Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Essay on Peshawar

Essay on Peshawar

The women of Afghanistan have lived under restrictions unfamiliar to many women living in western countries. Since the Taliban took control of the majority of Afghanistan in 1996, the women have been subjected to a series of harsh rules and punishments unheard of in any other country of the world. One story the article discusses is of Fatima. Fatima is an Afghani refugee from Kabul living in the small northern city of Pakistan called Peshawar. She is an English teacher in the refugee camp where she now lives. The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan runs a network of home schools where female teachers risk their lives by providing education for young girls. Life under the Taliban’s fundamentalist Islamic rule is especially tough for Afghani women. Girls are forbidden to attend schools; women have to give up their jobs and are not allowed to go out unless covered by a burqa (black veil) or accompanied by a male relative.

From the information in this article, along with my responses, many issues of Afghani women under the Taliban rule will be discussed. Women under the Taliban law in Afghanistan are denied the opportunity to any social rights of the country. They are being deprived of their rights to free speech, independence, and a social and educational life. Their family life is also being disrupted as a result.

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A report published in 1999 by the Physicians for Human Rights found some shocking statistics about Afghani women: 97% of afghan women are in a state of major depression; 42% suffer from post traumatic stress disorder; and 21% have had suicidal thoughts more often than not. These percentages make it seem like the whole country is undergoing highly dramatic depression.

Fatima, the young woman mentioned earlier, is also the victim of Taliban rule. She has lived on a refugee camp for three years. Along with her, hundreds of other women live in the camps in Peshawar. Fatima now teaches English to women in the refugee camps of Peshawar so they to can someday reach their goals in life.

Sometimes I compare my life with the lives of the women in these stories and there is just no comparison between the western culture and the Afghani Taliban ruled culture. The behavior the Taliban men enforce on these women is extremely inhuman.

Everyday they long for freedom in their country, but it is unimaginable to think that nothing can be done to change the mentality of these Taliban men who have such raging egos. I wonder if Afghani women desire to use the technologies of communication that are out there now. I would argue that what Afghani women need most is a voice. I believe they need basic communication skills to communicate properly with people other than their community and family. They need to have a strong backbone in order to help themselves cope with the issues they are dealing with. I understand they are in a situation where they have no say, but there are groups that are willing to help the women in Afghanistan that are strong enough to leave the Taliban rule.

If women from the western cultures were to change places with Afghani women I am sure they would commit suicide before it even got to the point in which they were treated with such vindictiveness. I just do not understand the way these Taliban men can be so cruel and inhuman about respecting and treating women. It is like they are animals who need to be caged. Humans don’t even treat animals with such cruelty.

Women and girls are not allowed outside their homes unless wearing a burqa fully covered head to toe. The only part they are allowed to show is their eyes to see. Women today who are Muslim and are living in the United States still cover their heads, but do not get treated as if they are criminals just because their whole face isn’t covered. For example, women have been beaten on the street if an inch of ankle is showing under their burqa. They have been beaten if they are found to move about without an explanation acceptable to Taliban. The have been beaten if they make noise when they walk. To even hear of such harsh treatment makes you want to go there and treat the men exactly the way the women are being treated. These women feel as if they have no point of living, no sense of worth, no kind of love, no security, no independence, and especially no freedom of any kind.

Afghani women face enormous challenges in assuming new roles available to them; challenges that will not be overcome in a short time, but that require sustained attention and commitment. As a result, many Afghani females are severely traumatized and even if dramatic improvement would appear, their conditions would not alleviate their ingrained fear and security. We as Americans are so spoiled with the advantages we have that support people in such need. I am very thankful and grateful for everything I have as well as the education I receive. These young women long to learn a language as well as skills to become something they wish to be someday. I would be willing to help make a difference in an Afghani woman’s life to reach her freedom and independence that she never could get on her own. I do understand that working on women’s’ rights in Afghanistan means long- term commitment which many people are willing to be part of.


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