Really, it never went away. You knew that. But I’ve been constraining myself from posting news about this deadly mad war–which I, along with at least half of the world’s population–take pretty personally. But I figure most people who come to Sidebar, do so because they want advice about being plaintiffs. Not about what’s going on out there in the awful world of women’s human rights.
This is not to say that I haven’t been thoroughly reading the news and screaming. I have.
Yesterday, though, there was this dark comedy in the New York Times: Chechen Leader’s Advice on Women: Lock Them In
Here’s the Times’s abstract:
President Ramzan A. Kadyrov of Chechnya finally had enough Wednesday of social media users mocking him relentlessly for seeming to push polygamy. His solution? Keep women locked up at home.
No, it’s not going away. And below are a couple of extracts–I wish they were vanilla–where I screamed. I think if I screamed, you, too, should also have the provocation to similarly vent:
“Lock them in, do not let them go out, and they will not post anything,” Mr. Kadyrov said in a video to a sheepish group of men and women who kept their arms folded across their chests and their eyes firmly on the ground during the harangue.
The social media explosion was set off last weekend in Grozny, the Chechen capital, when a 17-year-old bride was married off to a pal of Mr. Kadyrov’s, a district police chief pushing 50 and reportedly already married.
The first report of the betrothal had emerged in late April in the Novaya Gazeta newspaper, which reported that the police chief, Nazhud Guchigov, had ordered the young woman’s parents to hand her over by May 2 or he would take her by force.
After the article was published, Mr. Kadyrov jumped into the action, saying he had investigated the marriage proposal and found both the young bride, Kheda Goylabiyeva, and her family agreeable.
The wedding went ahead on Saturday, with Mohamed Daudov, Mr. Kadyrov’s chief of staff, leading a decidedly downcast-looking bride [see her photo in the link, above; “downcast” isn’t precisely the word I’d use] to the altar. Mr. Daudov was later quoted as saying polygamy should be legalized.
Mr. Kadyrov danced at the wedding and posted a video of it. If the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton in England was the wedding of the century, he wrote, then the outpouring of interest over the May-December marriage in Chechnya constituted the biggest celebration in 1,000 years.
Pavel Astakhov, the Kremlin official who is supposed to protect children’s rights in Russia, defended the practice of older men taking young brides. During a radio interview, he suggested that was especially the case in places like Chechnya where women were “shriveled” by the age of 27, looking at that age like most Russian women do at 50.
His remarks prompted another wave of outrage, with hundreds of Russian women in their 20s posting pictures with the hashtag #wrinkledwomen. Mr. Astakhov apologized, saying that women of all ages were “wonderful and delightful.”
The official assurances from Mr. Kadyrov and others did nothing to quiet the torrent of ridicule over the marriage. People posted cartoons mocking the police chief, or images like a 19th-century oil painting of a young bride being married off, called “The Unequal Marriage.”
Annoyed, Mr. Kadyrov summoned about a dozen people who had evidently offended him with their posts, lecturing them in the presence of the police-chief groom and other officials.
“Stop it!” Mr. Kadyrov barked, before suggesting that women be locked up specifically to deny them access to the social media application WhatsApp.
“Behave like Chechens,” he said. “Honor of the family is the most important thing. Don’t write such things anymore. You, men, keep your women far away from WhatsApp!”