Working in Kandahar it was interesting but mostly sad to see how these people live. There is a certain morbid but generally accepted dysfunction about the region; self-inflicted by the local nationals that dwell there. I say dwell because it is not living in the sense you might be living your life.

 

I wondered aloud why one very rarely saw women anywhere –accepted that they would be wearing their grim blue burka. I was told by local Kandahar gentlemen that there is an acceptable reason for this and that the reason is a mohammedans respect for women in general. Also that it would not be safe for them (women) to be outside of their homes as they could be raped or killed. Does anybody else feel a slight contradiction in terms / practice / philosophy coming on?

 

That a Nation - one of the poorest and certainly one of the most war torn - lives under this ‘code’; this apparently ‘god’ given but certainly Homo sapiens interpreted scripture; saddens me. How is it that an entire population can justify such thinking, will cut your throat, stone you to death, hang you, shoot you, blow you up with a road side bomb etc. in deference to such terrible and not just generally accepted but fundamentally defended delusion, is terrifying.

 

Whatever you opinion on the ongoing war in Afghanistan the empowerment and emancipation of women in these terrifying and sad regions is their only hope - just don’t hold your breath.

 

My humble message in very undiplomatic wording to the local Kandahar gentlemen would be thus – ‘Wind your neck in, man up and liberate your womenfolk’.

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Comment by Glen Rosenberg on June 3, 2011 at 8:56pm

Samhita, nice oxymoron-atheist cultist. I dont even like to be in large groups of people and am instantly turned off by the mob mentality. So you could not be more mistaken there.

I certainly value freedom of thought as well. Another good reason to despise religion.

Ali is a really good read and an admirable person.

Lacking knowledge of conditions in china affecting isolated women cant say, dont know. But guessing that it is not comparable to Kandahar. Furthermore there is a residue and backlash from religious and cultural oppression of women. You look at  secular atheistic modern area anywhere and you will see the greatest degree of liberation for women. Why, because religion is the glue that binds the social contracts and governs the interactions between men and women.

Comment by Glen Rosenberg on June 3, 2011 at 8:46pm

John,

I have heard your contentedness argument made by American slavers, foolishness that.

Comment by samhita on June 3, 2011 at 7:58pm
John C., I do he think Glen makes a good recommendation about reading Ayaan Hirsi Ali, if you are not familliar with her already. I don't think her works prove the point he is trying to make, but she certainly has an invaluably worldly perspective about religious, political and philosophical matters.
Comment by samhita on June 3, 2011 at 7:55pm
*Sigh*, what's with you Glen? You sound like a broken record, always attacking religion. Y'know the great bulk of Chinese culture is considered atheistic, but there's also a lot of isolation and what we would call "oppression" going on there. Such things do not only result from religion. You seem to be an atheist cultist, IMO. You literally cannot see or hear the other side of the argument. I mostly joined this site to find like minds, but I find myself defending theists from people like you because I value freedom of thought more than I value my thoughts. You seem only to value your own, and it's painful to see. One thing most atheists have in common is that we've experienced a great deal of hatred and oppression by theists. That, above all things, should be what we avoid perpetuating.
Comment by Glen Rosenberg on June 3, 2011 at 2:14am

Yeah, John those women are isolated,ensconced in religion isolated from secularism. Secularism leads to liberation. Religion and tribalism keeps women in chains.

Sure they defend there social position of subservience. Victims in cults always do.

Read Hirsi Ali, John.

Comment by John Camilli on June 3, 2011 at 2:03am
I would attribute it to isolation. Cultures go off on tangents when they are not intermingling with others. I might even expect to find women in Afghanistan that weren't displeased with their lot until they heard others telling them that they could be. I've heard a lot of instances where women defend conditions that we in the west think of as oppressive. And in those cases I can't help but think 'who am I to tell them they aren't happy?'
Comment by Mundify the Epigastrium on June 2, 2011 at 10:17am

Glen, it seems to me that culture and Islam are so part and parcel of the same society that there is no one without the other.

Comment by Glen Rosenberg on June 1, 2011 at 8:44pm

Interesting, Mauri, and to which do you attribute more Afghan misery culture or Islam?

Comment by Mundify the Epigastrium on June 1, 2011 at 2:00pm

For sure whatever 'humanitarian' or geopolitical justification there may or may not have been for the war, it is of less interest to the powers that be today than the financial cost of the mission at present. I suspect that politicians do not care whether two or twenty Taliban were killed by the coalition this month, last month or indeed next month. The fate of the Afghan people, let alone that of its women will not be a priority when talking budget.

It is staggering that the yearly cost of each individual U.S. forces member here is one million US Dollars!

Fortunately there is more going on here than the war. There are dedicated missions to educate and empower in an effort to bring about a system of government and a legal system that would let the Afghani people ‘Live under the Rule of Law’. These 'missions' are in very few places and most of the country is still known as 'bandit country' - no go areas unless you are looking for a fight. Still, huge sums of money are poured into this effort and politicians are busy congratulating themselves about what a good job they are doing and how this is making a real difference. The politician would do well to remember the old proverb – ‘You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink.’ Our Western values count for nothing here, what we may consider empathy is despised as weakness, show sympathy and you are weaker still. Taliban fighters, Haqquani tribesmen, warlords and despots are and always will be the norm.

Ultimately the fate of the Afghan people is in their own hands. That they may treat each other in an even more inhuman way once ISAF withdraws is probable, certainly very likely. Revenge for being seen consorting with Westerners is sure to be dished out. Women stoned to death for having been seen in public without a burka? Certainly. Hanging for having held a job provided by the Westerners?  You can bet on it. Can any of this possible post-ISAF fallout be blamed on anybody but the Afghans, their culture and Islam? I think not. Islam, as is the way with all ‘Imaginary Friend Club’s is the root cause of ‘evil’. Couple this with denying people education - the fundamental has it made. Religious schools do not educate, they perform brainwashing lobotomies.

Samhita, I think India is leap years ahead of Afghanistan yet horrible things still happen there. Quite sad don’t you think?

True unbiased education and empowerment of women is the only way forward but how to achieve this? There it is - the million dollar question.

How somebody gets joy out of causing misery en-masse in beyond me. For others repressing the masses and religious genocide will make their day complete. If the world does pull out then even greater misery will return with full force and vengeance to Afghanistan.

Comment by samhita on May 31, 2011 at 6:31pm

My parents are in their 70's and 80's, and so they both grew up amidst generations of Indians in which the women would still commonly commit sati on their husaband's funeral pyre, and in which little girls were legally married off before they were even teenagers. Unfortunately, these and other horrific practices do still occur, but gladly there are now laws against many such inhumanities which has created a significant decline in the frequency with which they happen.

 

If Afghanistan is left without a strong legal system, and an ability to enforce laws, I think Wanderer is right about what will happen, and I think it would indeed be all the worse for the women having briefly tasted any improvement. I think the longer Afghanistan can be occupied, the better. As it is, there seem to be so few people in that country at all interrested in changing their situation, so I think if we left any time soon, they would just lapse back into the same oppresive culture. I think it is essential that different people remain there as an example, so a generation or two can grow up seeing that its possible to be different, and then they might have some incentive to fight for more individual rights.

 

Good thread, Mauri, thanks for posting it.

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