I heard once that in America woman are allowed to work, and drive, and I heard that in New Zealand there have been woman leading their country in politics. I hear that in Australia if a woman gets pregnant out of wedlock she has three options in terms of the pregnancy. In my country; none of this is true. A woman's 'job' in Afghanistan is to be a dutiful wife, a bearer of sons and the maker of meals. The Taliban dominates our every move, in some cases, and in my case, a husband enforces the Taliban's strict laws on his wife. A woman is not to make eye contact with men; let alone lead the country. In my country it is acceptable for me to be stoned to death. And today; I will be.
This morning my wrists and ankles were bound with thick white rope and I was placed in the back of a truck. I was transported from the prison that had been my shelter and taken to a football stadium. In the bleachers sat thousands of men; stones in hand, waiting for my arrival. When the truck drove onto the field the men stood and made the kinds of noises that indicated their disgust; as though a player from the opposing team had scored a grand final winning goal; but louder. I fear that I might leave this world today indignantly but in my head, and my heart, I do not want to give these men the satisfaction of witnessing me vomit or hearing my screams and pleads. As I was escorted to the far goal post, I did not look up, but I felt burning glares. As I walked to my final destination I couldn't help but think that although there had been some beauty in my life, for the most part, life has been unkind to me. I think again of the western women and all their blessings. But I know why I am here.
I am here because I killed my husband. I am here because my husband nearly killed Laila. Laila was Rasheed's other wife, my husband's other wife. Laila is safe now, with her two children and a man who she loves, and has loved since she was young. She is with a man who loves her back. And although I am not the first woman to be stoned to death, nor will I be the last, I will die so that my sister can live the life she deserves.
My thoughts then go to Aziza, Laila's daughter. I mourn that I will never get to watch Aziza grow up into the beautiful woman that she one day will be. I mourn that I will not paint henna on her hands and toss noqul at her wedding. I mourn that I will not get to play with her children. I would have loved to have been old and played with Aziza's children. As I near the posts a man asks me to stop and I do. In my final moments I think about my mother, whose death was a result of a boy who impregnated her; my father. He was just a boy, a boy pretending to be a man. He proved his manhood with his many wives and children and his money and cars. My father caused my mother such misery that she chose to end her own life.
As I look out onto the bleachers I can't help but see all the boys trying to prove their manhood. I think to myself that all the males in the Taliban, in Afghanistan are boys, because a real man would not need to dominate a woman, or all woman in order to affirm their manhood. With this I can breathe easy because I know I am to enter Allah's kingdom now. I will live amongst beauty and I will be at peace. Never again will I be forced to submit to a man's orders. My death will bring my freedom. And in my final moments I think of my mother, and of Laila and Aziza. I pray for myself, and for them and then I kneel and look down.