Radical media, politics and culture.


(Vancouver, Canada) — Delegates from Argentina, Sri Lanka, India, Nigeria, Haiti, Belgium and many more countries will share their work and struggles in what is shaping up to be an historic international women‚s conference, entitled "Towards our Liberation: an international women's conference against imperialist war and plunder" on the 1st to 4th of November, 2002, in Vancouver, Canada. Seats are limited for this important conference intent on highlighting and advancing women's role in the pursuit of national and social liberation. Interested participants should register before October 25, 2002, the registration deadline.

The following article was obviously written before the complete collapse of the Taliban and the formation of an interim government. Nevertheless, Sanya and Flint's piece addresses a number of issues that remain to be considered, in the present situation as well as ones in the future.

Supporting the Revolutionary Women of Afghanistan

by Sanya and Flint (NEFAC)

This article will try and sketch out why anarchists should critically
support the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) as
part of an active anti-war work (as well as part of a larger
anti-patriarchal struggle!). RAWA has been on the frontline in radical
agitation for women's rights in Afghanistan for over 26 years. They have
fought against Soviet occupation in 1979, against the rise of the
US-supported fundamentalist reaction which followed, and since 1996, against
the similarly misogynist and fundamentalist Taliban. Self-described as "a
political/social organization of Afghan women struggling for peace, freedom,
democracy and women's rights in fundamentalism-blighted Afghanistan," they
are the only grass roots, feminist, secular, and social democratic women's
organization on the ground in that country.

Louis Lingg writes: "After decades of war, it is estimated that women constitute over 65% of Afghanistan's population. The 1964 Afghan consititution granted equality to men and women under the law, yet Taliban rule and war have eliminated women from public life.

The Times of India is reporting on the efforts of women to ensure they are given a voice and participation in the creation of a new regime in Afghanistan."

Louis Lingg writes: "The Labour Party of Pakistan website has posted a report by Scottish socialist Alan McCombes on women involved with the underground Afghan Revolutionary Labour Organisation.

An excerpt: 'as an organiser of the party's women's section, Mahsooda carries out in effect double underground work. They are in even more danger of punishment from the religious
parties if they are discovered. And the women Mahsooda organises are forced to meet clandestinely, behind the backs of the men in their families "Lots of women conform to a
traditional role. But many thirst for knowledge and want to become active," says Mahsooda, herself a mother of four young children. "Women have a long history of
involvement in political struggle in Afghanistan. But now many men won't allow them to attend events, or courses. "We have lots of women comrades who work in secret
from their husbands, brothers and fathers. They will say `we are going to the market' or `we are going to buy clothes' but instead they will come to this house and other

Louis Lingg writes: "Human Rights Watch has posted a report and anlysis of women's rights in Afghanistan: 'Humanity Denied'.

An excerpt: Throughout Afghanistan's civil war, the major armed factions - primarily the Taliban and the United National Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan (commonly
known as the "United Front" or by its previous name, the Northern Alliance), a coalition of mainly Tajik, Uzbek, and ethnic Hazara parties - have repeatedly
committed serious abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law. Women have borne the brunt of this violence and discrimination. In the civil war, women
have suffered massive, systematic, and unrelenting human rights abuses that have permeated every aspect of their lives. Both Taliban forces and forces now grouped in
the United Front have sexually assaulted, abducted, and forcibly married women during the armed conflict, targeting them on the basis of both gender and ethnicity.
Thousands of women have been physically assaulted and have had severe restrictions placed on their liberty and fundamental freedoms. Moreover, the Taliban have
sought to erase women from public life. They have banned women from employment in most sectors; banned education of girls beyond primary school; forbidden
women from going out in public without the accompaniment of a close male relative (mahram); and banned women from appearing in public without wearing an
all-enveloping chadari (a head-to-toe garment). These restrictions assault women's human dignity and threaten their very right to life."


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