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We have no value

By ATWadmin On November 5th, 2006

 Joya.jpg

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 for 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 MPs – 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 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.

13 Responses to “We have no value”

  1. Yes Alison you are quite right there should be much more support for the oppressed women of Afganistan. Indeed Muslim women in the West should start each morning with a prayer thanking God they are in the West. Their ‘sisters’ in Afganistan live in hell denied basic human rights. The bravery of the MP’s you mention beggars belief.

  2. Yes Alison you are quite right there should be much more support for the oppressed women of Afganistan. Indeed Muslim women in the West should start each morning with a prayer thanking God they are in the West. Their ‘sisters’ in Afganistan live in hell denied basic human rights. The bravery of the MP’s you mention beggars belief.

  3. Shocking.

    In the midst of evil, there is also breathtaking bravery.

    All of us, muslim or not, women or not need to be more aware of this. Keep posting on it Alison.

  4. I agree. Keep it up Alison

  5. If the west loses Afghanistan to the Taliban, we might as well give up. This is a fight between the values of the 21st century and the 15th.

  6. Yes – like the others I endorse Alison’s commentary on this.

  7. Any comments from our lefty readers?

  8. It’s sobering to realize that this misogynist mindset as been the dominant one in Afghanistan for many centuries. It’s only in recent times, when Western powers meddled in that country’s affairs, for better or worse, that we have become aware just what a rathole it is for women.

    The Taliban never went away. The Taliban set of values burns in the breast of the majority of Afghani men (I’ve been there) and its poison permeates that society. The courage of Malalai Joya and her fellow travellers is astounding and should leave no one anywhere unmoved.

    Thank you, Alison, for blogging this. You do these great women a service. And yes, Muslim women in the West must rally to their Afghan sisters’ cause.

    So too must Muslim men. In the long run, the Taliban toxicity will affect ALL of that society. It must be held in check.

    And God help our brave soldiers on that most dangerous of fronts.

  9. "And God help our brave soldiers on that most dangerous of fronts. "

    Amen to that!

  10. Thanks all. The wikipedia link to her profile which in turn links to articles about her background is very useful. And shows the enormous strength of character she has to speak her mind in what is essentially a rathole (well put Fanny!) for women. God help our soldiers indeed, they’re doing an incredibly important job.

  11. The left has nothing to say? Not like then to be silent.

  12. Allan, what exactly do you mean by "the left"? To be left surely means being in favour of change. I hardly think there’s a sentient person in these islands who does NOT wish to see change in Afghanistan.

    A conservative would wish to see a return to the status quo ante. Meaning a return to Taliban rule, no?

    Alison, thanks for the Wiki tip!

  13. I think Allan is referring to the Stopper left who include Afghanistan on their list of ‘imperialist invasion!!’ grievances…im not sure if that includes Cunningham and Daytripper or not in truth.