YARI: What will happen to Afghan women?
A letter to the president on the state of Afghan women
Dear Barack Obama,
I am a college student in the middle of exams. However, unlike most college students, I am not a native English speaker; in fact, I am one of the few girls who managed to leave Afghanistan to find a better life in America and get a better education. I constantly think about my country and its tendency towards violence against women. I am sure you will not see this article, but this is the only way I can express my concern for the women of Afghanistan.
After you decided to withdraw from that country, think about what happened with Afghan women. As you are aware, many women have gained increasing freedoms in the past 13 years such as returning to school, entering universities and organizing political groups. Currently, the Human Rights Commission of Afghanistan reported a 24.7 increase in violence against women in 2013 alone. Among so many cases of which you are aware, there are two particularly brutal cases that shocked the nation of Afghanistan and the world.
Even though many women activists exist in Afghanistan, nothing has changed. In December, 32-year-old Sutara was attacked by her husband, a heroin addict who cut off her nose and lips. These cases are so common in Afghanistan and reading her stories gets them more attention. According to the BBC news source, Sutara was engaged at the age of 11. She is now 32. Her husband sliced off her lips and nose because she refused to sell her jewelry to get him cash. Now the husband is missing, and I do not think he will be found. This is one of those common cases that happen to women where they are afraid to report crimes because of insufficient legal protections. However, Sutara and many other women also struggle with the same dangers every day. These women deserve a better, brighter future.
As you are also aware, the situation is now worsening with the new election and the United States withdrawing from Afghanistan; my concern is for all Afghan women who are the future of this country. Because women have no power to currently change their situation, I wanted to ask you about what you will decide. My concern is for those girls who are happily attending school to find a better future. My concern is for those university students who are willing to finish their school for a better job opportunity to make their Afghanistan into a better place for not only women but also for all citizens. My concern is for those women who worked so hard these past 13 years to be part of the Afghan society. Why do we not look for a better solution?
Since women and children became the victim of this war, I have lost so many of my family members. Every single day, I read news about women being killed or abused in different kinds of struggles. What is the solution? Is the only solution waiting until Hamid Karzai signs the security agreement? Will this act bring more security to the country and especially to women? I really do not think women would ever try to bring violence; in contrast, they lost their lives and their hopes. Every single woman who struggles to live in Afghanistan is a part of me. Secondly, when did a security agreement become such an important phenomenon that we forgot about the deaths and casualties of innocent people? I am worried that the last 13 years of gain will soon be lost. I am afraid that women will go back to their houses and girls will be stopped from going to school. Finally, I just wanted to tell you that there are thousands of Sutara’s that scream for help. They need basic human rights. They were never born to suffer cut noses or lips or any other tortures. I believe that their movements will further Afghanistan’s reconstruction plans for the future. However, if the violence against women continues to increase every day, the whole world will be blamed for allowing such a disaster to happen in the history of humanity.
Gaisu Yari is a third-year College student. Read more about Gaisu here.