You are turning thirty tomorrow, Shafilea.
Our common friend Alex Jones , who has been campaigning so actively for you and all the girls trapped, sold, potentially married off, passed on from one family to another, asked me if I wanted to ink down a thought and wish you happy birthday.
Alex said: ‘It´s her birthday’. We never speak about you in the past tense. Especially with Alex, I can say that everything he does is centered on you. You are his determination to fight and help.
We know too well we failed you Shafilea. Not only your family did, we are-on many fronts- partners in crime.
We, who did not read well your poems, who did not pay attention to your cry, your begging for help, your burning throat and your disappearance.
We failed you and all the 5000 girls killed annually in the name of an honour which is not honourable at all. Maybe more than 5000: statistics are always an abstract entity and this is one of those crimes – as it runs in the family circle – extremely under reported.
We failed you and your family alike. We should have helped your parents, your enlarged family where everyone is an Auntie, Uncle or cousin and has a say, to know better.
We should have helped everyone around you to understand that the happiness of your own child is the happiness of the universe; there is no shame in rejecting a suitor or marrying later on in life. Simply, to fulfill a dream, a personal vision.
Instead, fear of gossips and shame engulfed everyone.
The people supposed to be protecting you and guiding you to a future, were the ones to suffocate you and your liberty.
You are not gone, you live with us Shafilea.
Our gift to you – while you are turning thirty in a few hours time – is to continue and advocate, keep our eyes open and never, never stop.
We will continue in your name which, according to the Kabalarian philosophy, implies that ”Your idealistic and sensitive nature gives you a deep appreciation for the finer things of life and a strong desire to be of service to humanity”.
We can only try to serve humanity and appreciate the life you were denied.
We will dream your dream of freedom.
Happy birthday Shafilea. Wherever you are, fly high.
Shafilea Ahmed was just 17 when she was killed by her mother and father, Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed, for living a Western lifestyle and refusing to marry the man from Pakistan who they tried to force her to wed.
Shafilea’s parents believed she would bring shame on the family. Her father suffocated her in front of her siblings with a plastic bag. Her parents wrapped her in bin bags, and dumped her body in a lake.
Huffington Post Women: ‘Honour Killing ’ Victim Shafilea Ahmed Remembered In Devastating Picture Reenacting Her Murder – |
For more information on the campaigns, activities or if you know of any girl potentially in danger: In Memory of Shafilea Ahmed Facebook page.
’14th July marks Shafilea’s birthday. Her parents tried to extinguish her existence but she is the light that’s broken the darkness and been the inspiration to so many lives around the world.Together, we will build her legacy’