Sunday, June 13, 2010

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan

Women are not going to rule the roost any time soon:

Dr. Massouda Jalal once embodied all the possibility that was promised by the overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Now, the former cabinet minister and presidential candidate, says she is in danger of being silenced once again, as are all the country's women.

The human rights campaigner and one-time Minister of Women's Affairs under President Hamid Karzai was in Ottawa Tuesday to warn Canadians that after 30 years of war and uncertain leadership, her country is taking a troubling turn for the worse.

The most recent efforts to end the conflict between the western-backed Karzai government and the outlaw Taliban are compromising the hard-fought fundamental values that have only started to take root in Afghanistan.


"In the beginning a lot of hope was created… We thought that a government made of civilians will be made a civil government," she said, noting that laws have been passed prohibiting violence against women or affirming women's rights.

But there have been more, and more prominent, steps backward in the last few years. More schools being burned, more female students being threatened and attacked, more instances of local laws barring women from travelling outside the house unaccompanied.

It's truly disorienting to move between the two posts below this and this one....

I'm pretty sure that the peace deal being brokered will mean more silenced women living in narrower and narrower circles. But that's nowhere as scary or interesting as the fantasy of the end of men in the U.S..