The problem, here, is that Dominion Post cartoonist Tom Scott doesn’t know what the Afghanistan of “yesterday” was like. In reality, it was a country that was confidently moving into the modern age — although the record shop on the left, in a photo from the 1960s, was not the kind of place you would have found outside Kabul. (To see more pictures from that era, go to Once Upon a Time in Afghanistan…) The cartoon was published on August 11, 2010, and is a comment on the case of Bibi Aisha, who was allegedly mutilated by her husband, allegedly on the orders of a “Taliban court”. (I put the latter words in quotation marks because I doubt any court purporting to be Islamic would come up with a sentence for which there is no provision in Islamic law.)
Ann Jones, who says she knows Aisha, says in The Nation (August 12, 2010): “She told me that her father-in-law caught up with her after she ran away, and took a knife to her on his own; village elders later approved, but the Taliban didn’t figure at all in this account. The Time story*, however, attributes Aisha’s mutilation to a husband under orders of a Talib commander, thereby transforming a personal story, similar to those of countless women in Afghanistan today, into a portent of things to come for all women if the Taliban return to power.”
*Time magazine cover story of August 9, 2010.
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