Women in Afghanistan

CNN documentary "Lifting the veil"

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Lorelei
The documentary "Afghanistan: lifting the veil" broadcast at the weekend on CNN, showed that after the supposed "liberation" of Afghanistan in 2001 (George Bush: "The American flag flies again over our embassy in Kabul. The mothers and daughters of Afghanistan were captives in their own homes. Today women are free."), life for women has changed little. (Partial transcript here.)

The fundamentalists are apparently still in charge, and simply ignore the constitution, which states that men and women are equal. Women are still obliged to wear burqas by male members of their family. Women were shown begging in the street and receiving nothing but derision and contempt from male passers by. A group of young male teachers said that they would want to keep their wives under lock and key: if they let them out at all, they would have to wear a burqa. They described the female Afghan interviewer, who was dressed in long baggy clothing and a headscarf, as too "tempting" because she wasn't sufficiently covered up. There were very few women in the street, and the journalist said she found the atmosphere oppressive. She also interviewed several young women who had set themselves on fire because of domestic violence, including a 14-year old girl, sold into marriage at the age of seven. The only positive report in the documentary was a village school were young girls were receiving schooling alongside boys, and one of the village elders said that he wanted his youngest daughter to have an education.

It was pretty sickening. It's unbelievable not only that a country where women were once reasonably free has deteriorated to this extent but that any human society, which obviously depends on the presence of women to continue to survive, can get to a stage where the men have so much hatred and contempt for the women. What is the explanation for this?

If this is still the situation 6 years on from the "liberation", what does that say about the western efforts to help rebuild the country?
minga
Though he was a Russian puppet, I think the women in Afghanisthan had a better life under Najibullah.
Lorelei
Correction: the female journalist was a Pakistani, not an Afghan.
Adi
Aaaaah... those slutty Pakistani women in their daring 7/8-length black all-in-ones.
Serenissima
If you are interested, there is an interview with the creator of 'Lifting the Veil', Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, on the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan website; a website which itself is a useful resource for first-hand experience of life for women in present-day Afghanistan.
boomtown_rat
What is the explanation for this?
the Taleban?
Ulysses
Well, it shows you can't really expect anything to have changed in 6 years. And what I don't understand are those women who walk around Munich with their burqas on.
Lorelei
Thanks for the link, Serenissima. That's very interesting.

There is a generation of women growing up in Afghanistan today who were made to believe they would grow up in a very different country, that all would be well when the Allied troops came into the country. But it isn't so.

You know, women are being shot dead for working, schools are being burnt down, the Taliban is gaining ground, and a lot of this is being swept under the carpet because after Iraq, I don't think the world has the stomach to take two wars going bad.
the Taleban?
The Taleban are human beings too and didn't land from another planet, and not all men in Afghanistan are Taleban. What I can't understand is how men in any society, particularly one which used to be more prosperous and in which women used to be comparatively free, can choose to oppress and abuse women to that extent, when society depends on women for its survival.

Plus, if things are still this bad 6 years after Allied intervention, it would seem to suggest that the Allied authorities are also unable to recognise that the liberation of women is crucial to the development of democracy in Afghanistan. Either they couldn't care less about democracy in Afghanistan or they can't recognise the need for female liberation there because, in spite of all the progress, women are still regarded as less socially important in Western cultures too.
sharpe
The problem is; women believe that this is God's will. They are brainwashed. you can not save someone who does not want to be saved.
Lorelei
The women and girls interviewed didn't give the impression that they liked living that way. Some of the girls said that they wanted an education. Those who had burned themselves had done so out of despair and protest at their predicament.

The point is: if the men are in charge, why do they choose to treat the women that way or allow them to be treated that way?
sharpe
How about they think it is God's will. Some believe they are God's chosen people, some believe God has a son and some believe God want women behind veils.
Corcaigh
Do they get to dance at the MTV awards...
Lorelei
Thread revival.

Hundreds of Afghan women jailed for 'moral crimes'

Hundreds of Afghan women are in jail for "moral crimes", including running away and extra-marital sex, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said.
In a report, it said that women were punished for fleeing domestic abuse and violence while some rape victims were also imprisoned...
It said that the situation had been made worse by Mr Karzai frequently changing his position on women's rights.

"Unwilling or unable to take a consistent line against conservative forces within the country, he has often made compromises that have negatively impacted women's rights."
Earlier this month the president endorsed a "code of conduct" issued by an influential council of clerics which allows husbands to beat wives under certain circumstances.

The BBC's Emily Buchanan says that the lack of women's rights under the Taliban helped to justify Western military intervention in Afghanistan in 2001.

Our correspondent says that since then there has been much progress on girls access to education and participation in public life.

Many activists fear that hard-won rights are increasingly being undermined as the government tries to woo conservative religious forces
.
Afghan woman is killed 'for giving birth to a girl'
Mutilated Afghan girl Aisha gets new nose
desdemona
all these afghan men should be hanged, drowned and quartered if we want to play middle ages properly.
Lorelei
Manhunt under way for Taliban who shot woman in public execution amid cheers
Human Rights Watch: Are Afghan women better off after a decade of war?

All pretty irrelevant really, particularly since the powers that be seem to consider it irrelevant:

Insight: Afghan women fade from White House focus as exit nears

President George W. Bush focused so intently on freeing Afghan women from the shackles of Taliban rule that empowering them became central to the United States' mission there... But Obama rarely speaks about that progress, delegating discussion of women's right to his secretary of state and other top diplomats so he can focus on narrower goals for Afghanistan: uprooting the militants there and getting out.

Obama's lack of overt attention to Afghan women has led many to fear their hard-fought gains will slip away ...

Women's issues are not on the formal agenda at the NATO summit the United States will be hosting ... Afghanistan is poised to send an all-male delegation.
Maybe this means that women in western societies are also less relevant than they like to think they are.
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