Tag Archive | human rights

Yaser Said Who Murdered His Daughters in an Honor Killing – Finally Captured!

Words can’t express how excited I am that Yaser Said – the evil scumbag monster who murdered his two beautiful daughters in Texas more than twelve years ago – has finally been caught! So happy! So relieved! So overjoyed. I feel like having a party, and celebrating so much. I have been on Cloud 9 since I heard the news within a few hours of his capture on Wednesday, August 26th, 2020 – just three days ago!

Sarah and Amina Said

Yaser Said was on the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list.

He evaded capture for more than 12 years, and walked free all that time. How despicable! There was a strong movement to spread awareness about what happened to these girls. In fact, you might be familiar with the hashtag #CatchYaserNow.

I even posted a picture of myself in 2015 holding a home-made sign I created with the words #CatchYaserNow.

The hashtag was created by the film makers of a documentary about the girls, so that the monster could be caught, yet he still evaded capture for all those years. There was even a reward of a $100,000 for any tips leading to his arrest, yet he still evaded capture. The FBI were on the lookout for him, yet he still evaded capture. He was even featured by John Walsh on America’s Most Wanted. It is fabulous that #CatchYaserNow can be retired as a hashtag as was said by the film makers of a documentary produced by Nena Nejad and Xoel Pamos. Please watch this documentary “The Price Of Honor” as it was instrumental in spreading the word about what the girls went through in their short lives. This documentary is so amazing and pays tribute to the heartbreaking story of the Said girls. So happy for all the work that Nena and Xoel put into spreading awareness. So happy too for Ruth Trotter Pink and her son Joseph who also worked tirelessly in the pursuit of justice. Here is a link to the documentary:

Yaser Said wanted his freedom, when the very reason why his daughters are gone is because he hated that they wanted – their freedom. He thought they were too westernized, and didn’t like that they had boyfriends. What did he expect? They were born in this country – the USA, land of the free. Why would he expect them to not want what other Americans want, to feel what other Americans feel? This is the same horrible ideology that so many of us have faced no matter where we live in this world, but especially if we are born in the West – the USA or the UK for instance. We are exposed to culture all around us, pop music, western dress, shows on TV, romance books, etc., yet we can’t have those things. We are expected to go along with what our families want of us – to comply with traditions that don’t make sense in these parts of the world, in fact, to some degree they don’t make sense any more at all. Which traditions am I referring to? I’m referring to arranged marriage, and even child marriage. How can we be expected to want to marry strangers when the very books we read – lead us to want more – to have the romance we read about while growing up?

I spoke about this in my recent video that I shared in a previous blog post and even mentioned Sarah and Amina Said as just some of the honor killing victims here in the USA. Some would like to say, it doesn’t happen here, but yes it does and it’s happened to other girls too such as Noor Alemeki of Arizona, and Jassi Sidhu, not too far away in Canada.

Sarah Said and Amina Said were murdered by their dad because they didn’t want to give in to these traditions. They didn’t want an arranged marriage. They didn’t want to be married to strangers. They were human beings like the rest of us who gave in to love, and had boyfriends and just wanted to live and be happy. For that they were murdered. They were victims of an honor killing. Even though there is no honor in killing, in fact it is very dishonorable, the name is given to these types of murders to signify that families will do whatever they can to hold on to the families reputation and pride. If daughters step out of line, their reputation is at stake, and the entire community could ostracize them. They care more about what the community thinks than they care about their own flesh and blood. They would rather shut their children up for ever, and feel they have saved their “honor” in the eyes of the community, than be scorned by the community. It is a complex and horrible way of thinking, but has to be talked about. Until we can spread the awareness that these are not just murders, but mention the root cause, we are not doing these victims any favors, and we need to. We owe it to them, our sisters, who are left voiceless – that we become the voice for them, so that there will be no more victims of this senseless murder. Yes, murder it is, but it is also an honor killing and we have to educate the public so that more people become aware of how evil it is to force anyone into marriage, to take their human rights away from them, their freedom away from them. There is no excuse for abuse. Culture is no excuse for abuse. Tradition is no excuse for abuse. Let’s spread the word. End forced marriage, end honor killings, end child marriage. Until we root out these evil traditions, in fact, make them illegal and have laws against them, there could be many more honor killings, and we just can’t have that.

