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If US leaves, Afghan women in danger

Posted by dublinbay z6 KS (My Page) on
Fri, Nov 30, 12 at 19:18

We have an impossible situation on our hands. Most of us want our troops out of Afghanistan as soon as possible, but Amnesty International says that Afghan girls and women may become victims of violence if U.S. troops withdrawn.

Excerpt:
"As the United States military transitions out of Afghanistan, Afghan women's human rights continue to be at grave risk and demand urgent attention," Nossel said in a statement. "The fate of women will be a crucial determinant of that country's prospects for a stable and prosperous future."

In a report on Afghan violence against women, Amnesty International wrote that one of the justifications of the U.S. military going into the country in 2001 was to ensure the protection of human rights, including women's rights.

More than 10 years after the overthrow of the Taliban, modest advances have been made for girls and women in Afghanistan," the report said. "But much remains to be done. Peace talks between the Taliban, Afghan government and the U.S. jeopardize even these modest gains as the U.S. searches for a quick exit."

What drew my attention to this problem?
This headline: Afghan girl beheaded after refusing man's marriage proposal

The article gives other similar examples of females saying "no" to a male request/demand and their throats get slit!

I don't know anything more about it, but there is a bi-partisan bill to do "something" about this.
On Wednesday, Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, and Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Republican from Texas, introduced the Afghan Women and Girls' Security Promotion Act. If passed in its current form, the bill addresses how women's security will be monitored as the U.S. military withdraws from the country.

I hope it can offer some protection for girls and women, but to tell the truth, I don't see how. Let's face it--women's rights in Afghanistan are appalling!

Kate

Here is a link that might be useful: Afghan girl beheaded after refusing man’s marriage proposal


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: If US leaves, Afghan women in danger

I understand the compulsion to say that if we broke something, we need to fix it.

But Afghanistan was broke a looong time before we got there. It's just destined to always be a troubled nation by its geography.

Why so much of this takes the form of abuse of its women is a real mystery ... that is to say, a number of Islamic states and predominantly Muslim populations do repress thier women and worse, but no where else does this take the form of the real hatefulness and spitefulness towards all womenkind that it does in Afghanistan.

I feel badly for the women there, but, again, while its undeniably elegant in its morality, the "we broke it, we fix it" approach simply hasn't worked for the US when it comes to running other countries besides our own.

If I thought it would work, I would say stay. But to stay, still not accomplish anything of lasting significance, and simply waste more and more of our own lives is foolishness.


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RE: If US leaves, Afghan women in danger

It's not possible for occupying forces to force social change on a population -- especially a population that is already hostile to the occupation.

As tragic as the case of Afghan women may be, there is at least one Afghan women's organization struggling for change: Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan.

The Afghan Women's Mission has sponsored some U.S.speaking tours for Malalai Joya who was a member of the National Assembly until her outspoken opinions brought about her dismissal. She has often criticized the Northern Alliance, and the Karzai government as well as the Taliban as all being against women's rights. She is also critical of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan and maintains that the occupying troops encourage Afghan sympathy for the Taliban and resistance fighters. Ms. Joya is convinced that Afghan women will win their own freedom, and are prepared to resist attempts to deny them their rights.


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RE: If US leaves, Afghan women in danger

"I understand the compulsion to say that if we broke something, we need to fix it."

Me, too. We didn't break this. As Nancy & Tex point out, it's cultural, and as Nancy points out, Afghan women are working to make change.

It's heartbreaking, but I don't see how US military presence is helping the Afghan women.


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Don't get me wrong--I want our troops out of there also. But I am appalled at the idea that abusing and killing women will increase and run unchecked when we leave that country.

The simple fact is that our (threatening) presence in Afghanistan has been a damper on some of those horrors--if nothing else, because those outrageous actions get some international coverage as long as we (and our media) are there. When we leave, it will all go under cover again and can flourish in the dark with no one even condeming the acts.

If any guy can walk up to a woman and slit her throat because she said she doesn't want to marry him, a women's organization opposing violence is not going to change anything. Guys like that wouldn't stop slitting throats just because a group of woman said don't do that.

Just to make things clear--guys slitting women's throats or beheading women is not a crime among certain power groups in that country. The women got what they deserved--for denying the man what he wanted.

And to further clarify: I'm not arguing that the US military should remain there. I'm simply staring at a horrifying reality -- instead of shrugging it off with the consolation that some powerless group in that country will take care of the whole thing, so I don't need to worry about those poor violated 14 year old girls.

