Last Night, Last Verse (in memory and honor of Mujahedeh)

As part of V-Day week, Dodie’s and Shannon’s English 101 classes watched the Afghani film Last Night, Last Verse today.   I wanted to find something on the ‘net about it, about Mujahedeh, about her verses, her writing.  I haven’t found that much coverage of Mujahedeh’s story.  There’s this: Afghanistan: Muslim Honor Killings Increasing, from “Western Resistance.”

And honor killing is only the last step along a path that begins with treating a female child as a piece of property, a sexual asset that can be bartered, forced into submission, and ultimately annihilated if found to be “unsatisfactory”.

AIHRC describes the case of another girl of a similar age to Bebi. Sixteen-year old Mujahedeh was murdered by her own father. Her case was recounted by Homa, who directs the Center for the Growth of the Talents of Afghan Women, and who knew Mujahedeh and described her as a happy girl, who liked to read and write. She was subjected to severe beatings at home, and her father killed her to redeem his family “honor”.

Homa states: “She had enough. She escaped home and went to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. Then she spent some time in a ministry shelter. She liked to go to school and was busy studying. She was enjoying [better] conditions and she didn’t want to return to her family, but her mother insisted they’d let her go to school – her mother said, ‘Your father has forgiven your sin.’ And she was finally forced to return to her relatives. Later it was heard from a neighbor or someone else that her father had murdered her when she returned.”

No-one has been prosecuted for Mujahedeh’s murder. Annually, according to the UN, 5,000 women and girls are murdered in the name of “honour”. The vast majority of these cases involve “Muslim honor”.

AIHRC says that this year in Afghanistan, there have been 704 cases of violence against women, 89 cases of forced marriages, and 50 cases of women or girls burning “themselves” to death.

And there’s this one — so far, the only mention I’ve found of the movie:

Afghanistan: Rights Watchdog Alarmed At Continuing ‘Honor Killings’

By Golnaz Esfandiari

PRAGUE, September 20, 2006 (RFE/RL) — A UN-backed rights watchdog has expressed continuing concern over violence against women in Afghanistan.

The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) released disturbing figures in mid-September on violence against women and girls, including dozens of cases of so-called honor killings.
 
Mujahedeh’s Story
 
Sixteen-year-old Mujahedeh was murdered by her own father — ostensibly to redeem her family’s “honor.”
 
Her offense? Her family had accused her of bringing shame upon them by escaping a home in which she was subjected to daily beatings.
 
“She had enough,” says Homa, a deputy director of a women’s rights group called the Center for the Growth of the Talents of Afghan Women who got to know Mujahedeh. “She escaped home and went to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. Then she spent some time in a ministry shelter. She liked to go to school and was busy studying. She was enjoying [better] conditions and she didn’t want to return to her family, but her mother insisted they’d let her go to school — her mother said, ‘Your father has forgiven your sin.’ And she was finally forced to return to her relatives Later it was heard from a neighbor or someone else that her father had murdered her when she returned.”
 
Homa describes the teenager as a happy girl who liked to read and write.
 
The Center for the Growth of the Talents of Afghan Women has produced a documentary based on the plights of Mujahedeh and other female victims of violence.

Women and young girls are being strangled, beaten to death, and burned by their fathers, brothers, and uncles for refusing to enter arranged marriages or for committing adultery.

The movie is titled “Last Poem, Last Night,” and it has casts a spotlight on a practice that women’s rights defenders say is frighteningly prevalent in Afghanistan.

I’ll keep looking.  I want to find some quotes of Mujahedeh’s writing and post them here… as a small way to honor her.

International Campaign Against Honour Killings

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4 thoughts on “Last Night, Last Verse (in memory and honor of Mujahedeh)

  1. Thanks for making a link to us! I’m really pleased particularly since we are currently promoting the petition for penal code reform in Syria. ICAHK have a volunteer in Syria and he tells us that the political atmosphere is very charged at the moment, with debates in Parliament and the media. If you can do anything else to promote this campaign I would be even more grateful. :-)

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