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Bombs will kill women in Afghanistan

Posted by robertgreenwald on July 8th, 2009

Self immolation is a method of suicide by lighting oneself on fire. According to the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, self immolation has never been such an epidemic in Afghanistan as it is today. This is one fact that leads people to the sobering reality that our efforts in Afghanistan have done nothing for the vast majority of women there.

Despite this, politicians, military leaders, and sadly even some misguided American feminist groups continue to use the plight of women in Afghanistan to justify more spending, more troops and more war. People who care for the people of Afghanistan have got to see this for what it is. Women never benefit from bombs and bullets.

When the U.S and its allies chose to put the Karzai regime in place, they conveniently overlooked the fact that it is overrun with the same patriarchal attitudes toward women as the Taliban. During my recent trip to Afghanistan, I saw the crushing poverty that Afghans must endure. A few brave women from RAWA and the Afghan Women’s Mission pointed out in a recent article that the military establishment claims that it must win the military victory first and then the U.S. will take care of humanitarian needs. But they have it backward. Improve living conditions and security will improve. Focus on security at the expense of humanitarian goals, and coalition forces will accomplish neither. The first step toward improving people’s lives is a negotiated settlement to end the war.

Share this video and help your friends and family to see what is really happening to women in Afghanistan. Refuse to accept the line that we must stay in Afghanistan to protect the women of Afghanistan. Help us get people to Rethink Afghanistan.


In this video:

Orzala Ashraf serves on the Board of Directors of the Afghan Women’s Network and is the founder of Humanitarian Assistance for the Women and Children of Afghanistan (HAWCA).

Ann Jones is a journalist and author of a number of non-fiction books about her research into women’s and humanitarian issues, including Kabul in Winter. She has also written and taken photographs for a number of publications including National Geographic Traveler, Outside and the New York Times.

Sonali Kolhatkar is the host and producer of KPFK Radio’s Uprising, a daily drive-time morning public affairs program in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. She is also Co-Director of the Afghan Women’s Mission, a non-profit that works in solidarity with Afghan women.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is the first non-American journalist to be awarded the prestigious Livingston Award and the youngest recipient of the One World Media broadcast journalist of the year award in the United Kingdom. She has produced and reported for major networks in the United States and Britain including CNN, PBS, Channel 4 (U.K.) and the Discovery channel.

Kavita Ramdas is the President and CEO of the largest non-profit organization in the world exclusively funding women’s human rights, the Global Fund for Women.

Anand Gopal is Afghanistan Correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor and The Wall Street Journal.

Fahima Vorgetts is Director of the Afghan Women’s Fund and serves on the Board of Directors of Women for Afghan Women.

Fantana Gailani is the founder of the Afghanistan Women Council.

Shukria Barakzai is a member of the Afghan parliament and helped draft Afghanistan’s constitution. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of Aina–E–Zan (Women’s Mirror), a weekly newspaper for women in Kabul, Afghanistan.

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to “Bombs will kill women in Afghanistan”

  1. tjake13 says:

    I would like to donate guns to the women, so that they may protect themselves from rape, and their children from being used and killed. Who should I contact? I will contact my government, to see if they have any objections first.

  2. Thinker says:

    Sadly, the United States Population does not really know the problems men, women, and children are facing in Afghanistan. The United States population is full of ignorance in combat and believe Afghan people are living a good life. The United States culture is only interested in nudity, phornograpy, and television intertaiment such as sports, WWE, and stupid comedy and film.

  3. tjake13 says:

    If you think like a victim, and act like a victim; thugs will treat you like a second class citizen. But, you cannot stand up for yourself, if the thugs have all the weapons. You have an opportunity now to change your future; don't let it pass.

  4. [...] The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, echoing the same condemnation of the invasion and occupation, have also pointed out the depths of despair to which Afghan women have fallen since the start of the occupation: self-immolation — suicide by lighting oneself on fire — has never before been an epidemic in Afghanistan as it is today (source). [...]

  5. [...] Part Five questions the assumption that war can liberate Afghan women. Watch part five in its entirety online for free. [...]

  6. Josh says:

    So the Great Obama has made a terrible mistake then by sending troops to Afghanistan? That can't be possible! What happened to this “CHANGE” he promised? Hopefully that will bring America back to reality and help them realize all the elected was another SAME politician.

  7. cesarhechler says:

    The sanitized mainstream media of the U.S. can shoulder a bulk of the blame here. They are too busy reporting the antics of the latest flavour-of-the-minute starlet because it is cheap and easy and doesn't require sending a reporter with any intestinal fortitude into a war zone.

    Another sector of blame can be aimed at a bulk of Americans who don't really give a damn about anyone brown-skinned since they perceive anyone non-white and non-christian as some sort of heathen terrorist.

