Some Numbers.

afghan woman
An Afghan woman at a protest in Kabul against the death sentence passed on the student Pervez Kambaksh for downloading allegedly blasphemous material.

87: The percentage of Afghan women who report suffering physical abuse, half of which is sexual.
60: The percentage of marriages in Afghanistan that are forced.
57: The percentage of Afghan brides who are under the age of 16.
88: The illiteracy rate amongst Afghan women.
5: The percentage of Afghan girls attending secondary school.
1 in 9: The number of women in Afghanistan who die in childbirth — that’s the highest in the world, alongside Sierra Leone.
1 Million: The number of Afghan widows who have no rights, including no right to work — leaving them to beg on the street.
£800 to £2,000: The price of a child bride if Afghanistan.

And Afghanistan is the only country where the suicide rate is higher for women than for men.

Just a few things to think about today, and every time you hear politicians talk about how we “liberated” Afghanistan and Afghan women.



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48 comments for “Some Numbers.

  1. Manju
    February 26, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    Just a few things to think about today, and every time you hear politicians talk about how we “liberated” Afghanistan and Afghan women.

    By this standard, Nelson Mandela should stop talking about “liberating” S. Africa.

  2. February 26, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    By this standard, Nelson Mandela should stop talking about “liberating” S. Africa.

    If black people in South Africa were still living under apartheid and still routinely abused, governed and controlled by white masters, your comparison would be accurate.

    In Afghanistan, the Taliban still control much of the country. Women were used as an excuse to invade, but their lives have not improved one iota.

  3. February 26, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    Jill-

    What should “we” do? We = either the U.S. or me and you.

  4. February 26, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    D.N. Nation —

    Presumably we could at least stop claiming “success” in bringing our values to Afghanistan.

  5. February 26, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    What should “we” do? We = either the U.S. or me and you.

    Well, I think the U.S. can start by putting a whole lot of effort and money into re-building infrastructure; having access to clean water, clear roads, safe homes and hospitals does amazing things for the public health. Second, we can back local women’s rights, democratic and health-promoting organizations on the ground in Afghanistan; we can let them set their own agendas and determine what’s important in their own communities while still offering them funding and support. And third, as Fr. Chris said, we can stop pretending that Afghanistan is a success story and instead start trying to fix shit.

  6. Leo
    February 26, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    No we didn’t liberate them because, ya know, the stats were so much better under the Taliban. Oh wait, thats not right. Of course things are still bad, but I don’t think Afghanistan has to be a Western style democracy in order for a politician to legitimitely make the claim that we liberated Afghanistan. But I am zionist imperialist neocon, so what do I know?

  7. February 26, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    No we didn’t liberate them because, ya know, the stats were so much better under the Taliban.

    Remind me again of who funded, trained and enabled the Taliban and pretty much ushered them into power? Oh right.

  8. February 26, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    Taliban still control much of the country

    more accurately, invading forces are in control of the *entire* country and they use Taliban and warlords as a way to control what they are unable to control through military presence.

    What should “we” do? We = either the U.S. or me and you.

    What the Afghan people have been begging us to do for years–get out and let UN peace keeping forces in. Prioritize the people of Afghan rather than “U.S. interests”.

  9. February 26, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    I don’t think Afghanistan has to be a Western style democracy in order for a politician to legitimitely make the claim that we liberated Afghanistan.

    No, it doesn’t have to be a Western-style democracy in order to legitimately claim that we liberated it. But it does actually have to be liberated, and I think it’s almost impossible to argue that Afghanistan has.

    I’m not saying that Afghanistan has to adopt a Western democratic system. But I do think that all nation-states have an obligation to promote and preserve basic human rights. U.S. interference in Afghanistan — our backing of the Taliban, our botched invasion — has done more to violate humanity in that country than just about anything else.

    So as I said above, it’s time to start backing local Afghan groups that agitate for human rights. And as BfP said, it’s also time to start putting greater faith in international organizations and stop using militarism to solve all of our problems.

  10. Manju
    February 26, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    Remind me again of who funded, trained and enabled the Taliban and pretty much ushered them into power? Oh right

    sure, that realpolitik Jill. But what to do? We also enabled Stalin in order to defeat the Nazis, throwing a huge chunk of eastern europe behind the iron curtain to be ruled by totalitarian regimes arguably just as tyrannical as the as the ones we defeated.

