The WTC Attack, Sep 11 2001

Commentary and Analysis

Tahira Khan: I cried . . . I laughed . . .

The Fall of Kabul
by Tahira Khan
posted to a feminist list server Sun, 18 Nov 2001

Dear all:

Just recently I was interviewed by a magazine to give my views and expressions about the "Fall of Kabul". Below are few lines from my detailed account.

I cried. . . . .not because Taliban were defeated in Kabul. I cried. . . . not because Northern Alliance captured Kabul.

I cried. . . . .when I saw on the TV, Pakistani and Arab young "Holy Warriors" abandoned by the Taliban and being brutally murdered by the Northern Alliance. I cried. . . . when I saw poverty, ignorance and deprivation personified in their faces. What for they were there? Who motivated them to leave their families back home and get humiliated in another part of the world? I cried. . . . because I couldn't take the humiliation of human beings at the hands of man made conceptual boundaries of citizenship and nationality.

I laughed. . . . .when I read that Afghan women's NGO activists demanding from the UN, US and of course Northern Alliance to give Afghan women due share in the new political set up. I laughed. . . . at the innocence of these activist women. Don't they know that from whom they are demanding what? Don't they know that without making structural changes in the socio-economic fabric of the society, "token" political representation of women is not going to bring any change in common women's lives. Didn't they learn these lessons from the experience of Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh where women did have political share in the form of reserved seats in the parliament and women prime ministers for more than one terms? Don't they know that induction of few women in the centuries old patrairchal political systems is not going to change texture of the system?

I laughed. . . at the concern of Laura Bush for the deprivation of Aghan women under Taliban. I laughed. . . . at her ignorance about the plight of women under the Saudi regime, Kuwait dynasty and many other non democratic Muslim regimes. Does she know that Saudi women are deprived of many basic rights including right to physical mobility? Does she know that women in Saudi Arabia cannot travel alone except carrying certain documents with them, as well as women cannot drive? Does she know about the incidents such as "Death of Princess"? Or she knows all of this and does not want to show her concern because Saudi/Kuwaiti dynasty are US buddies?

And I cried. . . . the way the Western media had neglected the positive changes regarding women's rights and status which secular regime of Afghanistan had brought from 1978 onwards until the victory of the holy religious allies led by the US in 1991.

I laughed. . . . .at the supersonic speed, the Western media has shown to discover Afghan women's existence as human beings.

Tahira Khan

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