    Until the ignorance and apathy is worn away, helped along by REAL reporting, these poor Afghani women will continue to be caught in the middle of a battle between the typical ugly American and the local Afghan brand of fanaticism driven misogyny. Even if all Americans were one-hundred percent aware and focused on the issue, it would still be up to the men of Afghanistan to change their medieval ways of thinking and stand up to protect their WHOLE families' lives and freedoms.

  8. [...] video at “Rethink Afghanistan” upends this myth, particularly on the issue of women’s [...]

  9. [...] This video at “Rethink Afghanistan” upends this myth, particularly on the issue of women’s rights. [...]

  10. [...] video at “Rethink Afghanistan” upends this myth, particularly on the issue of women’s [...]

  11. edhowes says:

    The U.S. taxpayer makes all the corruption possible and his/her vote means nothing. No taxes, no credit. No credit, no war profits. No war profits, no war. Pretty simple really.

  12. samiullah says:

    thats because of American democracy the same as it happens west.

  13. virtualcharlie says:

    We now know the issues, what is the solution ?
    Let Taliban have their way ?
    Let Afghanistan become a haven for hating the west ?
    I support the noble aspirations of the Afghan people.
    I trust that if the women were in charge, Afghanistan would be a peaceful place.
    I believe that evil men will seize power and have their way.
    As a western man, what can I do ?
    As a western civilization, what should we do, turn away and let you sort it out ?
    We are up against an idea and a way of living that hasn't progressed in thousands of years. Who will change the minds of warlords, mercenaries, mujahadeen, Taliban, Al Quaida ?

  14. Sammy says:

    “The greatest ignorance is to reject something you know nothing about”

    We now know the issues, what is the solution ?

    I don't think you know the issue nor we will ever have a solution.
    The solution is within the Afghan themselves. If you think that the west can solve the issue for afghans then who is going to solve problem for west. The west is deep in its own problem. Maybe we should ask the Russian to solve the issue we have with drugs here in USA because we have not cure the Drugs, Gangs and Immigration since god know when.
    Read the data on the Internet, US is becoming a third world country as far a technology, education, economy etc..

    Let Taliban have their way ?

    Not only did you have them their way back in eighties but you supported and supplied them with weapon for their way and train them how to blow-up bridges, schools and stop girls from attending school and created “madrasa” in Pakistan. Did west or UN created any grammar, high or college school in Pakistan where we had three million refugees? NO!

    Let Afghanistan become a haven for hating the west ?

    What do you expect from any creature on earth if you use them and latter abuse them? in natural reaction they will bite you back. The west is killing civilian and you want them to love the west for this?

    I trust that if the women were in charge, Afghanistan would be a peaceful place.

    I trust that if the Japanese start sending a president rather than Toyota, Nisson, US would've been the most loved country on earth (Sometime I like to be as ignorant as you)

    I believe that evil men will seize power and have their way.
    They already did – didn't they? Granada war, Panama war, Cold war, Iraq-1 war, Iraq-2 war, Afghanistan war. and now thinking IRAN war. Wake up pal.

    As a western man, what can I do ?
    Set on your ass get fat as much as you can cause you're going to hibernate and go to sleep for the next decade. Watch your Hollywood movies, have your beer and don't you ever miss your basketball, football and baseball.

    As a western civilization, what should we do, turn away and let you sort it out ? sound like you missed your PROZAC.

    We are up against an idea and a way of living that hasn't progressed in thousands of years.
    Think deep and ask yourself if your way of living will survive for next decades?

  15. fatima74 says:

    The situation in Afghanistan is pretty bad and horrific, not just for women but for all poor Afghans, no doubt about it, but it’s the analysis of why it is happening that is pretty distrubing because not until we fully understand and take into account in detail the history, culture, langugage, religion and ways of the Afghan people can a solution take place. As long as outsiders try to force their way in and tell the Afghan people how to run their affairs, there will be a backlash by the Afghan people. We’ve seen this historically with forced attempts to “modernize” Afghan people, it does not work and results in more damage than good. Instead of looking at the complexities of what’s traspired, once again through RAWA propaganda the left is using the issue of women rights in Afghanistan to further a simplistic and revisionist history of what happened in Afghanistan.