Sarah and Amina, rest in peace beautiful angels. We wish you were here to see justice. We hope you are watching from heaven and can now finally rest in peace. We miss you, and rejoice in the capture of your evil monster dad. The streets are rid of his filth, and we love the fact that every day he will be waking up in prison now. We hope he will be very uncomfortable there, and will rot there.

Lastly, I would like for you to sign my petition if you haven’t already done so. In this petition, I ask for an end to child marriage and forced marriage. For the sake of these girls, and survivors like myself and so many others, we would be honored to have you sign and support us.

End Child Marriage and End Forced Marriage

Kids should be able to enjoy their childhood. No child needs to get married.  I was engaged at the age of 14, and even though the marriage didn’t take place until I was 18, it had all the elements of child marriage. I was not free to choose. I couldn’t say no. I was too young to know what was happening or to fight for my rights. My human rights were violated, and my freedom to choose was taken away from me. I was forced to marry a stranger, and was put into danger. This happened to me not in India, but in the UK (I have started a Change.org petition – Please sign it at www.change.org/EndChildMarriageAndEndForcedMarriage

Every day, children are not lucky enough to even wait until the age of 18.  They are being forced into marriage at age 10, 12, 14 – you name it.  It’s happening here in the USA, and believe me, it’s happening right in your neighborhood.  There is a child out there who could be a victim of child marriage and you may not even know it.  This is why it has to be brought to the attention of the general public.  It’s only through awareness that we can try to make a difference, that we can even try to bring about change, so this does not continue to happen.   If it can happen in India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, many African countries, in the UK, and Denmark – then believe me – it happens here too!

Sometimes, child marriage (defined as a marriage of a minor under the age of 18) or forced marriage (which can happen to anyone including children or adults) happens because girls get pregnant by their boyfriends, and they’re pushed into the marriage, either by the boyfriend or by the parents, so as not to bring shame on either of the families.  However, many times, one or both the victims don’t even want the marriage, it’s the parents who thrust this punishment onto the child, in the name of culture and or tradition.  It’s no one’s culture to abuse!  We all have to stop this abuse, it’s our moral obligation to do so.  Right now, people know they can get away with child marriage, in fact they can even go from one state to another to the one that will allow them to do the deed that should not be done – child marriage.  I believe that anyone who enables this to happen (cake maker, the priest, the judge, the guests, the parents) is complicit in the abuse of that child, and the longtime suffering they will go through, so let’s just all bring about the necessary action – let’s end child marriage, and let’s also focus on ending forced marriage too as even adults who are 18 years of age and older can be forced into marriage.

Until we raise the marriage age to 18 for everyone in the USA, we will not have done our very best for all children. Did you know that if parents give their consent to the marriage of an under-age child, a judge is very likely to sign off too and then a poor child is doomed to a life no child should have to embark on.  Perhaps they blindly believe that parents have their children’s best interests at heart. But, sadly not all parents do. Parents are often the enablers of this cruel tradition that is a harmful practice.  They are the ones that want their child married, whether it is to carry on a tradition, or to ensure the child marries appropriately, or does not stray into a relationship that would bring shame on the family – there are a multitude of reasons children, especially girls, are married off. Sometimes, it’s for horrible reasons such as immigration, where one person benefits at the expense of another!  However, these reasons are a violation of a child’s basic human rights. Some traditions are best broken or ended, and it’s our job to call out harmful practices when we see them.

Just place yourself in a child’s shoes for just a moment and you will see this is no way to begin a life. A child forced into child marriage now has to serve a spouse in more ways than I would like to describe. However, describe it I must. No child should be subjected to sexual slavery just because they are now in a marriage that they were placed into. No child should be subjected to a life of domestic servitude and control, but this is very likely to happen when they are weak and vulnerable compared to the older spouse who has power and control over them. No child should have their health and safety compromised. Kids should not be giving birth to kids!  I strongly believe in education first, then marriage. So many children are robbed of their right to education and placed into marriage as they are considered to be a burden.

