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Quote candid Replybullet Posted: 04 October 2006 at 11:14pm

Two gunmen on a motorbike killed the provincial director of Afghanistan's Ministry of Women's Affairs outside her home Monday in apparent retribution for her efforts to help educate women, officials said.

First of all its not absolutely clear from the cited article, as to why she was killed. She could have been colloborator of the American forces against the Afghan resistance. In fact, whether you like it or not, Taliban is supported by people in large parts of Afghanistan. The Taliban represented the Afghans better than the present govt. Even people in the American govt. now accept this.

Islam does permit women to work outside home. But apprehensions of people (and I mean, both men and women, here) who oppose adoption of the Western culture are not unfounded. I don't want Islamic societies to be affected with decadent and immoral Western culture. Michael Noer highlighted some of the problems (with convincing proofs) prevalent in the Western society in the respectable Forbes magazine.

So yes, unless Islamic sharia is fully implemented I oppose the right of women to work outside home in Islamic societies. I think Taliban would have also come round to that if they had got more time.

And if at all if there is any substantial change needed it should come from within the Afghan society without any external support.

Edited by candid
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Quote Duende Replybullet Posted: 05 October 2006 at 2:17am
Candid wrote: “But apprehensions of people (and I mean, both men
and women, here) who oppose adoption of the Western culture are
not unfounded. I don't want Islamic societies to be affected with
decadent and immoral Western culture.”

Neither do I, candid, neither do I. And I agree, as do most of us here
that any change should come from within Afghan society, but I
personally feel angry when the change is IMPOSED and not the result
of free will. Obviously free will is not something all societies can
afford, and Afghan society has not had much opportunity to mature,
develop and discover the advantages of permitting free will.
     As Afghan writer Tamim Ansary writes: “Rural Afghans really do
need literacy, more than they know. But schools as stand-alone
projects, separate from more palpable aid -- fruit trees, seed for
next year's crop, herds, water, medicine -- present easy targets for
Islamist propaganda. Certainly, in southern Afghanistan, unknown
parties are distributing anonymous documents ("night letters")
characterizing schools as the sharp tip of the Western knife coming
in to kill the one thing rural Afghans proudly feel they do possess --
their religion.”

You wrote: “In fact, whether you like it or not, Taliban is supported
by people in large parts of Afghanistan.”
I wonder what the several thousand Afghan refugees currently lining
up at Quetta and Peshawar would say about supporting the Taliban?
The vast majority of villagers all over Afghanistan have been literally
FORCED to show support for the Taliban, just as they were forced to
submit to whoever had the biggest gun before them.

I do not believe the news reports about large numbers of Taliban
fighters, I don’t believe the Taliban exists as a large well organised
force, just as I don’t believe Al Qaida exists as a structured
organisation. The media needs to visualise and compartmentalise
everything for its own comprehension, thus everything has to be
portrayed in familiar terms. It’s uncomfortable to know the ‘enemy’
is nebulous, fluid, unpredictable, with an intuitive structure rather
than a formal one.

To quote Tamim Ansary once more:
“The United States drove the Taliban out of Kabul with a brief, tightly
targeted military campaign that entrusted most of the fighting to the
long-standing Afghan resistance and made artful use of diplomatic
pressure on the Taliban's Pakistani sponsors. The dreaded shock-
and-awe bombardment and eviscerating invasion -- later visited
upon Iraq -- did not materialize in Afghanistan. Once the fighting
ended, room for hope opened up.
At that moment, however, a race broke out between chaos and order.
That contest is still on and its outcome remains unknown. On one
side are people who have no skills except the arts of violence, trying
to reignite a war of all against all, because in that environment their
kind can thrive. Their hope lies in sowing enough anxiety to make a
critical mass of people pick up guns again for self-protection.
On the other side, modernists, technocrats, returning exiles, the old
aristocracy and countless war-weary others seek to restore the
peaceful order of a remembered Afghanistan. Their hope lies in
getting enough normalcy going -- enough fruit and meat in the
bazaars, enough traffic flowing normally, enough consecutive days
without bloodshed -- to make a critical mass of people say, "This is
working, I better get on board so I'll get my share."
After the Taliban fled, most Afghans simply wanted to start
rebuilding. When I went to Kabul in June 2002, I found what should
have been a scene of despair: a city teeming with amputees and
burka-clad widows begging for money, about one-quarter of it
reduced to rubble. Instead, Kabul felt as luminously euphoric as any
place I've ever set foot. Why?
Because everyone thought the 23-year nightmare was finally over.
Kabul belonged to Afghans again.”

