Twelve years ago this week, the Taliban regime retreated from Kabul. Children were finally free to fly kites, women emerged from behind their burqas and girls could again dream of going to school. Women and girls have made hard-won advancements. Afghan women have seats in parliament, run businesses and even serve as police officers and park rangers.
In its treatment of women, the Taliban was one of the most brutal regimes the world has ever known. That legacy lingers in even the most basic aspects of life.
For girls and women, something as seemingly simple as attending school requires great bravery.… Seguir leyendo »
As the United States convenes the NATO summit in Chicago this weekend, the fate of Afghanistan’s women is on my mind. This spring marks the 10th anniversary of the return of Afghanistan’s girls to the classroom. During the Taliban era, women were denied education. Women could not work, even when they were the sole providers for their families. Under the Taliban dictatorship, it was decreed that women should be neither seen nor heard.
By 2002, the consequences of such deliberate human cruelty were abundantly clear. Afghanistan faced a humanitarian crisis. Seventy percent of its people were malnourished, and 25 percent of children died before age 5.… Seguir leyendo »
The haunting portrait of a young, disfigured Afghan woman on Time magazine’s cover this summer issued a stark reminder that the stakes in Afghanistan are high — and that the consequences of failure are brutal, especially for women.
On Friday I met with Bibi Aisha in California, where, thanks to the compassion of many individuals and organizations, she is receiving reconstructive surgery and beginning the long road of healing. The visible scars of her disfigurement will heal with time, but moving beyond the emotional and psychological trauma of her torturous mutilation may be more difficult.
Bibi Aisha’s story and the prevalence of intimidation and violence against Afghan women raise important questions for those working to establish this young democracy.… Seguir leyendo »
For two weeks, the world has been transfixed by images of Iranians taking to the streets to demand the most basic human freedoms and rights. Watching these courageous men and women, I am reminded of a similar scene nearly two years ago in Burma, when tens of thousands of Buddhist monks peacefully marched through their nation’s streets. They, too, sought to reclaim basic human dignity for all Burmese citizens, but they were beaten back by that nation’s harsh regime.
Since those brutal days in September 2007, Burma’s suffering has intensified. In the past 21 months, the number of political prisoners incarcerated by the junta has doubled.… Seguir leyendo »