Islamic fundamentalists know — all too well — that the only way their cultures will survive is for one half of the human race to remain caged and enslaved. But the West stands in stark opposition to that pathological and death-seeking quest. And the West’s values continue to spread with lightning speed. In the age of globalization, mass communication and the Internet, the reality of Western women’s free choice and control over their own identity — and sexuality – is a force that cannot be stopped.
And so, like a possessed individual who has holy water sprinkled on him in an exorcism, radical Islam shrieks and foams at the mouth in our modern world, tormented and enraged by the sprinkles of liberty that touch it — and that it cannot withstand. Increasingly cornered by the nightmare of free and happy females, Islamism must lash out in rage and violence in its effort to preserve its tyranny over human life.
We begin to understand, therefore, why Souad was a mandatory victim in a demented and psychopathic culture that, in its lust for death, must necessarily despise the gender that fertilizes and bestows life. And we also begin to understand why the entity that has liberated its own Souads — and threatens to liberate all the Souads of the world – must also, like Souad, be annihilated. And make no mistake: those forces who seek to suffocate love — as Souad’s mother suffocated her nine baby daughters – know exactly who and what they need to extinguish.
And so we are at war.
And this war is predominantly about women — about who they are, where they belong and whether they are entitled to dignity, autonomy, liberty and respect.
Souad was doused with gasoline and set afire because she fell in love.
Because she yearned to be free.
And there is hope, for there are wonderful movements, like the Swiss foundation SURGIR, that works with women everywhere in the world who are subject to criminal traditions.
And hope also resides in us taking an extra step.
That extra step is pooling together all of our voices, so that we can collectively affirm, with courage and forthrightness, that, unequivocally, We Are All Souad.
Because we stand with Souad.
And the fate of an abused woman is humanity’s fate. And when women, our mothers, are violated, then life is violated, and every single one of us is violated.
The honor killer who sets a woman on fire operates out of the same impulse that motivated Mohammad Atta to give his life so that, on September 11, 2003, 3,000 American citizens would perish in flames — like Souad was supposed to.
And so let us turn to life, rather than death, and extend our hand to Souad – and to every other Souad. And to every potential Souad.
And then at least the cards will be on the table. And we’ll be honest in why we need to fight this war – and to win this war.
Because in so doing we will not only save our mothers.
We will save ourselves.