Kony not the only threat to humanity - The Behrend Beacon

Kony not the only threat to humanity

Posted on Monday, March 19, 2012 at 10:53 PM

Author: Abiye Okujagu (staff writer)

While people are wrapped up in the credibility of the Kony Campaign, the GOP race, or going around in their circles concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, what, rather, who has my attention as I write this is Amina Filali, a 16-year-old Moroccan girl who was brutally raped and then forced to marry her rapist. Which in turn led her to kill herself. 

Amina is not the first to go through the gruesome ordeal of being forced to marry her rapist. There is a Rape-Marriage law in Morocco allowing rapist marry their victims to prevent them from going to jail. Also, because pre-marital sex is a taboo, the law is claimed to be in place to avoid damage to the family’s reputation. At the expense of a child, I ask? I want to call this law outrageous, inhumane and vicious and characterize it with other putrid adjectives. Without a doubt it is all these things; But it reminds me of the Introduction to a Middle-Eastern History class I took last semester. In this class, I covered the happenings in Israel and Palestine, and I came across an article written by a Palestinian woman called Wafa al-Bis who was released from Israeli prison along with a thousand other Palestinians in an exchange for an Israeli soldier called Gilad Shalit. In her article she highlighted how growing up, Palestinian children are fed the idea that killing a Jew is a praiseworthy achievement and one of the greatest things that can be done in their lifetime. Bis said growing up, she had wanted to be a martyr, and she nearly became one, but her suicide belt failed to explode, landing her in Israeli prison. This made me realize how much faith and culture run deep in some people, and how easily we may or may not be victims of our environment. How much does our perception of right or wrong differ depending on where we were raised? Likewise, how deep do culture or family reputation run in Morocco for such a law as the Rape-Marriage law to exist? This is another situation of rape victims being looked down upon and being treated like criminals.

This ideology being based in a culture doesn’t make it right. Being brought up in something doesn’t make it just. Amina Filali is a martyr, like Mohammed Bouzizi was in the Tunisian revolution, which in turn had a domino effect on other surrounding nations that led to the Arab Spring, leading to several more deaths to date.  Must someone die for us to acknowledge injustice? Do we just watch bad situations fester and worsen until someone dies? Is that the straw that breaks the camel’s back? Amina Filali is dead, and now people within the government speak distastefully about the law, and activists are pushing for the law to be amended. This doesn’t give her another breath, but we hope Amina’s tragic death can  at the very least lead to the end of the condoning of rape in that society and the barbaric tradition of forcing the victims into marriage with their attackers.