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How My Friend From Kabul Escaped an Honor Killing and Saved Her Life – So Far

12:46 pm in Uncategorized by On The Issues Magazine

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© Mahnaz Rezaie

By Mahnaz Rezaie, cross-posted from On The Issues Magazine.

I am from Afghanistan. I am now an undergraduate student on scholarship at an American college. I was on campus last Sunday when I read – and agonized over – an article on the front page of The New York Times about the attempted “honor killing” of an Afghan teenager.

This young woman was from the provinces and dared to run away with a man who was not her husband. Along with emphasizing the horror of all this, I want Americans to know that this is not merely a practice of the provinces of my country. Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, is in some ways a relatively sophisticated city. But this kind of wicked ignorance happens there too.

I also want Americans to know that some women manage to save their own lives. They hide and escape. A friend of mind from Kabul did just that. With a secret mobile phone she messaged her boyfriend from the bathroom of the family house where her father was keeping her a prisoner – and they plotted their escape.

That Sunday newspaper article told the story of Gul Meena, struck by an ax fifteen times because she “dishonored” her family.

My friend – before she ran away – was persecuted in the name of religion. But an honor killing can happen simply because a woman and a man fall in love without the permission of elders. That seems to have been the case with Gul Meena. It is said that Gul Meena broke fundamental moral codes.  I say that she broke absurd patriarchal laws.

I will call the friend who came to mind on Sunday “Samana.” I will call the boy with whom she fell in love and with whom she ran away “Khalid.” It would be too dangerous for me to use their real names.

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Bombing to Liberate Women

5:21 am in Uncategorized by On The Issues Magazine

By Debra Sweet, cross-posted at On The Issues Magazine. Sweet is the Director of World Can’t Wait, based in New York City, which engages in efforts to stop occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ten years ago, when the Taliban had mostly wrested control of Afghanistan from former fundamentalist warlord allies of the United States, the U.S. government turned a cold and deaf ear to testimony about the suffering of Afghan women. Then, suddenly, after her husband announced a “war on terror” to last “generations,” Laura Bush told us in November 2011 that the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan was “a fight for the rights and dignity of women.”

U.S. activists for the global rights of women quickly differed over what has become the longest U.S. occupation. A number of us asked, where, ever, had U.S. bombs, contractors, armies and money brought liberation for women? A section of feminists, led by the Feminist Majority Foundation formed up in support of the Bush regime’s aim of removing the Taliban. While deploring violence, they lobbied for humanitarian aid programs to be part of the war, and for women to be included in the U.S. puppet government. Initially, some were, but the cynical inclusion of women in occupied governments has been meaningless, largely done to fool outsiders.

While Bush’s preemptive war on Iraq, a much more populous, developed country than the impoverished Afghanistan, destroyed that country, driving more than four million people into internal exile, and killing somewhere between 120,000 and over a million Iraqis, the world’s attention was focused on the sectarian disaster it sparked. But at least no one made a serious argument that this was saving the women of Iraq.

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