By Lela Gilbert
Patience is in short supply these days. Despite our instant communication capabilities, just about everyone is waiting for something. The phone doesn’t ring. The cable guy never shows up. A check is always “in the mail.”
Last week I found my own patience stretched into a thin membrane by a pile of complaints – thankfully small ones. But mostly I was struck by the inevitable silence of waiting. When we’re hoping for answers, no news is far from good news.
And in fact, it was bad news that distracted me from my own woes as a headline scrolled down my iPhone. “Asia Bibi appeal hearing postponed.”
Asia Bibi is a Pakistani Christian, and her name is familiar to those of us who follow international human rights. Her story is almost unbelievable – and all too true:
“In June 2009, Asia was involved in an argument with a group of Muslim women with whom she had been harvesting berries, after the other women became angry at her for drinking the same water as them. She was subsequently accused of insulting the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, a charge she denies, and was arrested and imprisoned. In November 2010, a Sheikhupura judge sentenced her to death. If executed, Asia would be the first woman in Pakistan to be lawfully killed for blasphemy.”
Many have spoken out on Asia Bibi’s behalf, including Pope Benedict. Two prominent Pakistanis, Shahbaz Bhatti, Minister for Christian minorities, and Salmaan Taseer, Governor of Punjab, were assassinated in 2011 for opposing Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws on her behalf.