The Taliban Are At It Again...

(45 Posts)
FrothyDragon Wed 24-Oct-12 22:22:33

Hinna Khan, 17, has been threatened by the Taliban

Surprise, surprise, another girl has become a target for daring to campaign for women's rights. sad

kim147 Wed 24-Oct-12 22:27:01

How the hell do you campaign for women's rights in a place where the Taliban exist? Her family sounds so brave - it must take a lot of courage. What kind of country does Pakistan want to be sad

FrothyDragon Wed 24-Oct-12 22:34:41

"Those Pakistanis who most oppose the Taliban have been disappointed that the attempted murder of Malala has not prompted another military crackdown against the Taliban, particularly in their sanctuaries in the tribal agency of north Waziristan."

I'm with them. sad What kind of society condones the threatening and attempted murder of children?

PosieParker Thu 25-Oct-12 07:46:24

I think you should post this on the main board, I think people need to appreciate why Feminism is so necessary.

OneMoreChap Thu 25-Oct-12 12:05:44

FrothyDragon I completely agree it's contemptible...

but...

Those Pakistanis who most oppose the Taliban have been disappointed that the attempted murder of Malala has not prompted another military crackdown against the Taliban, particularly in their sanctuaries in the tribal agency of north Waziristan.

which may well be one of the aims of the Taliban, to show how "immoral" the Government is, that they attack the homes and families of "devout Muslims"

Pakistan? Basically a failed state with nuclear weapons.

namechangeguy Thu 25-Oct-12 12:11:19

'I think you should post this on the main board, I think people need to appreciate why Feminism is so necessary.'

Posie, could you expand on this for me please? In terms of what Feminism is doing to remove these crackpots, and how it proposes to replace it with a more equitable form of Government. Thanks.

EdithWeston Thu 25-Oct-12 12:20:40

The Taliban are killing about 3000 people a year in Pakistan, as well as so many more in Afghanistan.

I think their aim of removing all schooling except madrassahs for a few is pretty well known. As are their wider views on what society should look like.
One or two victims being seized on by the British media has indeed highlighted the problems, but does not represent the totality of the problem, nor does deploring it give a way ahead.

MrsClown Thu 25-Oct-12 12:28:37

Posie, totally agree with you. I work with women who dont think feminism is necessary. Oh how I would love to be proved wrong sometimes but to me it is as plain as the nose on your face as to why feminism is necessary. Whilst ever women in the world are being treated like this feminism will ALWAYS be necessary.

PosieParker Thu 25-Oct-12 16:12:28

namechangeguy. If women raise their profile in this land they will care more about what is happening the world over. Bit like all causes, racism for example, once we recognise and accept that in EVERY country women have a raw deal and we see women as equals, we join the cause and the equality grows.

namechangeguy Thu 25-Oct-12 16:40:57

Posie, I can see how that works in democracies like those in the West. I don't know how a movement like feminism can directly affect dictatorships and theocracies. Unless you believe that Western governments are already supportive of the feminist cause, and are taking direct action within somewhere like Afghanistan and Iraq as a result of the feminist movement.

I guess what I am asking is, if we deal with these countries by speaking quietly and carrying a big stick, where or what is feminism's stick? Or is feminism just riding on the coattails of patriarchal governments?

PosieParker Thu 25-Oct-12 16:52:50

At first I was thinking about how women fair worse over here and that this was an extreme example. Perhaps you've never heard about the massive leaps forward in the fight against FGM by Feminist groups in Africa or the progress in femicide in The Congo? Perhaps you can't see the work Feminism can do by making women important and worth saving? It's these attitudes and changes that can help girls all over the world.

zippey Thu 25-Oct-12 16:53:19

We live in a crazy world, but these countries will get there eventually. Remember that it wasnt all that long ago that Britian wouldnt allow women to vote. With the expansion of a free Internet, this should allow people to treat religion with skeptisiscm, and hail a free-er society.

Women have been badly treated in all societies, even here (last weeks equal pay scandal with Birmingham council for example) but give it another 100 years and these religious nuts will have died out.

PosieParker Thu 25-Oct-12 16:54:05

I find your riding on the coattails comment rather twattish, what did you mean by it?

namechangeguy Thu 25-Oct-12 18:09:16

What I mean is, is it acceptable to use patriarchal governments to achieve feminist aims? Some feminists want to bring down patriarchal structures, as opposed to work within them for change. Do those feminists find it acceptable to allow a patriarchal government (ours) to topple another patriarchal government (e.g. the Taleban). Or do those feminists have a different way of approaching the problem?

What I am trying to get at here, probably rather clumsily, is how feminism does work in the 'real world'? Does it see all patriarchal structures as needing to be demolished, or does it accept that some of the patriarchal structures (e.g. Western governments) are in fact supportive of the feminist cause, rather than 'hating women', as I have read on here a few times.

