She Married for Love

By Sonya Rehman

Farzana Parveen married for love.

She let love spring forth in her bosom, its vines propelling her forward, in courage and in hope for a better, more meaningful life. A baby, made with the man she loved, was fast taking shape in her womb. The seed of their love. Life within, life in abundance. Man. Woman. Child-to-be.

Farzana Parveen (Photo credit: AFP)
Farzana Parveen (Photo credit: AFP)

But love, LOVE! She brought dishonor and disrespect to our family, they bellowed.

And so they set about to correct what had been done. Like she was a piece of land that had been taken over by thugs. But Farzana had violated a cardinal, misogynistic rule: to love another of your own choice. To choose. To choose for yourself. To be an individual – living life on your own terms. Not one with the herd. Farzana broke the rule. She let her heart do the choosing. Because the heart always knows best. The heart, that gorgeous master, is an intuitive organ that guides the human spirit. Never incorrect in judgment.

How could she, how could she, they said. LOVE. Vile act, vile woman. Disobedience. Shame. Disgrace.

They were a large group of men. Led by her father, her brothers and other male relatives. Like a pack of wolves, teeth-baring, possessed, not human. In that moment, as they grabbed Farzana, swinging bricks at her, their humanity left them. Their warm human-ness slunk away in terror, unable to recognize the shells of beings butchering one of their own, one of their own kind.

Father, son, brother, friend, lover, you came from your mother’s womb. From the dark, magical gap – that passageway that connects dreams to reality. Did you forget, did you forget where you came from? Men from wombs, suckling, helpless babies. How, when and why did you forget so easily?

But in Pakistan, the poor murder. Yet the rich, the privileged, lie.

“Oh, it wasn’t a love marriage,” they state, the rich. As if love is porn. A filthy, maggot-puss-filled word. A dirty word. Love. “It was an arranged marriage,” they emphasize.

Society is skewed. We are hypocrites in love. And the hypocrisy stems from fear, then apathy, then detachment.

Farzana, your family failed you. But more than that, we as a nation have failed you. We stood by and watched, under the sun of May. We watched your loved ones crush your bones, your spirit. Like we were sitting in our living rooms, watching a television show, separated, disconnected. Bystanders. Apathetic bystanders. Frothing dully at the mouth.

Outside the court of law. Ironic. We let them break you. Your flesh tore into roses on the street of pain. We continued to watch them, you. You tried to break free, faltering, but there were too many wolves. Hungry wolves. The collective energy, the blood lust was dizzying; it rose up from the earth and swarmed your head, hell-bent on bringing you to your knees. And they brought you to your knees. We did.

Daughter, wife, friend, lover, mother-to-be, we took you. We all took you.


3 thoughts on “She Married for Love”

  1. The irony stems deeper. Here was a woman bound in front of the court of law, with not one but many lawyers and police officers around. It was as if the family made a mockery of the system and of the nation.

    They not only killed their own flesh and blood but showed us our true colors. We have no rule of law, we have no sanity and honestly we have no humanity left in us.

    I ask myself sometimes, would I have come forward to stop the family and frankly the scary part is, I might have waited for someone else to stop them first and then join into the crowd to stop them. Is that normal? Are we flawed as human beings?

    Over time, I’ve learnt to stand up for people but at times, it takes a combination of courage and the ability to differentiate right from wrong. Most of us lack both these things.

    Ask yourselves this, when you see people have a fight on the streets do you intervene to stop it or do you take out your camera and make a video for YouTube / Facebook?

    “Hum bai-his ho gai hain” it’s as simple as that. I can guarantee that majority of the people standing there were looking on saying that this is not my problem.

  2. Sonya you nailed ..This question has been bothering me for a long time now that why do we when watching tv, guard our kids more strictly against watching someone kiss another rather than watching someone kill another…even in cartoons! Why do we consider love being a threat unparalleled to violence?

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