Posts Tagged 'shiite'

More Tragedy for Afghan Women

As I noted in an earlier post, women in Afghanistan don’t have it easy right now.

In April, there were protests against the horrific laws pertaining to Shiite women – laws designed to garner votes with the conservative religious (male, obviously) population.

In the Sunday Times Magazine this weekend, Christina Lamb has an in-depth piece on the continuing injustice Afghani women face. In interviews with women she met and seven years earlier, the discrimination and violence they face is made painfully clear.

That women can still be forced into abusive and sometimes fatal marriages because of religious or cultural forces, that those women who struggle to continue with education, work, and basic personal freedom, often face consternation, threats, abuse, and death, that the humanitarian workers and organizations can’t seem to do enough to protect, let alone assist in the liberation of, these women, is all profoundly sad, and intensely distressing. Because what can one do?

Reading the story, I felt an urge to rush to Afghanistan and start up a women’s army – training these brilliant, defiant, intelligent ladies like Marines, giving them physical strength to face their adversaries. But really, the trouble is more insidious, more entrenched; ideology cannot be warred against.

How do you educate a nation of men who have been trained, indoctrinated, to regard women as property? As inhuman? As infidels or dangerous upstarts should they balk at marrying or staying at home or generally acting as if they have a mind of their own? Not just that, but to believe that violence against them is not the same calibre as violence against another man, or even an animal; that violence they feel the need to enact is somehow their god-given right?

The Civil Rights Movement needs to begin in earnest in Afghanistan. But it is daunting to look into the past, to see the cost of such movements – fear, injury, death – before change can be felt.

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