Yesterday, I think about you, too, have been gripped by the news, because the Taliban seized management of Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. People fled their properties to cover, or tried desperately to escape, even clinging to the wings of departing airplanes. I hesitated to write about this big, difficult state of affairs, however readers have been asking for an area to speak. So, I assumed I’d deliver collectively some news items, particularly these centering Afghan ladies.
Over the previous few days, the New York Times’ Daily podcast communicated with R., a 33-year-old Afghan lady residing in Kabul.
“My country is falling on her knees, and no one is taking any action,” she sobbed into the recorder. “The whole world is just watching.”
Growing more and more distressed, she described the autumn of Kabul: “To the world, it’s just a city that collapses, but to me, it’s not just a city… There are thousands of souls that collapse. There are millions of dreams that collapse. Our history, our culture, our art, our beauty, our lives collapse.”
Of course, as R. emphasizes, there may be a lot to lose. Over the previous 20 years — ever for the reason that defeat of the Taliban in late 2001 — Afghan ladies have achieved a unprecedented quantity. They’ve graduated from universities and graduate colleges; efficiently run for Parliament; owned bakeries, salons and shops; labored as docs, ambassadors, journalists, bankers, ministers; the listing goes on.
Now, as soon as once more underneath Taliban rule, what is going to life seem like for these ladies and ladies? In the 1990s and early 2000s, when the Taliban was beforehand in energy, ladies have been required to put on burqas in public. Women weren’t allowed to go exterior with out a male family member. Women weren’t allowed to work exterior the house. Women weren’t allowed to attend college after the age of 8. Women have been banned from voting. Some ladies and ladies have been pressured into marriages. These guidelines basically made ladies prisoners in their very own properties.
“Perhaps the silence of life under the Taliban sits with me more than anything,” writes photojournalist Lynsey Addario, who has lined Afghanistan for 20 years. “There were very few cars, no music, no television, no telephones, and no idle conversation on the sidewalks. The dusty streets were crowded with widows who had lost their husbands in the protracted war; banned from working, their only means of survival was to beg. People were scared, indoors and out. Those who were brave enough to venture out spoke in hushed voices, for fear of provoking a Taliban beating for anything as simple as not having a long-enough beard (for a man) or a long-enough burka (for a woman), or sometimes for nothing at all.”
Back on the Daily podcast, R. mourned Afghan ladies’s progress over the previous 20 years. “Just forget about the sacrifices we made, the things that we worked so hard for,” she wept. “Now it’s just a matter of saving your life.”
But some cling to hope. “The Taliban is taking territory,” Afghan activist Shukriya Barakzai advised Addario, “but not the hearts and minds of people.”
If you may, please be part of us in donating to Women for Afghan Women, a grassroots civil society group devoted to defending and selling the rights of Afghan ladies and ladies. A reader named Hanna really useful following the reporter Stefanie Glinski on Twitter. Please share different doable methods to assist and methods to study, in case you are knowledgable in this space. Thank you a lot. xo
Update: A few readers requested about how to contact their states’ representatives. First, you may simply find your reps here. Then write to them.
A pattern message is:
Dear Representative LAST-NAME,
As a voter and YOUR-STATE resident, I’m writing to implore you to take motion on the humanitarian disaster unfolding in Afghanistan. The abrupt withdrawal of U.S. armed forces has imperiled the lives and security of numerous folks on the bottom there, together with Afghan residents who’ve straight assisted U.S. efforts. I’m particularly involved for girls and ladies who will probably be topic to oppressive and harmful rule. We are morally obligated to take motion to present security for essentially the most weak. Refugee visas MUST be granted and motion have to be taken on the bottom to stabilize the state of affairs. We solely want to look to historical past to see what occurs once we flip away.
You may also name to depart a message on an answering machine. As a reader named Colleen urged, “Contact your representatives and demand that the U.S. expand its visa programs to allow NGO workers and supporters to apply for visas while they are trapped in Afghanistan. Cite Canada as an example of a country that is providing adequate support to Afghan refugees.”
(Photo of a yoga class in Kabul on Saturday by Kiana Hayeri/The New York Times.)