Speaking Out with Carrie N. Baker and Juliet Schulman-Hall: Crimes Against Afghan Women and Girls

“Everyone is really, really scared,” said Farzaneh, an Afghan woman now living in the United States, who has asked us not to use her real...



“Everyone is really, really scared,” said Farzaneh, an Afghan woman now living in the United States, who has asked us not to use her real name out of fear for the safety of her family at the home she is speaking with. daily. “None of my cousins ​​come out of the house because they are afraid of the Taliban. There is a lot of talk about the Taliban forcing women into sexual slavery … I am a strong woman and I believe in women’s rights … But all it takes for a Taliban to shut me up is a ball. That’s it.”

When the Taliban took control from Afghanistan in the 1990s, they severely restricted the rights of women and girls, barring them from education and employment, forcing them to wear the burqas and forbidding them to leave their homes without a male escort.

When Allied forces ousted the Taliban from power in 2002, educational and employment opportunities for Afghan women increased dramatically. Over the past 20 years, millions of women and girls have attended school and pursued a wide range of careers. Now, with the return of the Taliban to power, all of that progress is in jeopardy.

“I fear for my Afghan sisters”, said Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate and global activist for girls’ education. “When the Taliban took control of my hometown in Pakistan’s Swat Valley in 2007 and soon after prevented girls from going to school, I hid my books under my long, thick shawl and I walked to school in fear. Five years later, when I was 15, the Taliban tried to kill me for denouncing my right to go to school.

The Taliban now claim that they respect women’s rights “Within the confines of Islam,” but this is highly unlikely, experts say. According to a Human Rights Watch Report 2020, very few Taliban officials actually allow girls to attend school after puberty and others do not allow girls’ schools at all. Since Former President Donald Trump’s deal with the Taliban in february, the taliban closed girls’ schools and denied them access to education in areas they took over.

“Everyone is really disappointed with the United States,” Farzaneh said. “The US government, starting with the Trump administration, has failed the Afghan government. People are shocked that the United States is allowing something like this to happen. ”

US-based women’s rights advocates call on the Biden administration to act now to help Afghan women and girls. In a open letter Sent last week, more than 100 feminist leaders and activists urged the administration not to accept a deal that includes recognition and support for a Taliban regime, and they called for immediate action to save the leaders’ lives and Afghan women’s and human rights defenders. The signatories of the letter are Ellie Smeal, Delores Huerta, Gloria Steinem, Cecile Richards, Russ Feingold and other leaders and activists, who are also using their own resources to bring out Afghan women.

Another open letter signed by nearly 500 prominent political experts, activists and celebrities, including poet Amanda Gorman, urges the Biden administration to take four concrete steps to secure the rights and freedoms of Afghan women and girls: 1) provide flights to direct evacuation for women who are at risk, 2) expand special immigrant visas to include a category for women at risk and increase the refugee ceiling, 3) allocate resources for livelihood assistance and resettlement, and 4) protect and invest in the women who remain in Afghanistan. An organizer of the letter, the NGO Vital Voices, created a emergency fund To bit.ly/HelpAfghaniFemmes to support women and girls in Afghanistan.

“As Afghanistan suffers, America must take a long look at how we have perpetuated the horror and how we can bring healing,” Gorman tweeted Tuesday. “We have to welcome the refugees and finally become the country we say we are. Today is the day to welcome the tired, the poor, the crowded masses who yearn to breathe freely.

But Farzaneh has little hope that much can be done. “Women have lost everything they’ve won over the past 20 years. I don’t think, overall, that Americans can really do anything that can really have a significant or substantial impact on the lives of these Afghan women, ”she told The Gazette. “The Biden administration has lost almost all of its influence, but it could still influence the Taliban to some extent if the Taliban leadership chooses to care about international legitimacy or the economy. ”

While some left applaud the end of nation building in Afghanistan, Americans must take responsibility for their role in furthering Taliban persecution and violence against women and girls and join with governments and organizations around the world to protect their human rights.

Juliet Schulman-Hall is a senior at Smith College with a major in English language and literature, a minor in sociology and a concentration in poetry. Carrie N. Baker is the Sylvia Dlugasch Bauman Chair in American Studies and a Professor in the Women and Gender Studies program at Smith College.



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Newsrust - US Top News: Speaking Out with Carrie N. Baker and Juliet Schulman-Hall: Crimes Against Afghan Women and Girls
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