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Topic 66 of 96: Women Freedom and the rebirth of Afghanistan

Mon, Dec 3, 2001 (13:00) | Paul Terry Walhus (terry)
A great liberation process is happening in Afghanistan -- for long
oppressed Afghan women, and really for the whole population as well.

This topic is a place for us to discuss the progress, meaning and
implications of this great liberation upheaval, especially as it
applies
to women. And it's also a place to simply share the joys (and the
fears)
of Afghan women and men in this transformative process, and to maybe
also
learn a thing or two about the resilience and courage of human
beings.

- David Kline

Women, Freedom and the rebirth of Afghanistan
2 responses total.

 Topic 66 of 96 [news]: Women Freedom and the rebirth of Afghanistan
 Response 1 of 2: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Mon, Dec  3, 2001 (13:01) * 75 lines 
 
David Kline (dkline) Mon Dec 3 '01 (10:07) 26 lines

The New York Times article below on the first woman to register at Kabul
University in 5 years -- a college that had 3,500 female students befgore
the Taliban came to power -- is a very moving look at the status of women
in this ar-ravaged country. A brief excerpt:

__________________________

Escorted by her father into the chancellery building of Kabul University
at 8:40 this morning, Farida Afzali, 21, had no idea she was walking into
history. She reacted to the half- dozen staring men the way she would have
in the past. She bowed her head and looked at the floor. When a question
was shouted, she let her father answer. "Yes," he said, beaming and
granting her permission to give an interview. "You should speak bravely
and courageously."

For the next hour, Ms. Afzali talked about what it was like to be the
first woman in five years to register for classes at Kabul University.

` __________________________

When you read the full article, you'll know why I feel that with women
like Ms. Afzali around, Afghanistan's future is bound to be bright.

See the full article at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/02/international/asia/02SCHO.html?searchpv=past7days

Here's a very powerful story, also from the New York Times (with powerful
pictures as well), on the newly-reborn lives of several Kabul residents in
the weeks since the Taliban were overthrown. One is a woman surgeon, back
at work after 5 years. Another a business,man, who saved 50 precious
National Gallery paintings from destruction by the Taliban.

Here are the opening grafs of the story:

__________________________

KABUL, Afghanistan, Dec. 1 -- Dr. Nazifa Tabibzada cut into the abdomen of
someone named Abdul last week. It was a routine procedure for a reliable
surgeon, remarkable only because she had not operated on a man in five
years. Under the austere restraints of the Taliban, men and women were not
permitted to mingle, even if one was under anesthesia.

Sabir Latifi, a businessman, also passed a threshold. Opening a cache in
his home, he brought out 50 paintings that had been stolen from a storage
room in the National Gallery. He had commissioned the theft after learning
that the portraits were to be destroyed. The Taliban considered them
sacrilegious. Art was not supposed to depict living things.

Aziz Khaznavi, a renowned singer, freed himself from an imposed muteness.
He rallied a dozen talented friends, and together they went to their
hiding place for their dohls and surunders and other Afghan instruments.
Then they breached the forbidden. They made music.

And so it continues, three weeks after the Taliban's exodus from Kabul.
People are cauterizing the psychic wounds left by the religious police and
resuming those parts of their lives outlawed by an uncompromising vision
of Islamic purity.

Joy may be too strong a word for the common mood in Afghanistan's capital,
for there is wariness of the future...

____________________________

[Note -- here's one of the photo captions for the story: "Musicians from
Afghanistan Radio and Television who work with the singer Aziz Khaznavi
tried out their instruments on Friday in Kabul. The instruments had been
hidden during the years of Taliban rule."]


For the full, incredible story, see:

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/02/international/asia/02KABU.html?searchpv=past7 days


 Topic 66 of 96 [news]: Women Freedom and the rebirth of Afghanistan
 Response 2 of 2: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Tue, Dec  4, 2001 (20:16) * 65 lines 
 
David Kline (dkline) Tue Dec 4 '01 (09:56) 63 lines

Wonderful article in the NY Times (again), this time about the younger
generation of Northern Alliance leaders who openly state that they will
dump Rabbani if they have to in order to build a real peace.

An excerpt:

"At his news conference, Mr. Rabbani ruled out any role for the exiled
king, Mohammad Zahir Shah, who is seen by many as a possible unifying
figure, scoffing that royalty was extinct 'like dinosaurs.' He has all but
rejected an international peacekeeping force, saying it should be limited
to no more than 200 troops, and he has insisted that further discussions
should be held here

"But diplomats here said that the other members of the alliance were
'eager to make progress,' and that Mr. Rabbani's delaying tactics might be
aimed at simply assuring himself some kind of high post in the future
government.

"'We will go around him,' a leading moderate in the Northern Alliance said
tonight, expressing a willingness to sideline Mr. Rabbani. "We are willing
to go ahead without him.'"

The article further discusses the influence this younger generation of
leaders -- Yunis Quanooni, Abdullah Abdullah, Muhammad Fahim -- have
already head on shaping the fragile peace in Kabul and elsewhere.

Another excerpt:

"The greatest triumph thus far of the younger technocrats is that their
takeover of Kabul from the Taliban was almost entirely orderly, without
the looting and vengeance that is traditional here, or the cruel factional
and ethnic killings that marked their last stay here.

"'The mujahedeen have learned a very good lesson from their previous
mistakes,' said Fiazullah Jalal, a professor of international relations at
Kabul University. 'Their behavior is very good with the people.'

"Indeed, instead of the blood bath that many people here expected, the
capital is peaceful -- if at times chaotic -- as crowds swarm through the
ramshackle street markets, piled high with fresh oranges and assorted
machinery. There are relatively few guns in sight, restricted mostly to
guards around government buildings and the commandeered villas of
commanders. Traffic policemen in huge, swooping caps wave vainly at
speeding, weaving buses and trucks.

"This is largely the work of Interior Minister Qanooni and the local
military commander, Bismullah Khan, who weeks before the takevover created
a police academy to train officers -- not soldiers -- to keep order and
laid plans that only a small number of General Khan's troops would
actually secure the city, while most would be sent to bases.

"Within days, Mr. Qanooni issued an order that soldiers would not be
allowed to carry their weapons on the street. The concept is unheard
of in this bellicose country and left some chagrined troopers without
their beloved Kalashnikovs.

"'Yunis Qanooni, he is a young person who has a good idea for the
future of Afghanistan,' said Nassim Gul Tutakhail, an assistant
professor of biology at the university.

Full article at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/04/international/asia/04KABU.html?searchpv=nytToday

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