Kate


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I agree; it is horrifying. This is a situation in which we are damned if we do, and damned if we don't. There is no win-win outcome here. I vote on the side to bring our troops home, however. Our being there can't force enduring changes on backward-looking tribal cultures who don't want any part of the values that we stand for. It is part of "we can't police the whole world" view, and we badly need to take care of our OWN.


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RE: If US leaves, Afghan women in danger

"The simple fact is that our (threatening) presence in Afghanistan has been a damper on some of those horrors--if nothing else, because those outrageous actions get some international coverage as long as we (and our media) are there. When we leave, it will all go under cover again and can flourish in the dark with no one even condeming the acts."

Kate, I wish I could disagree with you here. Sadly,I think you're exactly right about what lies ahead for women in Afghanistan.


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I was looking at some National Geographics from August 2010, I think. Nobody can bear to throw them away. Anyway, there was a piece on Afghan women, and in particular the story, so far, of a young woman, Bibi Aisha, who ran away from her husband because his beatings had gotten so brutal that she thought she would die. Bibi went to a neighbor for refuge, who promptly turned her over to her husband. Bibi's husband took her into the mountains and several of his friends held her down while he cut off her ears and nose. They left her to die; she survived and became a refugee. Reconstructive surgery in the US was planned at the time the article was run. Her photo is online...

Just telling the story; I have no suggestions, sadly. :(


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You know, I said something very similar to this back a couple of years ago, and got jumped on by just about every liberal on the board, that it wasn't our problem. it was so before we went in, and will be so when we leave, that we shouldn't mess with other cultures. but now that a liberal has brought it up, at least some of you are really giving this some thought.

Says alot.


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got jumped on by just about every liberal on the board, that it wasn't our problem.

I would not have been one of them, but then I'm not really a liberal - farther left, if anything.

Change cannot be imposed by an outside force, especially an occupying army, nor can an outside force be sensitive to the most effective means of reaching the target groups. The problem of repression of women is our problem, but I prefer to support the women of Afghanistan who are organizing to improve their lives, and claim their civil and human rights. When these same women say that the U.S. troops need to leave, and the women will continue their struggle, I respect their opinions.


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And we go into a country with this sort of attitude, send in a female representive like Hillary Clinton and expect the males to be impressed.

No matter how well prepared a woman may be, there will be those men over there that think a woman should be some other man's property, not a national representative.


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I think most of us on HT agree that the US needs to get out of Afghanistan--the sooner the better. That is not the issue I was raising here.

And I'm glad to hear Afghan women are organizing to improve their lives.

But what does all that have to do with Afghan guys who slit women's throats if the women refuse to marry them? That is still horrible--regardless of whether we are there or not and whether the women are organizing (from a position of NO POWER since the guys can slit their throats any time the women displease them).

Totally separate issues.

I repeat (again): I am NOT arguing that the US should remain in Afphanistan.

Kate


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This is another country. We CAN'T do anything about it unless we are willing for them to come in and tell us what we should do with our own people. They may think it crazy that we allow women to vote. And think of all the money we waste on education for females.

Yes, it is horrible. But that is the accepted way of life over there. So far, no one has come up with a good solution about what to do about the customs of other counties,


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"When these same women say that the U.S. troops need to leave, and the women will continue their struggle, I respect their opinions."

How long do you figure those women will be allowed to share their "opinions" once the US military leaves, and the cameras go with them?

Like Kate, I want the US out of Afghanistan. But I have no illusions about what will happen to women when the US influence there declines. Male dominated theocracies do not just stand by while "women continue their struggles." It's against their religion, as you well know.


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RE: If US leaves, Afghan women in danger

dublinbay, the Afghan women were in danger long before; as were the women and girl children in India.
But There is hope!


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I do not see any hope for the Afghan women. It may comfort some of us over here (in USA) to think things will get better for the women, but I doubt it will provide much hope to the next 14 year old that doesn't want to marry that old guy but better do it if she doesn't want to be beheaded for saying NO.

I do not know what the answer is, but I refuse to take false comfort in the unfounded belief that oh, they'll be all right after we are gone. I refuse to fool myself into believing that those crazy fanatics of the great male way will suddenly repent of their mistreatment and murdering of their women.

We should leave Afghanistan with our eyes wide open--acknowledging that the lives of Afghan women/girls will become increasingly horrid after we are gone.

By the way, my understanding has been that only certain fanatical groups support the vile mistreatment and the outrageous behaviors like slitting the throat or beheading the woman who says NO to the guy. That is not a typical or standard Muslim response. These thugs that have been controlling Afghan for some time now and will be in the future are extremists who are feared by the average Afghan--kinda of like the South American ruthless dictators and warlords who would take over the country by force and rule--ruthlessly--by force. Most of us don't think of the "average" South American as promoting and approving of such dictatorial warlords--instead, they are probably victims of those fanatics in charge. My understanding is that a somewhat similar situation prevails in Afghan in terms of politics and government.

