American science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein once said, "Men are expendable; women and children are not. A tribe or a nation can lose a high percentage of its men and still pick up the pieces and go on...as long as the women and children are saved." When the Titanic sank in 1912, women on board had a 75% higher chance of survival than men, and children a 52% higher survival rate, because women and children were placed on lifeboats first. In a humane society, "women and children first" is a testimony to the bravery and chivalry of civilized men. Emphasis on the word "civilized."
For barbarians, the standard is much different. In the past few months, the world has witnessed how cultures rooted in brutal, millennia-old practices treat vulnerable women and, more tragically, innocent children
Last month, Del Awar, aged seven, was taken at dusk from the yard where he was playing. Del was found "hanging in an orchard the following day." According to those who "saw his slight body after it was cut down ... the bruises and scratches around the young boy's neck suggested his murder had been neither quick, nor easy." As punishment for the absurd crime of supposedly being a spy for Hamid Karzai's government, the Taliban, made up of men, carried out the execution. Taliban militants stood there exacting revenge: laughing, spitting, and smoking small brown cigarettes as a 7 year-old boy, garroted with a noose, strangled to death. Terrorist-based Islamic cultures that use women and children as human shields give new meaning to the concept of "women and children first." In Afghanistan, individuals "accused of collaboration" with the NATO forces or with the Karzai government are immediately, and without question, executed. "Schools have been closed or burned for being un-Islamic; schoolgirls have had acid thrown in their faces, and women have been confined to home unless accompanied by a male relative." Reeling from the shock of the murder of a little boy in Afghanistan, the world now turns its eyes to a dank, gloomy prison in Tabriz, Iran, where an innocent woman awaits a death sentence. Islamic men grappled for a lifeboat when they strung up a tiny boy in a tree. In Iran, cowards of a similar breed prepare to mercilessly stone a "caring mother" to death.
Question: Does the Obama administration actually believe that these monstrous beasts can, or should, be reasoned with?
While a woman's life hangs in the balance, rather than condemning these ghastly acts, Obama focuses on integrating Islam and NASA. Obama's newly appointed NASA administrator Charles Bolden expressed in an Al Jazeera interview that the president feels the space program's emphasis should be on finding " a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science ... and math and engineering."
How about if America's Muslim-friendly president instead denounces Islam's barbaric practice of stoning women and hanging children?
The woman due to be executed has a name; her name is Sakineh Mohammadie Ashtiani. Sakineh was convicted of adultery while married in 2006, after which she received the punishment of 99 lashes. A kangaroo court, similar to the one that hung a seven-year-old boy for spying, reopened the case because the woman was then suspected of murdering her husband. Sakineh was acquitted of spousal murder. Acquittal aside, "the adultery charge was reviewed and a death penalty handed down on the basis of 'judge's knowledge' -- a loophole that allows for subjective judicial rulings where no conclusive evidence is present." A subjective ruling without evidence is one of many shining examples of Sharia Law. Sakineh's son, Sajjad Mohammedie Ashtiani, maintains that the woman is innocent and has been imprisoned for half a decade "for doing nothing." Initially, Sakineh was whipped for the crime of adultery. The condemned woman's son said, "Authorities asked if I wanted to wait outside." Sajjad chose to be with his mother while Sakineh's skin was sadistically and systematically peeled away from bone and muscle during a brutal, male-inflicted flogging that even strong men can't endure.
Half a decade later, young Sajjad may well witness a fate far worse than what his mother experienced five years prior at the end of a whip. If human rights organizations and the world community fail to cry out on the condemned woman's behalf, or Sajjad's pleas for pardon to supreme leader Ayatollah Khomeini or Judiciary Chairman Sadegh Larijani fall on deaf ears, a desperate son may be forced to watch the woman who raised him suffer an inhumane death by stoning.
What lies ahead for Sakineh? Well, at any moment, a frightened, weary Sakineh could be dragged hysterically from her jail cell through a crowd of hostile, self-righteous men eager to witness the carnage. A hole in the ground awaits Sakineh, sort of a pre-burial burial.
Weak in the knees and trembling with fear, Sakineh will be cruelly shoved into the hole and forced to stand while dirt is slowly returned to it. The woman's frame will be trapped like an animal, her arms and legs immobilized with just her head sticking up from the hot, sandy soil.
Sajjad, weeping in horror and fear, will likely choose the difficult task of once again remaining at his mother's side. The young man will be forced to helplessly stand by as the sinful men who dug the hole eagerly jostle to "cast the first stone" at a fragile target. The stones in the piles destined for Sakineh's head have been carefully selected to be large enough to inflict severe damage to a woman, but not so large as to instantly take her life. Stones large enough to remove her eyes, repeatedly fracture her skull, and crack her teeth, but small enough to ensure that her death is as slow and painful as the one Del Awar experienced struggling desperately for air against the rope in Sarwan Qala.
Lest the civilized world forget, the goal of terrorism is unbridled fear coupled with excruciating pain as a precursor to unhurried, agonizing death.
Shockingly, American President Barack Obama has yet to publicly condemn blatant human rights violations that are far more pressing than NASA failing to "reach out" and "engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations." While the ancient practice of stoning and hanging "women and children" continues in real time, Barack Obama places priority on elevating Islamic contributions to math, science, and engineering.
Amidst the president's endless quest to endear himself to a Muslim world, someone should pull Barack Obama aside and read to him the second half of Robert Heinlein's poignant quote: "if you fail to save the women and children, you've had it, you're done, you're through! You join Tyrannosaurus Rex, one more breed that bilged its final test."