A Nigerian Nightmare
edited: Sunday, October 20, 2002
By Kimberley J. Wilson
Posted: Sunday, October 20, 2002
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Where is the outrage for Amina Lawal?
Amina Lawal is going to die. She is the 30 year old Nigerian woman who has been sentenced to death by stoning. Her unforgivable “crime” was to have a baby outside of wedlock. Her lawyers hint that the pregnancy may be as a result of rape but the father of the baby faces no charges for either rape or adultery. Sharia (Islamic) law says that either he must confess (unlikely under the circumstances) or four men must testify against him and so far no one has stepped forward to do so.
The Regional Court in Katsina State, Nigeria, where Amina lives has ruled that as soon as her eight month old baby girl, Wasila, is weaned Amina is to be taken out to a public place, buried in the dirt up to her chest and struck with stones until she dies.
The governor of Katsina will not interfere with the court’s decision. Olusegun Obasanjo, the president of Nigeria has said he will “weep for Amina and for Nigeria” if the sentence is carried out but he won’t do anything to stop it. A college professor friend of mine shrugged when I told him this story and said, “It’s disgusting but that is those people’s culture.” My professor friend is wrong.
No Nigerian has ever been stoned before. Amina Lawal lives in the North of Nigeria which is now dominated by Muslims. The Southern half of Nigeria is largely Christian. Sharia law was first introduced in Zamfara and spread to nine other states. Why has the harsh Sharia law been embraced in so many parts of the country? Nigeria is under enormous internal pressure. Although it is blessed with numerous natural resources, decades of national strife has made it impossible for most of the population to benefit from them.
According to the U.S. State Department, the country suffers from frequent outbreaks of inter-ethnic and religious violence. It has a very high rate of crime and it’s common for tourists to be victimized by robbery, extortion, carjackings and kidnappings. Public transportation, driving at night and even taking a cab there is considered dangerous. Sharia promises an end to all that. According to its supporters crime has gone down in the nine states that use it. There are people in her country who feel that Amina Lawal’s life is a small price to pay for peace in the streets.
Amnesty International has launched a world wide campaign to keep Amina’s story in the news and to save her life. So far over 1.3 million people have signed an internet petition asking that she be spared the death penalty. Several contestants in the Miss World beauty pageant have stated that they will not attend the pageant if it is held in Nigeria and the leaders of several countries have made appeals to the Nigerian government on Amina Lawal’s behalf. Until Oprah Winfrey discussed the case on her show a few days ago most Americans knew little about it..
It’s strange that the very people who you would expect to come racing to her defense in the United States have largely ignored the story of Amina Lawal. Where are America’s feminists? This is tailor made cause for them but instead of fighting for this poor, terrified African woman, their main concern right now is to force the Augusta National Golf Club to accept a few rich women as members.
Jesse Jackson has spent a lot of time in Africa and Al Sharpton’s “fact-finding” trip to Sudan was not that long ago, yet they both are silent. Randall Robinson’s group, Trans Africa, along with the NAACP and several other black American organizations were especially active in the crusade to free Nelson Mandela and the struggle to end apartheid in South Africa. Where are these groups now? I guess the hideous torture of a black woman only really matters if the torturer is white.
Unless something is done, as soon as Baby Wasila is weaned her mother’s will be dragged away and cheering spectators will watch as a shower of rocks ends her short, unhappy life. This brutal execution will happen before the horrified eyes of the world. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country is technically a democracy. If Amina Lawal, and who knows how many women after her, are to be stoned to death, then that democratic status will be nothing but a terrible farce.
Web Site: kimberley lindsay wilson
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|Reviewed by Sophia Barkat (Reader)
|Nigeria is practising Wahabism. It's not what's been known as Islam in South Asia. Women are being exploited and abused the world over. I feel horrid for the bs being perpetrated in Nigeria in the name of a religion which liberated women from Slavery and gave them property rights - 600 AD -- way before European woman had any. Fact is all society is patriarchial and that's why men get away with such nonsense. Countries with such laws should be given ultimatums to reform by the UN and such organizing bodies. Countries should boycott them and teach them a lesson. Nigeria and many African countries have a lot of problems due to the population coming from different tribes. A lot of infighting. All this adds up to one minority tribe unleashing havoc on the others. What worries me is that countries like the US do business with them -- for Nigeria is OPEC nation -- and don't really press the cause of human rights. Politicians need to be less greedy and more human.|
|Reviewed by Darlene Caban
|Islam is NOT a 'religion of peace,' by any stretch of the imagination. Have they even made arrangements for the care of the baby after they kill her mother? How about the damage done to the child, who will grow up knowing that her birth caused her mother to be executed? Interesting that the man who caused this to happen will never be punished- mighty selective 'justice!'|
|Reviewed by J Michael Kearney
|Very well written. But only in America (and some parts of Europe) do you find people believing that inane cliche that "people are the same the world over." People are NOT all the same. Appx 4 billion of the earth's 6 billion human inhabitants are savages. These people still subsist in prehistoric conditions because they simply do not have the ability to do better...this is as good as it gets for them. /// Now I have an American bias, I'll admit that up front, but in my view, if every Muslim in the world croaked tomorrow, it wouldn't disrupt the West's economy one bit. In short, they wouldn't be missed. Their customs are ahistoric, their level of progress is negligible and worse yet...from an American viewpoint..."These low-lifes don't buy any of the stuff we produce, so f*ck'em." // Maybe ZPG (Zero Population Growth) has the right agenda - some sort of worldwide eugenics program to breed these saveages out of existance.|
|Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner
|how sad...together, informed and united, we can stop this heinous act against a woman. amina didn't get pregnant by herself...why isn't the man that impregnated her being punished? go to oprah.com, sign the petition...together, we can make a difference and save a life. (((HUGS))) and love, karla. :(|
|Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
|such a sad story. we must do ALL we can to get involved and write to the nigerian president (or someone similar), so they can stop this stoning. amina luwal DESERVES to live, as do ALL women facing similar fates. *LET US MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THIS YOUNG WOMAN'S LIFE* (i did, and so did my twin sister; go to oprah.com and sign the petition they have there. we care for amina, and the world needs to, too!!!!)|