If we don’t stop this cruel enabling of child marriage, we are letting our children down. We must ask ourselves “how would we like to be forced into marriage?”  Let’s stop the perpetual cycle of abuse and also break the cycle of poverty. If kids are not allowed to pursue an education, they are much more likely to remain in poverty and be increasingly dependent on their spouse, and never be able to escape the unhappiness. Unhappiness often leads to domestic violence.  Do we wish them to suffer one abuse after another?  Let them have every opportunity they deserve instead of a lifetime of hardship.

I’m asking you as a very concerned citizen, please open your heart and stop the suffering of children. No child needs to be married. There’s no urgency. Marriage can wait until an individual is 18 years old, and as long as they are not forced into it.  The real truth is that I would prefer that the marriage age be raised to 21 as I believe that when I was forced into marriage at 18, I was still way too young.  How can being 18 be old enough when a week or few months before that you’re a child?  Since I know we have to start somewhere with safeguarding children, I’m still willing to say 18 is way better than the alternative of allowing a child to marry prior to that age, so I’m definitely willing to work with this and hope to see a day when it’s raised to 21.  I definitely say no to child marriage and no to forced marriage.

Also, it should be important for you to know that the marriage age has only been raised to 18 in two states only – New Jersey and Delaware.  None of us should rest until it is raised to 18 in every state in the USA without exceptions!  This means no exceptions – no signing off by parents giving their consent for their under-age child to marry!

Please join me in signing this petition. I urge you for the sake of all children to raise the marriage age for all to 18 years of age. What I’m asking for is that a bill is passed in the House in California, in fact a bill should be passed in every state in the USA, that would raise the marriage age to 18 without exceptions.  Furthermore, all countries should be doing the same so that kids everywhere are protected.  Forced marriage needs to be a crime here in the USA just like it is in the UK – yes, it’s now a criminal offense in the UK to force anyone into marriage – this law was passed at least five years ago. Please remember that forced marriage is human slavery, and a form of human trafficking. Let’s not stop until we end child marriage and forced marriage everywhere.  It doesn’t matter where you live, you can sign and make a difference.  Abuses have no barriers of distance, neither does helping another human being.  Thank you.

For More Information:

If you want to know more about forced marriage or child marriage, the following organizations can be contacted. The following organizations exist in the UK:  Karma Nirvana, IKWRO,and The Sharan Project.  The UK is 10 steps ahead of the USA in awareness and Karma Nirvana even trains law enforcement so that the signs that someone could be a potential forced marriage victim can be spotted; and the correct plan of action is carried out to help a victim, and not send them back in harm’s way.  There are so many charities there now that exist to help victims – there’s probably at least thirty if not more.

Here in the USA, we are making progress.  We now have Tahirih Justice Center, Unchained At Last, California Coalition to End Child Marriage | Global Hope 365 and the AHA Foundation.  We also have great organizations involved in the fight to end child marriage world-wide, such as Girls Not Brides, Freedom United, and Plan International.

For Further Reading

Child Marriage Is Still Happening In The US And Around The World 

US Child Brides Share Stories

More Petitions For You To Sign

Here’s a petition to stop child marriage in New York.  Naila Amin was forced to marry at the age of 13!  This should anger everyone, and everyone should ask how did this happen here in the USA? I like to share because I signed that petition too – it can never hurt to sign as many petitions that come across your way, especially if you can help those that are most vulnerable, and have no voice.  Please sign Naila Amin’s petition

Here’s another petition to stop child marriage in California.  Sara Tasneem was just 15 years old when she was forced into child marriage.  She gives some great reasons in her petition as to why child marriage has to stop.  I encourage you to sign her petition too. Like I said, sign all the ones you come across, it doesn’t hurt, and hopefully it will help. Please sign Sara Tasneem’s petition

Here’s another petition to stop child marriage in the UK.  Even though forced marriage is a criminal offense there, child marriage is still occurring and again, it’s the same problem as what we have in the USA – judges are going off the parents consent, and we have to stop this from happening.  This petition was started by Payzee Mahmod, who was forced into marriage at the age of 16, and who lost her sister Banaz Mahmod to an honor killing.  Honor killing is a by-product of what can happen to a girl if she doesn’t give into an arranged marriage or forced marriage.  I’ve signed this petition too – it doesn’t matter where you live, just sign – we are all in this together!  Please sign Payzee Mahmod’s petition.

