if a Pashtun girl refuses the proposal or marriage to a cousin/someone back home who's never been to the West, her family and relatives will accuse her of being selfish: "You know very well that life is hell for men there. They can't find a job, they can't get good education, they can't do ANYTHING. You HAVE to marry this guy if you care at all about the honor of this family or of your roots and people. Shame on you if you don't." This is how we're emotionally blackmailed.Try resisting such accusations, only to be attacked even more. Heck, in some cases, they'll even use an ill family member's illness to compel us to give in to the marriage. Or an elderly family member. "Don't you want your parent/grandparent to see you married off happily?" This goes both ways, for the girls and the boys. Got a cousin/family member/neighbor back home who's all alone and got no one to take care of? If you're a Pashtun guy and your family is skilled at blackmailing, they'll go: "Look, she has no one else. We're all she's got. Consider it charity. God will reward you. Imagine life with a Western Pukhtana jinay - she'll ruin you! Don't you know how they are? But imagine life with a quiet, sweet, innocent, humble, DECENT girl from back home -- and who better than someone you can help? God will reward you for it. Please do it." etc., etc. And they won't shut up till you do it! In cases like these, I'm sorrier for the guys ... sorry, boyz. So sorry. Life must be hard on y'all in the West, just like it is on us girls, too. *big fat tears* And these kinds of blackmails never end: after the marriage, right away, they'll go, "Don't you want your parent/grandparent to see your kids, hold their tender little precious bodies in their mighty blessed arms and give them their blessings?" It's not like there's any direct force. There may rarely be threats. It's just these blackmails. The pressure is intense. It's hard to avoid family when they're on your head about your marriage constantly. And to resist these kinds of blackmails is to be talked so meanly and filthily of that you have no other choice but to give in just to prove that their accusations aren't true. And one of the worst things they (the family/relatives/others involved in ensuring that we marry guys from back home rather than here) can do is to suspect that you must be interested in "a black guy"! Don't tell me you've never heard that from a Pukhtun woman in your community, haaa haa. Goes like this: "Waley? Ta ba da tori sara waada key sa? Zaan ba marr kam kho taa ba tori ta pre na dam." :| And you're standing there thinking, "Wait, what? My refusal to marry someone from back home automatically means I'm in love with a black guy? Besides, what's wrong with black guys? They're sometimes better than Pukhtun men, damnit." etc. -- but, girls, don't kid yourself and say that out loud to any woman who says that to you. Just don't take the risk.
This visa stuff (men marrying women only to obtain a visa into a western country) is actually more serious among Moroccan men and white American/Canadian converts to Islam, and I've read a lot on this. I thought it was just some of my own friends I know who this has happened to (white converts to Islam looking to marry an "authentic" Muslim, and Moroccans apparently are some of the best Muslim men, they falsely think), but it's a phenomenon today. In most cases, the guy is already married--with kids--and doesn't tell the convert here. They usually meet online, and the whole thing (engagement, etc.) takes place online, and so by the time he gets here, their nikaah is done, and, in some cases, the marriage isn't registered, making it hell for the woman to get out of the marriage and to get anything out of it (her mahr/dower, etc.) because the state has no proof of their marriage. The point is, it's bad! Stop doing it to us Puhktun women, too, before it gets out of hand!
With Puhktuns, it's not that the man will leave the wife as soon as he gets his greencard/etc. And legally, if he does ANYTHING to her, including even lightly hitting her, and she reports him to the police during the time that he's waiting to get his documents, he will get deported. Just something I think all women in the U.S. should know in case they're involved in abusive/unhappy marriages with an immigrant who's here only through her.
So, what happens ultimately in some cases? Divorce becomes an issue, then, since we don't typically think well of divorced women, but when a Pashtun raised/educated in the West marries someone raised/educated in Pashtunkhwa/Afghanistan with a completely different mentality, and the couple weren't given a chance to speak to each other and get to know each other at least a little bit before marriage, the marriage is very likely to end in divorce. This should not be taken to mean that Pashtun girls raised in the West don't give marriage a chance or don't respect their husbands or marriage or kids or that they think divorce is a small matter--no, that's not true. But I'll talk about this and these unfair judgments commonly held about Pashtun girls in the West in the next post in the series.
Coming up in the series:
- The Causes of this Problem
- the "Pashtun" concepts of marriage and family
- misconceptions about Pashtun women in the West
- Possible Solutions to the Problem
- Further discussion on the topic: readers' responses analyzed and addressed
- "Imported" brides
- The problem of marriage among Pashtuns in the West - the Problems!
- Marriage among the Pashtun diaspora - an introduction