    So we used the mujahideen to defeat the evil empire. You have to play the hand you’re dealt. The Taliban didn’t emerge from a vacuum, their misogyny and religious jingoism is deeply rooted in afghan culture just like the Klan’s racism is deeply rooted in American culture.

    ultimately the afghan people have to fight this themselves. their liberators can certainly help, especially by opening up the economy with American style capitalism, but it’ll be a long road nonetheless.

  11. February 26, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    The Taliban didn’t emerge from a vacuum, their misogyny and religious jingoism is deeply rooted in afghan culture just like the Klan’s racism is deeply rooted in American culture.

    the klan has some serious fucked up issues with deeply entrenched and violent sexism–is their misogyny deeply rooted in U.S. culture?

    especially by opening up the economy with American style capitalism,

    yeah, cuz lookit how well american style capitalism has eradicated racism and sexism in the u.s.

  12. Manju
    February 26, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    the klan has some serious fucked up issues with deeply entrenched and violent sexism–is their misogyny deeply rooted in U.S. culture?

    Yes. That’s my point. We should stop infatalizing POC by holding our extremist to the same standarsd we hold white bigots. After all, homosexuals aren’t hung in the islamic world b/c of their foreign policy.

    yeah, cuz lookit how well american style capitalism has eradicated racism and sexism in the u.s.

    Its done wonders for India, among other places.

  13. Interrobang
    February 26, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    Laissez-faire capitalism, which is undoubtedly what you mean by “American-style capitalism” is about the last thing Afghanistan needs. I don’t support the current Canadian presence in Afghanistan because we’re doing “counterinsurgency” (read: picking sides in a civil war) and not peacekeeping, but we really should be doing humanitarian assistance. A little Canadian-style blended capitalistic socialism would probably do wonders in Afghanistan, providing it’s possible to have a functioning state there in the first place.

    You realise that nobody made the US go in and provoke the Soviets into invading Afghanistan. If anybody didn’t see by about 1979 that the Soviet Union was on its last toes, never mind its last legs, I really don’t know what to think about them, other than mention that the term “blind idealogue” springs to mind…

  14. February 26, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    And Afghanistan is the only country where the suicide rate is higher for women than for men

    So you think it is a good thing that more men kill themselves than women in every other country?

    Did you know that more women than men attempt suicide in nearly every country?

  15. John
    February 26, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    It would help immensely if we took a look at all the quantifiable things the US has done for Afghanistan since 2002: the miles of paved roads, the number of bridges, the phone networks, hospitals, clinics, schools, wells, etc. paid for and built by the USA….

    Naturally the MSM has not reported much about these quantifiable improvements but the Armed forces networks have. Independent journalists have. NGOs have. Mil-blogs have photos and first-person testimonies of our humanitarian efforts up there, as well as all the things we did to help neighboring Pakistan after their massive earthquakes last year.

    And oh, “we” as in the Bush administration has never been claiming total success or complete victory in Afghanistan. Quite the opposite. But point-scoring from political hacks “yeah well but what about X” arguments are natural efforts to belittle what is little understood or assumed to be so because one’s political opponents were “for” it.

    There’s more work to be done for the Afghani people but it’s not going to be done if impossible goals are made for the USA, where we’re supposed to simultaneously avoid “joining sides in a civil war” (why? if one side deserves to lose why should be avoid picking the winner?), while at the same time building up infrastructure – but not hurting anyone’s feelings…empowering women…but not upsetting Muslim sensibilities…. being politically correct…but “getting the job done’.

    We’re supposed to “put more boots on the ground” but avoid giving the feeling that we’re “occupiers”. We’re supposed to stand up an independent Afghani government and respect their sovereignty…but then demand they adopt feminist laws that we haven’t even accepted, on penalty of us revoking their aid.

    And if the Military manages to pull off this almost impossible mission, we can STILL moan and complain and whine that “yeah, well what about the female suicide rate huh huh huh?”

  16. February 26, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    So you think it is a good thing that more men kill themselves than women in every other country?

    Whoa. Way to put words in someone’s mouth. Jill reported that statistic because it is telling about the status of women in Afghanistan. To stretch that and say she likes men committing suicide sounds like a deliberate misunderstanding of her post.

