A Stoning in Afghanistan-The Past is Prologue?

#1
Another thought provoking post from Michael Yon that reminds us the more thingws change, the more they stay the same:

From all sides stones whizzed toward the stake, and most struck, and it was obvious that punishment for adultery in Afghanistan was severe.

The woman refused to cry out, but a cheer soon rose from the crowd. One powerful man had found an especially good stone, large and jagged, and he threw this with force, aiming... it carefully at her body, and it struck so violently in her abdomen that soon the first blood of the afternoon showed through the chaderi. It was this that brought the cheer, but I remember thinking how indecent it was that a human body which none could see should send blood through the interstices of a shroud and deposit it in sunlight as testimony of punishment.

Another stone of equal size struck the woman's shoulder. It brought both blood and cheers. I felt a sickness in my throat and thought: Who halts the punishment?

Then I almost fainted. A large man with unerring aim pitched a jagged rock of some size and caught the woman in the breast. Blood spurted through the torn chaderi and at last the woman uttered a piercing scream. I wanted to run away, but I was hemmed in by maniacs and I had been warned by many accounts that for a foreigner to make one mistake at such a scene might lead to his being killed. I prayed that the men had had enough, and then I saw why the soldiers had hammered the nails in the stake. They kept the ropes from slipping, and when the prisoner fainted, her bloodstained chaderi going all limp, these nails prevented her from falling to the ground.

[The story continues along with more stoning, blood, and cheering until she is dead.]
----
From the book "Caravans," by James Michener, 1962.


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No doubt this practice is only done by "extremists" or those only claiming to be Muslim.
 
#2
Without casting aspersions on the (no doubt) meticulous research of Michener or the fact this still goes on, I'm not sure a novel is the best proof........
 
#3
every stone that hit her drew blood through her clothes?

Isnt the idea of stoning to hit the head? thats why 'normally' the condemed is buried up to their waist or shoulders.
 
#4
Without casting aspersions on the (no doubt) meticulous research of Michener or the fact this still goes on, I'm not sure a novel is the best proof........
Fair point. I should have been more clear as to my reason for the post. It was to remond us of what a "stoning" entails since I think we in the comfort of our "western" circumstances lose sight of the reality.
 

jim24

LE
Book Reviewer
#5
Stonings,beheadings, flogging, and forced amputations are nothing new in the Middle East, its just that it has now been picked up by the western press in some form of attempt to cause outrage,
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#6
There is more of it here:

