solve your problems and smite your enemies, Your piety is flawed.
The god of your Old Testament , the god of Daniel, Moses, Jonah, and many others, called on man to do something. Only when your god was angry because man did not do what He commanded did he act alone. Get off your asses and do something for yourselves, quit calling on your god to do for you what you can do for yourselves.
God, let me do the things I can do, help me accept those things I can't do, and give me wisdom to know the difference.
IMaybe its the mindset of the hopeless; kill myself and end my misery.
If people are dissatisfied with how they are treated it makes more sense to retaliate against the oppressor than against oneself. The radicals have no difficulty understanding that if "you're going to die anyway , take a few with you."
Sad, sad story. Girls being married off at 11 years old? I'm glad I was born in a country that isn't so cruel.
...so why not set HIM on fire... just saying.
Set on fire any person who posts "......just saying!" Can't get more trite than that.
It was one of the comment saying "have some respect , I am a woman " . If it was wrong .then it is OK.
I firmly believe that organized religion, of every variety, is responsible for about 90% of the misery in the world today? I wouldn't be surprised if the Almighty has had just about enough of the human race.
Larry..during Xmas season.....people will not here on comment page. I too hope to visit my sons. where ever you are and others are including prophet M and others in my prayers and thoughts. Here it is getting unrest with the rain. yet I am OK as my God is OK and Almighty. My provider. Same God love you . Take care. Remember not to trust anyone. But the God. That is how I survived when Bombs were going off everywhere and I had to travel everyday for 15 years out of 30 with my children before they went to your country. God protected us. MAY THE SAME GOD PROTECT YOU ,MY SON AND ALL OTHERS !!!AMEN.
We are living safely....going in vehicles without fear..........going to work without fear( no more buildings falling) because our soldiers defeated suicide bombers. Same way or more ....The US troops have sacrificed with NATO and PAKISTAN army to save lives back home and other places with the help of Almighty. Not only on thanks giving day.....we must thank them everyday. God has told to respect the people who deserve it. Nothing wrong with respecting people rather than hating everyone. Thank you God for giving good health for troops in these cold months.!!! Also for your all the blessings!! Give us a heart to be grateful for the fallen and the warriors still in Battle !!! Please lord take all of us out from this terrible situation. Give us your peace and wisdom Lord !!!! Amen.
I would love to BREAK on all of these woman FACE...............
LOL.... honestly I was just being stupid.. i didnt mean that.. I feel bad for them honestly but yo thats life.......... but you sound like a girl.... sorry honey
Pablo, you sound like an illegal immigrant besides just being the fool you are?
But you are NOT a man.
I wish the TEA Party would go else where with Their lies and Leave This Country alone!!! I have fought with Them many of times here and They are real Idiots!!!
Even Educated People are hurting today!!! There are a lot that are graduating from College that can't even get a job today...
LARRY.Sir. If god bless someone ..the blessings come and follow you where ever you go.. My son was a manager in a company and was well paid. Yet he left it (not lost the job) when joined military. Here in Sri lanka many sit on the streets and protest. All I say to you is not to worry. Because I care though you are not my son. But I care for you also. Not good to worry in your present position. This moment is the most important thing and be alert and be connected with lord. God will do the rest it you let go the pressure in your mind and heart. I can write you a novel Larry. But this is not the time for it. We need you to return home safely . Look after you . Be safe. Do not worry about others back home because you are already doing everything for them right now. why worry more?
Whatever.....(yes dismissive) these human beings are so compromised they choose self mutilation over suicide as the ultimate ( again whatever) expression of their state.
yep. I'm an American who's donated my 30s towards understanding ignorance...
These woman are martyrs of Jesus's magnitude.
I have more pity what is happening to the Americans in This Country than I do with People in other Countries!!! I don't see Anyone Else that is trying to help The Poor People from Our Country... I was always told to take care of Your own before You take care of Someone else!!!
I don't see any Country helping the United States get through Our Problems!!! China is making a lot of money off the money They loaned us... It is about time the World started helping with the Wars there are out there!!! Why should We be the Police for the World??? Why didn't They ever pay back what it cost Us to win WWII for Them??? As a Country starts making Money show Pay us for what we did for Them!!!
Our world is paralyzed by fear. Every day you turn on the news and see evidence of our impending doom. Pretty depressing stuff! Fortunately, there's good news! There is hope. See for yourself, visit: Story4.Us/2050.
Hope you are getting healed Gul and Zara. .
Dan in Lfayette in....... Nov:25th 4:41pm...is a good post.
Love must be in the air to make the world spin....Love is from above and God is love. If no love world get frozen and die. May God bring all of out from this terrible situation. Amen!!!
im young and i can relate to how it would be to be marrried to someone around the age of my father thats just so sick and so disgusting
yes that is true larrykegel us army, but both are worse , no one should have to torch them selves , TBI and Fire burns are both not good especialy the burn it takes a long time to heal, and the TBI that is worse too it is like dealing with a person with dementia , go troops go
Will you kindly cut the right-wing mumbo-jumbo??? It gets awfully old!!Q By the way,I'm the true Bledsoe not Phunnie boy!
