Not-so-Happy International Women's Day!
There's been plenty of emailing, tweeting, Facebook posting, blogging and more about International Women's Day, now marking its 100th anniversary. No question women in the west have considerably advanced from being nothing more than chattel to citizens ostensibly enjoying equal rights. (Although, the fight really never ends.)
But the human race and the planet would be far better off if women everywhere had access to reproductive choices and maternal healthcare, education and land and property rights. Instead, they suffer forced marriage, devastatingly early pregnancies, multiple births, crushing burdens of having to look after small children while also walking miles for food, water and kindling ...
Over the past couple of years, since this blog was birthed, I've been pleased to see some of these notions gain traction beyond the usual NGOs. There's a lot of talk. But there seems to be little political action.
Political action is what is needed.
And so, for International Women's Day, I would like to propose you do one thing to help women in one country where we already investing so much blood and treasure.
Afghanistan. Land of that despicable puppet we support Hamid Karzai.
Orzala Ashraf, a women’s rights activist in Kabul, blames the government: “Laws are clear about crimes but we see big criminals thriving and being nurtured by the state for illicit political gains,” she told IRIN, pointing to the government’s alleged failure to address human rights violations committed over the past three decades of conflict.
“Because no one is put on trial for his crimes, a criminal culture is being promoted: violators have no fear of the law, prosecution and a meaningful penalty,” said Ashraf.
Deep-seated ambivalence to women’s rights is evident from a law signed off by President Hamid Karzai in early 2009: The Shia Personal Status Law, dubbed a ‘rape legalizing law’, was amended after strong domestic and international pressure.
“The first version [of the law] was totally intolerable,” said Najia Zewari, a women’s rights expert with the UN Fund for Women (UNIFEM). “Despite positive changes in the final version, there are articles that still need to be discussed and reviewed further,” she said.
Another example of this ambivalence is the case of the men who threw acid in the faces of 15 female students in Kandahar city in November 2008: Karzai publicly vowed they would be “severely punished” but court officials in Kandahar and Kabul have said they are unaware of the case and do not know where the alleged perpetrators are.
“Judges say the men were wrongly accused and forced to confess,” Ranna Tarina, head of Kandahar women’s affairs department, told IRIN.
Today, on the 8th of March, Afghan women are mourning for the gang-rape of Bashiras and Saimas, for being flogged by most lowed elements, for being auctioned in open market and for their young daughters who put an end to their miserable lives by self-immolation. But the perpetrators of all these crimes are forgiven; therefore they enjoy complete immunity, are still holding their official positions and tightening it through plundering our people and country.
Though we don’t expect anything different from the most corrupt and dirty puppet regime of the world, the pain of Afghan women turns chronic when the world believes that the US and NATO has donated liberation, democracy and human and women rights for Afghanistan; whereas, after eight years of the US and allies’ aggression under the banner of “war on terror”, they empowered the most brutal terrorists of the Northern Alliance and the former Russian puppets – the Khalqis and Parchamis – and by relying on them, the US imposed a puppet government on Afghan people. And instead of uprooting its Taliban and Al-Qaeda creations, the US and NATO continues to kill our innocent and poor civilians, mostly women and children, in their vicious air raids.
RAWA is eager to get united in solidarity with individuals and forces that are ready to fight for democracy in an independent front against the occupation, the Taliban, Jehadi and Khalqi and Parchami homeland-sellers.
While women of Afghanistan are experiencing a new era of captivity and are in the grip of the fundamentalist monsters, RAWA sends it heartfelt salutations to struggling brave women of Iran, Palestine, Kurdistan, Sudan, Nepal, India and the rest of the world and announces solidarity with them.
So, this is the kind of thing our tax dollars are supporting.
Do I advocate abandoning these people? No. But I do think that we can let our politicians know that this is not acceptable, not under Canada's flag.
No deals with corrupt women-haters. Simple. Let your MP know. Let the PM know too.