Conservative Beach Girl: October 2006

....As I was paying for my meal and bidding my guests good-by, some men in long coats ran across the square, shouting. I did not understand their words and was about to return to the hotel so that Nur could eat, when the men around me became very excited and tugged at my sleeve. I was to follow them. Together we trailed the first men across the square and out of the gates of the city. I remember thinking that I should return to Nur Muhammad, but some evil genius kept me running and soon I was in the midst of a mob converging on a spot outside the gates where a heavy stake had been driven into the earth. On the far side of the stake, which rose to a height of seven feet, stood four mullahs, including the two who had accosted me earlier. They were mournful, aloof and terrifying. In their beards and turbans they seemed like patriachs of old, and I was assailed by the uneasy feeling that I had intruded upon some Biblical scene which should have terminated twenty-five centuries ago. The lean, angry mullahs were from the Old Testament. The string of camels placidly grazing by the crumbling walls were of an ancient time, and the crowd of turbaned men, their faces brown from sun, their beards gray with desert dust, could have been waiting for some religious rite in Nineveh or Babylon. As I looked hurriedly about I could detect only one note that indicated we were in the twentieth century. Outside the gates of Ghazni, jammed into a crumbling fragment of wall that may once have formed part of a fort guarding the imperial city, stood a telegraph pole which carried three precarious wires from Ghazni to Kabul. What I was about to witness could thus have been telegraphed to the whole world in a matter of minutes, but no one in Ghazni, except perhaps Nur Muhammad, would have considered it worthy to report. The mullahs were praying, and the declining afternoon sun threw handsome shadows athwart their faces. The prayer stopped. From the nearby gates marched four soldiers bearing carbines and bandoleers, leading between them a hesitant, bare-footed figure covered by a coarse white chaderi. In Kabul I had seen pleated chaderies of exquisite cloth with embroidered peepholes for the eyes, and the savageness of the custom was temporarily overlooked; but in Ghazni this chaderi was a coarse, dirty white shroud and the opening no more than a tiny square of cheap mosquito netting. I was not told who hid inside the chaderi, but it had to be a woman, for so far as I knew men never wore the shroud. Whoever it was must have seen the bitter looks of hatred that greeted her as she passed. When the soldiers reached the stake, they inexpertly drove several nails into it and lashed their prisoner's hands to these nails, at the same time securing her ankles to the bottom of the stake. When they stepped back, the dirty white chaderi fell completely over the bare feet and the prisoner was wholly masked. She was still free, however, to look out upon the world of hate-filled (male - added) faces. Now the four mullahs prayed, and the crowd responded in a ritual I did not understand; but this was followed by a speech from one of the mullahs who had accosted me in the square, and what he said was in Pashto, and this I understood clearly, though what it signified I was not then competent to guess. He shouted mournfully, "This is the woman taken in adultery! This is the whore of Ghazsni? This is the raging insult to all men who revere God!" He ended and I stared at the shrouded figure, trying to anticipate what her punishment was to be. If she heard the charges, she did not tremble. Another mullah stepped forward and cried, "We have studied the case of this woman taken in adultery and she is guilty. We submit her to the judgment of the men of Ghazni." His companions assented, and the first mullah led the bearded men back through the gates of Ghazni and we say them no more. I had turned to watch the mullahs and did not see what happened next, but I heard a thudding sound and a gasp. I looked around quickly in time to see that a rather large stone had apparently struck the woman and had fallen at her feet. The gasp must have come from her. Now the men at my right, the ones who had eaten with me and brought me to the scene, knelt to find stones, and the smaller rocks they discarded, but soon all were armed, and with the same skill that I had seen directed at the dog, they began throwing at the shrouded figure. From all sides stones whizzed toward the stake, and most struck, and it was obvious that punishment for adultery in Afghanistan was severe. The woman refused to cry out, but a cheer soon rose from the crowd. One powerful man had found an especially good stone, large and jagged, and he threw this with force, aiming it carefully at her body, and it struck so violently in her abdomen that soon the first blood of the afternoon showed through the chaderi. It was this that brought the cheer, but I remember thinking how indecent it was that a human body which none could see should send its blood through the interstices of a shroud and deposit it in sunlight as testimony of punishment. Another stone of equal size struck the woman's shoulder. It brought both blood and cheers. I felt sickness in my throat and thought: Who halts the punishment? Then I almost fainted. A large man with unerring aim pitched a jagged rock of some size and caught the woman in the breast. Blood spurted through the torn chaderi and at last the woman uttered a piercing scream. I wanted to run away, but I was hemmed in by maniacs and I had been warned by many accounts that for a foreigner to make one mistake at such a scene might lead to his being killed. I prayed that the men had had enough, and then I saw why the soldiers had hammered the nails in the stake. They kept the ropes from slipping, and when the prisoner fainted, her bloodstained chaderi going all limp, these nails prevented her from falling to the ground. Surely, I thought, the soldiers will release her now. But they watched impassively while men from all sides gathered fresh ammunition. The sagging body was struck eight or nine times inn the next fusillade, but mercifully the woman could not have known. Now a burly man shouted that he had found the perfect rock and others must stand clear. The crowd obeyed and watched breathlessly as he took careful aim, whirled his arm, and launched his missile with ugly force. It flashed across the fifteen yards separating the men from their target and sped accurately as intended, striking the unconscious woman in the face. Quick blood marked the spot and the crowd cheered. The blow was so terrible that it wrenched the prisoner's hands from the nails and allowed her to collapse in a heap about the stake. As she did so the crowd broke loose and rushed to the fallen body, smashing it with boulders which no man, however powerful, could have thrown from a distance. Again and again they dropped the huge rocks on the fallen body until they crushed it completely, continuing the wild sport until they had built a small mound of stones over the scene, as a pauper family in the desert might have marked a burial. In a state of shock I returned through the gates of Ghazni. I passed the restaurant....and was greeted by the men who had thrown the largest rocks. They were gathering to discuss the execution and congratulate each other upon expert performances.... "Why are you so white?" Nur Muhammad asked. "A woman taken in adultery," I mumbled. "Stones?" he asked. "Yes." Nur beat the rugs, then put his hands over his face. "What a terrible disgrace! My poor country!" "It was horrible," I said weakly. "How can you permit it?"......
 
#7
Stonings,beheadings, flogging, and forced amputations are nothing new in the Middle East, its just that it has now been picked up by the western press in some form of attempt to cause outrage,
Regardless of the timing of coverage, I think it is still worth reflecting upon since we can get jaded so quickly in our comfort and security such that "stonings, beheadings, flogging, and forced amputations" become mere words without real content. It is then much easier to turn a blind eye or merely shrug and say that such things are "nothing new in the Middle East."
 

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