Clowns & Jokers

Stuck in the middle.... Left, right, centre. It's a mess out there.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

We Have No Value

Cross posted at ATW

It is crucial we succeed in Afghanistan. NATO's reputation is on the line and failure to tackle the re-emergence of Taliban forces there will embolden terrorists and strengthen their worldwide agenda. Without success there it will become a breeding ground for Al-Qaeda. Added to which we cannot abandon the people of Afghanistan themselves. Whilst it is important to succeed in Iraq I am concerned that our failure to support the fragile democracy in Afghanistan has allowed resurgent forces to regain control and in particular to threaten women’s rights. This is absolutely essential if the balance of power in a testosterone fuelled culture is to change.

Although the Taliban has been driven from power, Afghan women still suffer under fundamentalist persecution. Yes, some of the most notable achievements in ousting the Taliban included a small step forward in women’s rights. Afghan girls have been permitted to go to school and women have been allowed to rejoin the work force. But recent events indicate that fundamentalist restrictions on women are taking hold in Afghanistan again. And the Northern Alliance still includes a collection of Mujahadeen warlords of whom women, especially, were frequent targets.

It is these warlords who, as reported in The Times today (alongside other harrowing accounts), are threatening incredibly brave women in volatile but important positions - MPs such as 27 year old Malalai Joya, physically attacked in the Afghan parliament, survivor of 4 assassination attempts ~ but solid in her commitment to stay put and shout down the warlords. She is revered as a heroine amongst the people of Afghanistan.

We have no value.” “When I speak, they pelt me with water bottles,” (referring to her fellow male MPs). “One shouted, ‘Take and rape her!’ “The West talks of Afghan women having freedom and going outside without a burqa but I tell you the burqa was not the main problem for women. Look at the high rate of suicide among our women. The real problem is security and more and more are returning to the burqa (for protection).”

As recently as last month Safia Ama Jan the director of Womens Affiars was murdered for standing up to the mysoginist forces tightening their grip again. And whilst President Kharzai was quick to condemn her death I think much more pressure ought to brought to bear on him. Its imperative our forces establish security for the reason I mentioned above but equally crucial that womens status is improved in a country where there is a chance to achieve this. Our government and the US government can no longer afford to cite advances in women’s rights in wistful historical terms. It should be up their on the list above opium cultivation!

I also can’t help but feel hugely disappointed that muslim women in the west, who should champion their ‘muslim sisters’ in Afghanistan are failing them. They have so much in comparison and yet take it for granted. It’s incredibly sad and an inditement on the cultural strategies of the government that they feel more inclined to ignore women who have shown such enormous courage to get the little they have.


At Tuesday, 14 November, 2006, Blogger Dangerouslysubversivedad said...

The problem is that, as the lady says in your post above, you cant take away the misogyny and oppression without taking away the religion. Which our pathetic politicians don't have the balls to do. They simply cannot grasp that Islam is incompatible with any kind of equality or democracy and that no matter how you much you try to civilise an Islamic society the compass will always swing rapidly back due 'Fundamentalism'.


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