Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’
The Kite. An unfettered explorer teasing the air with her buoyancy and the irrepressible symbol of vibrancy. However, the kite also represents the discrimination and oppression that continues to confront women living in the Taliban occupied regions of Afghanistan. It is therefore the spearhead of Amnesty International’s September campaign – ‘Kites for Women’s Rights’.
Under the dictatorial regime of the Taliban, many recreational activities were forbidden including the traditional Afghan pastime of Kite Flying, known as ‘Gudiparan Bazi’ in Dari. Prior to the rise of the Taliban regime, women in Afghanistan had the right to vote and constitutional equality. They also flourished in employment, with approximately 70% of schoolteachers, 50% of government workers and 40% of doctors in the capital of Kabul being female.
Despite Islam teaching the protection of the rights of women, including specific provisions defining women’s marriage and divorce rights and our right to own property, the Taliban enforced an extremely strict interpretation of Sharia law which stripped women of their identity and the rights to which they were entitled.
On the seizing of Kabul in 1996 the wearing of the burqa become compulsory, and women were subjected to threats, fines or immediate beatings for not complying. The world of work and education became inaccessible to women over the age of eight. Furthermore, their movement was incredibly restricted: women required their male relatives – ‘mahram’ – to chaperone them everywhere.
In effect, Women became imprisoned in their own homes. The Taliban would order men to black out the windows of their houses, to ensure that nobody could catch a glimpse of a female from the outside. Subject to rape, violence, public execution and abduction women would sink further into poverty and deprivation. Women would become devoid of the skills and confidence to function independently in the modern world.
The 7th of October will mark the 10th anniversary of the U.S-led international intervention to expel the Taliban, and since 2001 many advances have made to improve the rights of women in Afghanistan. There have even been a notable increase in women’s access to education and representation in Parliament.
Throughout September, Amnesty will be encouraging individuals to make their own kites and send them to the U.K government, urging them not to compromise on women’s rights while in peace negotiations with the Taliban at the Bonn Conference on the 5th December 2011. Be sure to join Amnesty at the Fresher’s Fayre and get involved in Kites for Women’s Rights!