Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Have Afghan Women Made "Progress" Under NATO?

Amnesty International ran ads and sent a letter signed by Madeline Albright supporting the absurd claim signed by the heads of state at the NATO summit in Chicago: “In the ten years of our partnership the lives of Afghan men, women and children, have improved significantly in terms of security, education, health care, economic opportunity and the assurance of rights and freedoms. There is more to be done, but we are resolved to work together to preserve the substantial progress we have made during the past decade.”
Recent facts to the contrary include:
  • In country organizations that work for women's empowerment disagree. From RAWA: There has been no improvement in lives of this the most miserable and ill-fated portion of Afghan society since the establishment of transitional government...    
  • Today, Afghans have an average life expectancy of 48 years. According to UNICEF, 68% of children under five suffer from either stunting or wasting due to malnutrition
The United Nations has said that "Inclusion of protections for women and girls" is central to transition security sector framework for Afghanistan -- a completely different matter than claiming their health or that of their children has improved!
Amnesty International ad during NATO summit in Chicago, May 2012

Concerned activists will hold a one hour conference call to discuss: Have Afghan women made "progress" under NATO? Thursday, June 27 at 8pm EST. The Conference Dial-in Number: (949) 812-4500 and Participant Access Code: 583293#

The purpose of this call will be to sort through what we know about the effects of military occupation on women's quality of life, and how we might shape this part of the narrative as the war "ends" and there is more media attention paid to Afghanistan.

1 comment:

chrisrushlau said...

For some reason I won't make any jokes about the Israel lobby here. I follow "" daily and it's, well, as a victim of a vest-bomber in Iraq maybe I am allowed to say, very moving to see the Afghan insurgents risking their lives (and villages and people who might resemble them in satellite photographs, etc) to attack NATO troops when NATO, as you said, has already admitted defeat. You didn't quite put it that way.
How do we defend the women of Afghanistan from the men? As Perry Mason would say, let's first make sure that the women are our client--do they want our help, and if so, how and to what end?
I'm reading "Peyton Place" by Grace Metalious" and, as of about page forty-four, she's just confirmed my hunch that she wrote a book about woman power, specifically the theory that white women run US society by running in the election for head-priestess of the warlord culture. If a woman falls off the sacred wagon (fallen woman, get it?), the virtuous women lead the lynch mob. Susan Rice and Condy Rice manifest the fact that "white woman" has nothing to do with biology.
So how would we fix gender relations in the US?
The first step, to paraphrase Abe Lincoln on happiness, is to make up our minds to do it. Here's a small Israel joke. The former chief justice of Israel (?) commented on its Basic Laws (1991) description of Israel as a "Jewish, democratic state" that "equality is a complex right". I would say it is a mighty, towering spiritual challenge: to treat each person, as Kant apparently put it, as an end in herself. I put it this way. Our spirits are all equal. Our bodies should respect that fact.