As the 6th King of Babylon, Hammurabi developed a code of conduct for his citizens.. Actually he had lots of codes. 282 to be exact. Hammurabi Code 1. “If one ensnares another, putting a ban on him but he can not prove it, then he that ensnared him shall be put to death”(Watch out Kenneth Starr). A good number of his codes dealt with the absolute of death. Breaking the laws in Hammurabi’s time was a serious issue that needed serious consequences. So came to light the idea of an eye for an eye.
Skip ahead to 2004. Ameneh Bahrami is clutching her face and writhing in agony. The skin on her face is melting away. Her clothing is dissolving. An acid attack from 21 year old Majid Movahedi, a man who had been stalking Ameneh since their days in college together, will permanently blind her and scar Ameneh deeper than her mollified face ever could.
Acid attacks are more common place than rarity in Asia and the Middle East. In Bangladesh it is considered a from of domestic violence. 80% of the victims are women(most under the age of 18). Refusals of sexual advances, marriage proposals, even dowry and land disputes can trigger an acid attack on an unsuspecting woman. Hydrochloric or sulphuric acid is most commonly used, as it was in Ameneh Bahrami’s case.
Ameneh survived her attack. Two weeks later, Majid Movahedi gave himself up. He has never shown remorse for his actions and proclaims that his “love” for Ameneh caused him to do this. He has been behind bars since 2005. Ameneh thought her attacker’s current punishment not quite good enough. Refusing ‘Blood money'(Money paid out to the victims who rarely have the means to pay for the medical bills by their attackers, though Movahedi has been ordered to pay by the courts.) Ameneh invoked Islamic law of Qias(allows for retribution for crimes). Within the next two weeks, Majid Movahedi will have acid dropped into his eyes, blinding him. Ameneh seeks a literal eye for an eye(What are the chances Majid turns himself in had he known his victim had no use for his bank account?).
To that Miss. Bahrami replied, “People like him should be made to feel my suffering.”
I couldn’t agree more.
Of course her attempt at justice has not gone unnoticed. While some praise, others ignore the best interests of Ameneh’s life, rather to focus on her attacker. One human rights activist blogger’s responded, “We cannot condone such cruel punishment. To willingly inflict the same treatment on a person under court order is a violation of human rights.” This from a man or woman sitting comfortably behind a computer, seeing what they are typing, turning a blind eye to the victim’s pain, and thinking about basic human rights for Majid. Openly disparaging Ameneh’s decision is another shot of hydrochloric acid being thrown in the face of a woman merely trying to regain her life. While their stance on human rights, even for sociopathic animals, is their decision, does it need to be a decision that must let be known? Do we not know how human rights activists will think? This woman needs our support. If you are unwilling to accept the healing process does not always involve crying, holding hands, and forgiving someone with Oprah’s help, then please go back to your vegan diet, hybrid SUV, poetry reading, and be quiet.
Would you rather she take the man’s money? What price do human rights activists on someone’s vision? How about their physical appearance of a woman with her entire life in front of her? Does cashing a check give her back any level of dignity? Self-respect? Her eyesight? Human rights bloggers should, for one moment, get off of their moral high horse to think about a woman in the throes of recovery, instead of their own agenda.
Here is a woman, in a country that considers some farm animals to be of higher status than women, standing up and getting herself a measure of justice so she can sleep at night. What Internet bloggers, in their $8 a cup Internet ready coffeehouses fail to realize, this isn’t about any of them or their silly idealistic philosophies. Ameneh Bahrami cares little for the human rights of the man who launched an acid attack in the face of her rights. Who can blame her for feeling the way she does?
“If I don’t do this and there is another acid attack, I will never forgive myself for as long as I live”, Ameneh said. None of us could possibly try to wager a guess at how we would act and what we would want done if we were to switch places with Ameneh(I doubt any of us would volunteer to answer it either). And Ameneh, though she awaits more surgeries, is aware her physical scars are as healed as well as they might ever be. She continues to make strides living her life. She maintains a remarkable level of independence. With making her attacker, as she put it, “…feel my suffering.”, she can heal the emotional scars still inflicting their pain on her psyche. With an eye for an eye, Ameneh Bahrami sees better than most of us how she can end a dark chapter in her life and begin the process of moving on.
- Gentlemen, you will permit me to put on my spectacles, for, I have grown not only gray, but almost blind in the service of my country (and bald...and cranky...and out of shape...in the service of being a parent) - George Washington
Seek and Ye Might Just Find