Monday, October 16, 2006

More Burqa Information

I bought a new book from Seven Stories Press called Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords, and the Propaganda of Silence by Sonali Kolhatkar and James Ingalls. They have an entire chapter devoted to the politics of the burqa called: "Liberation" Rhetoric and Burqa Obsession scare quotes in the original.

Here is a great quote from an interview with Kolhatkar on from the Afghan Women's Mission website:

SK: I think the main thing that they've missed is that most Afghan women live in grinding poverty. What good is a right not to wear a burqa if you can't put food on your table? Many people still wear the burqa for a lot of reasons, but a lot of women wear it out of shame to cover their rags that expose how poor they are. They have no jobs, no literacy. Between 4 and 10 percent of Afghan women can read and write.

There are some really, really extreme issues like honor killings, women being jailed because of adultery, women burning themselves to death. There was a woman last year, Amina, who was stoned to death. Boy, did the media miss that one. There was no uproar.

The poverty issue is not a sexy issue. It's not dramatic; it's more abstract, more elusive and there's no easy fix to it. Afghanistan was one of the world's poorest countries before 9/11 and it is still one of the poorest countries.

The book also refers to an Amnesty International Report called "Afghanistan 'No one listens to us and no one treats us as human beings': Justice denied to women" which documents that the abuse of women has continued under the puppet regimes the U.S. "liberation" put in place.