On Oct. 28, about 1,000 spectators watched as Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow, a 13-year-old Somalian girl, was buried up to her neck and stoned to death by 50 men. According to Amnesty International, militia members shot at witnesses who tried to stop the execution, killing one boy.
The offense? Three men had raped her while she was traveling to a refugee camp to visit her grandmother. When her family reported it, the authorities accused her of adultery, which is punishable by death under some interpretations of Shariah law.
We like to think of ourselves as the most technologically advanced civilization ever to walk the earth. We can talk to people in any corner in the world with the push of a button.
And yet stories such as Aisha’s, of archaic injustices unchallenged for thousands of years, go more or less unnoticed. The New York Times ran a small piece about her execution, but then the world moved on. The problem is no longer that the stories are left untold, but that they are documented and ignored.
Not all overlooked stories are as tragic and horrific as Aisha’s. Some focus on the offbeat and unpopular, others show people using their talents to serve their communities. Take for example the Current.com piece on Muslim Girl Magazine, which works to “enlighten, celebrate and inspire” young Muslim women by giving them a voice. The story has about 40 views, while a video of someone singing a song about Mario Kart has nearly half a million.
These are stories that teach us about parts of the world that we never get to see and show us the true meaning of humanity, creativity and cruelty.
Then there are the stories about government actions that don’t make it to readers and viewers. Project Censored compiles a list of such stories every year.
It is an egregious failing of our society that we do not use the resources available to us to better understand our world. There’s no point in technological advancements if we only use them to download songs onto our phones or play video games standing up.
With our phones, laptops and cameras, we don’t have to wait for the news to come to us. Seek out other sources of information and stories that are untold. We can also contribute to the wealth of information that is out there. Instead of wishing someone would take notice of how your town struggles in the declining economy, document it yourself and put it out there.
We just came off a major election that focused on the idea of change. If we want it to become more than just an empty campaign slogan, we need to be aware of what needs to be changed and how people are already working toward it. Stories like Aisha’s should be uncommon. They should cause an outrage and should stop people in their tracks, not be forgotten and passed over. No one wants to read stories that depress or upset them, but it’s so much worse to live in a society where we have the resources to become informed global citizens and passed them over for a turn playing Wii or a video of a funny cat.
The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board whose members are listed to the left.