Yes, I am my brother's keeper. I am under a moral obligation to him that is inspired, not by any maudlin sentimentality but by the higher duty I owe myself. What would you think me if I were capable of seating myself at a table and gorging myself with food and saw about me the children of my fellow beings starving to death.
-Eugene V. Debs 1908 speech
I visited Nazia. Let me give you an update. I walked into the room with an interpreter and introduced myself. She immediately covered her face with her head scarf and turned away. She was extremely shy. I must have been there for 1 and ½ hours and she never once even looked at me. She had a large dressing over her nose and forehead. Her reaction reminded me of a 3 or 4 year-old. I spoke with the doctor and he told me that all girls are this way in rural areas. It was not just from the traumatic event. Girls do not venture outside of their homes very much and if they do they wear a full body burqa.
I asked her how she was doing but she did not answer. I read her my letter and a number of other well wishes from back home. Dr. Davis gave me a package with a number of activities to fill the day like knitting and drawing kits. I tried to open one so we could work on it together but she was not interested. I spoke with her roommate for a while. She said that she normally is more talkative. She just gets this way around males.
She said that her husband had been trying to contact her. He wants his money, or the dowry, back that was used to pay for her which was $8,000. If he doesn’t get it back then he will not divorce her. She said that she also got a visit from her husband’s brother. He was very nice. When her husband called he did not let him speak to her.
Nazia’s parents still do not know what happened to her. I asked her what she wanted to do in the future and she said that she wants to be with her parents who are in Pakistan. I asked if there was a family that was willing to take her in America would she want to go. She said no. She just wants to be with her parents.
Having met Nazia and finally having somewhat of a conversation with her, it struck me how sad the whole situation really was. She was truly a victim in every sense of the word. Her whole life she was deprived of an education. She never learned to read or write. She was basically treated like property, sold by her parents for $8,000, because they needed the money. She was given to a man that was a former Taliban member who had killed his previous wife in a similar manner. The roommate said that he, “Cut her into pieces” 3 days after they got married. Her roommate also said that he tied up Nazia and beat her until he was tired. He then would take a nap and wake up and beat her some more. She said that he actually wanted to cut out her eyes and cut off her lips but that he did not get a chance to.
After he did this barbaric act he never even brought her to the hospital. Somehow the police came to his door and he escaped out the back after he said that he wanted to get his coat.
What most likely will happen in a month or two, after more surgeries, is she will fly out to Pakistan to be with her parents. Again, the issue of the dowry still has to be resolved. Before I left I asked if she wanted any of her money that we raised to buy anything, seeing as she really did not have any possessions. I asked the doctor if it was ok if I gave her $20.00 or $40.00 to buy something. He said that it was not a good idea because she would not know what to do with it. It would be like giving money to a 4 year-old. She has never made an independent decision in her life and the money would probably be taken from her.
The bright moment of the day came when a representative from the Office Women’s Affairs came to visit her. Unfortunately, she came when I had to leave. She said that she was doing an investigation. She will be in good hands now that they are involved. I spoke with Dr. Davis and he said that they are very trustworthy and will look out for her best interest. I got her phone number. I will try and call her tomorrow. She will be a good point of contact for further information on Nazia.
Thanks for reading.