Kate


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RE: If US leaves, Afghan women in danger

Bottom line is still the same.


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But as you say, it's happening now - even while you are there.

If you think American troops have any influence over what happens in the rural areas where the warlords are in power (and have been for decades - even while the Russians were there), then you are swallowing your own propaganda. The majority of American troops are tied down in huge, protected compounds in or near the largest cities - they no longer even patrol the country because they are scared of being attacked by their expensively-trained Afghan army and police comrades.

Apart from the Green Zones and the largest towns, the areas of the country that aren't run by the Warlords are run by the Taliban. It's all so reminiscent of the last days in Vietnam, with thousands of American troops blockaded in a few southern cities, waiting to be airlifted out.

Thank you, though, for having the grace and good sense to say that the barbaric practices you describe are not typical of, or condoned by, the vast majority of Muslims, or of Afghans. It is important not to demonize entire populations. It is not the Afghans we are war with. Their country has been bombed back almost to the Stone Age through the joint efforts of the Russians and us, and their own religious fundamentalists. And I'm sure you don't believe that either the Russians or the Americans were there in order to help improve the rights of Afghan women.

It's a sad and sick problem.

Best wishes
Jon



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they'll be all right after we are gone

No, it will be horrible after the occupying troops leave. Fighting will probably start - again - between the Pashtun-Taliban and the Tajik-Uzbek Northern Alliance. If the civil war reignites, lack of women's rights may not be the first worry for females in Afghanistan. When a stable distribution of power is reached, I expect that the press for women's rights will begin again along with the rebuilding of the war-torn areas.

There has been some reporting on progress and increased prosperity in western Afghanistan, specifically Herat, if I remember correctly. The women in the photographs were not wearing burqas, and were involved in commerce. Whether this is true, or feel-good reporting is anyone's guess. Same guess for the fortunes of Herat if there's another civil war.

I forgot to mention China's economic interests in Afghanistan - developing mineral resources. China may exert its influence to protect its operations and investments.

From 2010:

China, which has a narrow land border with Afghanistan, already invests heavily in the war-torn Central Asian state. The state-owned China Metallurgical Group has a $3.5 billion copper mining venture in Logar province. Chinese companies ZTE and Huawei are building digital telephone switches, providing roughly 200,000 subscriber lines in Afghanistan. Even back in the war's early days in 2002 and 2003, when I worked in Afghanistan, the Chinese presence was acutely visible in Kabul, with Chinese laborers on many building sites and Chinese-run restaurants and guesthouses popping up all over the city. As Robert Kaplan has pointed out, these investments come with a gratuitous hidden subsidy from the United States -- which has defrayed the enormous costs of providing security amid war and looting.

With its massive wealth, appetite for risk, and willingness to underbid others on labor costs and human rights conditionality, China is the odds-on favorite for development of any new Afghan mineral resources. Chinese firms will control the flow of new funds, and the way those funds are distributed between the central and local governments. It's all well and good that Barack Obama's administration has recommitted to building civil projects in rural Afghanistan, but consider the relative scale of building a school to establishing a multimillion-dollar mine (not to mention the transport networks and infrastructure required to get the extracted minerals out) and it's easy to see what kind of influence the Chinese will bring to the table.

Early September 2012:

Powerful regional warlords and militant leaders are jockeying to widen their turf to include areas with mineral wealth, and the Taliban have begun to make murderous incursions into territory where development is planned. In the capital, Kabul, factional maneuvering is in full swing, including disputes over lucrative side contracts awarded to relatives of President Hamid Karzai.

Further, a proposed mining law vital to attracting foreign investment is up in the air, with the delay threatening several projects. The cabinet rejected it this summer, saying it was too generous to Western commercial interests. But some Western officials fear other motives are at work, too, including an internal fight for spoils, and perhaps an effort by some neighboring countries to sway sympathetic officials to keep Indian and Chinese state mining companies out.

Late September 2012:

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghan officials are battling to convince nervous Chinese investors to restart work at a landmark $3 billion mine project and not to worry unduly about insurgent rocket attacks to salvage one of the country's big hopes of economic independence.

Western donors have focused on Aynak, the largest foreign investment project in its history which could help the country, now reliant on development aid, find its feet after most foreign combat troops leave in 2014.