Kids Need To Be Kids – Let’s Stop Child Marriage

IMG_2703Kids should be able to enjoy their childhood. No child needs to get married.  I was engaged at the age of 14, (see video here) and even though the marriage didn’t take place until I was 18, it had all the elements of child marriage. I was not free to choose. I couldn’t say no. I was too young to know what was happening or to fight for my rights. My human rights were violated, and my freedom to choose was taken away from me. I was forced to marry a stranger, and was put into danger. This happened to me not in India, but in the UK.  Every day, children are not lucky enough to even wait until the age of 18.  They are being forced into marriage at age 10, 12, 14 – you name it.  It’s happening here in the USA, and believe me, it’s happening right in your neighborhood.  There is a child out there who could be a victim of child marriage and you may not even know it.  This is why it has to be brought to the attention of the general public.  It’s only through awareness that we can try to make a difference, that we can even try to bring about change, so this does not continue to happen.   If it can happen in India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, many African countries, in the UK, and Denmark – then believe me – it happens here too!

Here’s an article for you to look at so that you can see for yourself: https://abcnews.go.com/US/child-brides-us-share-stories-exploitation-learning-wife/story?id=64589713  Sometime, it happens because girls get pregnant by their boyfriends, and they’re pushed into the marriage, either by the boyfriend or by the parents, so as not to bring shame on either of the families.  However, many times, one or both the victims don’t even want the marriage, it’s the parents who thrust this punishment onto the child, in the name of culture and or tradition.  It’s no one’s culture to abuse!  We all have to stop this abuse, it’s our moral obligation to do so.  Right now, people know they can get away with child marriage, in fact they can even go from one state to another to the one that will allow them to do the deed that should not be done – child marriage.  I believe that anyone who enables this to happen (cake maker, the priest, the judge, the guests, the parents) is complicit in the abuse of that child, and the longtime suffering they will go through, so let’s just all bring about the necessary action – let’s end child marriage.

Until we raise the marriage age to 18 for everyone in the USA, we will not have done our very best for all children. Did you know that if parents give their consent to the marriage of an under-age child, a judge is very likely to sign off too and then a poor child is doomed to a life no child should have to embark on.  Perhaps they blindly believe that parents have their children’s best interests at heart. But, sadly not all parents do. Parents are often the enablers of this cruel tradition that is a harmful practice.  They are the ones that want their child married, whether it is to carry on a tradition, or to ensure the child marries appropriately, or does not stray into a relationship that would bring shame on the family – there are a multitude of reasons children, especially girls, are married off. Sometimes, it’s for horrible reasons such as immigration, where one person benefits at the expense of another!  However, these reasons are a violation of a child’s basic human rights. Some traditions are best broken or ended, and it’s our job to call out harmful practices when we see them.

Just place yourself in a child’s shoes for just a moment and you will see this is no way to begin a life. A child forced into child marriage now has to serve a spouse in more ways than I would like to describe. However, describe it I must. No child should be subjected to sexual slavery just because they are now in a marriage that they were placed into. No child should be subjected to a life of domestic servitude and control, but this is very likely to happen when they are weak and vulnerable compared to the older spouse who has power and control over them. No child should have their health and safety compromised. Kids should not be giving birth to kids!  I strongly believe in education first, then marriage. So many children are robbed of their right to education and placed into marriage as they are considered to be a burden.

If we don’t stop this cruel enabling of child marriage, we are letting our children down. We must ask ourselves “how would we like to be forced into marriage?”  Let’s stop the perpetual cycle of abuse and also break the cycle of poverty. If kids are not allowed to pursue an education, they are much more likely to remain in poverty and be increasingly dependent on their spouse, and never be able to escape the unhappiness. Unhappiness often leads to domestic violence.  Do we wish them to suffer one abuse after another?  Let them have every opportunity they deserve instead of a lifetime of hardship.

