Skewed News — A video depicting Afghan men stoning a 19-year-old woman to death in Afghanistan has spread across the Internet, sparking outrage.
Had she not been subjected to this controversial medieval form of execution, Rokhshana could have been killed in an American drone strike without the slightest mention in Western newsmedia.
Rokhshana was killed in the village of Ghalmeen, a village outside Chaghcharan, the capital of Ghor province in central Afghanistan. Chaghcharan, which I visited in 2010 with two other American cartoonists as research for my book After We Kill You We Will Welcome You Back As Honored Guests: Unembedded in Afghanistan, is best known to Westerners as the setting for the classic film “The Man Who Would Be King,” based on the story of American adventurer Josiah Harlan.
Rokhshana was “accused of adultery with a man much younger than the person she was forcibly married to,” according to The Guardian. A witness told the newspaper that “Rokhshana first ran away several years ago to Iran after her family tried to marry her off to an old man. After they brought her back, they forcibly married her off to another old man. When she ran away this time, she did so as a married woman, and was punished with stoning.”
Because her murder was carried out by uneducated tribesmen in the service of fundamentalist Islam, a religion outside Western norms, Rokhshana is celebrated and mourned as a victim of sexual oppression.
Alternatively, if she had been blown to bits by a Hellfire missile fired from an unmanned Predator drone aimed by a drone pilot in Virginia at Muslim men said pilot guessed to be affiliated with enemies of the current Afghan government, which is supported by the United States, she would have been classified as either (a) one of those dead Muslim men and thus deemed a terrorist without whom the world, a.k.a. the United States, is better off without, or (b) her death would not be acknowledged to have occurred at all.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani called the act “criminal and un-Islamic.”
Ghani did not say what he would have said about the same exact death if it had been executed by a drone dispatched by his American funders.