Afghanistan's Women's Plight
I have been tryng to write for several days a posting for International
Women's Day. Better late than never! I have been reading a lot about the plight of women around the world. None is more dire than in Afghanistan where in the midst of war, poverty and lack of services women continue to be limited and abused by rigid tribal customs.
Canadians are there trying to help the fragile Afghanistan government gain control over the country and begin the reconstruction after decades of war. The Canadian military is there as part of the Nato forces. They are trying to do some reconstruction work in the mildst of military attempts to impose security. In the end, it may prove to be a lost cause unless more progress is not made in bringing real improvements to the lives of the Afghan people Those in most need are women and children.
The Right Honourable Governor General of Canada, Michaelle Jean was in Afghanistan visiting Canada troops. She is the nominal Commander in Chief of the Canadian military and is there to show her and Canada's appreciation of their efforts. As she has done in Haiti and Africa she brings up the cause of women and the need to improve their lot.
Anyone who thinks the nascent democratic government in Afghanistan is anything more than democratic in name only is mistaken. Too begin with it is a government which only exists at the whim of the United States, the invaders. It does not have power and control over all the country. It has limited funds. It is also a very corrupt government where 60% of the parliamentarians are connected to warlords and drug trafficers. It is a start.
One of the bravest women in the world is Malalai Joyal a young woman who is in the parliament as a representative of Farah Province. She openly and to their faces denounce the presence of warlord and criminals in the government. She has been shouted down as an infidel and a communist and her life has been threatened. There hve been assasination attempts on her life. She is not without support. She is very popular among many Afghanis particularly women. She is an inspiration to them and seen more of them getting involved in their own "liberation".
Ms. Joya has brought her crticism of the make up of the government and its ineptitude and corruption to the International community. She has toured and spoken in Canada as well as other Western countries.
Malalai Joyal is a great symbol of the struggle around the world on International Women's Day.
If she lives long enough she will no doubt be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
The improvement of the condition of women in Afghanistan will be a long slow process. It is a tribal and traditional Islamic Society. The Koran has enough wisdom which can be used as a basis for reversing some of the most cruel tribal customs. It will only come to pass when women demand it an enlightened scholars support their cause. With luck some day their may achieve the status of women in Iran, where women are among the most liberated among Islamic theocratric countries. (still well short of Western liberal democracies standard for women). As in the West it will take time. Remember it is within the lifetime of some that women had limited rights in Western democracies, in case anyone is feeling self righteous. Still women, in our Society, have not achieved full equality of men.
Malalai Joya confronting the warlords on the opening day of the Afghan parliament.
I urge you to read about this remarkable woman who gives one hope for the future of that struggling country.
Defense Committee for Malalai Joya ????? ???? ?? ????? ????2 Her fascinating achievement is documented here including videos of her speeches.
http://afghanistan.unifem.org/PDF_Documents/Uncounted%20_Discounted.pdf A UN study of the condition of women in Afghanistan.