We the women of Afghanistan, some people look at us
imagining victims in us, others treat us as objects. Some feel the urge to
protect us, and some of them think that “we need to think twice before we
laugh or smile” in public. Some of them think it is fine to cut our noses,
some of them think it is fine to stone us or murder us in cold blood in the
middle of the day. All their honor lies in women yet they treat her like a
second class citizen.
The above is what men or Taliban have done so far, then comes the western privileged women category, who would question our work, stance, scarves or anything because they think, they know more about how to lead our lives than we know or do. Then comes a category where you and every person reading this will get back at me like hey you hypocrite. It is the ” Afghan women” being used as pawns in a game where our rights are not the concern but the same rights are weaponized by people for political gains.
Women of Afghanistan have faced so much, be it women urban Afghan women or any rural women. We do suffer in many ways, daily in schools, on streets, at homes, in office spaces and including online. Some of the strongest voices, that I know are trolled for having married a person that they love, a dress that they wore or simply for existing. But an important point that we are missing is that women are talking, existing resisting and fighting back. I was in a live interview, and my fellow interviewee said it doesn’t matter if women are against each other or women with each other. The point is they are talking their voices are high, be it Taliban or the government, be it the remarks of opposition or international community today women in Afghanistan are talking they know, or at least have an idea what is right for them. Yes, we do have problems when privileged women claim the ownership of women rights throughout the country yes the redline and green scarves are different for women from different geographies and ethnicities. I always am told “oh but women need to stick together”, you women need to do this, you women to do that. Western Women, it’s a shame that “women in Afghanistan are doing this to another woman”. Bringing down women with petty acts by men should be fought, be it Taliban the general men(public) or the western women, anyone who questions our integrity. But trolling them for existing is inhumane. Men have opposition too, men go against each other too. Accept it that women with minds and views will not be always on the same page. but just because women speak up and women are strong have strong voices are successful shouldn’t be brought down. Their struggles shouldn’t be reduced to petty claims and sensational articles. Women have done a lot. We women of Afghanistan have gained this ground today with a lot of sacrifices of past where some of us wore clothes like boys, some of us read books under stars, as in sun it was against the regime rules. We women were rebels, we fought, we gave in our 100%, and before us there were women sacrificed lives, families, and their existence it should be respected, even if we women of Afghanistan are against each other’s views on a political basis or social basis. We owe it to the generation before us and the next generation of Afghan women. We don’t need to stick together all we need is to talk loud even if we are only one talking. We need to be tolerant and open to opposition and we all can never be on the same page but we all can be vocal about what is right and what is our right.
Last but not the least women do not need instructions from anyone to tell them what to do we all have the comfort places we all have our women safe spaces. You don’t get a free pass to dictate what we as women should be doing.
Pashtana Durrani is an Activist, educator and innovator, and writer. She currently is Executive Director of @LEARNAfg.Global youth representative for Amnesty and contributes to Afghanistan Times.