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NajibullahNajibullah, who confessed to murdering his wife Mah Gul, 20, walks handcuffed with Afghanistan security personnel in Herat. Photo: AFP

When Mah Gul Was Beheaded

By Noorjahan Akbar,  Afghanistan Correspondent for Safeworld

Most of us will never learn about Mah Gul, or we will forget her soon. Mah Gul was a 20 year-old woman in Herat, Afghanistan. She was beheaded by her husband’s family, in October 2012, for refusing to be a prostitute.

Related Article: Mah Gul: Beheaded for Refusing to Be a Prostitute

The World Did Not Shake

When Mah Gul was beheaded, no one lit a candle. No one prayed for her. No one took a photo of her. No one installed billboards with her name and photo in the city. No one recorded her life story, dreams, happiness, sadness, smile or the way she gazed.

When Mah Gul was beheaded, no one praised her integrity, her bravery, her morality.

When Mah Gul was beheaded, my Facebook friends were writing about their favorite foods and difficult days.

When Mah Gul was beheaded, carefree Afghan boys were calling a young woman a “slut.”

When Mah Gul was beheaded, the Taliban were using women as cover-ups to take their injured to the hospitals.

When Mah Gul was beheaded, fatigued Afghan policemen were smoking on the top of Maranjan hill.

When Mah Gul was beheaded, a poet was writing about the taste of his beloved’s lips.

When Mah Gul was beheaded, reports were discussing the presidential debate in America.

When Mah Gul was beheaded, a soldier is Afghanistan was composing a letter to his son.

When Mah Gul was beheaded, Afghan teachers were re-writing boring, skewed history on the blackboards.

When Mah Gul was beheaded, a Kabuli prostitute was lying beside a cold wall and crying out of hunger.

When Mah Gul was beheaded, Afghan television stations were airing Indian soap-operas.

When Mah Gul was beheaded, our neighbor was beating his siasar* again.

When Mah Gul was beheaded, Herati women were hanging shirts on the clothes line, hoping that at least, they would feel freedom.

When Mah Gul was beheaded, American women were practicing yoga to decrease their stress.

When Mah Gul was beheaded, an “intellectual” in Afghanistan commented on how women wear smaller scarves now, and a local mullah was preaching about labour girls promoting prostitution.

When Mah Gul was beheaded, Angelina Jolie didn’t know.

When Mah Gul was beheaded, our school girls didn’t wear black scarves to mourn her.

When Mah Gul was beheaded, the President was a busy man.

When Mah Gul was beheaded, the world did not shake. In every part of the world, people follow the assembly line of their lives.

When Mah Gul was beheaded, her mother smiled, for her daughter was at last free.

Also Read: Kabul: Candles for Mah Gul

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*siasar = A derogatory word used to describe “woman” and/or “wife.”