Bombs Won't Liberate the Women of Afghanistan

By Anna Almendrala 7-09-2009

Today Brave New Foundation launches the fifth segment of the Rethink Afghanistan documentary, Women of Afghanistan. Like the other Rethink Afghanistan segments, there's unforgettable, never-before-seen footage that is rarely covered by the mainstream media: Afghan women fighting for their rights, Afghan civilians suffering the effects of airstrikes and bombs, and experts from the field explaining the harsh truth: Life for most Afghan women remains the same or has gotten worse since the fall of the Taliban.

Sonali Kolhatkar on behalf of the Afghan Women's Mission and RAWA (the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan) expands on this truth:

Under the Taliban, women were confined to their homes. They were not allowed to work or educate themselves. They were poor and without rights. They had no access to clean water or medical care and they were forced into marriages, often as children. Today women in the vast majority of Afghanistan live in precisely the same conditions, with one notable exception: They are surrounded by war. The conflict outside their doorsteps endangers their lives and those of their family members. It does nothing to bring them rights in the household or in public, and it confines them even further to the prison of their own homes. Military escalation is just going to bring more tragedy to the women of Afghanistan.

Kolhatkar then goes on to call out the Feminist Majority Foundation (a progressive organization) for claiming that one of the main objectives of the occupation is to liberate Afghan women. This claim, says Kolhatkar, is "not only absurd," but "offensive." Read the full text here.

Are we in the progressive Christian community ready to accept that our dedication to women and children's rights might have been cynically co-opted to justify war and military occupation? Bombs aren't liberating the women of Afghanistan; instead, the women and their families are being driven into refugee camps to escape the war zone.

Watch Rethink Afghanistan: Women of Afghanistan and send it to your friends who are uneasy about the war but believe the occupation could be improving Afghan women's lives. Orzala Ashraf, a representative from the Afghan Women's network, ends the video with this:

I don't believe and I don't expect any outside power to come and liberate me. If I cannot liberate myself, then no one from outside can liberate me.

[Warning: graphic footage]

portrait-anna-almendralaAnna Almendrala was a Sojourners intern from 2007-2008. She now lives in Los Angeles, California, and works for Brave New Foundation as the Marketing and Distribution associate. Follow her on Twitter to keep updated on the newest campaigns.

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