Fw: WOMEN IN AFGHANISTAN

Peggy Bonnington bonnipeg at sprynet.com
Thu Jul 22 01:31:30 JEST 1999


Subject: WOMEN IN AFGHANISTAN


>TO:  Dear F/friends                                               Tuesday,
>July 20, 1999.
>FR:  Marian & Nelson Fuson
>RE:  WOMEN IN AFGHANISTAN
>
>The following petition was forwarded to us by Quaker Friends in Hawaii. It
>has been signed by many people in Hawaii, Canada, Australia and Europe.
>Please read it and respond as you are led.              Marian & Nelson
>
>> Please spare a minute to read this mail. Thank you.
>>
>>The government of Afghanistan is waging a war upon women. The situation
>>is getting so bad that one person in an editorial of the Times compared
>>the treatment of women there to the treatment of Jews in pre-Holocaust
>>Poland.
>>Since the Taliban took power in 1996, women have had to wear burqua and
>>have been beaten and stoned in public for not having the proper attire,
>>even if this means simply not having the mesh covering in front of
>their eyes. One woman was beaten to DEATH by an angry mob of
fundamentalists
>>for accidentally exposing her arm while she was driving. Another was
>>stoned to death for trying to leave the country with a man that was not
>>a relative. Women are not allowed to work or even go out in public
>>without a male relative; professional women such as professors,
>>translators, doctors, lawyers, artists and writers have been forced from
>>their jobs and stuffed into their homes, so that depression is becoming
>>so widespread that it has reached emergency levels.
>>There is no way in such an extreme Islamic society to know the suicide
>>rate with certainty, but relief workers are estimating that the suicide
>>rate among women, who cannot find proper medication and treatment for
>>severe depression and would rather take their lives than live in such
>>conditions, has increased significantly. Homes where a woman is present
>>must have their windows painted so that she can never be seen by
>>outsiders. They must wear silent shoes so that they are never heard.
>>Women live in fear of their lives for the slightest misbehavior. Because
>>they cannot work, those without male relatives or husbands are either
>>starving to death or begging on the street, even if they hold Ph.D.'s.
>>There are almost no medical facilities available for women, and relief
>>workers, in protest, have mostly left the country, taking medicine and
>>psychologists and other things necessary to treat the sky-rocketing
>>level of depression among women. At one of the rare hospitals for women,
>>a reporter found still, nearly lifeless bodies lying motionless on top
>>of beds, wrapped in their burqua, unwilling to speak, eat, or do
>>anything, but slowly wasting away. Others have gone mad and were seen
>> crouched in corners, perpetually rocking or crying, most of them in
>>fear. One doctor is considering, when what little medication that is
>>left finally runs out, leaving these women in front of the president's
>> residence as a form of peaceful protest.
>>It is at the point where the term 'human rights violations' has become
>>an understatement. Husbands have the power of life and death over their
>>women relatives, especially their wives, but an angry mob has just as
>> much right to stone or beat a woman, often to death, for exposing an
>>inch of flesh or offending them in the slightest way.
>>David Cornwell has said that those in the West should not judge the
>>Afghan people for such treatment because it is a 'cultural thing', but
>>this is not even true. Women enjoyed relative freedom, to work, dress
>>generally as they wanted, and drive and appear in public alone until
>>only 1996 - the rapidity of this transition is the main reason for the
>>depression and suicide; women who were once educators or doctors or
>>simply used to basic human freedoms are now severely restricted and
>>treated as sub-human in the name of right-wing fundamentalist Islam. It
>>is not their tradition or 'culture', but is alien to them, and it is
>>extreme even for those cultures where fundamentalism is the rule.
>> Besides, if we could excuse everything on cultural grounds, then we
>>should not be appalled that the Carthaginians sacrificed their infant
>>children, that little girls are circumcised in parts of Africa, that
>> blacks in the US deep south in the 1930's were lynched, prohibited from
>>voting, and forced to submit to unjust Jim Crow laws. Everyone has a
>> right to a tolerable human existence, even if they are women in a Muslim
>>country in a part of the world that Westerners may not understand. If
>>Iife can threaten military force in Kosovo in the name of human rights
>>for the sake of ethnic Albanians, then NATO and the West can certainly
>>express peaceful outrage at the oppression, murder and injustice
>>committed against women by the Taliban.
>
>STATEMENT:
>In signing this, we agree that the current treatment of women in
>Afghanistan is completely UNACCEPTABLE and deserves support and action by
>the people of the United Nations and that the current situation in
>Afghanistan will not be tolerated. Women's Rights is not a small issue
>anywhere and it is UNACCEPTABLE for women in 1999 to be treated as
>sub-human and so much as property. Equality and human decency is a
>RIGHT not a freedom, whether one lives in Afghanistan or anywhere else.
>
>
>1. Anne Felton, Honolulu Hawaii
>2. Keith Crook, Honolulu, Hawaii
>3. Nelson Fuson, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, USA
>4. Marian D. Fuson, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, USA
>5. Peggy Bonnington, Clarksville, Tennessee, USA

>Please sign to suport this petition and include your town and country.
Then
>copy and e-mail to as many people as possible.
>
>If you receive this list with more than 50 names on it, please e-mail a
>copy of it to:
>
>Mary Robinson,
> High Commissioner, UNHCHR, webadmin.hchr at unorg.ch
><mailto:webadmin.hchr at unorg.ch>
>
>and to:
>
>Angela King,
>Special Advisor on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women, UN,
>daw at undp.org <mailto:daw at undp.org>
>
>Even if you decide not to sign it yourself, please pass it on to other
>friends of  yours so that the signatures already on it will not be lost.
>Thank you.
>
>Note:  It is best to copy this petition with the names on it, as well as
the
>names you are able to add, then to e-mail it rather than just to forward it
>as is.  .
>
> Marian &
>Nelson



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