Showing posts with label women. Show all posts
Showing posts with label women. Show all posts

May 15, 2019

Pakistani Girls Sold into Marriage

I just read this sad story on BBC website about young girls as brides belonging to minority Christian and in some cases Muslim groups trafficked to China. This tragic story could be the tip of the ice berg. Who knows how many innocent and naive girls are being sold by their parents who have gone unnoticed.

In early 2000s, there were some rumors about Afghan refugees in Pakistan who were sold into marriages in the Gulf countries. A few of them were smuggled into Dubai and kept in the houses of wealthy local Arabs. At one point one of the brides was drowned and some were seen working in brothels in Dubai. It is unfortunate and yes, poverty takes the largest toll on poor and vulnerable people who always happen to be women and children.

Jun 7, 2016

Sultana's Story And Her Educational Aspiration

If you haven't yet read this week's incredible about Sultana on the New York Time, a young girl living in southern Afghanistan who dreams to study in the United States, I highly recommend to read it. Sultana is definitely in of some attention for her future. If you want to donate money towards her education, there is a page made for her in which money goes directly into her account.
Sultana at her desk, photo already published on the NYT.

Like Sultana, there are thousands of girls in areas under the Taliban control who can't go to school. It is unfortunate that Sultana and girls like her are forbidden to go to school, but there is always an incorrect perception that deludes our understanding of the nature of south, where Sultana comes from. ( It is not known where exactly she comes from. The impression that I have from the photos that she has provided to her supporters is that she lives in city).
Most of often people think that the Taliban are foreigners, they come across the boarders from Pakistan, while this might be true to some degree, it belies the sympathizing nature for the Taliban in the southern Afghanistan - mainly in Pashtun areas. Those that hold this kind view that the Taliban are not Afghans, they are either proponent of Ashraf Ghani and Krazai who have been calling the Taliban 'brothers' or they are those that are influenced by misconceptions on the nature of Afghan war and politics. If the Taliban would not have sympathizers among the people in the south, Afghanistan would be much safer today and girls like Sultana would be able to freely attend school.

I am also a little bit doubtful about the story of Sultana. It seems that exaggeration is a fun thing - especially that she is intrigued by dark matter and she aspires to solve its mystery - and Kristof has used it well in his article, though he states that he can't verify everything Sultana says. I hope everything is written there turns out real. There are many girls like Sultana who needs support, but not all can make their stories so theatrical to get American readers' attention. Let's wish her all the best.

Also, you can listen to Sultana's Skype short interview (pull the bar to the end of the program, the interview starts at 36.40) with her friend Emily Roberts, a student at the University of Iowa. 

Jan 24, 2016

Hazara Female Models on the Catwalk in Kabul



A decade-and-a-half after the end of Taliban rule, women in Afghanistan still face pressure to dress conservatively in their Muslim-dominated society. That makes holding a fashion show with female models a risky endeavor. But some young women are making a fashion statement, defying threats and social taboos to take to the runway. (RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan). Source RFE/RL

Here is another example of bravery that is presented by Hazara women defying the threats against themselves. However, there is just one caveat to remember. We must be careful and distinguish when we are talking about women in Afghanistan. Ethnic plays an important role in women's freedom. You won't see women from other ethnic groups among them. These young females are ethnically Hazara, the most persecuted and downtrodden people on earth. If chance given to them, and they receive support, these women can be an embodiment of courage and freedom that can exemplify it for others.

Mar 1, 2014

Ashraf Ghani, Promises To Ban Burqa If Elected

Women who participated in Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai's presidential campaign in Kabul. The photo is taken from his facebook page
For the first time in the history of Afghanistan, a hope ignited for Afghan women to be totally liberated from sexual oppression, imposed by their men. On Thursday, February 27, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, a potential contender for the upcoming Afghan election in April 5, talked to an audience of women who were all in burqas. Under a tight security measure - fearing of women being stolen - the ceremony was held at the Intercontinental Hotel of Kabul and hosted thousands of women from all over Afghanistan.

Wrapped in a khaki Afghan shawl, Ashraf Ghani, emerged with his entourage and went directly to the podium, where a banner proclaimed “tāhāwūl and tādāwūm” (change and continuity). Gazed at his audience while clearing his throat; after resting his elbows on the podium, he started: “Sisters and mothers, you all have endured pains to come to Kabul, and pronounce your support for me,” after a short pause Mr. Ahmadzai continued, “as a servant of you, not as a ruler, I tell you that you will all be liberated, when I am elected a president.”