    What is it with the trolls today?

  17. kmodek
    February 26, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    Well, I think the U.S. can start by putting a whole lot of effort and money into re-building infrastructure; having access to clean water, clear roads, safe homes and hospitals does amazing things for the public health. Second, we can back local women’s rights, democratic and health-promoting organizations on the ground in Afghanistan; we can let them set their own agendas and determine what’s important in their own communities while still offering them funding and support. And third, as Fr. Chris said, we can stop pretending that Afghanistan is a success story and instead start trying to fix shit.

    This sounds like what SHOULD BE HAPPENING IN AMERICA instead of us trying to do this for everyone else first!!!

  18. Manju
    February 26, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    If anybody didn’t see by about 1979 that the Soviet Union was on its last toes, never mind its last legs, I really don’t know what to think about them, other than mention that the term “blind idealogue” springs to mind…

    in 1979 very few respectable scholars thought the USSR was on the brink of collapse. I think there where a few liberatians like milton friedman who argued the economy cannot sustain itself and some reaganites who thought outspeding the USSR in defense would help them colapse, but this opinion was hardly consensus.

    in 1979, entire western economic depts where marxist. the left still viewed communism as a viable alternaticve. even the moderate left could not bear to admit what every taxi driver in moscow knew. take Lester Thurow, dean of the MIT Sloan School of Management, who said as late as 1989:

    “Can economic command significantly… accelerate the growth process? The remarkable performance of the Soviet Union suggests that it can… Today the Soviet Union is a country whose economic achievements bear comparison with those of the United States.” [

  19. Thomas, TSID
    February 26, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    Manju, there are not too many cultures you can point to that are free of deeply rooted traditions of misogyny. Religious jingoism, at various points in history, has been pretty popular also. So that’s not much of an insightful analysis.

    It’s easy to make broad pronouncements about what people in other countries need. One thing I’m sure they don’t need: they don’t need the US to help corrupt and brutal regimes subjugate them, which is something we have a long history of doing in order to have “our guy” in power against some enemy; and if we hadn’t done it, we probably would have handled world affairs much better for the last sixty odd years.

    Laissez-faire capitalism hasn’t produced a society without racism or sexism anywhere; in fact, I don’t think that any economic system will automatically do that.

    I don’t know what women in Afghanistan need. Neither do you, Manju. And maybe the women on the ground don’t really know either, but they are in better possession of the facts. And I honestly have no idea what they say about it. But the situation is ugly. The Taliban represent a religious tyranny heavily backed by outside Sunni interests; the Karzai government is a US puppet; and I don’t think that there’s anything like a functioning caucus for a genuine Afghani government. BFP suggests that what the folks on the ground want is peacekeepers without a chosen horse in the race so they can start rebuilding the country they had before the Red Army rolled in and brought them thirty years of war. Of all the things that might produce a reasonable outcome, that seems at least as good as any other option.

  20. February 26, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    sure, that realpolitik Jill. But what to do? We also enabled Stalin in order to defeat the Nazis, throwing a huge chunk of eastern europe behind the iron curtain to be ruled by totalitarian regimes arguably just as tyrannical as the as the ones we defeated.

    So we used the mujahideen to defeat the evil empire. You have to play the hand you’re dealt. The Taliban didn’t emerge from a vacuum, their misogyny and religious jingoism is deeply rooted in afghan culture just like the Klan’s racism is deeply rooted in American culture.

    ultimately the afghan people have to fight this themselves. their liberators can certainly help, especially by opening up the economy with American style capitalism, but it’ll be a long road nonetheless.

    But we fucked up after the Soviets were forced out. The Taliban didn’t take over immediately after the Soviets lost the war, they merely swept into the power vacuum that was left when the international community failed to do anything in the wake of the Soviet invasion. The Taliban offered stability, and took the opportunity to take over. Then, the US found them as a useful proxy to “oppose” the international drug trade.

    And I don’t know how accurate the characterization of the US throwing Eastern Europe to Stalin is, however. The US was hardly in a position to oppose Stalin’s occupation of Eastern Europe without starting another war that would at least have been of the magnitude of World War II, while still at war with the Japanese, who might have been aware enough to sign a pact with the USSR. I don’t think any of our Western European allies would have been capable of continuing to fight. Yalta was a declaration of a fait accompli, not some horrendous capitulation, whatever Joe McCarthy and Richard Nixon said at the time.