But the giant Aynak copper deposit, among the world's largest, is situated in Logar province, one of the country's most dangerous, southeast of Kabul and insurgents aiming to wreck the government's flagship project have stepped up attacks.

After decades of war, many Afghans are resigned to the daily threat of roadside bombs and crossfire between NATO and insurgents. Civilian casualties hit a three-year high in August.

Most Chinese staff at the site, however, appear to have been spooked by Taliban attacks and left the country, with only a skeleton crew remaining to watch over equipment.

Afghan officials point out that the insurgents have not yet killed any Chinese workers.

Great qualifier - no Chinese workers killed yet.


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RE: If US leaves, Afghan women in danger

Well I certainly hope it turns out better in Afghanistan than it did for the women of Iraq. What freedoms they had before Saddam was ousted have been taken away. Sadly, they are now left worse off then before.


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RE: If US leaves, Afghan women in danger

Interesting information about Chinese influence in Afghanistan, nancy. I wasn't aware of that. I'm not sure what that means for the future of Afghanistan, but if China is willing to invest in that country rather than send in its military to shoot and bomb the country, I can see how the afghanistaners might appreciate China more than the USA (and other invaders before that--Russia, etc.).

Whether that bodes well for the Afghan women/girls, I don't know.

Kate


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It is impossible and tragic. The only way to provide safety for them is to take them out with us.


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Your compassion & concern is appreciated, Dublinbay. I know you don't want the troops to stay- I hear that, and we always benefit from a reminder to listen to & heed the key message you are shedding light on-- the promotion of womens' rights all over the globe.

We have learned that it is not an effective strategy to attempt to "fight" abuse & injustice. We promote peace best by being & working "for" human rights.

Still, we must remember that the mindset that created misogynist, abusive behavior & cultures that tolerate it were set into motion a very long time ago. Change is difficult, even for people who are motivated to change! Progress made in the quest for independence & freedom where oppression is the order of the day is painfully slow.


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RE: If US leaves, Afghan women in danger

I agree with Stinky - and bless you Kate for underscoring the issue the women are forced to endure even more when we leave.

It's a culture I don't understand, not at all. When he was stationed in Turkey, I didn't leave the base - the only place I ever even *wanted* to live on base at, I always loved immersing myself in the differences of a culture of a country, and enjoyed it all - but it was too dangerous for women to leave the base because the attitude of the men are that we are no more of value than a dog, unless the dog is a working dog - then the dog has more value.

I don't understand that mindset. A reasonable number of fathers must have daughters they love dearly and would never think to harm - a reasonable number of men must have both mothers and wives they love dearly - and yet they will close their eyes to the treatment of all the other women around them.

Perhaps these women they love and have never physically attacked have never challanged the men who love them, so the love is an easy love?

I don't know. I only know that when cultures pronounce one segment of society as having free reign over the rest of the population of that society, terrible things tend to happen, as a general rule.

This is found over and over again in human history. Let one specific segment of humans have dominance over all the other humans and the end result is a psychopatic sort of cruel behavior and a god-like sense of entitlement to that superiority.

The mentality which allows the attitude to thrive is one that is rarely let go of easily. Humans love being top dog over everything/one else.

In a perfect world we could offer these females protection in our country but you know what? A great many would refuse the offer - they would't want to live here, and good for them! They would rather find a way to live safely in their own beloved country.

I suspect that a great many would support the law of the land as it stands today. Even with the beatings. Something similar to Stockholm Syndrome takes place, is my only guess.


I wonder if the men might even be incapable of letting go of that bit of power they have - it's ingrained through the centuries and is, for most of the men, the only control they have in their poor, poverty stricken lives.


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I agree - violence against women is not a religious issue - the Koran does not condone or permit it, indeed, anti-Western Muslims often quote passages from the Bible to demonize Christian attitudes toward women.

In all countries where these practices are prevalent, poverty and lack of education are far more likely causes of male brutality than religion - and that includes almost all countries.

USA
While it has been said that here in America the rate for such heinous crimes has decreased in recent years, here's what we know - About 1 in 3 American women have been physically or sexually assaulted by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives. A woman is raped every 6 minutes, battered every 15 seconds. 683,000 women are raped each year, according to the National Women's Study. This translates to 1 every 3 minutes, 78 per hour, 1,871 per day. 9 out of 10 women murdered are killed by men; most are at the hands of a male partner. 10-14% of all married women in the US and at least 40% of battered wives have been raped by their husbands.

If you accept that this is more likely the effect of poverty and lack of education than of religion in the United States, we should at least consider that it may be the case in other countries, too. Cherry-picking the most degraded and frightening cases from the news media and taking them as generalities only fans the hysteria and hatred of other cultures that has become so prevalent.