    “You have to go back to the late 1970s where the US started funding proxy soldiers in Afghanistan to fight against the Soviets during the cold war and the US elected to fund the most mysogynist the most anti woman most fundamentalist extremist men, leaders of these militias, they call themselves the Mujahideen and they were really the predecessors of the Taliban and the US paid them billions of dollars helped arm them train them and this was really the beginning of the end of women’s rights in Afghanistan.” – Sonali Kolhatkar

    While there are some truths in this statement there are intentional omission of historical facts and massive sweeping generalizations, so I’m going to break it down with what I know since I was there in the middle of it all while growing up:

    “You have to go back to the last 1970s…”

    Actually you have to go even further back when King AbdurRahman of Afghanistan went to Russia during the Czar’s times and found out that the Russians had plans to expand and take over Afghanistan. This plan continued after the Bolshevik Revolution. Ideologies may change, but cultures of Imperialism do not without real education.

    “…where the US started funding proxy soldiers in Afghanistan to fight against the Soviets during the cold war and the US elected to fund the most mysogynist the most anti woman most fundamentalist extremist men, leaders of these militias, they call themselves the Mujahideen…”

    Wait so what were the Soviets doing there to begin with? The Soviets being there should not be stated as a subtext, it was the root of all evils that spawned 30 years of unrest in Afghanistan. And this I say despite supposed CIA funding prior to Soviet invasion. No one put a gun to the Soviet politicians heads to invade Afghanistan and even that Berzinski statement does not absolve the Soviets from their intentional and planned crimes.

    Anyone who fought the Soviets that identifies themselves as a Mujahid is constantly being lumped into one group by RAWA and Sonlai and this is intentional revision of the history. It is true that the most amount of US money and weapons went to the most extremist and criminal leaders such as Hekmatyar, Sayyaf and Rabbani. But while they got the most amount of money and arms, there were 3 moderate Sunni Mujahideen groups who bravely fought the Soviets and formed a tripartite alliance against the 4 extremsist groups. These 3 groups were Afghan National Liberation Front led by Sibghatullah Mojaddedi, National Islamic Front led by Sayed Ahmad Gillani and Afghanistan’s Islamic Revolution Movement Party led by Maulavi Mohammadi. The moderate groups fought a legitimate Jihad against the Soviets on one hand while being undermined and sabotaged by the extremist groups, the Saudis, the Pakistani ISI and the CIA on the other. The fight against the Soviets was a legitimate fight and even RAWA claims they fought the Soviets. One cannot criticize the true and moderate Mujahideen for accepting money from the US and other countries, after all the Maoist Afghans accepted money from China and France. No one would have had to accept money from any outside country had the Soviets not invaded.

    “…and they were really the predecessors of the Taliban and the US paid them billions of dollars helped arm them train them and this was really the beginning of the end of women’s rights in Afghanistan.”

    What about all the rapes, killings, executions without trials, imprisoments and massive human rights violations by the Afghan Communists and Soviet soldiers before any extremist groups emerged in the name of Islam? If anything, the actions of the Soviets and Soviet backed Afghans was the beginning of the end of human rights in Afghanistan, not just women’s rights.

  16. justiceforbhopal says:

    More thoughtful comments like this one, please. Please let's have an anti-racist, women-respectful dialog.

  17. sofiamaria says:

    Afghan men medieval ways of thinking? What about those christians that submit their spouses and daughters to the rules of the old testament and want society to follow the same rules? And those fanatical dominionists? What about all those women that die in the hands of their husbands, boyfriends or ex-mates? What about college students enticing a girl to over drink to rape her? What about the recent–but not isolated case of gang rape of a girl with bystanders cheering alongside?

    Misogynists are misogynists anywhere and they are way beyond medieval times. The scary part is that misogyny's in the US is expanding like weeds fed by Monsanto's chemicals due to all the fanatical religious fundamentalist ideas of the religious right and promoting its expansion to all the places the US War Machine occupies.

    If you think that the US doesn't have anything to do with the worsening of Afghan women situation, then you need a reality check.

  18. tjake13 says:

    Do you think, that I don't know the the US government is responsible for much of the grief in Afghanistan? Our leaders are governed by a military war machine, that puts money into their pockets. They are also governed by anyone who puts money in their pocket. Our leaders are not the ones who fight and die; if they were, there would be no wars.

    What I'm saying is; you have to use force, or the threat of force to control the thugs. Thugs want to control and take whatever they want. Pacifists are living in a dream world; I'm going to refrain from calling them…
    Gandhi wasn't very smart, or he would have known that the English occupation, that was stopping infanticide of girls, and a blood bath. Millions were killed after the English left. Gandhi was even killed by his own.

    Vigilance has been preached by many over the centuries. You have to to ready; because you never know what will happen in the future.
    Arm yourselves while you can. I'm sure the gun manufacturers in the US, would be more than happy to supply you. I would do whatever I could to help. Do you want the Taliban back?

  19. tjake13 says:

    Do you want the Taliban back? They are thugs using religion for their own purpose. They are Godless. Arm yourself now.