    In the end, it’s not an alalogous situation to Afghanistan, anyway. The main point, is, if we are going to play the realpolitik game with other nations as pawns, we are obligated, at the very, very minimum to pick up the pieces after the gambit pays off. We failed to do that in Afghanistan, twice, we paid the price of having the Ayatollah rise in Iran for doing the same with the Shah, and are failing to do that in Iraq, and in many, many other places in the world. Any goodwill tour around the world has to start with the US admitting some guilt, and helping to rebuild the parts of the world that were ruined by US policy. It is the only responsible thing to do, and is, at the very same time, the most straightforward and practical thing to do.

    Which, of course, means that no US government will dare do it.

  21. February 26, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    oops. blockquoted the whole post, not just Manju’s comment. Sorry.

  22. Thomas, TSID
    February 26, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    Manju, part of the reason we didn’t see that the Soviet Union was falling apart was that the CIA and the US intelligence aparatus willfully mislead succeeding administrations in order to justify the Directorate of Operations and the military-industrial complex, respectively. See generally Trento’s CIA: A Secret History, which is based in significant part of the personal papers of James Jesus Angleton, the legendary and later infamous head of CIA cointel (i.e. internal molehunter).

  23. Thomas, TSID
    February 26, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    Also, Manju, you link Thurow’s Wikipedia page but not the context of the quote, which you don’t provide.
    (1) Thurow is a “mixed economy” proponent in the European style IIRC. IIRC, Europe did not collapse in the Bush administration (either one) and its currency is doing rather well against the dollar, predictions of doom notwithstanding. Conservatives keep telling me that Europe can’t exist and will vanish in a poof of demographic suicide/economic collapse/Islamic overthrow/Sodomic destruction of an angry deity any minute now …

    any minute now …

    (2) In context, was Thurow, perhaps, comparing the growth rate of the Soviet system at its pre-WWII height to the fastest periods of US economic expansion? Rather than, as you seem to suggest, comparing the 1979 health of its economy to that of the US (which wasn’t so hot then, IIRC — didn’t I see a movie where some hockey game turned that all around?)

  24. February 26, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    No we didn’t liberate them because, ya know, the stats were so much better under the Taliban. Oh wait, thats not right.

    We were quite happy with the Taliban when we wanted to woo them for oil pipelines back in the nineties. And we knew full well about their shitty record on women’s rights (and human rights in general).

  25. February 26, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    Jill reported that statistic because it is telling about the status of women in Afghanistan. To stretch that and say she likes men committing suicide sounds like a deliberate misunderstanding of her post.

    Nonsense Diana. I never said she liked men committing suicide either. I asked Jill a question. UK suicide statistics are such that there are 4 attempted suicides in the UK by women for every 1 by a man. Yet there are 4 actual suicides by men for every 1 by a woman. This is mostly down to women being more “emotional” than men; but, men using more violent methods.

    There are many possible reasons why Afghanistan bucks the trend of every other country in the world – and it may have nothing to do with women being ‘victims’.

    If the world were all-being-equal we would see identical numbers of men:women attempted and successful suicides.

    What is it with the trolls today?

    I don’t know, why not elucidate me?

    Oh, I see… well as i say, I am asking a question to Jill of her opinion and FYI I lost a good friend (man) to suicide. If we are using successful suicides as a measure of gender ‘abuse’ then it would suggest men are the victims in every country in the world except Afghanistan. So I just fail to see really what suicides have to do with anything, since we don’t know why there’s this anomoly in Afghanistan.

  26. jamesPi
    February 26, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    Eh, what im going to say is an old and tired argument but it doesnt make it untrue. Women’s rights are simply not a priority right now for or in Afghanistan. General statements of we fucked up with the soviets, after the soviets, with our toleration of the regime in the 90’s, and our prosecution of the war mean not a thing in how we are to press forward in that country. We’ve made a ton of mistakes, covered here, also done a lot of good, usually not as well covered but there is little we can do right now because just like in the Iraq war, we are half-assing everything. When I was in Kabul and Bagram it simply boggled my mind how often we were close to making really good progress only to be shut down for lack of manpower, especially competent linguists but also engineers and other professionals. I’m still not sure on how anyone thinks we can impress Western ideas of human rights on Afghanistan, backed by the UN or not, in anything less than a full generation. We should work at it but it will change very, very slowly.