I’m asking you as a very concerned citizen, please open your heart and stop the suffering of children. No child needs to be married. There’s no urgency. Marriage can wait until an individual is 18 years old, and as long as they are not forced into it.  The real truth is that I would prefer that the marriage age be raised to 21 as I believe that when I was forced into marriage at 18, I was still way too young.  How can being 18 be old enough when a week or few months before that you’re a child?  Since I know we have to start somewhere with safeguarding children, I’m still willing to say 18 is way better than the alternative of allowing a child to marry prior to that age, so I’m definitely willing to work with this and hope to see a day when it’s raised to 21.  I definitely say no to child marriage and no to forced marriage.

Please join me in signing this petition. I urge you for the sake of all children to raise the marriage age for all to 18 years of age. What I’m asking for is that a bill is passed in the House in California that would raise the marriage age to 18 without exceptions.  Thank you.

 

International Day Of The Girl

Happy International Day of The Girl!  October 11th has been designated by the United Nations General Assembly to be the “International Day Of The Girl Child”.  This is the second Day Of The Girl, as this day was recognized in honor of girls beginning on October 11th, 2012.

For millions of girls all around the world who don’t get equal rights for whatever reasons, this is your day!  So many girls don’t get the right to an education, because other “priorities” such as marriage are forced upon them.  Education can open up the doors to a wider understanding of the world around us, and this is our right.  Celebrate the Day Of The Girl today, and hopefully one day girls everywhere will get the right to an education.

With an education, girls everywhere can become all they desire to be, they can be a scientist, judge, teacher, lawyer, doctor, and they can become leaders.  They can make it to the other side of the gates of the White House.

The White House, Washington, DC

I know that my children will get an education, and it won’t stop at just High School, as so many other girls’ educations do (if they are lucky enough to get that far).  I will give them the gift, and their right to go to college.

Oh, by the way…..this day is also for women who may have suffered the lack of education in the past due to circumstances such as those described or for any other reasons not mentioned.  Happy Day Of The Girl.

To find out more about Day Of The Girl, visit http://www.un.org/en/events/girlchild/

Happy Day Of The Girl

Today is a fabulous day, it is the first International Day Of the Girl!  October 11, 2012 is auspicious because it has been designated by the United Nations General Assembly to be the “International Day Of The Girl Child”.

For millions of girls all around the world who don’t get equal rights for whatever reasons, this is your day!  So many girls don’t get the right to an education, because other “priorities” such as marriage are forced upon them.  Education can open up the doors to a wider understanding of the world around us, and this is our right.  Celebrate the Day Of The Girl today, and hopefully one day girls everywhere will get the right to an education.

With an education, girls everywhere can become all they desire to be, they can be a scientist, judge, teacher, lawyer, doctor, and they can become leaders.  They can make it to the other side of the gates of the White House.

The White House, Washington, DC

I know that my children will get an education, and it won’t stop at just High School, as so many other girls’ educations do (if they are lucky enough to get that far).  I will give them the gift, and their right to go to college.

Oh, by the way…..this day is also for women who may have suffered the lack of education in the past due to circumstances such as those described or for any other reasons not mentioned.  Happy Day Of The Girl.

To find out more about Day Of The Girl, visit http://www.un.org/en/events/girlchild/

Happy Day Of The Girl

Youth United for Global Action and Awareness (YUGA)

On October 11, 2012, people around the world will celebrate the first International Day of the Girl. The United Nations made the day official just last year, thanks in part to the advocacy efforts of Plan International USA.

In honor of the day, Plan is bringing female representatives from several of the countries where Because I Am a Girl projects are making a difference, thanks to your generous contributions to the cause. These young women will be in New York City for the first week of October, where they will have the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience, and to have a high-level impact on the international effort to invest in girls’ rights and education.

Read a little about these extraordinary young women–and you’ll see why they were chosen to represent their country and community!

Fabiola, 18, Cameroon. Fabiola is a member of Plan Cameroon’s Youth Empowerment…

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