I have an Australian friend currently writing a book on the Afghan
refugees. She recently visited some families now settled in Australia
and the story she told me is worth reading, since it is unfiltered by
the media:
“Last Thursday I did another extraordinary interview with an Afghan
family, Hazaras from a village between Ghazni and Kandahar. When I
first met this family the mother, Miriam, believed her husband,
Mahammed, had been killed by the Taliban. She arrived in Australia
in 2001 having paid ‘people smugglers’ to get her and her four
children to Christmas Island via Malaysia and Indonesia, but still
clung to the hope that Mahammed might be alive. Once she gained
permanent residency in Australia she went to Iran to search the
refugee camps there. She returned to Melbourne without finding him,
but she sent a cousin into Pakistan to search the camps near the
Afghan border just in case he was there. And he was. The cousin
found him in Peshawar. He too had thought his family was dead. Her
husband told me his story in Dari (Australia) and his 17 year old son,
Bashir, translated. He was driving to Kandahar on business when the
Taliban stopped him, knocked him around and threw him into a local
prison before taking him to a larger prison, I think in Kandahar, for
an indefinite stay. Of course he couldn't get a message out to his
family and as he grew weaker from lack of food he grew more
hopeless. The Taliban counted the prisoners every day - but one day,
after some ten
months, they didn't arrive for the morning count. Someone rushed in
and said the Taliban had gone, that the prisoners must all escape.
Mahammed was very weak but somehow (I've forgotten the details)
he got back to his village and found it completely destroyed and
abandoned. You should have seen his face as he was telling me this
through his son. He kept saying he was going mad, insane, that in
desperation he went to a place were human bones had been found, a
massacre site, and thought these were the bones of his wife and
children. Like so many others he fled to Pakistan and found a job in
Peshawar. And then the phone call or visit from his wife's cousin ...
imagine! Miriam and the kids established email contact with him and
sent photos, and soon they were able to sponsor him to Australia.
When he arrived the family talked for 48 hours straight, they all told
me and laughed at the memory!”

The problem with the whole support/denial of Taliban has no
balance nor contrast, due to the mixed news coming out of the
country. Western oriented reports are filled with summary killings of
teachers in front of children, and similar stories; of Taliban
ambushing NGO workers who have been rebuilding wells and other
basic infrastructure in remote villages, and stories of the imminent
risk of starvation during the winter months in places where these
NGOs were providing basic supplies, and have been forced to leave.
Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) pulled out of
Afghanistan because of the risks to the lives of their doctors and
nurses. It is the only country in the world, in conflict, which Medecins
Sans Frontiers have felt forced to pull out of. The Taliban and
insurgency who have indiscriminately killed any and all foreign
volunteer workers within Afghanistan are doing nothing to help the
Afghan population and what is going on there is nothing but a war to
secure power bases, it has nothing to do with Islam nor even with the
original American invasion.

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Quote Duende Replybullet Posted: 05 October 2006 at 3:04am
Angela I’ve been reading Brother X’s words and your very sane
responses with great interest. It’s very revealing that he would only
try to engage you in PRIVATE, as though he were afraid of a general
response from women. This shows a basic problem with the
discussion on women’s roles within society: men are AFRAID to voice
their opinions, and that’s largely women’s fault. We often come
across as raucous and upset and men generally don’t like raucous
and upset women! For women this is a highly emotive subject, we are
emotive beings per se, and trying to curb the emotions and make
rational arguments in favour of our deeply emotional needs, is what
has made the feminist movement a contradictory and troubled one.

Brother X, and many others, seem to think along the lines of Linda
R. Hirshman who sees stay at home mothers as denying society at
large the benefits of their education. As usual, the extremes of both
arguments are never going to find consensus. The likes of Hirshman
and Brother X think a woman should go out and work, use her
education for the greater good of society, and the religious
fundamentalists believe a woman should remain at home, and deny
her talent in math, horticulture, etc. The likes of you and me, think a
woman should be supported if her choice, despite her education,
should be to remain at home in the traditional mother’s role.

It is difficult for many people to perceive present day society as a
flawed structure, the overarching belief today is that it is BETTER for
a woman to go out and get an education and then pursue a life in the
workplace. Like so many other aspects of society, this view doesn’t
allow for nuance and exception. It is remarkable that the
achievements of the feminist movement have resulted in women
today feeling as though they are a failure should they be HAPPY at
home! Where on earth did we go wrong?

Men are afraid to take up this debate since they have too often been
painted as the enemy. Here we’re trying to point out that the whole
consumerist structure of society has actually eroded men’s choices
too. The feminist movement seems to have run itself into a dead end
and it’s time we joined hands with our men and helped ourselves to
find the society where we can all feel ‘realized’, productive and

By joining the workforce and leaving the dishes unwashed, women
have helped erode men’s traditional sense of identity. The feminist
movement steamed ahead, ignoring the side effects on the other half
of the community. Now, in many western societies, men feel
increasingly emasculated and afraid to discuss the issue with women.
It’s easier to just hit her upside the head in an argument, or tip her
out the window.

I salute your measured and intelligent responses Angela, if more of
us could explain ourselves and our views as you do, we’d be on our
way to healing society.
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Quote Hayfa Replybullet Posted: 05 October 2006 at 11:45am

There are many driving forces they push and pull people in different directions. There are several levels

-those women who work must work to survive and feed their families. Either they are on their own or their husband's income is not enough.

-those women who choose to work and end up neglecting their familiy's needs.

