By Fariha Faqiri, YWC Member
In a society where 30 years of civil war did no justice to its own nation, it also left its people travelling back in time instead of moving forward with the rest of the world.
The world knew who had come into Afghanistan and who was chased out; however, what the rest of the world was unaware of was that in the midst of all these wars, there were a group of people who have always been considered no more than dust.
Women – Afghan women, were being used in the name of religion, in the name of culture and in the name of tradition to have their rights tarnished and their voices silenced. For generations on end, it was the women of this civil war society who were abandoned and forgotten about by the rest of the world – and by its own people.
Afghan women were beaten, raped, tortured, burned by oil, acid sprayed, buried alive, stoned to death, had their body parts cut off, and the list could go on, but you would never be able to bear all this.
When an animal is beaten or killed in the Western world it hits headlines, it brings echoes and cries, but when thousands of innocent little girls in the Eastern world are raped every day – when women are beaten and stoned to death, the world sits and watches. What the rest of the world cannot even bear to hear, Afghan women experience and go through every day of their lives.
You hear it, we go through it. When an image of an Afghan girl in the media is shown the world finally reacts but does it do much? Do we get up and say to ourselves, I have to do something? Do we know what to do? Do the men in the society that see it with their eyes, feel shame towards themselves?
Do the men of any society, of any religion, of any culture, rise up to take action against such horrifying acts?
The simple answer is NO!
We might feel anger, hate, and enraged but yet those feelings maybe last only ten minutes, then we move on and forget anything ever happened.
Society has turned us women into dolls.
They make what they want of us, put what they want on us, and make us feel what they want us to feel. We women have become another invention, like many other man-made machines. We, ourselves have forgotten “who we are.” Our traditional characteristics, our values, our morals have all been taken away from us until we are made into a creature society wants.
With centuries of such treatment, women have accepted to wear a mask to replace and hide their real image. We have been rid the right to decide for ourselves. We have been robbed of our independence.
Afghan women, unlike any other women, have been called “the weak one,” “servant of her husband,” “mother of the child,” and even a “goat.” Women for generations on end have been preserved by walls and chains, have been considered as not human – who can think, nourish common sense and become aware of her own surroundings. The image of women in Afghanistan and many eastern countries is that of an animal who cannot be tamed, who is incapable of being disciplined; therefore one needs to keep her in a cage.
Like an unclean creature she is not counted as a human being by society, but those who are considered human beings are men.
Today, I, as sister, a daughter and a woman in society stand before you and ask for my rights to be respected, for my image to be returned, for my title as a “human being” to be given back to me. If society does not still want to accept my image as a pillar that can rebuild its country and bring its people a peaceful life, I will not remain silent.
Silence has overtaken my body and has brought me to fight. It has made me realize that tomorrow YOU will never be able to see life as I have seen it, experience life as I have experienced.
Tomorrow you will not be living in my shoes and seeing life through my eyes. Tomorrow it will not be you who will be locked up in the four walls of her so called “house” – seeing life through rays of light that pities my being and wants to grant me life. Tomorrow it won’t be you sacrificed in the name of religion and honor.
It will be me; it will be an Afghan girl. To change this tomorrow, I have stepped out of my cage, I have left my blue bars behind, and have my head held up high to fight for my better tomorrow.
I am an Afghan woman who, since time, humanity has stolen everything from me. A living dead walking amongst thorns in my bare feet, confined in a cage whose wings society broke, stepped over and left forever scarred.
My rights as a human, my freedom, my individuality, my name, my origin, my image were veiled by society with words such as “honor” and “reputation.”
When darkness surrounded my cage they kept me behind blue bars and raped me of my Identity.
A girl, a sister, a daughter, a wife, a friend…a MOTHER whose children stood up and robbed everything that made me a WOMAN and left me known to the rest of the world as the “WOMAN IN A BURQA.”
Today, we WOMEN will fight for our rights back, our freedom back, our IDENTITY BACK.
It’s your turn to decide what you want when that sun rises tomorrow…
Young Women for Change organization does not necessarily agree with the contents of the above blog.
Young Women for Change is an independent non-profit organization consisting of dozens of volunteer women and male advocates across Afghanistan.
It was established to empower women across Afghanistan and recruit them to the struggle for gender equality.