  20. tjake13 says:

    This is what I hear from some of you; “They took my child, and used him as a bomb.” Why didn't they use themselves as a bomb, and get their virgins. Which brings up this question: What do the Muslim women get??? Something just isn't right here.

    A women who has been raped; “They raped me and called me an infidel.” Are you saying that they touched an infidel, isn't that against their so-called religion? Do you care that they raped you? They always say it's the womens fault so; you must have shown your ankle.
    Do you see how we see these Godless creatures, that are called men, justify their criminal behavior.

    You can try and defend someone's thuggery, by attacking another's crimes, but you have to live with these bad people. Don't you want your girl's to go to school? Don't you want the control of your children, kept in your hands? Forget trying to get along with the Taliban; it is not going to happen.

  21. dlmowery13 says:

    we need to pull out right now!!!

  22. dlmowery13 says:

    we need to pull out right now!!!

  23. [...] Bombs will kill women in Afghanistan. Rethink Afghanistan [...]

  24. ReasonableRahnah says:

    What is the solution? You ask, “What is the solution?” As is the case with most Americans, you probably also want the solution to solve the problem over night, or quickly, much as a bullet extinguishes a life. However, the proper solution will take much time, generations, and properly channeled effort.
    You also asked, “As a western man, what can I do?”
    For starters, you can read the book “Three Cups of Tea” and then donate some of your time and money to well intentioned causes to help the good people of Afghanistan. Education and empowerment for women are the key.

  25. My opinion is that while the book is funny and empowering in helping recognize that certain men can be truly toxic, it fails to touch upon the simple fact that the responsibility falls on your shoulders to take a hard look at yourself and improving your dating life by working on yourself.

  26. [...] In her piece with the diplomats, she even directly links to us at Rethink Afghanistan, without going just three mouse clicks farther to this: [...]

  27. [...] In her piece with the diplomats, she even directly links to us at Rethink Afghanistan, without going just three mouse clicks farther to this: [...]

  28. [...] this brutal, costly war, including:the deep cost to the U.S. economycivilian death and sufferingthe mirage of women’s rights under our alliesthe fact that the war doesn’t make us saferInstead of a serious effort to consider [...]

  29. Get Ex Back says:

    A roadside bomb exploded under a passenger van ferrying civilians in … A local official told Reuters

  30. Ex Back says:

    well, The troops were in a vehicle that hit a roadside bomb!

  31. Ex Back says:

    this site i look which is so popular!

  32. Tjake13 says:

    Until women are going to strike back at men, they are going to be victims. When some Godless Taliban wants to abuse you our your children; kill him.

  33. you are right, if women fight back they are new targets. the answer is to get the taliban out of this country

  34. [...] Says Ann Jones, journalist and author of Kabul in Winter, “For most Afghan women, life has stayed the same. And for a great number, life has gotten much worse.” [...]

  35. [...] Says Ann Jones, journalist and author of Kabul in Winter, “For most Afghan women, life has stayed the same. And for a great number, life has gotten much worse.” [...]

  36. [...] Says Ann Jones, journalist and author of Kabul in Winter, “For most Afghan women, life has stayed the same. And for a great number, life has gotten much worse.” [...]

  37. [...] Dice Ann Jones, periodista y autora de “ Kabul in Winter ” : “Para la mayoría de las mujeres afganas, la vida ha continuado igual. Y para un gran número de ellas, la vida ha empeorado mucho”. [...]

  38. The first step toward improving people’s lives is a negotiated settlement to end the war.

  39. [...] off now than they were under the Taliban. Anti-women laws have been entrenched under Karzai and US bombing and military raids have made life for women even more terrifying. The need for US military presence in Afghanistan to protect women was manifested most recently in [...]

  40. randy murray says:

    can we end violence with violence? let me quote from ninoy aquino's words, how shall freedom be defended? by arms, when it is attacked by arms…by truth, when it is attacked by lies…by democratic faith, when it is attacked authoritarian dogma…
    dating sites

  41. date online says:

    thugs will treat you like a second class citizen

  42. tjake13 says:

    Who are you going to negotiate with; some radical, demented putz that wants to kill you? How do you negotiate with people that call you an infidel, because of your beliefs, and want to kill you? Words are fine, for those not in any danger. Speak out in a hostile place, and then see how long you live. When you are dead, your voice is silenced, and they have won.

  43. date online says:

    Afghanistan is a tough situation and something up for hot debate. It is true, we have no right to dictate how somebody is supposed to live, but right now, what is the alternative? Pull out and leave the place in total chaos, or build something new? It's a tough one…

  44. I think they should also give a chance to negotiate. atleast we should listen what are their demands.

  45. This post is admirable in regards of both information as well as knowledge.

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