Apr 15 2009
These are brave women.
Afghanistan needs help from outside if it’s ever going to recover from decades of predation by the Taliban and its foreign backers. But Afghanistan’s progress depends on the courage and resilience of its own people – in this case, it’s women – to hold on to their hard-won rights. Their courage will be in vain if the world washes its hands out of disgust with Karzai and turns its back on the ones under siege.
From the Times Online:
Women protesting in Kabul against a controversial new law were pelted with stones, jostled and spat on today as they held what is believed to be the first public demonstration calling for equal rights for women in recent Afghan history.
The protest by about 200 women called for amendment of the controversial Shia Family Law, passed last month by the Afghan Parliament, and enforcement of article 22 of the Afghan constitution, which gives equal rights to men and women…
“I am not afraid. Women have always been oppressed throughout history,” Zara, an 18-year-old student from Kabul told The Times, as men in the crowd surrounding her jostled and screamed abuse. “This law is against the dignity of women and all the international community opposes it. The US President calls it abhorrent. Don’t you see that actually we are the majority?”
Meanwhile, back in Canada, Irshad Manji appears to have smoked a year’s supply of crack. Summing up Karzai’s gutless and unconstitutional political gambit, she writes:
But does violating innocents to pre-empt further violence makes sense?
Sadly, yes, and not just because the strategists say so. Culture is among the most obstinate forces anywhere…
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Karzai’s move against women’s rights doesn’t pre-empt violence. It’s a gutless, short term political tactic that will only embolden the Taliban and other extremist thugs in Afghanistan in the long term. We’ve had a harsh reminder in Swat about what happens to women, and to your society overall, when you give in to the fanatics.