Fariba Nawa - Afghani Perspective on US Intervention
Published on Apr 07, 2009 in Politics
"Most Afghans support US presence. Main fear, is to go back to civil war after Soviets and US pulled out, worst than soviet invasion. They want the US to stay and help rebuild. If soldiers leave, back to civil war, or Taliban. Some do like Taliban, but in desperation, Taliban brought them back to medieval times, no opportunities, especially for women. Afghans depend on this effort. Very different that Iraq. Afghans don't consider US an occupation. not like Iraq."
Dr. Huma Ahmed-Ghosh1
Afghanistan has always had elite and middle-class women who asserted their rights and marched towards modernization. But despite these examples, the lot of most Afghan women in rural areas has been one of oppression through tribal customs and dictates. Those women who were publicly visible throughout the history of Afghanistan belonged to the royalty or elite and represented a very tiny population of the country. They do act as role models and provide a window into the possibility that social change can occur and illustrate the potential that women from different strata of society can
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attempt change in their lives. Magnus and Naby (1998:13) claim that, The internalization of democracy based on western individualism rather than traditional Afghan Islamic communalism, gender-blind social interaction, and the elevation of the individual above society, does not appear to be part of the emerging regional or Afghan worldview. I agree, especially in light of the non-deliverance of rights and promised goods by western democracies to their own populations. In Afghanistan, democracy and an assertion of womens rights can occur when the state is in an economically and politically stable condition, assisted by men and women inside and outside of Afghanistan. Democracy will occur as a process of social change that the whole nation needs to undergo. When this happens, a society built on democratic-oriented ideology will regard women as equal partners in the social, political, and economic reconstruction of Afghanistan.
Today Afghanistan is in such a desperate state that without external help and financial aid its future will be further jeopardized. It is against this political backdrop that one has to understand womens situation in Afghanistan. Major dilemmas will always exist as to the most appropriate path to follow. There will always be debates about a so-called western model, urban elite model, Islamic model, and fundamentalist model. The basic (may I say fundamental) need is to ensure that women, like men, have access to resources for survival like education, jobs, mobility and public visibility. They too, like men, need to be ascribed status and respect for their decisions.
At the crossroads of Islamic fundamentalism and westernization, especially in terms of womens status, Afghanistan provides the testing grounds for the future of hybridization. The current socio-political situation provides a basis for new insights into theoretical constructions of modernity, secularism and gender equality. The situation of women in the future of Afghanistan might challenge the dominant discourse on citizenship and feminism as defined by the West and provide to non-western nations and minorities in western nations an alternative that can bring social justice and economic equality to all. For women in Afghanistan participation in the economic reconstruction of the country is essential to realize their dreams of a cohesive and peaceful nation; becoming victims of Islamic burqas and Western liberation is the least of their concern.