Sunday, March 03, 2013

Women’s plight in Afghanistan

by Rooh-ul-Amin*

The killing of women’s affairs director in eastern Laghman province on Monday is a reminder to us all, that, how violence against women is making deep inroads in our society and how much numb we have become to respond to such oft-repeated cruel incidents. It is not the first ever incident of this nature where a woman has been killed rather it is the latest in the series of such heinous acts. 

Where the wars of the past three or more decades have brought economic challenges and illiteracy to this dilapidated part of the world, they have also brought some cultural and social evils upon us. Intolerance towards women has become widespread. If women step outside their houses they are considered to be immoral. If they do job in offices they are considered not worth marriage. And if a woman loses her husband and being left as widowed and eventually a beggar, she is considered to be a prostitute. 

This nasty mindset is occupying our collective thinking towards our sisters, mothers and daughters. What has come to this nation and what would be the fate of women if there are no serious efforts to keep this rotten society back on a right track where women are held in respect, and having equal rights to men. Though hundreds of women have been killed, hundreds raped, hundreds locked into forced marriages, and hundred swapped but Najia’s killing should be the last one that could put a full stop to the ever growing violence against women. Though Najia seems to be killed for a blood vendetta but despite that killing a woman in enmity has never ever been Afghan culture. 

It is worth mentioning here that Najia’s predecessor who was also woman was killed in bomb attack in July, which clearly shows the women’s plight in Afghanistan. And those who are intolerant towards women have had a sanguinary nature, which has not yet changed, and their thirst for bloodshed has not yet quenched. From the eastern part of the country to the western side of the land and from the northern highland regions to the southern countryside, there is just carnage and carnage. 

The nation, its mothers, sisters and daughters need a messiah, such a messiah that can give them their rights, honor and respect back. This messiah should be from among us as whoever comes from abroad to put this house in order is bogged down easily with propaganda from mullahs. Moreover, the women lot in Afghanistan indeed is in a great trouble. Women need protection of their rights and honor. 

However, all this is the byproduct of the wars, cultural and social backwardness, while linking it to religion or foreign culture is not justifiable. But the problem is who cares because the trade of the high-heeled, well-fed and the militants is going on and their children, brothers and sisters are living abroad in safe towns with all facilities of life at their door steps so who will raise substantial voices for women’s rights. 

In our society there are three types of people. Some are busy in plundering the natural resources and national wealth of the nation while the others are those who are involved in killing brothers, sisters and children of this nation. The third type of the people is those who is bleeding because they belong to the downtrodden segment of the society, and whenever someone from this segment is killed, raped, or swapped, it doesn't bring dooms day or revolution. 

If there is any solution to these ravaging social and economic evils, the commoners are waiting to hear from mullahs, economists, bankers, security officials, rulers and the militants. Is there anyone who can give feedback to the stranded Afghan civilians as when God is not coming down to this planet in person then who will bring peace and will put this house in order? They call for an answer.

* The writer is a Kabul-based journalist and editor at Afghanistan Times, an English newspaper.

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