In March 2015, a violent, hysterical mob beat, torched, and killed a woman, ran her over with a car, made her face unrecognizable, and threw her corpse in the Kabul river. Thousands of onlookers watched on like it was a spectacle to be enjoyed, not intervening, and hence, adding to the brutality.
The woman’s crime? “Burning the Quran”—which, as substantial evidence proved later, was an entirely false allegation.
The murder of Farkhunda Malikzada, an Afghan religious scholar who had dedicated her life to fighting superstitions within the religious community, shocked the world in March 2015. She was killed by a group of more than 100 men who beat her to death, ran her over with a car and then set her on fire. She was killed because a senior religious cleric falsely accused her of burning the Quran, according to the BBC.After her death, protests were held to demand justice in Afghanistan and around the world. Despite global and national efforts, the trial for Malikzada was called a failure by many activists because several killers and policemen who watched the murder were recently acquitted.
You might forgive Khatera, a grown mother of two, her belief in monsters.
After all, she says, one haunted her childhood. She recalls how, on good days, he lashed out at her or her long-suffering mother, beating them or simply reminding them that no one cared whether they lived or died. On bad days, she says, he inflicted indescribable pain while beating her to silence her muffled cries. On worse days, family members branded her a liar and insisted she keep her talk of any "monster" among them to herself.
Shukria Barakzai has endured a miscarriage from Taliban attacks, a secretly polygamous husband, street beatings by extremists, an aggressive opposition campaign from that same husband and multiple assassination attempts. Just one of these would stop most normal people in their tracks.