Truth and Justice
While at work on July 3rd, I heard the terrible news report that 1 woman and three teenage girls were found at the bottom of one of the locks in the Rideau Canal in Kingston, Ontario in the family’s Nissan. In the news conference, the parents openly wept, recalling how the oldest daughter, Zainab (19 years old) came to their room at the hotel they were staying at on their way home to Montreal, and asked for car keys so that she could get a change of clothes. The story went that she was a fairly rebellious girl that then took out the family car, with sisters Sahar, 17, and Geeti, 13, along with a cousin Rona Amir Mohammed, 50, for a joyride and ended up in the canal.
On July 23, however, the story took a different twist after the sister of Rona sent police an e-mail expressing concern that this was far from an accident- a planned “honour” killing that had ended the life of all four. It was also revealed that Rona was not a cousin, but the first wife of father Mohammed Shafia, and the second wife was mother to the three girls and the son Hamid, who has also been charged with first degree murder in the killings as well.
It was revealed that Zainab had complained to the police of her brother’s harsh and authoritarian actions against the sisters, and the case was referred to the “child protection services because the brother was not yet 18”. In another report, it was mentioned that Zainab may have been dating a young man that brought dishonour to her father. When brought forward into the media, Kingston Police Chief Stephen Tanner began a press conference with a moment of silence for the victims. They "all shared the rights within our great country to live without fear, to enjoy safety and security, and to exercise freedom of choice and expression and yet had their lives cut short by members of their own family."
Having read a few books on women from Afghanistan, it is eye-opening to see something happening like this so close to home. If nothing else, I am grateful that because they are in Canada, that there may be justice done for what has happened. If they were still in Afghanistan, would there be justice? Would there have been an investigation? If the sister of Rona who is in Europe hadn’t sent police an e-mail voicing her concerns that the women were receiving threats, would there have been a further investigation? Some on the internet questioned why the fact that they are Afghani had to play a role in how it was presented in the media, and of course the fact that they are muslim. It brings about again the debate of culture vs. religion, and the impact they have on how we see these atrocities.
I just pray that the family is brought to justice. I hope the media doesn’t go on & on about speculations, but sees this as a wake up call to the terrible crimes committed against women throughout the world every day.