Sunday, November 20, 2011
There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)
NCIS is not a sci fi show, but the last episode has been weighing on my mind so much that I have to write about it. "Engaged, part II" was the conclusion of a two-part story revolving around the search for a missing Marine, Lt. Gabriella Flores, who had been reported killed in an insurgent attack on a school the Marines were helping to build in Afghanistan. Gibbs and his team discover that she had in fact survived the attack, saving the lives of two orphaned girls in the process, but all three were subsequently captured by the insurgents. While they are investigating the incident, they learn that the insurgents' primary aim wasn't even to attack American troops – it was to destroy the school because its purpose was to educate girls. To top it off, not only was the school targeted, but the girls who attended it were attacked as well, just for taking advantage of an opportunity to better themselves.
This is one situation in the world that I have a very difficult time understanding. I cannot fathom living in a culture where some people have privilege and power while others are denied basic things like an education, based solely on what type of equipment they have between their legs. Are these men so insecure that they feel threatened by some girls just because they can read or write? Wow. I know that this is something that happens – it was not just pulled from some screenwriter's imagination – and it is a very scary thing to know that these monsters exist in the world. I just don't appreciate how blessed I am until I see a story like this. I am so grateful for the accident of birth that placed me here in the United States where I am free to pursue as much education as I want (I have a Masters degree) and accomplish whatever I want to. Yes, some people still tell others that they can't do something because they are girls, but by and large they cannot stop those girls from attempting it anyway. I am also grateful for organizations like Global Women (an organization that I talked about here) that seek to empower women in places where they are otherwise oppressed, and I'm grateful for the men and women who risk their lives in places like Afghanistan so that girls like the ones depicted in NCIS the other night get the chance to make their lives better.
Kudos to the production team of NCIS for bringing us two awesome episodes that not only showcased some of the best acting so far this season, but also brought attention to a despicable situation and made me, for one, really think and feel deeply for the plight of girls who are in that situation for real. And kudos to the writers who gave Lt. Flores such an eloquent response to everything that happened to her, including being kidnapped and tortured by one of the female insurgents that had been a working as a teacher at the school. The episode is concluded perfectly when Gibbs asks Flores what should happen to this teacher. She says, "She should watch those girls change the world in positive ways she never imagined."
"That a punishment?" asks Gibbs.
"That's a gift…. Punishment is knowing she could have done the same."