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The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.
--Cornelius Tacitus (c. 116 A.D.)

Thursday, August 15, 2002
This is the text of a petition that I received numerous times.
"Dear Friends,
Please do not ignore this email. This is something that we as women and essentially as human beings need to support - I don't know if this is going to help but take 3 minutes out of your life to do your part.
The government of Afghanistan, is waging a war upon women. Since the Taliban took power in 1996, women have had to wear burqua and have been beaten and stoned in public for not having the proper attire, even if this means simply not having the mesh covering in front of their eyes. One woman was beaten to death by an angry mob of fundamentalists for accidentally exposing her arm while she was driving. Another was stoned to death for trying to leave the country with a man that was not a relative. Women are not allowed to work or even go out in public without a male relative; professional women such as professors, translators, doctors, lawyers, artists and writers have been forced from their jobs and stuffed into their homes. Homes where a woman is present must have their windows painted so that she can never be seen by outsiders. They must wear silent shoes so that they are never heard. Women live in fear of their lives for the slightest misbehavior. Because they cannot work, those without male relatives or husbands are either starving to death or begging on the street, even if they hold Ph.D.s.
Depression is becoming so widespread that it has reached emergency levels. There is no way in such an extreme Islamic society to know the suicide rate with certainty, but relief workers are estimating that the suicide rate among women, who cannot find proper medication and treatment for severe depression and would rather take their lives than live in such conditions, has increased significantly. There are almost no medical facilities available for women. At one of the rare hospitals for women, a reporter found still, nearly lifeless bodies lying motionless on top of beds, wrapped in their burqua, unwilling to speak, eat, or do anything, but slowly wasting away. Others have gone mad and were seen crouched in corners, perpetually rocking or crying, most of them in fear. One doctor is considering, when what little medication that is left finally runs out, leaving these women in front of the president's residence as a form of protest. It is at the point where the term "human rights violations" has become an understatement.
Husbands have the power of life and death over their women relatives, especially their wives, but an angry mob has just as much right to stone or beat a woman, often to death, for exposing an inch of flesh or offending them in the slightest way. Women enjoyed relative freedom, to work, dress generally as they wanted, and drive and appear in public alone until only 1996. The rapidity of this transition is the main reason for the depression and suicide; women who were once educators or doctors or simply used to basic human freedoms are now severely restricted and treated as subhuman in the name of right-wing fundamentalist Islam. It is not their tradition or 'culture,' but it is alien to them, and it is extreme even for those cultures where fundamentalism is the rule. Everyone has a right to a tolerable human existence, even if they are women in a Muslim country. If we can threaten military force in Kosovo in the name of human rights for the sake of ethnic Albanians, citizens of the world can certainly express peaceful outrage at the oppression, murder and injustice committed against women by the Taliban.
STATEMENT: In signing this, we agree that the current treatment of women in Afghanistan is completely UNACCEPTABLE and deserves action by the United Nations and that the current situation overseas will not be tolerated. Women's Rights is not a small issue anywhere, and it is UNACCEPTABLE for women in 2000 to be treated as subhuman and so much as property. Equality and human decency is a RIGHT not a freedom, whether one lives in Afghanistan or elsewhere."

(This petition is not a real petition per se. It started out real, but it mushroomed and overwhelmed the author's email address. Her address was closed and the petition thus died.) The facts contained in the petion are correct.
This is a real petition calling on the US, among others, to oust the Taliban due to their treatment of women. I can say with perfect honesty that I wanted the US govt to topple the Taliban before 9-11.

This is the situation in Afghanistan now: Girls are going to school. Women are no longer required to wear the burqua. Women may once again work and seek medical care. A reproductive health clinic has opened in Kabul. The US congress has authorized $20 million in aid specifically for women's programs.

posted by Rachel 8/15/2002
. . .
Is this what you believe in?
posted by Rachel 8/15/2002
. . .
See the progression of Michael Jackson's face. That man must have the worst self-image issues of any human alive to have put himself through all that.
posted by Rachel 8/15/2002
. . .

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