Dindy: I am a Veteran and I know by talking with those that are already home plus those of Us that are feeling it too!!! The President help us some!!! But the Republicans and Tea Party is stopping it from getting better... They rather give the money to Themselves and the other 1.5 percent of the Millionaire and Billionaire with Their tax cuts!!!
Larrykegal(US Army)........if it is the real situation...there... I worry about my son too. .. Here it is worse Larry. 20,000 soldiers died and some did not have house to keep their coffin. Time to time we hear that they build soldiers home. Many have no legs. It is time for the rich people to share their wealth. It is a call of God Now. When read all these things , we feel guilty even sitting on this chair. Because the wars have been a business to some and a wound in the heart to many which cant be healed easily. where and what is the solution?soldiers Can serve with happy heart if the home is taken care of by others. I always wish if more citizens get together and appeal again for the benefits of Veterans abroad and in the country.
They have had the same problems in Afghanistan and Pakistan as has been happening in the Muslin Part of the Middle East!!!
Well well a very sad story and all praise ofr the reporter and the Doctors who are treating them all. But i must say i do not see the same amount of sadness in the posters views when such horrific stories about torture come out of the west done by a person who does not happen to be a Muslim. We have to be neutral when expressing ones Views which have to be senseable at the very least.
We have Our Military coming home a lot worse than what She got!!! I don't hear anyone complaining about that???
Larry ..I am sorry you feel this way. But to be honest .. I pray for soldiers every day and night. I have two appointments with God every day . Have learned through my own mistakes how important is to seek lord "s guidance all the time as God never forget and always be there on time when given an appointment. It is no Joke. It is not good for others also when we sin individually. Not praying for others is a great sin. Therefore I do it. Israel should not be forgotten during prayers. May God help us to be better !!!
Pakistan should be immediately nuked. All men in Afghanistan should be bombed to death. The women should go else where.
It is this hate flying around in this areana that breds more from Nut cases that are on both sides of the fence. You are kindly requested to keep your hatefull ideas to your self or you will get to read Rubbish which will be hurtfull to all those on this site.
Good posting,LOVEFORALLHATREDFORNONE. We need to get rid of all this hate since that's what's causing the majority of the Americans to support this obnoxious war.
If anyone thinks that she or he is supreme and Holy and perfect it is A biggest Joke. Our (who are still on earth) best holiness is still a dirty rug compare to God "s holiness it says in the Bible. Why criticize women in America then? No body is prefect and holy on this earth. We are living because God is merciful. Also because of lord"s grace.
Amen To That!!!
amen to that Dindy
Dan in Lafayette....Sir, it is no use trying to make an arrogant extremist a sensitive person who has sunk in a far away Isolated black hole. Their minds are cloudy and no heart of sympathy. But trying to cover every sin and crime behind few numbers.
Thank you God for this CNN true hero Senior correspondent who has visited this terrible country many times and has gone to Hospitals to report this horror going inside this country. Thank you god for Nic Robertson. Also Thank god for the American Specialist From Wisconsin who trained this Afghan Doctor Bawar.
Afghan women deserve a peaceful life than this. Gul and Zara.....two of you are in my prayers. May God heal you soon !!!Amen.
Woman all over the World deserve to have it better than They do!!! It is about time all Woman has the same rights as Men...
It is time for the women to stand together and say enough. Instead of burning & killing themselves it is time to take their monsters out of this world. We bring life into the world and we can take it out if necessary. At least let the maternal instint kick in a do it for your daughters. Rember, man wrote the bible & the koran to meet their need & wants.
I'm really having a hard time believing that you are in the US Army, have so much time to post, and yet do it so poorly.
As a matter of fact, from your speech patterns I suspect you speak Chinese. You write English very well, but unfortunately the habit of mixing up your noun/verb order and forgetting to add plurals to many words gives you away.
And no, I am not giving anything away myself. You are such an 白痴 (Báichī), I'm surprised you are even allowed to post here. Isn't there enough to do with a US aircraft carrier a couple hundred miles from your home?
I agree with you there DIndy, yes lord I pray that you will be with this inicent women and that you will heal her body and protect her lord, thank you lord for the help that the afghans are getting from the US in jesus name amen. She will have to go through lots of skin graphs ouch , and lots of open sores ouch, but god can heal her and will.
If you're going to blog in here all that right-wing mumbo-jumbo,at least learn how to spell. The word is "innocent",not "inicent".
My favorite is "skin graphs!"
Even in America the Woman doesn't have the same rights are Pay as Men Do!!!
So freedom is what your against is this correct? Is this not what your saying is (criminality) against La. truth of 360 degrees? Or is men to women like Islam to the world, they must rule over all?
Well for one, it sounds like this older man was not pulling the wagon and being a very bad influence on this young girl and two, if my wife was able to make more money than me and could take care of the finances better than I could and be a happy woman I also would be obliged to cook and clean and get the kids ready for school. If this were the case I might not be disabled.
Jesus died for the sinner and you kill and torture the sinner, you behave more like the Pharisees than a true peace loving, God fearing man for what you talk about in your hypocritical racist comments!