Best wishes
Jon

Here is a link that might be useful: National Violence Against Women Survey


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Jon, you make good points. It is important to recognize that misogynist behavior can be found among men right here in the USA & in all western countries! Certainly, violence against women is a significant problem here too. However, I don't think educated or higher income women are insulated from abuse. Patriarchy and demeaning attitudes toward women can be found among all economic classes & educational levels. Behind closed doors, violence may ensue. Incidents of reported abuse may be lower among higher income women for various reasons.

Pornography is one facet of culture in the western world that surely shapes attitudes & beliefs about women, sex and power in harmful ways.


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RE: If US leaves, Afghan women in danger

Stinky: "Jon, you make good points. It is important to recognize that misogynist behavior can be found among men right here in the USA & in all western countries! Certainly, violence against women is a significant problem here too. However, I don't think educated or higher income women are insulated from abuse. Patriarchy and demeaning attitudes toward women can be found among all economic classes & educational levels. Behind closed doors, violence may ensue. Incidents of reported abuse may be lower among higher income women for various reasons.
Pornography is one facet of culture in the western world that surely shapes attitudes & beliefs about women, sex and power in harmful ways."

I'm wondering why the emphasis on "western countries" and the "western world".

IMO misogyny is worldwide.

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That being said, back to solving the cultural problems of other countries. We had slavery in the USA over a hundred years ago, and we solved the problem from within; abolition was not imposed by other nations upon the USA.

I don't think our government can, or should, intervene.


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RE: If US leaves, Afghan women in danger

I hope no one is under the impression that I was suggesting the our government can and should intervene. That was not even remotely my point.

As I have repeated several times, I do not know what the answer is, but I refuse to take false comfort in the proposition that the Afghan women will probably be OK after we leave (out of sight, out of mind [non]thinking?)--they'll handle it somehow. I say the women are too powerless to affect much of anything in their society. And I refuse to pretend otherwise--just so I'll feel better.

To digress for a moment, I appreciate all the statistics Jon cited above--good reminder that violence against women is common in the USA also--although beheading 14 year old girls who refuse to marry ugly old men is not common in our country. And yes, poverty and ignorance can contribute to the problem, but there is one common misunderstanding I'd like to clear up.

All the studies I've ever read over the years agree that domestic violence is as common in the higher classes (presumably more educated and well-off) as it is in the lower classes (presumably less educated and less well-off).

The doctor is as likely to beat up his wife as the ditch-digger is. Sexual abuse and violence occur in the minister's home as frequently as in the plumber's or the carpenter's home. Lawyers are as guilty of domestic violence as are factory workers. And so forth--unfortunately.

The major difference is that those with money and social status keep it secret and don't enter the legal system as often as poorer people. Thus domestic violence in the poorer classes gets more publicity and public condemnation.

Which has little to do with Afghan girls/women--but is an important thing to know about our own country.

Kate


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Kate, I'm late getting back to this thread, but here's a response to your question.

I posted regarding the Chinese in Afghanistan in relation to the continued fighting that will probably occur after the U.S. troops leave. As I wrote, if there's another civil war among the various factions competing for power, that will be the more pressing worry instead of pushing for women's rights. If China wants to protect their investments, perhaps there will be a push for a more peaceful settlement to power sharing, and allowing needed social reforms to evolve.

I read some disturbing comments today; Panetta and others in the military are making noises about residual troops staying in Afghanistan - a sizeable number.


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It somehow doesn't seem right that we have been years longer in Afghanistan than the time it took to fight all of World War II.

But I guess that was Vietnam also. I've forgotten--how many years fighting Iraq?

We certainly are a war-mongering nation--another subject that appalls me.

Kate


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Just to clarify - I did not say that poverty and ignorance (or lack of education, including Koranic education) are the main or only cause of violence against women - but that they are far more likely causes of male brutality than religion . I do feel that the way the world is at the moment it is unwise to stoke the fires of religious intolerance. Kate, I suppose I'm asking you to clarify if you are making your point against Afghans, or Muslims, or men in general, or all three?

You may well be right about upper class violence and abuse. But as they don't appear in the statistics it can only be 'informed supposition'. Not to say it doesn't happen.

And I think it does have something to do with Afghan women: as far as I am aware, the horrific incidents you use as examples happened in poor, rural areas to ignorant peasants, not to educated, urban, middle-class women in Kabul. To describe acts like these as 'common' is untrue, and is really no different than spreading stories of paedophilia, incest and child labour amounting to slavery among Appalachian communities as 'common'. It happens, but you do not want it to be thought the defining characteristic of American, or Christian values.

