Belqis Jaan was a lady that I only met a couple of times but became my hero instantly. She was elected to be the head of Shura (council) for her village which is a large body of refugee returnees back to Afghanistan. The camp where they returned is called Sheikh Mesree. When I visited last year, there was no cold drinking water, no schools, no playgrounds and in many cases not even proper shelter for people to live in. UNHCR handed families $100.00 and a cloth tent, rationed food which took every last bit of dignity away from them and our "DEMOCRATIC" government, gave them barren land to live on. The temperature hits easily 110F during spring and summer in a nice day. There is NO electricity. There are no buses to take men to near by cities for work. There ARE NO NEAR BY CITIES. Belqis had a voice. She was ELECTED to be the voice for the village and a small tiny very low voice to thousands of women who otherwise are terrified to be heard.
When we ( Afghan Hands with the help and support of Eastern Regieon women's Handicraft Association, Sana Center and DAI/ALP) decided to dig wells for the camps (total of 5) for the village, the men were fighting about how, and where the wells should go etc. Belqis came in, shut them up very politely and said, the wells are for EVERYONE in the camp. We should not designate areas that will benefit one family or one neighborhood. And that was that. It was all decided!! Just like that! I was in aw for how a woman who has never been schooled, had to cover herself most of her life and had to keep her head and eyes down, her voice low can find such fire and courage to make men, Afghan men, to listen and obey.
Today I found out that Belqis jaan was assassinated by a man who walked in to a meeting, killed her and the child in her womb and walked away. Yes, she was pregnant!! He was Not captured, Not killed by all the cowards that witnessed this ungodly act of violence and the whole thing just... quieted down. She was killed because she dared to speak out. And by that I don't mean any feminist liberal anything..NO SIR, just that children should have schools, women should be able to take part in providing for families, common sense thing that in a normal, real world is not even controversial.
Today I call us cowards because we let our girls get acid thrown on their faces, or kidnapped and raped for the crime that they attend school.
Today, I call us cowards because we don't stand up and say that IT IS ENOUGH!!! We don't say STOP to Suicide assassins that killed my friends 23 years old boy on his way from the market after a week of his wedding party. They collected his body even from top of nearby trees...
We don't stand up and say ENOUGH to those that kill in the name of OUR HONOR, OUR RELIGION, OUR COUNTRY.
And today I call us cowards because we let a man kill a gem of a woman named Belqis and we let him walk away...