    One thing I’d like to add on the khod-koshi bit, I’ve gotta believe the number of women killing themselves is higher than anything that is being officially reported, its a bad situation.

  27. February 26, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    Welcome to Paradise for Stoopids. Remember the thugs from school? The lads in the pre-prison classes? Well, in civilization they are kept down by the Man. All their dreams and choices are frowned upon and when they act on their impulses…they are put in a cage.

    .

  28. February 26, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    Tangentially related: can we get some context on the photo accompanying the post? One of my biggest pet peeves ever is having a picture of an anonymous, veiled, Arab-looking woman accompanying an article on Arab or Muslim women (or the Arab or Muslim world in general) without providing any context. In my experience, the photo is only related to the article to the extent that is serves as short-hand for communicating all sorts of embedded stereotypes about the people under discussion. If, as the URL for the image seems to indicate (http://www.feministe.us/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/storyimage_thumb_pervezprotest2502017477t.jpg), the picture is of a woman at a protest in Pakistan, separating her image from that context makes me worry about denying her the agency she was exercising by participating in the protest to being with. Regardless, using her image without providing appropriate context, in a way that seems to be using it to represent afghan women as a whole, strikes me as dehumanizing and even orientalist. If I’m totally off base, please let me know, but the trend of using an anonymous picture of a veiled woman to represent a large group of women the picture may have no relation to really bothers me.

    Back on topic: those numbers are INSANE. At least in Canada, I know that the main reason people are arguing we should stay in Afghanistan is so that we can improve the situations for people there, but if this is what life is like for Afghani women, we either need to seriously step up our game or get the hell out. That is ridiculous.

  29. Dana
    February 26, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    To the person who protested the American government should help American infrastructure before everyone else’s… It’s a bit late to say that after you invade someone. You want to spend millions killing people? Gotta spend the money on cleaning up your mess too.

  30. February 26, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    Nonsense Diana. I never said she liked men committing suicide either. I asked Jill a question. UK suicide statistics are such that there are 4 attempted suicides in the UK by women for every 1 by a man. Yet there are 4 actual suicides by men for every 1 by a woman. This is mostly down to women being more “emotional” than men; but, men using more violent methods.

    It’s not so much that men use more “violent” methods as they use instantaneous methods, ie guns. Women more frequently attempt suicide via overdose, where they can change their minds and call 9-11. Many people who attempt suicide are frequently seized with regret and panic immediately doing so – read the chilling interviews of people who jumped off bridges and survived. I’m not an expert on the literature, but I believe if you take suicide method into account, the differences in attempt:success ratios for men and women become minimal.

    I dislike making sweeping claims about whether incidence of mental illness is a direct result of political or social environment and policy. However, since that’s what you’re doing, I have to say – one could easily make the argument that in most countries, the treatment of women causes more women to attempt suicide than men, which is mitigated by differences in success rates for gender-favored suicide methods. One could then say that the situation in Afghanistan is *so* bad for women that this phenomenon is overcome. One could also make the case that availability of different suicide methods is less gendered in Afghanistan (I imagine it’s a lot harder to overdose on pills, anyway – you’d have to *have* the pills). I tend to think it’s a combination of the two.

    Sorry to threadjack/feed the troll, everyone.

  31. jamesPi
    February 26, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    dana while I basically agree with you, I have little problem with why we went to war with the regime in Afghanistan, only a problem with how we executed that war. That being said, the world is not a you broke it you fix it kind of place. You could argue, and probably win, that a stable Afghanistan is in our best interest but I simply do not believe we are fully obligated to “spend the money on cleaning up our mess” either. Life is not fair, our war in Afghanistan was justified on a limited basis. If only we had rolled in with the only explicit goal being completely destroying the taliban could we have been successful, this nation building business is being done like everything else, half-assed, and is causing too many problems.

  32. February 27, 2008 at 7:31 am

    My my, what a bunch of absolute idiots managed to find the “on” switch to their computers today.