I do have to hang on to the hope that in that poor country the more enlightened forms - the mainstream - of the Muslim religion will eventually regain dominance. It has been the near-century of constant war and impoverishment that has been the breeding ground for the extremists, who thrive where poverty and ignorance reign. How it will happen I don't know, but current events in Egypt where the mainstream and secular population are fighting back against the Muslim Brotherhood's attempt to seize power, are encouraging. Revolutions and civil wars take many years to shake out.

As anti-war as I am, I feel that the basic tenets of NATO's war were correct given the devastation of Afghanistan - first security, then economic stability, then education. Unfortunately, we fell at the first hurdle.

Best wishes
Jon


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You seem to be almost touching on Islamic fundamentalism as a contributing cause, Jon and I would strongly agree with that. I also feel that the ultra conservative, radical views on women trickle down from the top of the hierarchy. The poor and uneducated are following the wealthiers' interpretations.


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The poor and uneducated are following the wealthiers' interpretations.

With respect - absolutely not.

They are following the simplistic, barbaric and perverted interpretations of the mullahs who control the rural areas and who themselves are poor, ignorant - but zealous - and uneducated in Koranic interpretation. This is what is so frustrating to educated Muslims the world over. We see these 'teachers' operating in the most fundamentalist madrassas and mosques in the poor immigrant communities here in England, though we have more laws to deal with the results of their dogmas than the Afghans have.

Best wishes
Jon


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"I'm wondering why the emphasis on "western countries" and the "western world"." ~Elvis

My, my, Elvis, you do pick through words with a fine tooth comb. (How nice that you pay such careful attention!). I humbly concede that *worldwide* would have been more accurate & concise.

"I don't think our government can, or should, intervene." Agreed. But maybe it's a false dichotomy to frame this (or any) situation in terms of responding with either a laissez-faire approach or intervention. There is another way.

Politics and policy making can keep us in our heads & lead us to stray from our spiritual center. What we most need to hear today, we can only hear when the mind is quiet. From that silence, real change & solutions of peace will flow.

We may appear "passive," but we are fully engaged, present & active, as we gather in spirit and forge our hearts together. An international grass roots movement is underway made up of people of all religions & no religion. They are meditating, praying, they are *holding* a vision of peace. Thoughts are the most creative power in the universe, but we are only beginning to tap into this power.

"...I do not know what the answer is."~Dublinbay

Wisdom doesn't flow from the outside in, but from the inside out. This forum could be viewed as a small, grass roots group from which energy can flow outward to effect change. This thread can ignite prayer & positive, loving thoughts that will send out a ripple effect, Dublinbay!

So while you may feel helpless, you are actually doing something powerful here. Any time you sit down & send out positive vibes of loving concern, or pray, or meditate or write something uplifting, in however small a way, you are contributing toward healing our species & our planet.


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Thank you for your further explanations, Jon. No, I am not blaming the Muslim religion for condoning or approving or causing violent misogyny against teenage girls (among others).

As I said earlier,
By the way, my understanding has been that only certain fanatical groups support the vile mistreatment and the outrageous behaviors like slitting the throat or beheading the woman who says NO to the guy. That is not a typical or standard Muslim response. These thugs that have been controlling Afghan for some time now and will be in the future are extremists who are feared by the average Afghan . . .

What is the cause of violent misogyny? I'm not sure anyone knows, but there are some general cultural patterns apparent at times in terms of which forms of violence are more common in different cultures, suggesting that the form it takes is culturally influenced. Beheading 14 year olds that refuse to marry old men is more common in Afghanistan than in most other parts of the world. The highly suspicious bride- or wife-burnings in her own kitchen are more common in India than in Afghanistan or the USA or most other parts of the world. I'm not sure--does the USA have preferred ways of expressing violence against women? I do know that if a USA woman is killed, it is likely to be by someone she knows, usually a family member. Is there a preferred method? Guns, or knives, or strangling, or drowning? I really don't know--except that the two previous examples are not the commonly used methods in the USA.

When I use the word "common," I do not necessarily mean the murdering or severely harming of women is a commonplace event (that most men are doing it and doing it a lot). It is a comparative term--extreme measures, starting with burkas and ranging all the way to slitting the throat of a potential bride, are more "common" in Afghanistan than they are in USA or England, for instance. On the other hand, domestic violence is a worldwide plague that manifests itself at all class/educational levels--in that sense it is "common"--too commonly found globally.

