What's the difference between puppy love and real love? ○ Is there a correlation .. “Montague and Capulet as Shiite and Sunni”. “Romeo and. The Montagues are not followers of Sharia law; nor are the Capulets into Druze , Isma'ilite, Alawite or Nusayri, Shiite and Sunni Muslims, Last week's scenes in Beirut perfectly illustrate the complexity of the conflict that is. and Juliet - as Shiite and Sunni rather than Montague and Capulet. is for Romeo in my book, The Grownups' ABCs of Conflict Resolution.
He tried her phone for perhaps the tenth time, but there was no ring, only the impersonal phone-company message: Just in case, he hung his phone on a nail in the wall outside because the signal in their village was too weak within his house.
He left the window of his room open despite the cold so he would be able to hear the phone sing; there was only a wooden shutter without glass, simply a pane of plastic sheeting stretched over the opening, which he slit at the bottom and peeled up just in case. As Ali went dejectedly to bed, Zakia huddled with her two roommates, Abida and Safoora, across the valley.
The three of them had planned to creep out of their beds just before midnight and wait inside the front door of the big house until the guard outside was asleep. Mauricio Lima for The New York Times Brought to court in a dispute between two families over the terms of her engagement at fourteen years of age, she was taken into a back room at the courthouse and gang-raped by court employees.
It is commonplace for Afghan families to murder a daughter who has had the poor judgment or bad luck to be raped; the rapist is often treated with shocking leniency.
They say that in the heyday of the Bamiyan Buddhas, when this remote mountain valley was a center of pilgrimage and the spiritual capital of the Greco-Buddhist Kushan Empire, the eyes of the great Buddhas Solsal and Shahmama comprised hundreds of precious stones, rubies and sapphires especially but diamonds and emeralds as well.
Fires were kept lit at night behind those yard-wide orbs. The girls knew that he was ill and would probably have fallen asleep on duty, which indeed he had done. Zakia had the SIM card for her cell phone, but the phone itself was in the hallway, hidden in a cupboard.
The guard challenged Zakia when she heard her stepping outside her room. Zakia quickly ducked into the bathroom, making up a story that she wanted to take a late shower.
Montague and Capulet as Shiite and Sunni
This delayed her another twenty or thirty minutes as the two other girls waited for her and Ali kept trying unsuccessfully to get through on the phone. Safoora, younger than Zakia, was excited for her but sad to see her go — she was along just to help Zakia and the other older girl, Abida, escape. Zakia had been not only an older sister to her but also the sparkler that lit up their shabby existence: They agreed to help one another over the wall of the shelter and run together. It was a shelter from the harm that awaited them outside, but it was also a prison; one of the terms under which all such facilities in Afghanistan operate is that they promise not to allow the girls and women to leave until their cases are settled, if they can be settled.
Many of them are in the shelters indefinitely, with few future prospects except to return to whatever family hell drove them there in the first place. Zakia was determined that would not be her fate. The girls hugged and said their good-byes to Safoora and then began dragging mattresses out to the wall at the back of the courtyard. The mattresses were stiff, full of cotton tick; doubled over and piled one atop the other, they made a ledge halfway up the eight-foot-tall wall, so Zakia could clamber up.
Later on she would insist, as she had agreed with the other girls to say, that no one had helped her escape, that she had simply walked out the unlocked front door when everyone was asleep and hopped the wall on her own. From the top of the wall, she reached down to pull Abida up as well, but the girl was too weak to pull herself up and too much deadweight for Zakia.Prokofiev - Romeo And Juliet - Montagues And Capulets
Abida later claimed that her friend had abandoned her to save herself. Zakia insisted that the girl was too heavy to make the climb, but she also was aware that Abida wanted to return to an abusive husband. Zakia thought it was probably just as well that the girl did not do so.
Abida was not driven by love but by desperation and might well have been killed for her efforts. She did not hesitate, though, and at about one in the morning Zakia dropped to the ground outside the wall, in her high heels, carrying a plastic bag full of clothes.
To understand the Middle East today, turn to Romeo and Juliet - Telegraph
She ran lightly down the hill in the direction of the Great Buddhas, pursued by a pack of barking dogs, then stopped under some birch trees on a traffic circle at the edge of the upper plateau and dialed Ali.
