Oh, that Afghan woman!

The most puzzling headline in quite a while was in The Boston Globe, Sept. 5, 2017. Not for what it said but for what it didn’t say. It read: “Sweden may deport Afghan woman.” Well, there are probably 100,000 Afghan women in Sweden, some with permanent residency, but most without. And deporting one Afghan woman wouldn’t be newsworthy enough to warrant a story and headline in any American paper, not even The Boston Globe.

But wait! There’s more! Read the AP story and you find, aha! The woman is 106 years old! Now that’s a story! Why the headline, to fit into the two column story, didn’t read something like “Sweden may deport 106-year-old” is something only a Globe copy editor can explain.

I’m sure you’re wondering, so here’s the story lede and the bureaucratic explanation:
“HOVA, Sweden — A 106-year-old Afghan woman who made a perilous journey to Europe, carried by her son and grandson through mountains, deserts, and forests, is facing deportation from Sweden after her asylum application was rejected. Bibihal Uzbeki is severely disabled and can barely speak. Her family has appealed the rejection…..The Swedish Migration Agency confirmed in a statement to the Associated Press they had ‘taken a decision regarding an expulsion in the case,’ adding ‘generally speaking, high age does not in itself provide grounds for asylum.’ ”

File under: Headline puzzler. Stay tuned for appeal decision.

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