I am sure we meet all meet both of these women. In the first case the woman or family is doing so the basic needs are met, a place to live, food to eat, etc. The second is more of a product of the 'me' and 'I' generation we now live in. This culture affects both men and women with terribly consequences. (Though it is not as prevalent in small towns.)

I recently watched a very good Frontline piece on PBS about the current situation with the Taliban. What I concluded is

1. The west has no clue what it is doing, in a sense they don't know the culture, the way people operate, the values. etc.

2. Whereas there may be deliberate actions to de-stabalize, destroy etc., it is clear to me that what the US and west is doing there is producing more harm then good. Not because people hated the west, but that people don't like being bombed or attacked (quite normal) and it forces people to focus precious resources to fight rather then build and grow. Frankly no one gets educated in a time of war.

I was reading a travel forum and it was a topic about traveling to Afghanistan. This 21 year from UK old wrote in asking if it was safe to go there. She really wants to go. sHe was invited to be on this library project and to "help Afghani women learn their rights under the new constitution."  Never mind she spoke no languages of that region. And that is the issue to me by the "do gooders" is there is often a type of arrogance and superiority that comes into the equation. That somehow she could 1. really do any good 2. She knew and could explain the rights better then Afghani women themselves. It was a terribly paternalistic view.

When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy. Rumi
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Quote Angela Replybullet Posted: 05 October 2006 at 12:02pm

You're right Hayfa, one of the worst factors in the continuing effort to help the Afghani people is the Hubris of those that think they know better.

In reality, we should not force our values on others.  If a country is happy with their dictorial monarchy, then so be it.  I'm of the opinion as long as a country is serving the needs and wants of its citizenry, then who cares if they call themselves democratic or socialist or islamic.

I seriously believe change and true help can only come to these people through ISLAMIC organizations.  Women's groups in Islam can help, men's groups, scholars. 

There is no way for a supposedly secular government with heavy Christian overtones can dictate the direction needed for these people.  Women always suffer the hardest when economies and governments are in chaos. 

But Hubris is the folly of many in todays world.  The "I know better" crowd.  I actually screamed in rage yesterday when I saw that the Westboro Baptist Church was going to protest the funerals of the little Amish girls killed in Pennsylvania.  They said these girls deserved it because of their false beliefs.  I was livid.  I grew up in Amish country and there are not a more loving and humble people.  They live without modern convenience and only educate to the 8th grade.  They live simple humble lives.

One thing that strikes me is that during their teen years, the Amish encourage their youth to rebel.  They encourage them to go out and see society and then to make their choice.  These kids get to see all the evils and goods of a modern society.  And here's the kicker.


That's a HUGE number of people that experience Modern society with no pressure from their families and still decide to return to a "backward" way of life.

I think that's something to think about.


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Quote USA1 Replybullet Posted: 05 October 2006 at 8:04pm

You are a fundamentalist Muslim. Not everyone feels the way you do.

You are entitled to your feelings but for you live as you wish, you will have to stay in Iran. The rest of the globe may not feel the way you do about such things and you have no right to tell others what to feel or how to pray. You can't tell me how to live my life, you can you tell me how to pray. This is tolerance with choice.

They just don't get it!
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Quote Duende Replybullet Posted: 05 October 2006 at 10:57pm
USA1: Are you referring to anybody in particular, or just grouping all
previous posters under that statement?

What is your understanding of a 'fundamentalist Moslem'? Does it
include Mormonism? Do you know the difference?

Where in this thread is anybody telling you how to feel or pray? The
opinions are made forcefully, with conviction, perhaps. But nobody
here is telling you what to feel or even how to pray. Perhaps some
posters have caused you to think, and therein lies your confusion. It's
not easy when you're not accustomed to it.

You don't seem to realise, not all posters here are Moslem, and you
are displaying remarkable ignorance- otherwise I wouldn't have
bothered saying anything at all. But ignorance happens to have a
cure, unlike stupidity, and I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt.

Tolerance means exactly what you think: put up with it until you can
do something about it, or go away. Try to see the difference between
tolerance and ACCEPTANCE. They are quite different, and involve a
different kind of emotional and intelectual engagement.

What is the difference between your 'tolerance' with choice (whatever
that means) and a Moslem's 'tolerance' of say, the Pope's
inflammatory speech? Who should be more tolerant than the other?
Here are some examples to help you sort out in your own mind how
tolerant you may or may not be:

"I don't understand you, but I'll tolerate you"

"I don't know what you're talking about, but I'll find out"

"I don't agree with what you're saying, but that's okay"

"I was very tolerant with him, until one day i just couldn't take any

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Quote Hayfa Replybullet Posted: 06 October 2006 at 9:35am

USA1: who or what are you referring to?

Angela you are right about different ways of operating, governments etc. all of the language of "freedom" and "democracy" are just words, an excuse really. If not then we should go and "free" the Chinese or North Koreans.  

Th Amish are a very fascinting group of people. Whereas I cannot profess  or beleive what they do, I admire that they really do seek to live their values. They walk the walk so to speak.

And they bake the most amazing Shoo-fly pie I have EVER had.

When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy. Rumi
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