Afghanistan: Women's Day in the Unrest Country

March the Eighth was the International Women's Day, a global celebration of the unsung heroes who make society function. Afghan bloggers noted it was happening, but placed the long struggle for women's rights in a rather historical context.

Mohammed Khairy laments,

In my country, Afghanistan, women are always marching and protesting for their rights. Unfortunately, the politicians never listen to them nor give them any benefit…
The few Afghanistani women who got the opportunity to serve in a high position of the new Government soon became involved in oppositional political games rather than working for women.
The Afghanistan government failed to stop the crimes against women, instead there are many criminals who have been hired in different positions.
Afghanistani women are again left to the injustice of cruel husbands, child-marriage and women trafficking. Men still have the power to do anything to their wives such as torturing and killings. There are hundreds of women being shot to death, sold out to other men, having parts of their bodies cut off, such as ears, noses and fingers, according to the Afghanistan Human Right commission.

M. Ashraf Haidari, on the other hand, sees much to celebrate:

Afghan women have much to celebrate on International Women's Day. Yet their precarious situation still warrants international attention and support. Although Afghan women have now regained most of the freedoms that they lost under the Taliban's gender apartheid, they still constitute one of the most vulnerable groups in Afghanistan…
Afghan women have made notable progress since the end of the Taliban's unforgiving gender apartheid seven years ago.

Nasim Fekrat notices that Afghan women are actually facing more violence today than they were several years ago:

Many times, children at the age of 7, 8, and 9 are forced to marry. The conditions are severe and often they are raped. After marriage they can't go to school anymore and are faced with lots of difficulties from the family and husbands. Many of them can't bear this harsh position, and they burn or otherwise kill themselves…
About 87% of woman complain about the domestics violence, half of them are sexually abused and more than 60% of the marriages are by force.
On the other hand, decades of war left the country with thousands of widows and orphans. Today, most of them are begging in the streets. A few of them have been taken to orphanages and protective shelters.

Hadi1121 offers a similar testimony.

But women’s day isn’t all there is to think about. Sanjar relates the story of a protest in Mazar-i-Sharif over the Danish Prophet Cartoons:

Afghan clerics and the government not only got the crisis wrong, as they usually do with crisis but they are also full of hypocrisy. The government budget and effectively Afghanistan is funded by countries that have published the cartoon. Why do you receive their charity while strongly oppose their values. Cartoon is another pretext for mullahs, as its for the right wing in the west, to strengthen their grip on society. Protests like today is solely the initiative of few mullahs and its primarily aimed at suppressing moderate elements of Afghan society, if such a thing exist.

Hadi1121 notes that the many questions over ethnic minorities is in a way being answered by the Afghan version of “American Idol” show:

We can go on all day talking about how different ethnicities are now represented in the parliament and the government, what each has achieved and/or lost, what is factual is that different groups simply don’t trust and in certain cases don’t like one another. They still view the other as a stalker ready to rid the other of their rights and existence. Be it the presidential, parliamentary or local counsel elections or the one for the Afghan Star, candidates in most cases are viewed as representatives of their respective groups and tribes rather than individual artists contesting based on talent.

And lastly, Kabulistan writes of an art project that is gaining some attention in Holland over the plight of the growing number of drug addicts.

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