Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Afghan women on both sides of the stones

As things move farther from the Taliban-style of ruling, women are gaining small ground all the time in Afghanistan. This does not mean, however, that things are always moving forward. Sometimes you fall back.

A new marriage law has passed in Afghanistan that has many women upset. A crowd in Kabul protested this law, where they were pelted with small stones and gravel. The most troubling part of this news, for me personally, was that there were women throwing the stones as well.

The new law states that "a husband can demand sex with his wife every four days unless she is ill or would be harmed by intercourse — a clause that critics say legalizes marital rape. It also regulates when and for what reasons a wife may leave her home alone."

A crowd of female Afghan police circled the women to protect them from the stones. I would really like to know the political opinions of those women! Did they protect their sisters because they agreed, or simply because it was their job? Would some have preferred to move aside and watch the women suffer?

A crowd of men and women were there to assault the protestors, shouting such things as, "You are a dog! You are not a Shiite woman!"

One beautiful piece of news in this story gives me great hope for the women of this nation. Fourteen-year-old Masuma Hasani said her whole family had come out to protest the law — both her parents and her younger sister who she held by the arm. "I am concerned about my future with this law," she said. "We want our rights. We don't want women to just be used."

Something must be going right if the youth are really evaluating their own politcal future as a result of actions now. They are becoming more and more educated about consequences of actions; their own as well as their governments', and frankly ours.

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