Guardian reporter Natasha Walter revisited Afghanistan. What she reports about the situation of women is horrifying:
Malalai Joya is, at 28 years old, the youngest and most famous of all the women in the Afghan parliament. In a way her very presence in the parliament is a powerful symbol of change; a woman who had to work in secret in underground schools in Herat during the Taliban time is now able to speak out against her enemies in the parliament. She rose to fame at the end of 2003, when she made a speech attacking the warlords who still hold the balance of power in Afghanistan. On that occasion, one of the men she was attacking, Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, rose and told her that her speech was a crime, announced that “Jihad is the basis of this nation” and asked for her microphone to be disconnected. The then speaker of the house, Sibghatullah Mojaddedi, a former mujahideen leader, called her an infidel, and said that if she did not apologise she could not attend the next session of parliament.
Since her historic speech, Joya has survived assassination attempts and constant denunciations….
I have only just moved here,” Joya says. “I have to keep changing my house. I hate guns, but I have to have men with guns guarding me all the time. One day they will kill me. They kill women who struggle against them.” Although Joya hated wearing the burka during the Taliban years, she is still not able to take it off. “I wore it today,” she tells me, “while I was travelling, because I am not safe….”
“Here there is no democracy, no security, no women’s rights,” she says. “When I speak in parliament they threaten me. In May they beat me by throwing bottles of water at me and they shouted, ‘Take her and rape her.’ These men who are in power, never have they apologised for their crimes that they committed in the wars, and now, with the support of the US, they continue with their crimes in a different way. That is why there is no fundamental change in the situation of women.”
Read the entire article to find out what “liberation” meas.
The Taliban are returning. Imperial war only strengthens them. Yet surrendering the country back to the Taliban is a horrifying prospect.
What should be done? Hell if I know.
November 28th, 2006