His voice roused some women from their slumbers. Some were murmuring while some others were quite but anxiously waiting what Mr. Ahmadzai would say to them. Mr. Ahmadzai, spent more than 45 minutes talking about history of western women and how they struggled to obtain their freedom that ultimately resulted to the liberation of their bodies, something that men desire. Everyone seemed bored of his boring long-winded speech; some elder women have already fallen asleep and their deafening snores were reminding of several tanks moving towards the battle field. Worn out of his bombastic speech, almost at the end of his speech, Ashraf Ghani, excitedly took out a piece of paper from his left pocket and after taking a deep breath, and while his right hand still held in the air, he volubly started:
“If I become the president of our motherland, I will issue a decree to ban the burqa that is imposed on you. The central oppression remains in burqa itself, it is a prison, and it clogs up the flowing of thoughts in your brain, which is why people think you are all thoughtless. That is the reason that today, Afghan women are considered by their men as mere chattels: possessions with no rights, and sexual slaves. The reason that you are being treated as sexual slaves, I must say that there is a lack of sex drive in you all, because you all lack libidos, a sexual desire that is important, first, for yourself, and then, for your men. Why? Because it is clear to me that you all hide it under those damn blue burlap sacks, when you walk on the streets, no desire being aroused in men. This is simply a tragedy. What we all have between our legs should sacredly be treated and publically be demonstrated.  Therefore, in order to make a better Afghanistan, I want the women, the 50% of our population, to be part of my team, the “change and continuity.” With this, I mean, I first change you, and then, I continue that change in you."
Ashraf Ghani’s words like aroma of geranium permeated throughout the hall, whiffs of a familiar and unfamiliar smell resided in the limbic system of women who were all in burqas. The impulse of self-attraction and imagination of libido was inflamed in all participants. Under the burqa, some started turning their bodies right and left, then started experiencing twitching and spasming, a small group of them still played with themselves, while some others’ moans have already filled the entire hall.

No one listened and no one knew what Mr. Ahmadzai have said during this time. He left the hall amid magnificent smile and joy pouring from women in burqa onto the floor. One of the Kabul-based newspapers titled the event as “a historic moment for the Afghan women.” Afghan historians simply called it a “turning point” in the history of Afghanistan; while women who took part in the event simply called it the “dawn of Afghan women libido.”

Apr 8, 2011

Malalai Joya's Pointless Tour to The U.S

Malalai Joya is currently touring the United States and I am a bit confused at what she hopes to accomplish here. She speaks poorly of the U.S, NATO, International Communities, and everyone in Afghanistan. She sometimes appears to be a feminist, sometimes a politician, and sometimes a human rights activist. Some believe that she fails to fulfill all these roles, but rather wants to be the center of attention.

She does not have a clear agenda as to when she wants the NATO troops out of Afghanistan. She also demands US withdrawal from Afghanistan, a demand she shares with the Taliban. If NATO troops leave Afghanistan Joya would not have chance to speak out like now.

Here what she says:

“The Afghan people are squashed between three enemies: the Taliban, warlords, and occupation forces.”
She always rants and raves about government, the Taliban, NATO forces and warlords which are all pointless. Warlords have no power anymore; they were devastated and disarmed four years ago. They have no voice in the Afghan public domain, and if they do, they have no influence.

Joya is ignorantly supporting the Taliban right now because their demands match hers. The Taliban asks U.S forces withdrawal as well.

Here is another pointless claim of hers:
“The reason they refused to give me a visa, I think, is because I exposed the wrong policies of your government, and I talk about the reality of the so-called ‘war on terror,’ and I talk about the war crimes your government is committing in the name of the American people,” said Joya. “These are the reasons they are afraid of me and do not let me enter the U.S.”
I don't know who would be naïve enough to believe that she correctly understands the situation in Afghanistan. Joya is living in her own hysterical, and sometimes paranoid, world that she created from the Afghan public sphere. She has little voice in the country, even among women. Her typical speech always descends into a rant against the government, tribal leaders and foreign forces that often get her into trouble.

While representing her country, she portrays a very bad image of Afghanistan and, more specifically, Afghan women. She believes that the situation women are in today is worse than than their situation was under the Taliban. I disagree. She ignores the fact of hundreds of thousands of girls going to school today and thousands of women employed by numerous government and NGOs since 2002.

I would suggest instead of repeating everything that she used to say five years ago, she should come up with an idea. She can raise money for building schools for girls; she can be a good feminist and work specifically for women’s rights. She can raise money for widows and homeless women, who are now in despair. Malalai Joya must understand that she has not left room for herself in Afghanistan because she's always in fight with quite everyone in power there.