    How about if the United States, hardly an example of a proper western democratic nation, stops pretending that it is “the freest nation in the world” and starts solving its own problems? I know it’s kind of a mindfuck to all the Reaganite drones of the last 20 years, but you know what? The rest of the world doesn’t want the “help” of the US marines. Sorry if that makes you cry next to the picture of a bald eagle which looks sternly at the stars and stripes.

    The invasion of Afghanistan was nothing but a knee-jerk reaction to the World Trade Center attacks. To pretend otherwise is to be completely deluded. To pretend Iraq is not the same kind of nonsense, only fostered by the wealthiest, whitest people of the United States, is doubly so.

    You know how, when Bush travels abroad, thousands always show up with signs reading “Bush Go Home”? There’s a reason, and it’s not because the rest of the world doesn’t “get” the United States. It’s because the United States, as a government,* doesn’t get the rest of the world. And no amount of fake ideology about how diverse the nation is will change that.

    *this refers to the establishment and the part of the U.S. that votes for them. Sadly this seems to be the majority. Before anyone gives me unnecessary crap, yes, I am aware that a good chunk of the United States neither supports this crap nor do they behave like this. You have my sympathies for living in such a nation.

  33. SarahMC
    February 27, 2008 at 9:58 am

    *applause* for R.E. Silvera.

  34. letitia
    February 27, 2008 at 11:49 am

    Hey all–I think that brainiac’s comment about the photo needs to be addressed. Is this an Afghani woman, or is it just a random woman in a head covering? If so, then why does it accompany these numbers? Is it supposed to be the visual representation of the oppression of Afghani women? If so, then we need to think about what the purpose of this photo is and why any article about Islamic/middle eastern/Afghani women needs to ALWAYS have such an accompanying photo.

    IN addition, though I am appalled at these numbers, I wonder about what the US can do here. I wonder about the ability of the US to promote women’s issues in Afghanistan, as everything the US touches seems to turn into a target. It seems very easy for people to point to anything explicitly backed by the US and claim it as western influence that can’t be trusted. Religious leaders have pointed to US backed dictators/leaders (and rightly so), claiming them as puppet leaders, and, in my opinion, it seems that people in Islamic or ME countries are very sensitive to the appearance of western control or influence, and who can blame them? Women’s movements in these countries need to be owned by the women in those countries in the context of their own cultures and belief. How can the US support women while being sensitive to cultural differences? I wonder if there is a way for the US to support Afghani women’s movements without getting in the way and imposing western cultural norms, language, or influence.

  35. February 27, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Hey all–I think that brainiac’s comment about the photo needs to be addressed. Is this an Afghani woman, or is it just a random woman in a head covering? If so, then why does it accompany these numbers? Is it supposed to be the visual representation of the oppression of Afghani women? If so, then we need to think about what the purpose of this photo is and why any article about Islamic/middle eastern/Afghani women needs to ALWAYS have such an accompanying photo.

    The photo is of “an Afghan woman at a protest in Kabul against the death sentence passed on the student Pervez Kambaksh for downloading allegedly blasphemous material.” I got the picture from the original article.

    I also dislike using images of random women in head coverings; I figured that since the post was about Afghan women, readers would figure out that the picture was of an Afghan woman. And no, not every article about women in the Middle East always has to have an accompanying photo; many of those articles on this site don’t have photos. But as a general rule, we try to include photos in as many posts as possible. This time I had a pertinent photo, so I used it.

  36. February 27, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    And to clarify further, I selected an image that wasn’t representative of oppression so much as agency — the woman is attending a protest on behalf of one of her fellow citizens, and the message I get from it is that women in Afghanistan are mobilizing for human rights and making demands that aren’t being met. But yeah, I shouldn’t have assumed that people would know the image was of an actual Afghani woman; I’ve added a caption for clarity.

  37. letitia
    February 27, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    Gotcha, Jill, that makes sense to me. I think a caption does help. Thanks for clarifying.

  38. February 27, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    The Russian problem with their economy is the same as ours, too many Bushcrooks stealing. Instead of accepting western propaganda, go there and find out for yourself. Yes, many areas are poor. So wasn’t NOLA. Try Moscow for world-class everything. St Pete has apartments that put what we live in to shame.

