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Lesson Plans


[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Lawrence A. Parker/OCCTI (occti)
Thu, 26 Aug 1999 08:26:27 -0400


The Taliban's War on Women:

**** Please sign at the bottom to support, and include your town. 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 sarabande

Even if you decide not to sign, please be considerate and do not kill the
petition. Thank you. It is best to copy rather than forward the petition.

Melissa Buckheit
Brandeis University


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
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 told me that we in the United States 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 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 Americans do not understand.
If we can threaten military force in Kosovo in the name of human rights for
the sake of ethnic Albanians, Americans can certainly express peaceful
outrage at the oppression, murder and injustice committed against women by
the Taliban.


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 States and the
U.S.Government and that the current situation overseas will not be
tolerated. Women's Rights is not a small issue anywhere and it is
UNACCEPTABLE for women in 1998 to be treated as sub-human and so much as

Equality and human decency is a RIGHT not a freedom, whether one lives in
Afghanistan or the United States.*****

1) Leslie London, Cape Town, South Africa
2) Tim Holtz, Boston, MA
3) Joyce Millen, Cambridge, MA
4) Diane Millen, Falls Church, Va.
5) Bill Millen, Falls Church, Va.
6) Milt Eisner, McLean VA
7) Harriet Solomon, Springfield, VA
8) Arlene Silikovitz, West Orange, NJ
9) Susanna Levin, New Rochelle, NY
10) Rabbi Gary Greene, Framingham, MA
11) Danny Siegel, Rockville, MD
12) Rabbi Neal Gold, Highland Park, NJ
13) Aimee Sousa, Highland Park, NJ
14) James Sousa, Highland Park, NJ
15) Peter Tatiner, Highland Park, NJ
16) Roberta Elins, New York, NY
17) Margaux Baran, Ne wYork, NY
18) Stephanie Donohue, New York, NY
19) Debbie Russ, NYC
20) Ariel Yan, NYC
21) Erin Burns, NYC
22) Jenny Laden, NYC
23) Daedre Levine, NYC
24) Megan Sheekey, NYC
25)Karen Hefler, NYC
26)Ted Hope, NYC
27) Heather McGowan, NYC
28) Rebecca Godfrey, NYC
30) Samuel Godfrey, Toronto Ontario Canada
31)Alexander Williams, Philadelphia, PA
32) Jonathan Jacoby, Cambridge, MA, USA
33) Donna Berk, Swampscott,MA, USA
34) Lawrence A. Parker, OH, USA
35) The Ohio Center for Critical Thinking Instruction, Inc., OH, USA