The value of little Fatima (daughter of the prophet)

Young Afghan girl

Little Fatima’s life had value. Certainly, Nicky Hager and his co-author thought her life was important and that her death should be brought to the public’s attention. We in New Zealand shed a tear at the thought of a very young little girl being caught in an adult’s war. A true innocent who lost her life because of the decisions of others. Her name means daughter of the prophet, a good Muslim name. How much value did Fatima’s life have to her family and to the people of her village that communicated with Hager and his co-author? What value did Fatima’s life hold to her community?

Girls in Afghanistan have less value than boys according to their culture. Women have less value than men in their society. They are forced into marriage at a very young age to men who can beat them and rape them with impunity.

Since the end of Taliban rule in Afghanistan in 2001, there has been limited progress for women and girls’ rights… Afghanistan continues to rank as one of the most dangerous places in the world for women to live. Women and girls face endemic violence and a range of human rights violations including child marriage.

…Cultural practices such as bride price, child engagements (where children are engaged before birth), exchange marriages (between girls from two separate families) and giving girls in baad (to solve a communal dispute), contribute to the high prevalence of child marriage and low value assigned to girls in Afghan society. Child marriage has also been linked to the trafficking of girls.

-girlsnotbrides.org

Fatima did have value to her community and family but it was a low value. She was useful as she could be used to settle a communal dispute. She had monetary value if she was trafficked for sex and if she married someone she brought a bride price with her.

I was in Afghanistan many years before the current conflict, and one of my colleagues had the misfortune to run into a woman who tragically stepped in front of his vehicle while carrying a baby. Both mother and baby were instantly killed.
He stopped, and there was no concern from the local people until it was discovered that the baby was a male. It was previously thought to have been a female.
Then there was a problem, and my colleague was imprisoned in Kabul Prison (a most unpleasant place) until blood money was paid, but paid only for the dead male child.
The value of Fatima to those people would have been infinitesimal. The value of some money from some gullible foreigners would doubtless buy many guns. Fatima would only have been put forward to provoke a reaction from soft and gullible western people, she would have had no value otherwise, alive or dead.In the mountains of Afghanistan females have no value at all.

-email to Whaleoil from a reader

I hope little Fatima had a mother and father who loved her before she died. Given the cultural practices in her country, her mother could have given birth to her at a very young age and may still be a teenager.

One thing Fatima can be assured of is that the New Zealand public will mourn her passing more than her local community. The New Zealand public love a sad story and Hager and co have made little Fatima the star of their tear jerker. What they haven’t written about and what they will never examine is the life little Fatima had to look forward to had she not been killed. Female genital mutilation, child marriage, multiple births before she even reached adulthood, poor healthcare and grinding poverty were her future.

 


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