This is seriously a month straight out of hell. As if the world isn’t bad enough right now, this morning the news delivered us a chilling reminder that sexism is still very real and ” while people are busy spamming Taylor Swift’s Instagram with snakes ” women are dying because of it.
This morning Muhammad Waseem, the brother of Pakistani internet star Qandeel Baloch, was arrested for her murder.
Qandeel was strangled on Friday night in the city of Multan in Pakistan. News outlets this morning referred to her as the ˜Kim Kardashian of Pakistan’, where she was famous for being a media personality and ˜liberal’ feminist with a large social presence and upwards of 785,000 Facebook followers. In her chilling final posts she speaks openly about feeling oppressed and writes, “I believe I am a modern day feminist. I believe in equality. I need not to choose what type of women should be. I don’t think there is any need to label ourselves just for sake of society. I am just a woman with free thoughts free mindset and I LOVE THE WAY I AM.” (July 14)
Similarly, the note pinned at the top of her Facebook page reads it’s time to bring a change because the world is changing. let’s open our minds and live in present. (July 4)
Qandeel’s outspokenness was relatively novel in Pakistan where there is still a huge disparity in gender equality, and last year the country landed itself in second to last (only beating Yemen) on the list of 145 countries featured in the World Economic Forum’s 2015 Gender Gap Report.
Both Waseem and his sister are part of the Baloch ethnic group, one of the most conservative in Pakistan. When speaking with journalists this morning, he claimed that he murdered Qandeel because she was too outspoken on the internet. I’m not ashamed, He said, She was posting videos on Facebook. We are Baloch people, we can’t tolerate that¦I gave her a [sedative] tablet and strangled her.
The BBC has reported that the residents of Qandeel’s village have condemned the killing, her parents have come out against the actions of their son, and in a press statement a few weeks ago Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, said “There is no honor in honor killing, in fact there can be nothing more degrading than to engage in brutal murder and to refer to it as honor.” Nowhere in Islamic practice or Pakistani government are honor killings condoned. So IDK what crazy juice Waseem is drinking, but its not in the water.