Friday, July 13, 2012

Countering the U.S./NATO Narrative About "Protecting" Afghan Women

Just as I was writing this post came word that a regional head of women's affairs in Afghanistan had been assassinated.
NANGARHAR, Afghanistan (Reuters) - A regional head of women's affairs was targeted and killed by a car bomb in Afghanistan's east on Friday, officials said, the latest act of brazen violence against women in the country.

Hanifa Safi was killed while driving through the capital of Laghman province, Mehtar Lam, when a bomb attached to her car exploded, provincial governor spokesman Sarhadi Zwak said.

Update on CODEPINK coordinated  efforts to counter NATO and the U.S. State Dept narrative that NATO's continued presence supports security for women in Afghanistan:

This week Amnesty-USA staff and board members received copies of an open letter to the board signed by many individuals and organizations. The press release reviewed on a June 27 conference call on Afghan women which I coordinated was also sent out yesterday to multiple press contacts.

This morning in NYC two Codepink women -- Local Coordinator Cristina Castro and CP co-director Rae Abileah -- stood in front of Amnesty-USA as board members arrived for two days of meetings. They also hand delivered the letter, as CP co-founder Jodie Evans had done at a donor meeting Tuesday in Los Angeles (full report on that action in Alternet).

Here are the banners held by Cristina and Rae this morning in NYC:
Inline image 2
Inline image 1

Here is Rae's report on the action:

We got many positive responses including a long conversation with board VP Jessica Carvahlo Morris. All the board members I spoke with had received the letter by email and read it as well. Jessica said thanks for holding us accountable. She has been with amnesty a long time; her father was tortured. 

The Amnesty interns at first were offended and then said they agreed (after I proved I was not the enemy by qualifying that I volunteered with Amnesty & Doctors without Borders in college). 

Lots of support from people on the street. Opposition was from people who said, If US/NATO leaves Afghan women will suffer more.
(Amnesty's board) is also discussing Israel/Palestine today, and all the budget cuts and firings.
Also, many are signing this petition that mirrors a protest from Amnesty-USA members and staff about recent layoffs and closing of regional offices. Thanks to longtime member Carlos Salinas for the link:

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