I am hoping for a serious political discussion here, rather than any twattism. And for 'riding on the coattails', let's use 'realpolitik' instead. No offence intended.

namechangeguy Thu 25-Oct-12 18:12:54

Zippey, you wont get to rural Afghans via the internet for a while. Radio and BBC world service are a much better bet. But again, these structures are in the hands of men. What do you think would drive these high-powered, rich, powerful white males to help free peasant women in far-flung corners of the world?

EdithWeston Thu 25-Oct-12 18:13:08

The Taliban-related issue which has been tackled via structures associated with male power is the US-led invasion of Afghanistan which and led to an enormous increase in female education and in gender-blind health care.

Perhaps that is what is meant?

namechangeguy Thu 25-Oct-12 18:23:47

Pretty much, Edith, thank you. I am wondering how much this clashes with at least some feminist doctrine.

PosieParker Thu 25-Oct-12 18:31:05

I guess until we don't have a patriarchy you have to work within it! I think patriarchy needs change from within, replacing ideals as opposed to a complete and instant change, which is unachievable.

I'm sure the plight of Pakistani school girls will have far reaching effects, they may inspire talk at the very least. The more girls see equality as a right the more pressure they will put upon their own government.

As both Feminism and the Patriarchy do not fit neatly into a box that we can tick, I am struggling to find the right language to describe what I mean.

I think, I think, that each individual that can change into a person that sees women as equal moves Feminism forward.

namechangeguy Thu 25-Oct-12 19:38:34

I do see what you are getting at, Posy. As Ghandi (the bastard!) said, 'what you do is insignificant, but you should do it anyway' (or words to that effect).

Is it therefore rocking the boat to suggest that there are rich, powerful white males at work in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq, looking to raise the status and rights of women, to give them access to education, healthcare, voting rights etc., for no other reason than it is the right thing to do? Is that commonly accepted in feminist circles?

Xenia Thu 25-Oct-12 20:28:44

Many many men are feminist and work hard to help women. There is no reason you can't be male and feminist.

Pakistan has one of the lowest levels of adult literacy in the world I learned today. 55m of them over 10 cannot read. I am sure lack of education is one of their major problems. I wonder if the divided old India was actually a good thing / partition. Would the Muslims have been better being a small minority in a democratic India?

ConsiderCasey Thu 25-Oct-12 20:36:21

And why do those "rich, powerful white males" hold the progressive values they do, NCG?

Because they come from countries where feminists have already had an effect and managed to change the core values of many. That's why. Those men may or may not call themselves feminists but they've been affected by feminism for sure.

As for whether or not feminists should ride "on the coattails" of patriarchal systems - for fuck's sake, man, who gives a shit. I just want those poor girls protected and allowed an education.

ConsiderCasey Thu 25-Oct-12 20:37:46

"There is no reason you can't be male and feminist."

Exactly.

kim147 Thu 25-Oct-12 20:39:16

I heard a Pakistani journalist talking about this. It seems the Taliban are not the "biggest" problem with female education. Education is expensive and is paid for by the family. Essentially parents have a choice who to educate and it seems that boys are the ones who are more favoured to receive such an education - presumably because girls are expected to get married and raise a family.

Trekkie Thu 25-Oct-12 20:46:58

The taleban have burnt down girls schools though and attack female children going to school. It is a mutli faceted problem, isn't it? All of the reasons for the lack of female education need to be addressed.

I also don't understand why this issue should not be posted on the main board - I think it is useful for people to hear that these things are happening.

kim147 Thu 25-Oct-12 20:52:32

So many issues aren't there - it should be on the main board.

Xenia Thu 25-Oct-12 20:54:40

Of course it should be but instead many of them are only interested in their own hearth and home as they are not much developed beyond the stage of Taliban wife where their interests are limited to washing powder and childbirth.

kim147 Thu 25-Oct-12 21:12:45

An interesting Guardian article.

www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2012/jun/26/pakistan-education-swat-valley-taliban

1 in 3 rural women have never been to school.
60% of school age children can't read.
It's chronically underfunded, teachers are poorly qualified.

This quote sums up the importance of education.

"Gul-e-Khandana believes that girls are the future for Pakistan. "Above all, girls must be educated," she says. "When one girl is educated, she educates her entire household. The role of women is very important in our society – it is they who can change our way of life for the better."

Education is so important - yet we take it for granted in the West and often forget that it many children don't get it in other countries.

scarevola Thu 25-Oct-12 22:02:20

The boys don't get education either, in the areas where the Taliban rule. The religious aspect is almost incidental really, this is a cross-border Pashtun movement allied which murders other Muslims as well as adherents of other religions.