Do all men beat up and kill "their women"? Absolutely not. My father never hit a woman in his life, nor did he browbeat, or dominate, or intimidate, much less break ribs or slit throats. Why didn't he? Because he was convinced that such behavior was very wrong--so I would say he was culturally taught a certain positive attitude toward women--and violence against women never manifested itself in his parents' home nor in my father's homes. However, I have met and talked with even very religious guys (Christian) who honestly believed it was their "duty" to hit their wife is she "got out of line" in his opinion. I can remember repeating multiples times in a row to my next door neighbor (an otherwise "nice" guy--very helpful neighbor)that hitting his wife was against the law in our country. He would say, Yes--and immediately cite exceptions to the law that justified him hitting her (the exceptions all amounted to "if she does something to displease me, I have an obligation to discipline her by hitting her). Where did that attitude come from? I would guess it was culturally learned also--and that he came from a family where violence against women was tolerated if Mom did something that displeased Dad sufficiently enough. (My neighbor would also haul out the "husband is head of household" crap when he justified his violence against his wife.) It took my repeating "It is against the law" about 6 times in a row before he got a strange look on his face and asked, "It is?"

I give you that extended example to prove that I am not claiming the Muslim religion causes/promotes/condones violence against women. Nor does Christianity. But violent abusers have been known to haul out their (mis-readings) of their sacred books to justify their violence against women. But many examples exist of non-religious wife-beaters/murderers also.

However the male is taught or picks up from his culture that hurting women is acceptable, the end result is a wounded or dead woman. That is what concerns me.

I'd also venture to guess that if we grew up in a world in which women, as a general rule, were bigger and stronger than men in general and were culturally conditioned to believe/accept that it is their job to control and dominate the "little men," that we would find there were many, too many, women in general violently abusing "their men"/husbands (etc.) instead. And in fact that does happen in some cases around the world--but that pattern is not as commonplace as violence against women.

Whatever the causes or cultural forms it takes, violence against women is too common around the globe--as the statistics you cited (for the USA?) clearly show. But what got me started on this thread was how appalled I am at the news of another 14 year old Afghan girl saying NO to an old man and being brutally murdered as a result--and it is evidently not even against the law in that country and in certain quarters even culturally approved of. But of course any 14 year old being murdered anywhere for any reason is appalling. But I would hate to be the young girl trapped in the misogynistic culture generally apparent in Afghanistan. Trapped--yes. Awful.

Kate


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RE: If US leaves, Afghan women in danger

"As I have repeated several times, I do not know what the answer is, but I refuse to take false comfort in the proposition that the Afghan women will probably be OK after we leave (out of sight, out of mind [non]thinking?)--they'll handle it somehow. I say the women are too powerless to affect much of anything in their society. And I refuse to pretend otherwise--just so I'll feel better."

Well put, Kate.

-----------------------------------------------------------
Speaking of women, for those too young to remember Iran under the Shah, the pictures at the link below provide a look back.

Here is a link that might be useful: Women in Pre-Islamist Iran


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RE: If US leaves, Afghan women in danger

Kate thank you for this wonderful, thought provoking thread. I'm hoping we can revisit it with updated information when the troop withdrawl as planned has been. for the most part, completed.

I just watched an internet news video out of Egypt, where a French newswoman was nearly attacked after doing a piece. I was watching the looks on the men's faces behind her as she wrapped up the news piece-
- she escaped into a Hardee's (of all places) where some of the crowd of men, in thwarted frustration actually pounded on the glass walls of the store.
And then read about a young college student who very rarely now leaves her home due to the physical abuse she will face.

It is shocking to me that such crowds of men will so easily and eagerly leave their own humanity behind them.


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RE: If US leaves, Afghan women in danger

It's a situation that has no good outcome. Afghan women have been in danger since time immemorial. Sadly, not much has changed for them in the past 2000 years or so, unlike the west, which has made some progress over the years.

Our coming didn't really improve anything for women and our leaving won't change much either. Their live are threatened every moment of every day by a system of religion that has succeeded in marginalizing and demonizing women, and by men who think of women as a commodity to be sold, or killed with impunity.


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RE: If US leaves, Afghan women in danger

Thank you, Nic, for the reminder.

I remember well how women were treated prior to the radical Islamic government taking over.

I have good friends that are from Iran that came to the United States before the clocked was turned backward.


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RE: If US leaves, Afghan women in danger

Here we go . . . I'm gone.

Thanks for a civilised discussion Kate - I will not take part in a conversation with these creatures.

