For women, burning to death is preferable to living under the tyranny and abuse of Islamic fundamentalist rule.
It is stated that an average of 10 Muslim women self immolate every month in Afghanistan alone, worldwide over 100 a month. Why? They no longer wish to live as slaves under Islam.
There are laws in place to prevent violence against women in Afghanistan, but they are not enforced.
“She claims to have been burned and beaten by her husband,” says the male doctor.
Oppression of women is so rampant in Afghanistan, they see burning themselves to death as preferable to life as a woman there.
The smell of death is unbearable. They burn themselves because they see no other option.
Pari Gul, 23, committed self-immolation in Farah province in Western Afghanistan in July 2007.
Self-immolation victim in a local hospital in 2007.
Raheila, 20, burnt herself in Herat.
Zia Gul, Herat, she was 6-months pregnent when commited self-burnning.
Nazgul, 35, a self-immolation victim in Herat Regional hospital. The medical staff at the Herat hospital says that they have registered around 700 self-immolations cases so far this year.
Self-immolation victim in a local hospital in Herat province in Western Afghanistan in July 2007.
Bora Gull Heha, 16 years old, lies in a hospital bed in Kandahar. When the abuse became intolerable, Heha took what she thought was her only way out. She grabbed an oil lamp and set herself ablaze
There has been an epidemic of women who have deliberately set themselves on fire. In a country where a female voice has little importance, self-immolation is a desperate cry for attention, a woman’s way of shouting to the world that her life is unbearable.”
Zarah, 19-years-old, shows scars that she suffered when she set fire to herself at the climax of an argument with her husband only three months into their marriage in Herat, Afghanistan. She said her husband was beating her for disobedience and she wanted to prove to him that she did not want to live with him.
Self-burning victim in Farah province, Western Afghanistan, July 2007
Gulsoom is 17-years-old and married. Last year she tried to commit suicide – she failed. She set fire to herself but, against the odds, survived with appalling injuries.
Muska, who was traveling with her team to different villages registering voters during the 2004 presidential elections, was raped by the driver of the official vehicle. On the way back to his hometown at the end of the day, when Muska was alone with him, the driver stopped the car, produced a knife, threatened Muska and attempted to rape her. Muska resisted. Although injured, she was able to run away from the car and arrive at the house of her uncle. The next day, she went into the kitchen and covered herself in gasoline, then lit her body on fire. She succumbed to the injuries she received within a week.
Herat Public Hospital is constantly filled with young women who set themselves on fire. 21-year-old Fauza, claims her burns resulted from an accident, but comments from her family tell a different story.
With her sister-in-law by her side, Marzia rests inside a steel cage, which protects her skin from the sheets surrounding her. The teenager set herself on fire when she thought she’d broken the new TV her husband had bought.
The torment became too much for Shakila, who finally dared to yell back. She told her mother-in-law and sister-in-law how miserable she was in their household, how happy she and her husband, Noorullah, had been living alone in Iran the year before. As she spoke, Noorullah appeared. Mortified that his wife would show such disrespect to his mother, he removed his sandal and hit Shakila several times. In tears by now, Shakila yelled that if the three of them didn’t stop persecuting her, she would set herself on fire. She’d heard stories on the radio about women who’d self-immolated: women unhappily married to men 30 years their senior; women like her, living with extended families who treated them as servants. “Go ahead,” her sister-in-law challenged. Shakila vanished into the kitchen. Minutes later, she dashed through the house shrieking, her body engulfed in flames. Later, at the hospital, Shakila tells the nurses that she hadn’t really wanted to set herself on fire. “I was sure someone would stop me,: she says. “But no one did.”
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