I don’t know why I looked down the block in Melbourne, before I was about to cross a street, but I did.

I saw a sign “Bookstore: Books in Other Languages” and was immediately intrigued.  I have reached the stage in my German learning where I am reading books, and I thought there might be some good ones there.  I was not disappointed.

I found one by an author I knew, and then I picked up a paperback that said “Sterben Sollst Du für Dein Glück”  (You should die for your Happiness), by Sabatina James.  I read the back cover and was intrigued even more.  I bought both books and that night decided to start the James book.  It has changed me, just as Sabatina James has changed the lives of many.

Sabatina James was born in Pakistan and at an early age moved to Austria with her siblings and mother, to join her father, who was living near Linz, a small city in the northeastern part of the country, not far from the Czech Republic.  She went to school there and became a typical Austrian teenager–she became fluent in German, she liked the music, she had her friends, she did well in school.  But she had issues at home, where her mother had adhered to Pakistani traditions, Islam, and had learned no German.

Eventually, James had issues with her parents about her clothing, her hours, and where she went.  Her mother struck her several times.  James learned that she was betrothed to her cousin in Lahore, whom she had met only a few times.  Eventually, the family went to Pakistan, did the tour of the family in various parts of the country, and set up a betrothing–not a wedding–with Sabatina’s cousin.  She balked, loudly, at the betrothing, shaming her family.  When her parents and her siblings left, Sabatina remained behind, with her aunt, who ran the house.  Sabatina was put into two different Koran Schools, one so filthy that she was constantly sick, the other where the cleric at least listened to her ask questions about the Koran.  It should be noted that Sabatina’s having lived in Europe disqualified her from attending many such schools.

Eventually, Sabatina went along with the instruction, became a quiet, good Muslim young girl. She slept in the house where her betrothed lived.  He tried to get her to sleep with him; she was able to avoid that, but not his touching her while he masturbated. When her parents came back, they found a different girl.  Sabatina returned to Austria, where again, she slowly tried to regain her circle of friends.  Her parents kept pressing her to work on getting her fiancé’s visa for Austria.  She refused, and one day he came, the visa having been obtained by her parents.  She refused to marry him, and he parents put out a “death judgment” on her.

Since then, Sabatina has been on the run, occasionally her telephone number being found, and having to change it.  She converted to Christianity, because she found love in the Bible, and a lot more equality between the sexes than in Islam.  This makes her life even more dangerous.  She lives between the Islamic and Western worlds, and she founded Sabatina e.V. in 2006, a foundation for “Women in Chains”.  To say the stories are horrible is a gross understatement.  Women are burned, stoned, have acid thrown in their faces, beaten, and of course raped, even as young a 2 1/2 year-old, whose only crime was being born to a Christian family in Pakistan.  Five operations later, the child and family are safely in Canada.  Occasionally, one of these people is saved, but it is a drop in the bucket compared to the need.

About every day, the Facebook Site has pictures of women who have been beaten, raped, or otherwise severely abused.  Some commit suicide as their only escape from such a horrible existence.  I post on the site, but not often, and only when I am sure my German is acceptable.  I have pointed out issues here in the US.  We have yet to renew the Violence Against Women Act, because of LGBT concerns.  I am astounded that those who detest big government are quick to tell women what they should and should not do with their bodies, and that nearly all the testimony is from men.  I am astounded that  big government haters want the government to decide with whom somebody can live and love.  A woman who wants to have birth control covered by insurance was basically called a slut by Rush Limbaugh, whose gender, past drug abuse and body habitus hardly make him much better.  I’m told old people listen to him.  I’m old, and I find the man detestable.

We hear almost nothing about Ciudad Júarez, the most dangerous city on Earth, four hours from where I live, where every day in broad daylight, people are kidnapped without reason.  Others are gunned down, 120,000 dead in the last several years.  This information I pointed out to Sabatina e.V, noting that I did not hear about it in our local media, but in a German documentary, for apparently some Germans think this is a more pressing problem than how well the U of A basketball team is playing.

Why even try?  After all, this is liking trying to save companion animals, who die in the millions every year, without homes, because people want purebred breeds, the more exotic the better.  I call these “designer dogs,” because I seldom see a run-of-the mill mutt any more.  Sabatina is working for the tens of millions of abused women, and the female children, who in some places in India are killed at birth, because the family can’t afford a dowry.

Why even try?  A man, out for a walk along a beach, saw another man in the distance, throwing starfish into the sea.  “Why are you throwing them?” said the first man. “There are millions on this beach, and you can’t possibly make a difference.”

The second man threw another starfish into the sea.  “I made a difference for that one.”


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