Terrorism occupies the United States…it took up residence on September 11, 2001, when Al-Qaeda hijacked our planes and aimed its hatred at our cities, killing thousands of innocents. Images of its devastation are indelibly etched in our collective psyche. The realization that an extremist group lives for our demise is unnerving; but we find comfort in knowing, for the most part, it lives on foreign soil. We look within our country and feel safety in family, friends, and fellow Americans who share a belief in freedom and a respect for life.
What if the enemy were within? What if it were a father or brother who had the power to kill a daughter or sister for “shaming” her family? So is the frightening reality of many Middle Eastern women who are restricted to submissive and sequestered existences, barely leaving their houses, and forbidden from interacting with men, a crime punishable by death.
Such was the crime that brought Afghan teenager “Lina,” a pseudonym, to the gates of a nearby U. S. military base, begging for her life. Her crime was possession of a cellphone; her punishment was to be an honor killing, executed by her brothers. Lina escaped to a nearby U.S. military base that provided her with protection at a woman’s shelter in a large Afghan city. Since then, she has happily married and is expecting her first baby.
A decade ago America was introduced to foreign terrorism that dragged us into two Middle Eastern wars. Today we remain resolute in our determination to protect the freedom and safety of our homeland. A year ago The The Daily Beast reported, “In a rousing keynote speech at Newsweek and The Daily Beast’s Women In the World Summit, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton doubled down on her commitment to women’s rights in the Middle East.” As we pull our troops from Afghanistan, hopefully we will remain equally resolute to protect the rights and lives of women living in fear of terrorism within their own families.