Taliban silences Afghanistan women
September 22, 2000
Overnight 11.5 million people became prisoners in their own home and
no one came to their rescue. A mother was murdered for teaching her child
how to read and the crime was considered patriotic. A civilian government
worker died from the flu because she was denied treatment due to government
restrictions. An elderly woman was brutally beaten with a cable, which broke
her leg because her ankle was showing from under her clothing. One thing
that connects all of these people is that they are women in Afghanistan.
In September 1996, women in America were going to school, working and
enjoying their human rights. However, in Afghanistan an extremist military
group called the Taliban implemented "gender apartheid," which
has caused the women of Afghanistan to lose their rights and in many cases
their lives. As some of us were just starting our second year in high school
women and young girls were denied the right to go to school or even learn
how to read.
The Taliban banned women and girls from school, working and leaving
their homes without a male relative for a chaperone. At all times they are
forced to wear a burqua, shrouding their body from head to toe with a mesh-covered
opening for their eyes. They are to be covered at all times and can be beaten
by anyone if any part of the their body is shown. This burqua is so confining
that it is impossible to tell one woman from the next and it is nearly impossible
to see their eyes.
Not only are women and female children banished from education and the
work place, but they are also prohibited from seeing male doctors. There
are separate wards in hospitals for males and females and currently there
are a few women who are able to practice medicine, but not enough for half
the country's population.
It is shameful that the lives of unborn children and their mothers are
endangered when there is ample treatment. Getting medical attention is a
human right and now dogs and cats in America have better health care than
the women of Afghanistan.
These women have been reduced to ghostly shadows and now face mass genocide.
What should probe conscience is that if this can happen in Afghanistan and
continues to progress, when and where will it cease? If we do not take a
stance to protect these women and their human rights then we are giving
up on our own.
This is not part of the Muslim belief nor is it part of the culture
of Afghanistan. Before the Taliban came into power the women were educated
and employed. Afghanistan women were 50 percent of students, 60 percent
of the teachers at Kabul University, 70 percent of school teacher, 50 percent
of civilian government workers, and 40 percent of doctors in Kabul (the
capital) were women. Women could choose what they were going to wear and
did not have to paint their windows black and hide from the public in their
own homes for being a female. Now they also have to wear silent shoes because
woman are not to be heard.
What is not realized is this is a holocaust of innocence, educated woman
and children. Some of these women had and have doctorates and now live in
fear of being stoned to death, raped or even killed at any man's desire.
Not very many people are even aware of what is going on, let alone prepared
to take action.
Now, 97 percent of Afghanistan women show signs of major depression.
The Taliban labels suicides like drinking cleaning products or women putting
their heads in the oven as accidental deaths. Mobility is no longer an option
for the women of Afghanistan and they are powerless because their lives
are considered worthless. Anyone who tries to leave the country without
a male relative will be killed for causes of adultery.
Please do what you can to help these silenced women. You can get more
information by going to www.feminist.org
or calling (888) 939-6636 to receive a "take action kit" with
more information on how to help. Any contribution of awareness puts these
women one step closer to having basic human rights.