    The Russians really don’t trust us. After the Revolution, we sent troops to reinstate the ruling class. We also made no bones about our (elite) desire to eliminate communism world-wide after WWII. Paranoid, you bet. They bunkered down because of our long history of invading or destabilizing countries.

    Remember class, they are not US and we should not expect them to be.

  39. meggygurl
    February 27, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    It’s not so much that men use more “violent” methods as they use instantaneous methods, ie guns. Women more frequently attempt suicide via overdose, where they can change their minds and call 9-11. Many people who attempt suicide are frequently seized with regret and panic immediately doing so – read the chilling interviews of people who jumped off bridges and survived. I’m not an expert on the literature, but I believe if you take suicide method into account, the differences in attempt:success ratios for men and women become minimal.

    This is pretty much what I have learned in every psychology and sociology class I took in college. The vast majority of people (men AND women) who survive their suicide attempt is glad that they did.

    Now, back onto topic…

    R.E. Silvera, I completely agree with you. And well said.

    The only think I have to add is a quote from the brilliant Ani DiFranco’s poem Self-Evident.

    get our government to pull its big dick out of the sand
    of someone else’s desert
    put it back in its pants
    and quit the hypocritical chants of
    freedom forever

  40. Farhat
    February 27, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    Wow. Every US-basher seems to be out today. As an Indian in the US it seems to me Americans forget the many positive things that the US forces manage to achieve in the world. Afghanistan was not a utopia before US invaded. In fact, in many objective ways the lives of women are indeed better and getting better. In fact, it is amazing that you are actually getting believable numbers from the country rather than just having to believe whatever Taliban decided to put out.

    The Europeans seem to forget that a large reason why European countries manage to spend less on defense is that the US spends for them or they would have been rolled over by the Russians after the second world war. Ask the Eastern Europeans how they fared under the feet of Mother Russia.

  41. February 28, 2008 at 5:56 am

    Farhat:

    Thank you for your interesting post, and for your cold war scaremongering that is a few decades too late. The USSR collapsed under its own weight, get over it.

    I am not American. I say what I say from the point of view of somebody from South America, which I am. Ever heard of September 11th, 1973? Ever heard of the myriad military governments, backed, trained and sponsored by the United States, which killed thousands of people across Latin America? Shit, ever heard of Nicaragua?

    U.S. interventionism predates Afghanistan and Iraq, and it has been overhwelmingly negative to the world at large.

  42. sarah
    March 3, 2008 at 11:09 am

    This is EXACTLY this kind of po-mo infested culturaly-relative junk which gives fodder to those that say that the hard feminist left is killing itself by insufficiently criticising cultures which are disasterous to women simply because the American right has singled them out.

    We get it, you’re against war and intervention. Great. Don’t go trading in the good name of the feminist movement (what’s left of it that is) to further going after an argument you lost in 2001. Just because things there are bad now doesn’t mean that a) things weren’t worse before and b) things aren’t getting better. Changing decades of pre-historical views on women takes a bit longer than 6 years and a couple thousand GIs, doesn’t mean it isn’t a worthy prospect.

    I’ve posted here before saying that the feminist left all to often makes excuses for regimes with the worst records on gender and sexuality human rights, and each time I am asked to provide examples, as if no one has any idea what I’ve been talking about. Well, this post, and the aftermath of apologizing for the worst possible government for women says it all doesn’t it. A bit late on the trigger at this point I guess, but the reception I received last time I mentioned this resulted in infrequent visits…

  43. March 3, 2008 at 11:15 am

    This is EXACTLY this kind of po-mo infested culturaly-relative junk which gives fodder to those that say that the hard feminist left is killing itself by insufficiently criticising cultures which are disasterous to women simply because the American right has singled them out.

    Sarah, did you read the fucking post? It was about how bad women have it in Afghanistan.

    Just because things there are bad now doesn’t mean that a) things weren’t worse before and b) things aren’t getting better.

    If you can provide any statistics or figures, I’d love to see them. Because things really aren’t much better. And no one denies that they were bad before.

    I’ve posted here before saying that the feminist left all to often makes excuses for regimes with the worst records on gender and sexuality human rights, and each time I am asked to provide examples, as if no one has any idea what I’ve been talking about. Well, this post, and the aftermath of apologizing for the worst possible government for women says it all doesn’t it.

