Women in Afghanistan

Paul Arveson (bridges@his.com)
Mon, 22 Nov 1999 21:46:45 -0500

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I received this and feel strongly about the contents. Please read and
add your name is you also agree that this is unacceptable. Do not just
forward it, but paste it onto a new message so that you can add your
name.

STATEMENT:
The government of Afghanistan is waging a war upon women. The
situation is getting so bad that one person in an editorial of the Times
compared
It to pre-Holocaust Poland. Since the Taliban took power in 1996, women
have had to wear burqua and have been beaten and stoned in public for not
having the proper attire, even if this means simply not having the mesh
covering
in front of their eyes.

One woman was beaten to DEATH by an angry mob of fundamentalists
for accidentally exposing her arm while she was driving. Another was
stoned to death for trying to leave the country with a man that was not a
relative.
Women are not allowed to work or even go out in public without a Male
relative; professional women such as professors, translators, doctors,
lawyers, artists and writers have been forced from their jobs and
stuffed into their homes, so that depression is becoming so widespread that
it
has reached emergency levels. Suicide has increased significantly. Homes
where a woman is present Must have their windows painted so that she can
never
be seen by outsiders. They must wear silent shoes so that they are never
heard. Women live in fear of their lives for the slightest
misbehavior. Because they cannot work, those without male relatives or
husbands are either starving to death or begging on the street, even if
they hold
Ph.D.'s.

There are almost no medical facilities available for women, and
Relief workers, in protest, have mostly left the country, taking Medicine
and
psychologists and other things necessary to treat the sky-rocketing
level of depression among women. At one of the rare hospitals for women, a
reporter found still, nearly lifeless bodies lying motionless on top of
beds,
wrapped in their burqua, unwilling to speak, eat, or do anything, but
slowly
wasting away. Others have gone mad and were seen crouched in corners,
perpetually rocking or crying, most of them in fear. One doctor is
considering,
when what little medication that is left finally runs out, leaving these,
women in front of the president's residence as a form of peaceful protest.
It is at the point where the term 'human rights violations' has become an
understatement.

Husbands have the power of life and death over their women
relatives, especially their wives, but an angry mob has just as much right
to
stone or beat a woman, often to death, for exposing an inch of flesh or
offending them in the slightest way. David Cornwell has said that those in
the
West should not judge the Afghan people for such treatment because it is a
'cultural thing', but this is not even true. Women enjoyed relative
freedom, to work, dress generally as they wanted, and drive and appear in
public alone until only 1996.

The rapidity of this transition is the main reason for the
depression and suicide; women who were once educators or doctors or simply
used
to basic human freedoms are now severely restricted and treated as
sub-human in the name of right-wing fundamentalist Islam. Everyone has a
right to a
tolerable human existence.

STATEMENT: In signing this, we agree that the current treatment of
women in Afghanistan is completely UNACCEPTABLE and deserves
support and action by
the people of the United Nations and that the current situation in
Afghanistan will not be tolerated. Women's Rights is not a small
issue anywhere and it is UNACCEPTABLE for women in 1999 to be treated as
sub-human and so much as property. Equality and human decency is a RIGHT
not a
freedom, whether one lives in Afghanistan or anywhere else.

**** Please sign to support, and include your town and country.

1 Carlo Heip, Yerseke, The Netherlands
2. Anneliese Ernst, Yerseke, The Netherlands
3. Erika Oberer-Bley, Konstanz, Germany
4. Bernd Bukau, Freiburg, Germany
5. Martina Buettner, Heidelberg, Germany
6. Oliver Gruss, Heidelberg, Germany
7. Christine Vagner,Toulouse,France
8. Jean-Charles Faye, Toulouse, France
9. Beatrix Bugler, Toulouse, France
10. Malika Pares, Toulouse, France
11. Emmanuel Courcelle, Toulouse, France
12. Abdelmadjid Mesli, Strasbourg, France
13. Thomas Heiser, Strasbourg, France
14. Jelila Labed-Nachbrand, Strasbourg, France
15. Francoise Brunette, Strasbourg, France
16. Margaret Kruger, Strasbourg, France
17. Helene Detemple, Strasbourg, France
18. Valentine Thiebold, Strasbourg, France
19. Olivier Guerrero, Montreal, Canada
20. Lynn Palovits, Pierrefonds, Canada
21. Michel Palovits, Montreal-North, Canada
22. Michel Julien, Repentigny, Canada
23. Marie Theberge, Uxbridge, Canada
24. Jim Crane, Uxbridge, Canada
25. Evelyn Benchimol, Dorval, Canada
26. Coeli Smith, London, Canada
27. Roberts C. Smith, Riverside, California, USA
28. Robert V. Bird, Ontario, California, USA
29. Michael Higgins, San Diego, California, U.S.A.
30. Sharon Sample, Stillwater, Oklahoma, U.S.A.
31. Andy Novak, Fife, Washington, U.S.A.
32. Catherine Barron, Fife, Washington, U.S.A.
33. Sharon Carpenter, Holdenville, Oklahoma, U. S. A.
34. Teresa Rothrock, Holdenville, Oklahoma, U. S. A.
35. Brandon S. Pasley, Chickasha, Oklahoma, U.S.A.
36. April D. Doshier, Chickasha, Oklahoma, U.S.A
37. Benjamin J. Thomas, Chickasha, Oklahoma, U.S.A
38. Scott M. Horn, Chickasha, Oklahoma, U.S.A
39. William J. Novotny, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.A.
40. Elson E. Boles, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.A.
41. Ole Fjord Larsen, Esbjerg, Denmark
42. James Enright, Trang, Thailand
43. Colin McQuistan, Hanoi, Vietnam
44. Saowalak Markphaenthong, Chonburi, Thailand
45. Sulma Warne, Hanoi, Vietnam
46. Hans Friederich, Bangkok, Thailand
47. Jane Whitten, Cambridge, England
48. Paul Arveson, Rockville, Maryland USA

Then copy and e-mail to as many people as possible. If
you receive this List
with more than 50 names on it, please e-mail a copy of
it to:
Mary Robinson,
High Commissioner,
UNHCHR,
webadmin.hchr@unorg.ch

and to:
Angela King,
Special Advisor on Gender Issues and the Advancement
of Women, UN,
daw@undp.org (mailto:daw@undp.org)
Even if you decide not to sign, please be considerate
and do not kill the petition. Thank you. It is best to copy rather
than forward the petition.