The takeouts from Depp vs Heard defamation trial for the PAKISTANIs
Johnny Depp triumphs over the psychotic and deranged Amber Heard. Pakistan rejoices and celebrates his victory all over social media. Shares of the jury’s ruling in favor of Johnny Depp flood in, often with captions drenched in the sweat misogyny that Pakistan continues to breed.
What such a trial has to do with a country in the bottom five in terms of women’s safety [Reference] is beyond me. A nation where raising your voice against the man-of-the-house means a train-ride to your parents to knock some sense into you, Johnny Depp must surely be looking to get his Pakistani Passport. After all, Pakistani’s seem to be ever-so understanding of intimate partner violence against men. While their sympathies may never reach him, they will certainly show our women how they will be treated if they come forth.
The day Meesha Shafi went public with allegations against Ali Zafar, Ali Zafar was already acquitted and declared innocent by the nation. When Johnny Depp (who had already been proven guilty of 12 out of 14 alleged incidents of domestic abuse in a trial in the UK [Reference]) falsified all of Amber Heard’s claims during only his testimony, the entire nation had already declared her guilty.
One cannot help but muse over the motive behind the Pakistani adoration of JD and his victory over Amber Heard. Something so deeply damaging to the feminist movement and frightening for women all over the world who have experienced any form of domestic and/or sexual abuse, could only be celebrated in a country known to have the 4th worst women’s safety in the world. When Dua Zehra, a 14-year-old, married Zaheer Ahmed, a 21-year-old, the entire nation already began attacking her on every platform accessible. This reaction of the Pakistani population comes as no surprise, in a country reported to have the highest number of forced marriages in 2020 (238 cases) according to the UK Forced Marriage Unit. [Reference] . When a minor is blamed for the predatory actions of her adult husband, it is abundantly clear that you will inevitably lose as a woman in Pakistan.
Only in death do we see women triumph here. Zaher Jaffer, who mercilessly beheaded Noor Mukaddam, was unable to evade capture, as it seems only fatally violent acts can stir our empathy on social media. Had she lived as a victim of domestic abuse, the entire nation would be celebrating Zaher Jaffer, and pushing for proof from Noor. And then the tragedy of Zainab Ansari, a 7-year-old old who was abducted, murdered, and raped, where again, we see that it is only in death (and being a literal child), that women are given due justice in Pakistan.
But perhaps, the most symbolic event here to mention, is Qandeel Baloch, who was killed in honor of the nation’s ever-so Islamic values and ideals. A woman who was simply killed for refusing to bow down to patriarchy. Whose death was indeed a symbolic victory for the men of this country, who continue to rule over women. I think it would be valid to argue that Qandeel was perhaps the luckiest of all women who have fallen victim to such heinous acts. According to Humans Rights Watch, 1000 women are murdered in the name of honor each year. [Reference] While Qandeel’s case was broadcasted all over Pakistan, most women only end up becoming a statistic, while others are not even given that ‘privilege’. Wazira Chaachar, who was stoned to death in Jamshero, was amongst the several murders due to Karo-Kari, a draconian tradition in Sindh.
All these horrifying acts of humanity, that happen in our very neighborhoods sometimes, bring to our attention the fact that despite always being the ‘winners’, men in Pakistan still relate to being victims against the voiceless and powerless women in our country. Their undying support for Johnny Depp is deaf to the cultural concerns for women in this country. Their hatred towards Amber Heard, represent the bruises their egos suffer when women in their households inconvenience them.
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s situation is tragic and the obscene level of interest in the personal lives of two individuals only reveals the evaporation of empathy in society, where a women’s tears while describing heinous acts of violence and abuse are excellent material for viral tik toks. Women upon seeing Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby and other figures who became faces of the Me-Too movement, feel outraged because they have all at some point in their lives have at the very least felt endangered or uncomfortable because of men, if not assaulted. What baffles me, is the source of profound sympathy for Johnny Depp from men who marry wives in multiples of 2, when one starts complaining too much. God forbid these people must ever go to a court of law to challenge a women’s claims, when a simple bullet to the head can do the trick.
Perhaps Amber Heard’s biggest mistake was that she lived. Had she taken been hanged to death for allegedly destroying her husband’s career, perhaps some men in Pakistan would have felt sympathy for her. Women around us are closely monitoring the celebrations of JD, and his triumph over Amber Heard. The trial has given men the courage to take off the masks they had put on ever since the MeToo movement. Diseased and ill, at least the nation can identify the cancerous cells within itself.