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What wrong with Afghanistani women

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    What wrong with Afghanistani women



    Please spare a minute to read this mail. Thank you.

    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
    levels. 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 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 (???) 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 same 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 US
    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 Westerners may not understand. If life can
    threaten military force in Kosovo in the name of human rights for the
    sake of ethnic Albanians, then NATO and the West can certainly express
    peaceful outrage 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 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.

    1) Patrick Ballin, Brighton, UK
    2) Ben Ballin, Birmingham, UK
    3) Jill Denham, Yeovil, UK
    4) Ali Brownlie, Brighton, UK
    5) Cathie Holden, Exeter, UK
    6) Suniti Namjoshi
    7) Elke Ruehl, Frankfurt, Germany
    8) Birgit Albrecht, Frankfurt, Germany
    9) Sabine Behrends, Germany
    10) Ingrid Fuehrer, Germany
    11) Jutta Willand, Frankfurt, Germany
    12) Antje Vogdt, Paris, France
    13) Barbara Bova, Naples, Florida
    14) ruth Cavin, White Plains NY
    15) Serita Stevens, LA, Ca
    16) Adrian Muller, Bristol, UK
    17) Lauren Milne Henderson, Tuscany, Italy
    18) Tom Hope,Chianti,Italy
    19) Sophie Rose,Chianti,Italy
    20) Tim Hull, London,UK
    21) Sven Holly Nullmeyer, Berlin, Germany
    22) Bo Oliver Beckmann, Bremen, Germany
    23) Thomas Groene-Hincke, Bremen, Germany
    24) Torsten Groene, Muenchen, Germany
    25) Beate Kunhardt, Berlin, Germany
    26) Gernot Matzke, Berlin, Germany
    26) Bodo Schmidt, Koeln, Germany
    27) Bodo Busch, Koeln, Germany
    28) Shanti R. Strauch, Berlin, Germany
    29) Tilo Wieser, Berlin, Germany
    30) Alexander v. Vietinghoff, Berlin, Germany
    31) Susanne Michel, Jena, Germany
    32) Ivan F. Loncarevic, Jena, Germany
    33) Barbara Roitzheim, Cologne, Germany
    34) Inge M. Ambros, Vienna, Austria
    34) Peter F. Ambros, Vienna, Austria
    35) Bruno De Bernardi, Genova, Italy
    36) Riccardo Haupt, Genova, Italy
    37) Marina Cuttini, Trieste, Italy
    38) Lara Broggin, Trieste, Italy
    39) Michela Nadai, Trieste, Italy
    40) Luigi Bisanti, Milano, Italy
    41) Corrado Magnani, Torino, Italy


    Please sign to support, and include your town and country. 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,
    [email protected]

    and to:

    Angela King,
    Special Advisor on Gender Issues and the
    Advancement of Women, UN,
    [email protected]

    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.


    --
    ======================
    Corrado Magnani MD
    Senior Epidemiologist
    Cancer Epidemiology Unit
    Reference Centre for Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention
    (CPO Piemonte)
    v. Santena 7
    10126 Torino
    Italy

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