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I request the guardian to do a story on Zarifa Ghaffari’s case

Sitting down making up my mind to finally write it, and also accept the fact that Zarifa won’t be served justice or her answered, because her case doesn’t seem to be interesting enough. I am not going to play the blame game or politics in this piece. I won’t be pointing fingers at organizations, mafia or people involved. I will be asking questions. The question that might seem boring or questions that might make you question others.

 I wanted to wait for it, wait for how do we address issues like that? how the community of feminists, women networks, women empowerment organizations, the ministry of women and most importantly how does our government addresses these issues. But my bad, nobody seems to be interested at all. Why? 

  Let me ask the people of Afghanistan, the leaders the well-articulated people around the country, and in Kabul why women and her issues has to be covered by news then you will actually address it? And answer the international media, by thinking oh my god it is wrong. Why a girl who is a player is harassed and only then we address the issue? only if it is in the international media? 

  Why a girl like Farkhunda is murdered, and aired on tv and only then we think oh intolerance is bad? why does it have to be the girls to scream out loud that there is a bed in a working space(office), and this man harasses women only then you believe her? Why does a girl like Zarifa have to scream at the top of her lungs or post on Facebook then you will take notice of her appointment?

   We talk women empowerment, we as a country are progressing yes we have a women football team that is harassed, we have young women as deputy ministers, that I am proud of. But why is it always complicated? why do we have to have started a movement for Farkhunda? and only then you will do justice to her name. Why there has to be an attack on girls school? and only then you will think about the security. Why there has to be an honor killing? and only then you will address the issue. Why does a girl like Zarifa have to face the mafia corrupt warlords and power abusers? who is exploiting the situation and won’t let her resume her job? why her talent, eligibility is traded by men in higher positions for their own means? 

  My simple question is why? 

   Yes, the cases That I put in front my people are very different. We have honor killing, we have sexual predators, we have power hungry corrupt warlords, but did you notice, the only thing common between all of them is that they all abuse, torture, and control women. 

Another question, why do we have to struggle after everything that we as women have been through? 

   Why is it always hard that first girl like Zarifa has to fight for her right to education, the right to study abroad. Then right to work in a safe space, and then a right to work in a place where she is already appointed, and we are still hanging her there why? Because her topic is not interesting? Because the topic doesn’t involve the Taliban or that her case is not yet up in the guardian? 

  As an activist, I find it really exhausting, that we are happy about the hollow slogans of women empowerment, women rights but with minimum ground realities to it. 

   Yes there are what I see in comments the “security problems” but let me see again we have Miss Jalil a woman deputy minister in the defense sector, we have woman deputy minister leading public health. I have never met any of the above mentioned young and talented women including Zarifa, but I believe If men can do it, so can each one of them. If women can survive mujahideen and Taliban and power-hungry warlords, sexual predators. I am pretty sure they are strong enough to be mayors and run the country. I don’t understand the fact, why is everything so dramatic in Afghan politics? we are empowering women but we won’t let them resume their jobs, because we can earn off their case?. Why do we need women on the table the answer is very simple, because it’s her table too, not only her right but “her table she owns it as much as anyone of you”. She is “working as hard as anyone of you to be on that table” then who gives you the right to stop her from sitting on that table? Because you feel like you have more power or money? I guess not.

   Why am I covering all these women here? It is to prove my point if women can be deputy ministers and ministers, it’s time to accept that women can be a mayor, a footballer, an activist or simply choose the career she wants for herself. Women before us have given all in their hands, to make a seat for the next generation. Now that we have them why do we keep ignoring them their talent, their problems? 

  We ignored Farkhunda, we ignored bombs on girls schools, we ignored domestic violence, we ignored girl child abuse, we ignored child marriage, let’s not ignore Zarifa’s case. Because including me she is a hope for that one girl who is still wondering, if she can go to school and be like Zarifa, that one woman who think maybe women in leadership will have a way for better office and safe spaces, that one girl who was married early, and now thinks women like Zarifa can do justice to her so that her child is not pushed into slavery. 

  I put my case in front of all those people who still think Zarifa’s appointment is not right, so you think a corrupt warlord or power hungry person should lead you or someone who has a clean slate and is determined to lead her people? 

 I will conclude this piece by simply quoting this old man I met in rural Afghanistan. ” He said I would be honored have a woman as my leader than a corrupt or power man warlord just because he thinks he is strong doesn’t mean he is a leader” Now it’s choice that we as Afghans should make.

 Let’s put an end to trading positions and rights, we have fought a long way war to have them in the first place.

And that is it. Thanks once again. 

Pashtana Durrani

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