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Essay/Term paper: Atrocities in afganistan (women)

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Sociology Term Papers

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(NOTE TO STUDENT: my teacher gave me a B+ and said I would have had an A if I had had more detail on the Taliban's reasons for these laws)

The women of Afghanistan have been enduring unfathomable suffering since the Taliban, a religious faction, seized control of the country in 1996. (NOTE TO STUDENT: my teacher gave me a B+ and said I would have had an A if I had had more detail on the Taliban's reasons for these laws) Since 1996 Afghan women have been living fear for their safety and lives. A myriad of discriminating laws has been placed on Afghan women. The punishments for violating these laws are unimaginably inhuman.
The Taliban is an ultra-fundamentalist group that has 90 percent of Afghanistan under its control (Taliban). When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 Islamic factions united to expel the Russian occupiers from Afghanistan (Afghanistan). The new government that had formed soon collapsed from the deep-rooted ethnic and religious differences of its members (Afghanistan). The Taliban emerged victorious from the ensuing civil war to establish a reign of terror on the Afghan people (Afghanistan).
The women of Afghanistan have ended up bearing most of the weight from the oppressive hand of the Taliban. A woman is no longer allowed to be seen in public with out wearing a cumbersome burqa, a robe that covers the entire body from head to toe with only a small mesh screen to see and breath through. "I feel like I am invisible." Claims one woman, "Nobody knows whether I"m smiling or crying…" She then explains how hard it is to see through the mesh screen (Shanahan). There have been accounts of women being run over by tanks because they couldn"t see through their burqa (Shanahan). Not only are women not allowed in public without the burqa, they must also be accompanied by a mahram, a male relative, when outside their homes (Women). When they are inside their homes, women must have the blinds pulled or the windows painted black so others can"t see them from the street (Women). A Taliban representative explains the logic behind these laws: "The face of a woman is a source of corruption for men who are not related to them." (Women). So what does a woman do when she needs to go outside and there is no man to accompany her? One woman was shot while running through the streets with her sick child. She was on her way to get medical help for the child (Shanahan). Another woman was beaten to death for exposing her wrist while driving (Shanahan).
Before the Taliban took over Afghanistan the country was fairly progressive in terms of women"s rights. There were women in Parliament, medicine, law, engineering and many other creditable professions (Shanahan). The majority of teachers were women (Shanahan). Half of the civil servants and university students were women (Shanahan). It seems the Afghan society was much like our own in relation to gender equality.
The current situation in Afghanistan contrasts the old one as black does white. Few women are permitted to work. Those who are must do so inside their homes (Stop). Girls are banned from attending school after the age of eight (Stop). A journalist speaks of girls not being allowed to leave the state orphanage building since 1996 although the boys go outside every day to attend school and play (Stop). The Taliban have severely limited women"s access to medical services because male physicians aren"t allowed to treat women and only a few selected female physicians can work only if they are veiled and treat only women (Stop).
The punishments for violating the Taliban's laws are even more appalling than the laws themselves and are among the most savage in the world. Often the punishments are dealt out in public in front of thousands of spectators. 30,000 men and boys gathered in an arena to eat biscuits and drink tea while watching women receiving the 100-lash penalty for being in public without a man (Shanahan). A woman had her thumb cut off at the tip for wearing nail polish (Women). In March 1997 a woman was stoned to death in Eastern Afghanistan. The married woman had been caught attempting to flee the district with another man. She was found guilty of adultery for which the punishment was death by stoning (Women). Thieves have their limbs amputated and murderers are publicly executed by their victim"s family.
The Taliban base their laws on their bastardized version of Islamic religion. They claim that their version is a pure one that follows a literal interpretation of the Muslim holy book, The Koran (Afghanistan). Apparently this is how they justify the horrific actions towards their own people, especially Afghan women. It is difficult to imagine a country where such atrocities are justified by a religion when you live in a country where religious interpretations have no part in formulating laws. But this does happen and it is happening right now in Afghanistan.
People around the world are appalled at the Taliban"s treatment of women. Many groups such as the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan have been formed to fight the Taliban. Existing groups such as the feminist Majority Foundation have focused on the situation in Afghanistan. UNICEF, CARE and the Red Cross are among the charity organizations that help feed, clothe and employ those suffering from the Taliban's oppressive hand (women). The UN and various countries have condemned the Taliban for their disregard for the life and welfare of Afghan women (Women). UNICEF has called on Islamic scholars, the UN and other countries to "keep the pressure up until every girl and woman has her basic human rights restored." (Women). Although then UN and various countries condemn the Taliban for their disregard for the life and welfare of Afghan women, no aggressive actions have been taken.
Clearly the harsh laws and punishments the Taliban have created are unjust and wrong. Since the Taliban base their laws on religious believes it would be difficult for anyone to "talk them out of it". There are many countries and organizations that are opposed to the Taliban"s treatment of women. I believe the Taliban will never gain recognition as a legitimate government from these countries unless they change drastically and it is only a matter of time before the Taliban fall.

Works Cited

"Afghanistan." Nutshellnotes. Online> 28 Jan. 2000.

Shanahan, Noreen. "Fighting gender apartheid in Afghanistan." Herizons. V>13 (3).
(Fall"99): 23-25.

"Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan!" The Feminist Majority Foundation. Online. 20
Feb. 2000.

"Taliban publicly execute woman murderer." Revolutionary Association of the Women
of Afghanistan. Online. 17 Nov. 1999.

"Women in Afghanistan: The violations continue." Amnesty International. Online. June

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