The Journey 358
The women in India are rallying together these days not only to champion the cause of sexually assaulted girl who is lying in a very critical condition in Delhi, but also for tougher punishment for convicted sex offenders. As these woman in India are fighting for a common cause another woman in this part of the world is also fighting for a cause and a recovery that the world is watching. She appeared first on the cover of August 2010 Time Magazine and her story was highlighted by CNN last week. Her name– Aesha Mohmmadzai, and what was shown on the Times magazine cover was the picture of her disfigured face. Today the face of the Aesha is the representation of Afghan woman. One who through her face showed the world what it means to suffer not only for being a woman but also the oppression when a woman does not toe the line of powerful male hierarchy and the religious fanatics in Afghanistan. The life experiences of this girl is tragic. When she was 12 years old, Aesha’s father promised her to a Taliban fighter as a compensation for killing a member of that family. Aesha was married at the age of 14 to this Taliban fighter and she was constantly subjected to different kinds of abuse. She bore all these abuse and one day when she was at the age 18 she ran away from her in laws, but she was caught by the police, jailed and returned to her family. Her father returned her to her in laws. To take revenge on her escape, her father in law, her husband and three other family members took Aesha to a mountain, cut of her nose and her ears and left her to die. But somehow the aid workers found her and her story first appeared on Daily Beast in 2009, while Time carried an article on her with a corresponding article “Afghan women and return of Taliban”. When the world knew her story the Grossman foundation in California pledged to perform the reconstructive surgery on her and began filing the visa process. She finally came to US two years back where an Afghan family Mati Arsala, his wife Jamila adopted her to their family. Aesha had never been to school and since she had gone through trauma for the last 10 years it was important that she had to be prepared both physically and emotionally for the reconstructive surgeries. Thus last two years under the constant care and support of the Afghan family, Aesha is going through the reconstructive surgeries this week. Hopefully she will have a reconstructed nose and ears as he enters the new year. As the world watches in bated breath, the progress of this young woman, this Christmas she represents those people especially the women folks who have always been subjected to undergo various abuse and horrors in life, where even the basic human right and dignity have been denied to them. As we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, I believe the Lord comes to us in the form of Aesha and host of battered woman seeking help and a place in our life, woman who are battered and are running daily in their life experiences from their abusers. This Christmas let us ask ourselves how can we make our Christmas celebrations more meaningful in the light of all these atrocities that happen daily in front of our eyes.
We are meditating on the theme “Transformed Living” and the portion that we shall use for our meditation is from Mathew 2: 13-23. When we read the whole story of God becoming man, the birth narrative is full of human rights issues, problems, predicament and suffering. Both Joseph and Mary go through different upheaval in life even before they get married and they have to resolve issues about ones fidelity, honesty and integrity. But God speaks to them and leads them in their times of uncertainty and at time when they were confused as to why all these things were happening. When angel tells Mary that “With God all things are possible” [ Lk 1: 37], I feel she began trusting God in all things and may have felt that with that assurance given by the angel, everything in life would be now in order. But her ordeal had only begun. They are suddenly displaced as they have to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem since Ceaser Augustus had issued a decree about the census. This made them a wandering traveler and that too at a time when she was supposed to take rest and prepare for the safe delivery of the child. After going through different form of suffering, the baby is born and that is when the family is displaced again, now it is not only Joseph and Mary but baby Jesus too. A family with a young child is asked again to move to another country Egypt because of a sinister plan of King Herod to kill baby Jesus. Thus again the family go through the routine of suffering, predicaments, having to live on the mercy of others. But then in the midst of all these suffering, there is the hand of God in every experiences of their life. You can find how God protects the Nazareth family though they go through such traumatic experiences in life. The Nazareth family represents all those families and women who are subjected to trauma and displacement, families and other individual and women who have to fight so as to at least have some element of human dignity and right to live. As we celebrate Christmas let us spare a thought for women like Aesha, the woman who lies in a critical condition in Delhi, families who are displaced and who are running pillar to post so that they can live with dignity and peace. It is when we accept these people, we are actually also opening our inn to a family who is seeking a place so that can they can give birth to our Lord.
Rev. Dr. Joe Joseph Kuruvilla