I do not know of a direct way to assist these women, but I do know of one thing I can do: I can be grateful to be an American woman! I didn't have any SAY into which era, country or family I was born, but I do have a SAY in how I respond when reminded of the blessings that have been granted me. Wow! A truly sad story.
I believe when girls so young are forced or decide to marry older men is simply not a good option for young women.
Know One should be force to marry Anyone!!!
Just because you know how to find all the keys on your keyboard doesn't mean you know how to use them. Please, please, please learn how to use them properly. Not every word is spelled (loosely translated) in your head, phonetically.
I am so ashamed of the edumacation system....
Rob P – Is this what you do? Troll around different online articles looking for spelling mistakes in the comments? Seriously...
Is there any organization at all to help these women once they get out of the hospital? Perhaps a UN or American aid group?
Or better yet,the Communists if there are any still around.
So you think that what happened to that woman in the photo is funny,too? It seems like you have to make a joke out of everything,don't you Phunnie boy(Bledsoe)? The fact that you're allowed to blog in your comments here is repulsive. Have you no decency in you at all???
Evidently not,Andrew. It's my name that this joker keeps blogging under trying to make me look like an idiot. There should be a law since there is absolutely nothing funny about this obscene war!!!
America can't afford it We are far enough in debt!!! The only thing the UN is good for is helping The Muslin do Their thing!!!
Larrykegel9US Army) I agree with you here. In the winter some US citizens who are homeless die right near to the Congress in WDC. Yet US spend for other countries large amount of money.
Yes. Women for Women International does a lot of work with the Afghan women. I am sure that she will be informed of her choices, especially since she made headlines.
You need to know that the members of the UN are interested only in lining their personal pocketbook they could care less about the suffering of the people in their countries.
I suppose that the right-wing news media will try to pin this on the Taliban,too.
It wouldn't be fair if they did,Bledsoe. That has been going on over there since time immemorial. The Communists tried to stop it back in the 1980's,but they were overthrown in 1992 and so it continues.
Who's talking to you, Pfunnie boy???
No They will blame it on Obama!!!
The Taliban may not be responsible for it happening now, it is just ingrained it afghan society. But the Taliban always supported it during their control of the afghan nation. Also as this article clearly says changes are occuring in the country like having a female health minister. Those changes are being pushed by western nations.
If i am the victims i would rather burn my husband than myself.
I feel very sorry for them and hope for their full recovery and hope their husband will burn themselves to hell.
I agree with you but i dnt feel bad for them they should have never caught theirselves on fire i mean really!!
Herf Derp woman were out of kerosene again.
Are you desperate for attention? You have posted a million stupid posts on the same story, mostly about spelling. If the world isn't spelling up to your standards then stop spending your days blogging lame comments and become a f ukn teacher..................
Well, regardless of all the political garbage on here, this is a truly tragic story. I cant even imagine harming myself to get away from a man...........I can imagine harming a man that wouldnt stay away when told however! But that is the point I think. Americans think completely different, the culture here is different. This is how abuse works, the woman believes she deserves the misery, and oftentimes will blame herself for the misfortune of being with an idiot. And obviously in Afganistan, it is misfortune! In the US if I end up with a bad man, well it was my choice and I can change it. In many of these countries, they have no rights, cannot decide who to marry, where to go to school or what they can do to support themselves.........all of these decisions are made for them........so sad..........My heart breaks for these young women that have been so undervalued and abused.
this is soooooooooo sad and i have hope 4 them!!!... but if i were in her place i would either burn him or find a way to get out!
Who ever you are please stop with this whatever you are writing. It is just fodder for the other side heaping more on to you, all this makes for a bad reading. If you have a point of view you can make it without using the curse words, always give your views whatever they maybe with references. This is what we do when we face the world with our teaching of the True Islam. We are all free to express our views but do them with consideration.
If you're going to blog in here,at least learn how to spell. The word in question is spelled "basically",not "basicly". No wonder so many people believe what the government says instead of thinking for themselves.
If Jesus never died and was not resurrected then where is He?
There has been only one resurrection and that of Jesus Christ. Those who are SAVED will be brought up during Jesus' second coming, then there will be a third. All who remain will be judged by God!
I keep saying the same thing,LOVEFORALLHATREDFORNONE. I too wish that these right-wing fanatics would quit using this Tea Party lingo. It has absolutely no place here.
tru Islam can KMA
I just wish the People would start thinking for Themselves instead of letting the Tea Party Lies make Them want to give everything away!!!
...your dad should have dropped you on the ground behind the dumpster where he mated with your mom.
I read about high unemployment in the U.S. The problem is much worse than the statistics show. There are thousands of people who apparently have nothing to do except sit and waste time on blog web pages; these people don't get counted in the unemployment numbers because they don't 'sign up' for benefits. How are they surviving?
Coming to a theater near you.
Get out from behind that dumpster.
Do You want to know something??? I really don't care what Jesus said!!!
Is that what You are doing??? I'm 73 years old and I do not spend on day on here!!!
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