There was no answer.
Digging into her bag, frantic, she pulled out a loaf of bread and began breaking off pieces to throw to the dogs to stop the barking. Over in his village of Surkh Dar, Ali heard the phone ring on its nail outside and raced from his room, but by the time he reached it, the ringing had stopped.
He called her back, and this time Zakia answered. Their situation was perilous.
Their love was a death sentence
It was just past one in the morning, and she was a woman alone and therefore subject to arrest, not only by police but by any man who passed and wanted to take the law into his own hands — or worse. In a society where rape was often not regarded as a crime if the woman were found alone, worse was likely. Ali woke his father, Anwar, to tell him that the escape was on and then called a village friend, Rahmatullah, who had already agreed to help them elope by driving them to a hiding place higher in the mountains.
Ali stamped his foot impatiently as his friend insisted on warming up the engine for a few minutes.
- To understand the Middle East today, turn to Romeo and Juliet
- NYT: Montague and Capulet as Shiite and Sunni
The drive was only fifteen or twenty minutes down the unpaved road, along the front of the Buddha niches, through the old bazaar, and up the hill to the higher plateau, where Zakia waited. The sparse grove of birch trees at that spot was too thin to hide her, so she lay prone in a shallow drainage ditch beside the traffic circle.
Those lines go to the heart of what civil war is about: It was not so very different in the Glasgow of my youth. No one could conceivably call the ancient grudge between Rangers fans and Celtic fans a clash of civilisations: True, the former are the Protestants and the latter are the Catholics.
But those are both Christian sects and, in any case, the finer points of Reformation doctrine were seldom mentioned when the rival gangs were kicking each other's heads in. The stakes are higher and the weapons much deadlier in the Middle East.
It certainly would be easy if the population could be divided into Islamist bad guys and "pro-western" good guys. Officially, it's true, Muslims account for just under 60 per cent of the population and Christians just under 40 per cent.
Officially, Lebanon's population is divided into no fewer than 17 religious sects. Last week's scenes in Beirut perfectly illustrate the complexity of the conflict that is now simmering. The murdered man was himself a Maronite Christian, the grandson of the founder of the Phalange Party that once allied itself with Israel Jews to fight the Palestine Liberation Organisation Muslims.
But the mourners spat on pictures of General Michel Aoun, a Christian who has aligned his party with Hezbollah Muslims.
Ominously, one woman demonstrator was quoted by the New York Times as saying: She is almost certainly a supporter of the Future Movement, a Sunni party whose leader, Saad Hariri, is the son of the former prime minister whose assassination began the Cedar Revolution.
Remember how the s comedy Soap used to begin: The paths of Lebanon and Iraq diverged inwhen the United States waged its first war against Iraq. At that time, a deal was quietly cut that ended the civil war in Lebanon by handing the country over to Syria. The recent spate of political assassination against anti-Syrian politicians such as Mr Gemayel suggests that the Syrians have no intention of letting Lebanon go. For regime change in Iraq has unleashed Lebanese-style centrifugal forces. Here, once again, it's not a clash between civilisations.
True, the war between American troops and al-Qaeda insurgents is not over, but it's now a sub-plot in a wider civil war between Shias and Sunnis. Thursday's lethal car bomb explosions in the Shiite district of Baghdad known as Sadr City were just the latest and biggest of a succession of sectarian attacks that dates back to the bombing of the Askariya mosque at Samarra last February.
The key, as in Romeo and Juliet, is that each such attack begets another attack, in an almost unstoppable cycle of tit-for-tat killing. In retaliation for the Sadr City car bombs last week, militiamen belonging to the Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi army fired mortars into the Sunni neighbourhoods of Adhamiya and Ghazaliya.
The Bush administration still believes that Iraqi politicians can be browbeaten into sharing power with each other and taking responsibility for security. Last week, Sunni gunmen attacked the health ministry, because it is run by a Shiite minister, in retaliation for earlier Shiite kidnapping raids on the education ministry, which is run by you guessed it a Sunni minister.
In civil wars, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. And often more than equal.