    If you can point to where anyone made excuses for the Taliban, go for it. Opposing U.S. military intervention is not the same thing as apologizing for right-wing regimes in other countries. And perhaps your inability to grasp nuanced arguments is the reason people got tired of you last time.

  44. bobby
    March 3, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    Afghanistan was primarily invaded to kick the Taliban’s butt for allowing terrorists to operate from there and attack the US. Any other notion is paranoid and crazy. Iraq is a different story I don’t entirely understand and neither do you. I hope it solves itself soon. Maybe we should have gone in, taken out the Taliban and left. What would have happened then (I certainly can’t prove it, but I’ll bet it wouldn’t have been so great for women had we done that)?

    Women are way way way way better off now than before. It’s far from perfect, but they are better off. So are the men. I may be reading something into this that’s not there, but it seems there is an implication that the US government has somehow decided that the women aren’t important and that nothing is being done. Any rational person knows better than that.

    To al the US bashers: I’ve lived around the world, and for all it’s problem, I ultimately choose to live in the US because it is the best place there is (everyone loves their own country, right?).

    We may make mistakes, but we act with good intentions and I believe the world is a far better place because of our interventions. The end results may not be perfect, but things are a whole lot better than they would have been if we’d just left well enough alone. Like Nicaragua (someone brought that up as an example of our mis-deeds) would be better off now if we’d left them alone. NOT! Or Europe would be better off if we’d just let the Soviets have their way. NOT!

    Now here’ a idea that’s gonna a lot of you off, but it is true, it is history. Men have ruled the world (and even oppressed women) since forever. We are stronger and capable of complete domination if we so choose. That’s biology. (We’re capable of all kinds of badness.) Women have been given rights in the past few hundred years, but only because the men have let them. Think about that. If the men didn’t allow it, the women would not have been given the right to vote, own property, etc. Complain and protest all you want, but in the end, it was because the men decided it was the right thing to do. All men know this. I think most men agree that it is a good thing to involve the women, we love women, we respect them and their opinions and appreciate their contributions to society and our lives. We want them to be happy. I have known very few that feel otherwise. Men in some places are just slower than others to come around to this notion. And when you ask (or imply) that something be done to “fix” the woman problem in Afghanistan, or anywhere else, you are asking the men to do it, because the women of the world just can’t do it by themselves. No way. Even with a woman president, you are mainly going to be asking men soldiers to do most of the hard work, even give their lives (yeah, I know some woman will be involved, too, don’t go there, they are a minority of any war action, it’s mostly men who will die). And a war action is what it will take to force the changes you want.

    For all of those opposed to US interventions, do you really think we should have just left the Taliban alone? Let them continue with their horrible abuses on women that were going on? Can you really not see that the women of Afghanistan are far better off and have better chance of a bright future than if we’d left it alone?

    Bobby

  45. bobby
    March 3, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    Jill,

    I keep thinking about this. Durned stumble upon!

    Your posting would have had much greater impact if you’d put you agenda aside and forgone the editorializing with this stuff:

    Just a few things to think about today, and every time you hear politicians talk about how we “liberated” Afghanistan and Afghan women.

    Bobby

  46. Kelly
    March 19, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    We got rid of the Taliban for them, not completely but enough that we could do. Nobody is saying that we liberated women. That is their way of life, and they won’t change. I feel horrible for what they have to go through, but there really is nothing anybody can do about it. The best alternative is to post things like this. Maybe prayer from the informed can initiate changes in their morals.

    I most likely am going to blasted for this, but don’t be angry at the way I see things. The most important thing is we all agree that this is wrong, and maybe soon, we can do something to help them.

  47. March 20, 2008 at 8:37 am

    These were scary facts, recently I have read some awful article about war in Afganistan, there were so horrible pictures, and it’s difficult to imagine, that that’s reality some people live with.

  48. bobby
    March 29, 2008 at 11:40 am

    I don’t know what your policy about linking offsite is, but here is a really good article (IMO) sort of related to this topic. Feminists should be screaming mad about the things in here. Why aren’t they?

    http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Printable.aspx?GUID=E3A6C5FE-3F1C-410D-B19D-F57BE14B4034

    You’re organized. You can get vocal. DO IT.

    Some of the stuff those people do just makes me sick.

    Bobby

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