266 – Muslim Women Reformers

I received a copy of Muslim Women Reformers from the Online Publicist.

Each chapter centers around a different country.  It provides a small sketch of what life is like for Muslim women there and then proceeds to give short biographies of women who are trying to make things better.

I minored in gender studies and sociology, so I love reading books like these.  Except I DON’T, because it just makes me furious that women are treated this way.  In Afghanistan, for example, know how old you have to be to get married?  Once you get your first period, you’re declared suitable for marriage.  And if your husband wants to have sex, you have sex.

It just occurred to me that if I were Muslim in Afghanistan, I’d be celebrating my 20th wedding anniversary next spring.  THAT is weird.

I do want to add that I know many Muslims are not like that.  This is sort of a worst case scenario, obviously.  But the scary thing is that in many countries, there aren’t protections.  It’s sort of the luck of the draw and you get what you get. 

The quote I keep coming back to is something that Malalai Joya said.  I’ve already loaned my copy of the book out so I can’t get the exact quote, but she said something like, “You can kill the flower, but you can’t stop the coming of spring.”

Every time I think about that, I want to cry.  I think about people like her and like Harvey Milk, people who knew that they faced death for doing what they were doing and who kept doing it anyway, because it was the right thing to do and because they knew that change was coming, even if they didn’t know when it would arrive. 

The women in this book are heroes.  (And there’s even a chapter on what men are doing to help.)  I like to think that I’d have the courage to do what they’re doing, if our situations were reversed, but I don’t know.


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