Birgit Spoon (by way of Marja Oosterman <>) on Wed, 27 Jan 1999 04:29:05 +0100 (CET)

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nettime-nl: A petition for the womens rights in Afghanistan/ Een petitie voor de rechten van vrouwen in Afghanistan

Een petitie voor de rechten van vrouwen in Afghanistan
A petition for the womens rights in Afghanistan

Een echte aktie-ketting-mail. . . .
A real chain-mail . . . .
Als niemand iets zegt, verandert er zeker niks!
If nobody speaks, nothing will change!

Groeten Ada 

The Taliban's War on Women:

**** Please sign at the bottom to support, and include your town.
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

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. (select text, copy, new message, paste)

Melissa Buckheit Brandeis University


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 the treatment of women there to the treatment of Jews
in 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 level.

There is no way in such an extreme Islamic society to know the
suicide rate with certainty, but relief workers are estimating that
the suicide rate among women, who cannot find proper medication and
treatment for severe depression and would rather take their lives
than live in such conditions, has in-creased 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 told me that we in the United States 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 wer 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.  It is not their tradition or 'culture', but
is alien to them, and it is  extreme even for those cultures where
fundamentalism is the rule.  Besides, if we could excuse everything
on cultural grounds, then we should not be appalled that the
Carthaginians sacrificed their infant children, that little girls are
circumcised in parts of Africa, that blacks in the deep south in the
1930's were lynched, prohibited from voting, and forced to submit to
unjust Jim Crow laws.

Everyone has a right to a tolerable human existence, even if they are
women in a Muslim country in a part of the world that Americans do
not understand. If we can threaten military force in Kosovo
in the name of human rights for the sake of ethnic Albanians,
Americans can certainly express peaceful out-rage at the oppression,
murder and injustice committed against women by the Taliban.

************ 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 States and other countries and
their Governments 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 1998 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 the United States.*****

1) Leslie London, Cape Town, South Africa
2) Tim Holtz, Boston, MA
3) Joyce Millen, Cambridge, MA
4) Diane Millen, Falls Church, Va.
5) Bill Millen, Falls Church, Va.
6) Milt Eisner, McLean VA
7) Harriet Solomon, Springfield, VA
8) Arlene Silikovitz, West Orange, NJ
9) Susanna Levin, New Rochelle, NY
10) Rabbi Gary Greene, Framingham, MA
11) Danny Siegel, Rockville, MD
12) Rabbi Neal Gold, Highland Park, NJ
13) Aimee Sousa, Highland Park, NJ
14) James Sousa, Highland Park, NJ
15) Peter Tatiner, Highland Park, NJ
16) Roberta Elins, New York, NY
17) Margaux Baran, Ne wYork, NY
18) Stephanie Donohue, New York, NY
19) Debbie Russ, NYC
20) Ariel Yan, NYC
21) Erin Burns, NYC
22) Jenny Laden, NYC
23) Daedre Levine, NYC >>
24) Tina Stoll, Bethesda, Maryland

25) Karen Mulhauser, Washington, DC
26) Karen Seiger, Washington, DC
27) Torie Keller, Silver Spring, MD
28) Larissa Yocum, Washington, D.C.
29) Matthijs den Otter, Enschede, The Netherlands.
30) Elske Leenders, Enschede, The Netherlands
31) Rijanne Assen, Enschede, The Netherlands
32) Tiemen Jan Bos, Enschede, The Netherlands
32) Boukelien Bos, Emmen, The Netherlands
33) Frank van Schaik, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
34) Lisette de Boer, Delft, The Netherlands
35) Metha de Vries, Utrecht, The Netherlands
36) Carla van den Bos, Wageningen, the Netherlands
37) Erna Krommendijk, Krommenie, The Netherlands
38) Caroline Houtman, Zutphen, The Netherlands
39) Joke van Dijk, De Bilt, The Netherlands
40) Ada Molkenboer, Utrecht, The Netherlands
41) Birgit Spoon, Weesp, The Netherlands
42) Marja Oosterman, Utrecht, The Netherlands

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