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War on women in Afghanistan

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ HB Web - discussion and comment ] [ Mandi Johnson on September 09, 1999 at 19:31:28:

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>Please spare a minute to read this mail. Thank you. The government of
>Afghanistan is waging a war upon women. The situation is getting so
>bad that one person in an editorial of the Times compared the
>treatment of women there to the treatment of Jews in pre-Holocaust
> Since the Taliban took power in 1996, women have had to
>wear burqua and have been beaten and stoned in public for not having
>the proper attire, even if this means simply not having the mesh
>covering in front of their eyes. One woman was beaten to DEATH by an
>angry mob of fundamentalists for accidentally exposing her arm while she
>was driving. Another was stoned to death for trying to leave the
>country with a man that was not a relative. Women are not allowed to
>work or even go out in public without a male relative; professional
>women such as professors,translators,doctors, lawyers, artists and writers
>have been forced from their jobs and stuffed into their homes, so
>that depression is becoming so widespread that it has reached
>emergency levels.
>There is no way in such an extreme Islamic society to
>know the suicide rate with certainty, but relief workers are estimating
>that the suicide rate among women, who cannot find proper medication
>and treatment for severe depression and would rather take their
>lives than live in such conditions, has increased significantly.
>Homes where a woman is present must have their windows painted so that
>she can never be seen by outsiders. They must wear silent shoes so
>that they are never heard. Women live in fear of their lives for the
>slightest misbehaviour. Because they cannot work, those without
>male relatives or husbands are either starving to death or begging on
>the street, even if they hold Ph.D.'s.
>There are almost no medical
>facilities available for women, and relief workers have mostly
>left the country. At one of the rare hospitals for women,a reporter
>found still, nearly lifeless bodies lying motionless on top of beds,
>wrapped in their burqua, unwilling to speak, eat, or do anything, but
>slowly wasting away. Others have gone mad and were seen crouched in
>corners, rocking or crying, most of them in fear. One doctor is
>considering, when what little medication that is left finally runs out,
>leaving these women in front of the president's residence as a form of
>peaceful protest.
>It is at the point where the term 'human
>rights violations' has become an understatement. Husbands have the
>power of life and death over their women relatives, especially their
>wives, but an angry mob has just as much right to stone or beat a woman,
>often to death, for exposing an inch of flesh or offending them in the
>slightest way.
> David Cornwell has said that those in the West
>should not judge the Afghan people for such treatment because it is a
>'cultural thing', but this is not even true. Women enjoyed
>relative freedom, to work, dress generally as they wanted, and drive and
>appear in public alone until only 1996 -- the rapidity of this
>transition is the main reason for the depression and suicide; women who
>once educators or doctors or simply used to basic human freedoms are
>now severely restricted and treated as sub- human in the name of
>right-wing fundamentalist Islam. It is not their tradition or
>'culture',but is alien to them, and it is extreme even for those
>cultures where fundamentalism is the rule. Besides, if we could
>excuse everything on cultural grounds, then we should not be
>appalled that the Carthaginians sacrificed their infant children, that
>little girls are circumcised in parts of Africa, that blacks in the US
>deep south in the 1930's were lynched, prohibited from voting, and
>forced to submit to unjust Jim Crow laws.
>Everyone has a right to a
>tolerable human existence, even if they are women in a Muslim country in a
>part of the world that Westerners may not understand. If we can
>threaten military force in Kosovo in the name of human rights for the
>sake of ethnic Albanians, then NATO and the West can certainly express
>peaceful outrage at the oppression, murder and injustice
>committed against women by the Taliban.
> In signing this, we agree that the current treatment
>of women in Afghanistan is completely UNACCEPTABLE and deserves
>support and action by the people of the United Nations and that the
>current situation in Afghanistan will not be tolerated. Women's Rights
>is not a small issue anywhere and it is UNACCEPTABLE for women in 1999
>to be treated as sub-human and so much as property. Equality and human
>decency is a RIGHT not a freedom, whether one lives in Afghanistan or
>anywhere else.
>1) Shahana S Ahmed, Nairobi, Kenya
>2) Tashmin Khamis, Karachi, Pakistan.
>3) Frank Haupt, Bern, Switzerland
>4) Adrian Coad, Strasbourg, France
>5) Brian Skinner, Loughborough, England
>6) Paul Chung, Loughborough, England
>7) Bryan Knell, Woodhouse Eaves, England
>8) Richard Tiplady, Chesham, England
>9) Carolyn Skinner, Ilford, England
>10) Fiona Bower, Lewisham, England
>11) Angela H. Moor, Lewisham, England
>12) Ian L. Moor, Lewisham, England
>13) Hugh Shanahan, Cambridge, England
>14) Anne-Christine Davis, Cambridge, England
>15) Tom Kibble, London, England
>16) Sten Larsson, Stockholm, Sweden
>17) Goran Sjonell Stockholm Sweden
>18) Frans J.M. Konig, Velp, The Netherlands
>19) Carl Steylaerts, Zandbergen, Belgium
>20) Theo Compernolle, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
>21) Leo Neels, Antwerpen, Belgium
>22) Jan Van Esbroeck, Antwerpen, Belgium
>23) Angela Wap, The Hague, Holland
>24) Michelle Kuypers, The Hague, Holland
>25) Sander Grande, The Hague, Holland
>26) Eric Houwen, Alphen a/d Rijn, Holland
>27) Matthijs Hertsenberg, Groningen, Holland
>28) Gert-Jan Schoppert, Utrecht, The Netherlands
>29) Els Groenewoud, Bussum, The Netherlands
>30) Margot Klerkx, Jakarta, Indonesia
>31) Frank Schrijnemakers, Jakarta, Indonesia
>32) Yvonne Kraak, Huatulco, Mexico
>33) Martiene Stavast, Kopenhagen, Denmearken
>34) MariŽlle Penrhyn Lowe, Haarlem, The Netherlands
>35) Alexandra Penrhyn Lowe, Kerkenveld, The Netherlands
>36) Katy Pfaffl, New York, USA
>37)Alexis Kern, Wayne, NJ
>38) Kristine Willey, New York, NY
>39) Elizabeth Schneider, Brooklyn, NY
>40) Robyn Peet, Wappingers Falls, NY
>41) BZ Bonoboy Evans, UHH, Hilo, Hawai'i
>42) Rod Schichtel, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA
>43) Sara Thornton, London, England.

44) Nicola Barnett, London, England.

45) Serena Stevens, London, England.
46) Mandi Johnson,Hebden Bridge, England.

>Please sign to support, and include your town and country.
>Then copy and e-mail to as many people as possible. If you
>receive this list with more than 50 names on it, please e-mail a copy of
>it to: Mary Robinson, High Commissioner, UNHCHR,
>webadmin.hchr@un.org and to: Angela King, Special Advisor on Gender Issues and the
>Advancement of Women, UN, daw@undp.org
>Even if you decide not to sign, please be considerate and do not
>kill the petition. Thank you. It is best to copy rather than forward
>the petition.
>Angela and Ian Moor
>London England
> "When I dare to be powerful--
>to use my strength in the service of my vision,
>then it becomes less and less important
>whether I am afraid."
> Audre Lorde (1934-1992)
> "Power concedes nothing without a demand.
>It never did and never will."
> Frederick Douglass
> "Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape
>it." --Bertolt