Best wishes
Jon


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RE: If US leaves, Afghan women in danger

Steve McCurry's (NatGeo) iconic "Afghan Girl" photo is going to auction at Christies.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sharbat Gula: A Life Revealed


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RE: If US leaves, Afghan women in danger

I had forgotten about that picture--thank you for reminding me, duluth. Yes, that pic captures so much of what I want to say and am feeling about the situation over there in Afghanistan.

Kate


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RE: If US leaves, Afghan women in danger

I have good friends that are from Iran that came to the United States before the clocked was turned backward.

Then you and they remember that women were considered second class citizens then too except the Shah got to pretend and show the world how "modernized" they were because they weren't required to wear Chadur's any more. He passed his unveiling law in 1936 yet did little to really help women's rights.

My ex's family came from Iran then too. They were very wealthy and had a good life there because they were able to work the system but they are the first to tell you that life under the Shah for many, including women, was not utopia. Far from it. Don't judge a book by its cover. Women still had to get permission from their husbands for many things including to travel or work and the laws favored men as they do now in many areas that would not be acceptable here in the west.


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RE: If US leaves, Afghan women in danger

"They were very wealthy and had a good life there because they were able to work the system but they are the first to tell you that life under the Shah for many, including women, was not utopia."

Epi, I am glad that your inlaws had a good life in Iran despite the Shah. What made that possible for them to become wealthy there? Were they still in Iran when the Shah fled?


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RE: If US leaves, Afghan women in danger

Epi, I am glad that your inlaws had a good life in Iran despite the Shah. What made that possible for them to become wealthy there? Were they still in Iran when the Shah fled?


Yes Nik, the Shah was still there when they left. The family made their money long before the Shah came on the scene and they remained somewhat protected under the Shah simply because their professions were needed. Even though they knew how to play the system and had material wealth and "connections" they had to look over their shoulders all the time and never felt comfortable. Family members and friends disappearing and being murdered, and oppression were just several of many factors that motivated them to finally escape, leaving everything behind.


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RE: If US leaves, Afghan women in danger

Thanks for sharing, Epi. I'm glad they were able to escape. Did they come to the US? Did they get out before or after the Shah was deposed?


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RE: If US leaves, Afghan women in danger

  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Tue, Dec 11, 12 at 12:27

RIP Nadia Sadiqi...

"Ms Sidiqi took over the Laghman women's affairs department from Hanifa Safi who was killed in a bomb attack in July.

Ms Safi, who had been a leading advocate of fair treatment for women, died when a bomb attached to her car exploded as she left her home in Laghman province."

From Amnesty
"Assassination of Nadia Sidiqi Underscores the Deadly Consequences for Women Standing up for Rights in Afghanistan

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, strimel@aiusa.org, 212-633-4150, @strimel
(New York) � Suzanne Nossel, executive director of Amnesty International USA, issued the following comments in response to the assassination of Nadia Sidiqi, the acting Director of the Ministry of Women's Affairs department in the eastern province of Laghman, Afghanistan:
"The cold-blooded assassination of Nadia Sidiqi underscores the deadly consequences that lie in store for courageous women standing up for basic rights in Afghanistan," said Nossel. "They take their lives in their hands by insisting on equal opportunity and rights for everyone, including the right to go to school. The death of Nadia Sidiq is part of a terrorizing pattern of violence against women and the security forces in Afghanistan have failed once again to protect female human rights defenders. I urge the U.S. Congress to stand up for women�s rights in Afghanistan by passing the Afghan Women and Girls Security Promotion Act.
The tragic and outrageous killing of Nadia Sidiqi � and the death of her predecessor in a bombing - shows the dastardly determination of rights opponents to hunt down those that defy them. We must stand with these brave women and help to ensure that the United States does its part to protect and advance human rights for Afghan women and girls."
The Senate last week passed the Afghan Women and Girls Security Promotion Act, co-authored by Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX), as part of a defense bill.
One key provision will require the U.S. Defense Secretary to report to the American people semi-annually on the treatment of women and girls in Afghanistan. Also, the bill will support efforts to expand the number of women in the Afghan national police and the army (currently women make up less than .2 percent of the army). In addition, the legislation will provide training for these security forces to reduce sexual violence and support equal treatment for women."

A spokesman for the police chief of Laghman province told the BBC that the acting director did not have bodyguards with her, despite being entitled to them.

Last week, a 25-year-old female health worker was assassinated in Kapisa province, which borders Laghman."


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RE: If US leaves, Afghan women in danger

Deadly Consequences for Women Standing up for Rights in Afghanistan--that's one of the things I fear for Afghan girls and women.

I'm glad to hear that Congress plans on doing what little the USA can do, under the circumstances--rather than just turning its back on them and leaving.

Kate


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