In today’s Stars and Stripes newspaper, an AP article written by Heidi Vogt reports that a recently produced documentary, entitled “In-Justice: The Story of Afghan Women in Jail”. Vogt says that the European Union, which funded the documentary, has decided not to release the film. Representatives state that there is worry about the safety of two women currently imprisoned in Afghanistan for “moral crimes”. These moral crimes include being raped and refusing to marry the rapist, for which one woman was sentenced to 12 years in jail. The other subject of the documentary reportedly ran away from a physically abusive spouse, accompanied by a boyfriend she says she loves but has never slept with. She is sentenced to 6 years. Her boyfriend is also in prison.
Now, it would be one thing to argue that a culture is allowed to enforce its own set of rules without the West forcing it to do otherwise. However to argue that the West cannot make a movie documenting the facts is craven beyond words. The argument that the movie will not show because the safety of the women could be compromised is bunk. The women are serving 12 years in an Afghan prison; that in and of itself poses a safety risk. The argument is silly because it assumes the movie will in some way reveal information to Afghans that is not already known. The facts presented by the movie are, from what I know, no different than the facts that sent these two women to prison. Will the re-release of these facts enrage the prison guards to such a degree that they’ll harm these women?
No, the real reason for the EU’s decision is that its timidity in such cases makes the Cowardly Lion look like Prince Eugene of Savoy. It’s afraid not only for the two women, but for itself. For EU members know they cannot stop all acts of terrorism that may result from such a movie. Just ask Theo van Gogh’s ghost. Show a movie the extremists don’t like, and Brussels may be sporting a crater where a subway had once been. But now, as opposed to banning Danish caricatures of Muhammad and having no other excuse than open admission of being scaredy-cats, the EU can proclaim: “We’re doing it for the women!” Better to sweep these two women–and hundreds more–behind the swinging gate of Sharia law. But members of the EU would have no problem throwing Geert Wilders in prison for speaking out against extreme Islam. Why? Who’s afraid Geert Wilders will blow up a train station? As with the choice to bomb Libya but not Iran, it’s easy to wag the dog when the dog won’t bite you. Meanwhile Europe and America keep giving billions to the Afghan government when all the Americans and Europeans should have been giving the government was bullets to kill terrorists. America helped build several multi-million dollar “Justice Centers” in Afghanistan which have either been turned in to over priced warehouses or whose inhabitants practice a kind of justice that would make Adolph Eichmann proud.
What penalty does the “new” Afghanistan pay for its gross violations of human rights? What penalty does it pay when its government pockets half of the money given by America for public good? A single act of lawlessness by an American Soldier is a tragedy; a million acts of avarice, greed, deceit and slothfulness by Afghans is a statistic. The failure of the EU in many, many cases to stand up and demand the destructive habits practiced in Afghanistan be changed has led us to the very spot Europe and America stand in: A swamp of moral and cultural relativity.