May 5, 2010

Honor Gang Rape

We often hear of “honor killing” in the mass media, a practice that exists in some Muslim countries including Afghanistan. An honor killing is the murder of a family or clan member in which the perpetrators are motivated by a belief that the victim has brought dishonor upon the family, clan or community. A comparable, yet less widely publicized form of honour punishment, is gang rape. While honor gang rapes are usually carried out against women, an incident that took place two weeks in Northern Afghanistan involved the gang rape of two young men.

According to a local report, a dozen farmers and shepherds raped two young men as a punishment for engaging in sexual relations with two young women. The incident occured in the Dasht-e Laili (Laili desert) of Jawzjan province, an area famed for being the site of a Taliban massacre in the aftermath of September 11. Both young men are related to high-ranking government officials, one being the son of the provincial governor and the other the son of a police chief. Prior to the rape the two young men were disarmed and saw their belongings, including a few thousand US dollars, confiscated by the farmers and shepherds. The perpetrators of the rape explained that the punishment was meted out as an act of revenge for the sexual acts undertaken by the young men. Continue reading...

Apr 24, 2010

Public sexual harassment in Kabul

A woman who recently went to Kabul for the first time has often posted on her facebook about public sexual harassment on the streets of Kabul. To be honest, sexual harassment is quiet common in Muslim countries where women are restricted not to have public appearance. But, specifically, in the Afghan culture and society which is extremely religious and traditional, public sexual harassment is not only common but people enjoy if they harass women either by their looks or words. Even in less conservative city like Kabul, women are facing intimidation and regular sexual assault on a daily bases . But when it comes to school girls they are often victimized by male carrying knifes and acid.

In 2009, the Ministry of Education has reported that within eight months, 138 students and teachers have died and 172 have been wounded in criminal and terror attacks. About 651 schools have closed and another 122 school buildings have been blown up or burned down. Based on United Nations Population Fund in Afghanistan (UNFPA), about 31% of Afghan women suffer physical violence and another 30% suffer from psychological violence.

Nevertheless, she (who requested that her name to be removed) has written this sentence on her facebook wall that made me to laugh:
“I called a harasser on a motorbike "mordagow" and he almost crashed into a sewer. AWESOME.”

It is uncommon to respond back to a harasser on the streets of Kabul. First, Afghan women don’t have that courage to call on harasser “mordagow” because of predominantly male oppression. Second, because public harassment is so pervasive in Afghan society that women are used to it.

The word “mordagow” is Farsi (Dari/persian) word which is only used among Afghan Farsi speakers. The word that panicked the harasser means “cuckold”; a married man with an adulterous wife.

Feb 19, 2010

Warlord Carries out Brutal Public Flogging in Ghor Province

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Do you remember last year in April 2009, the Guardian published a video of a 17-year-old girl's flogging by the Taliban in Swat Valley? Another incident just happened a few days ago in Dolina district in Ghor province, central Afghanistan. Ghor is one of the poorest provinces in central Afghanistan, and Dolina district has been a safe haven for illegal armed groups, which have committed these kinds of brutal acts before. The video, released on February 18, shows a man with a white turban flogging a woman who is submissively standing against 40 lashes. Continue reading...

Jun 11, 2007

Two women journalist killed

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It has happened again, now it’s the second time that two women journalists Shikeba Sanga Amaj and Zakia Zaki were assassinated, within a week. Shikeba was shot anonymously on may 31th in her home. She was the correspondent of Shamshad Private TV. According to her family Shikeba shouted for her mother simultaneously when the gun fired and while her parents were running to her room. They were only in time to be witnesses over the bloody dead body of Shikeba. She was 22 and worked since a year with Shashad private TV channel. She is the second woman journalist killed within two years.

Just five days later another journalist, Zakia Zaki, a very effective reporter and journalist trainer in private Radio Solh (Peace Radio) channel based in Parwan province was killed in her bed. She had started with her work eight years ago in a region which was out of the Taliban control. She was a very active women journalist, known in the country and she had her critics always against injustice, criminals and Mujahideen.
Just four days later after Shikba’s death, six men who committed the assassination were arrested. The police security chief pointed out that these six men are involved in Hezbe Islami Hekmatiar party.

The reason why the two women journalists were killed still remain unknown. It is almost two years agoo, since Shaima Rezaie, another female private Tolo TV channel reporter had been killed in her home anonymously, in May 2005. And it is still unknown why she was killed. It always happens that people do not agree that women work in society. Afghanistan is very complicated and very traditional.

Women have a very limited space for development and for working side by side with men. Afghan men always believe women should stay at home; the men feed them and let them go out. Many others believe that the current situation is too traditional and not ready for women to work in media. Many Afghan men believe their traditions don’t allow them to let their women work outside; they honor to have them at home, rather than have them being active in the Afghan society.