The to-ing and fro-ing over the Swat Valley has been pretty well documented, and the levels of education there are higher than those in the areas where the Talibs are more entrenched.

namechangeguy Thu 25-Oct-12 22:20:06

If you are religious zealots who want to rule by fear and intimidation, the last thing you need is an educated population.

Trekkie Thu 25-Oct-12 23:17:05

My DH told me that before the taleban, women in Afghanistan were educated and held roles across society and in all sorts of occupations / professions.

As far as I understand it, this did not assist them when their rights were removed when the taleban came in?

I am not sure that women are able to fight, whether they are educated or not, against that type of change. I am not sure any oppressed group will have much luck when the ruling powers and much of society turns against them.

scarevola Fri 26-Oct-12 10:51:04

The position of women in Afghanistan has varied over the decades, and also sharply between cities and rural regions.

Is your DH an expert on the region? If so, I would be interested in references he thinks particularly germane.

Xenia Fri 26-Oct-12 11:15:00

Tr, that's true. Some afghanwomen were doing very well. It's a bit like Iran where I have been on business a few times - it was quite sophisticated with well educated women and then went backwards once the Shah went.

When you let the poor if they are fundamentalist sexist and old fashioned into power that tends not to be good for women. Look at how few women in Communist China are part of the new leadership proposals.

scarevola Fri 26-Oct-12 12:47:29

Iran may have veiled its women, but retained, even under theocracy full participation in education to the highest levels and including such appointments as science minister: wiki, but a useful list. It is only now, after 10 years during which numbers of women in higher education has been greater than that of men, has there been a move to reduce female numbers with stated aim of bringing it line with proportion of population.

namechangeguy Fri 26-Oct-12 14:30:58

Scarevola - that is a hugely surprising list, given the propaganda we are fed about the Iranian regime. Thank you for posting it. Are you Iranian? How much do you know about the country? It's a fascinating place.

scarevola Fri 26-Oct-12 14:34:10

No, I'm not Iranian, nor do I have particularly strong associations, though I have had some connexions in the course of work (a few years ago now, though). What about you?

Xenia Fri 26-Oct-12 15:13:53

Yes, I know that about Iran. They are well educated but still forced to wear a load of cloth over themselves. They have never been arab. They are aryan I think genetically and always pretty advanced which makes it even sadder that they have gone backwards to much in terms of imposition of religious and clothing rules which are so ridiculous.

Xenia Fri 26-Oct-12 15:14:20

..and their human rights record is as bad as the Taliban or China or North Korea now. Terrible.

namechangeguy Fri 26-Oct-12 15:52:28

Nope, not Iranian - white trash British grin. I just have an interest in what appears to be such a contradictory nation. I know that they are a people proud of their history and tradition, and like many nations in that area they were once at the forefront of scientific and cultural thinking. It is sad to see such countries regress into theocratically dominated pariah states.

Xenia Fri 26-Oct-12 20:27:32

They were certainly very keen to tell me they feel misrepresented in the press when I was working out there and a third of the 120 professionals to whom I was talking at one point were female. They have certainly got themselves into a huge mess and now I think almost have the highest inflation on the planet which must be devastating for people.

Vege Wed 31-Oct-12 13:03:37

Where does this "information" come from..the BBC? LOL X

scarevola Wed 31-Oct-12 14:53:48

Information about the level of female education in Iran is widely reported, as are the latest moves to reduce participation in some places so that (under-represented) male students can secure places.

But it's all a bit beside the point if this thread is going to attract posters who want to discuss the Taliban (as one might except from the thread title) - a Sunni Pashtun movement in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

sashh Thu 01-Nov-12 07:41:18

Iran is interesting in so may ways.

When the Shah was 'modernising' Iran women who wore a veil in public had it ripped off.

After the revoloution the number of women in higher education went through the roof. Many parents did not want their daughters wearing in western clothes and mixing with men at university.

Adding a veil and single sex classes actually opened up education for women in Iran.

MrsSnaplegs Thu 01-Nov-12 07:46:39

I am reading "the sewing circles of Herat" written by Christine lamb - very interesting seeing her views on the differences the Taliban made - for the worse - to women and the underground movements that occurred to try and continue their education
It's a decade old now but worth a readsmile

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Fri 02-Nov-12 01:45:26

It's interesting that the Yanks are so keen on bombing the Taliban and yet they are busy building their own woman-hating theocracy at home.

Pilgit Sat 03-Nov-12 09:45:22

All down history there are examples of sacrifices being made for the sake of peace (invariably I don't agree btw) and frequently womens rights are a sacrifice that governments make for the sake of peace. we have seen this in Iraq and Afghanistan and it looks to be happening again in Pakistan. This just makes me angry as it is not peace for the women of those nations. These are not the only examples and it is not always women on the receiving end (the fact that Poland got well and truly shafted by Churchill and the americans at the end of WW2 - they fought with the british for a free Poland and they got communism from Russia as a result instead.)

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