Azaranica is a non-biased news aggregator on Hazaras and Hazarajat...The main aim is to promote understanding and respect for cultural identities by highlighting the realities they are facing on daily basis...Hazaras have been the victim of active persecution and discrimination and one of the reasons among many has been the lack of information, awareness and disinformation...... To further awareness against violence, disinformation and discrimination, we have launched a sister Blog for youths and youths are encouraged to share their stories and opinions; Young Pens

Monday, March 10, 2014

2 Star-Crossed Afghans Cling to Love, Even at Risk of Death

By ROD NORDLAND

MARCH 9, 2014

BAMIAN, Afghanistan — She is his Juliet and he is her Romeo, and her family has threatened to kill them both.

Zakia is 18 and Mohammad Ali is 21, both the children of farmers in this remote mountain province. If they could manage to get together, they would make a striking couple.

She dresses colorfully, a pink head scarf with her orange sweater, and collapses into giggles talking about him. He is a bit of a dandy, with a mop of upswept black hair, a white silk scarf and a hole in the side of his saddle-toned leather shoes. Both have eyes nearly the same shade, a startling amber.

They have never been alone in a room together, but they have publicly declared their love for each other and their intention to marry despite their different ethnicities and sects. That was enough to make them outcasts, they said, marked for death for dishonoring their families — especially hers.

Zakia has taken refuge in a women’s shelter here. Even though she is legally an adult under Afghan law, the local court has ordered her returned to her family. “If they get hold of me,” she said matter-of-factly, “they would kill me even before they get me home.”Photo

Zakia, 18, in Bamian, Afghanistan, said her marriage plans led to family death threats.CreditMauricio Lima for The New York Times

Neither can read, and they have never heard Shakespeare’s tale of doomed love. But there are plenty of analogues in the stories they are both steeped in, and those, too, end tragically.

Zakia invokes one, the tale of Princess Shirin and Farhad the stonecutter, as she talks about her beloved, and her long wait in the women’s shelter to marry him. “I would wait until I reach my love, no matter how long,” she said.

In 21st-century Afghanistan, as well, life is no fairy tale, especially in rural places like Bamian. Young people who want to choose their own mates face the harsh reality that strict social traditions still trump new laws and expanded rights — and that honor killings in such cases remain endemic.... Continue Reading...

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