Law Protecting Afghanistan Women Blocked By Conservatives
By KAY JOHNSON 05/18/13 08:03 AM ET EDT
KABUL, Afghanistan — Conservative religious lawmakers in Afghanistan blocked a law on Saturday that aims to protect women’s freedoms, with some arguing that parts of it violate Islamic principles or encourage women to have sex outside of marriage.
The failure highlights how tenuous women’s rights remain a dozen years after the ouster of the hard-line Taliban regime, whose strict interpretation of Islam kept Afghan women virtual prisoners in their homes.
Khalil Ahmad Shaheedzada, a conservative lawmaker for Herat province, said the legislation was withdrawn shortly after being introduced in parliament because of fierce opposition from religious parties who said parts of the law are un-Islamic.
“Whatever is against Islamic law, we don’t even need to speak about it,” Shaheedzada said.
The Law on Elimination of Violence Against Women has actually been in effect since 2009 by presidential decree. It is being brought before parliament now because lawmaker Fawzia Kofi, a women’s rights activist, wants to cement it with a parliamentary vote to prevent its reversal by any future president who might be tempted to repeal it to satisfy hard-line religious parties.
Among the law’s provisions are criminalizing child marriage and banning “baad,” the traditional practice of selling and buying women to settle disputes. It also criminalizes domestic violence and specifies that rape victims should not face criminal charges for fornication or adultery.
“We want to change this decree as a law and get the vote of parliamentarian for this law,” said Kofi, who is herself running for president in next year’s elections. “Unfortunately, there were some conservative elements who are opposing this law. What I am disappointed at is because there were also women who were opposing this law.”
Afghanistan’s parliament has more than 60 female lawmakers, mostly due to constitutional provisions reserving certain seats for women.
The child marriage ban and the idea of protecting female rape victims from prosecution were particularly heated subjects in Saturday’s parliamentary debate, said Nasirullah Sadiqizada Neli, a conservative lawmaker from Daykundi province.
Neli suggested that removing the custom – common in Afghanistan – of prosecuting raped women for adultery would lead to social chaos, with women freely engaging in extramarital sex safe in the knowledge they could claim rape if caught.
Lawmaker Shaheedzada also claimed that the law might encourage promiscuity among girls and women, saying it reflected Western values not applicable in Afghanistan.
“Even now in Afghanistan, women are running from their husbands. Girls are running from home,” Shaheedzada said. “Such laws give them these ideas.”
Freedoms for women are one of the most visible – and symbolic – changes in Afghanistan since 2001 U.S.-led campaign that toppled the Taliban regime. Aside from their support for al-Qaida leaders, the Taliban are probably most notorious for their harsh treatment of women under their severe interpretation of Islamic law.
For five years, the regime banned women from working and going to school, or even leaving home without a male relative. In public, all women were forced wear a head-to-toe burqa veil, which covers even the face with a mesh panel. Violators were publicly flogged or executed. Freeing women from such draconian laws lent a moral air to the Afghan war.
Since then, women’s freedoms have improved vastly, but Afghanistan remains a deeply conservative culture, especially in rural areas.
Associated Press writer Rahim Faiez contributed in Kabul.
You’ve seen photos of Baby in the food dish, and Baby by the garage door. I opened the door into summer for the Qatari Cat, just the door, and propped the screen door tightly shut so QC could watch the birds and squirrels from the safety of the house.
In Qatar, when he was young and strong, he actually knocked a screen off and escaped. When we replaced the screen, he scratched a long rent in the screening and escaped again. He had a tree he would run for, and once on the wall – he was king of the roost. Only cheese or sardines would get him back again, and it could take hours just to find him before we could tempt and capture him.
Now, he is more content to be an indoor cat. At least, content most of the time. There are times he leaves a message telling us he still yearns to chase a squirrel or two . . .
Toddler Q, the light of our life, is chatty. He’s been talking for over a year, but on a daily basis, we are amazed and delighted by his ability to articulate and to express himself.
Yesterday, on the way to his swimming lesson, AdventureMan was working with him on “goldfish” which he has been pronouncing “Goldpish.”
“Gold FISH!” they shouted as they drove down the road!
After his swimming lesson, on the way home, AdventureMan could hear him softly saying “goldfish.”
Then he said “BaBa, when I was little, I used to say ‘Goldpish.’ Now, I say ‘Goldfish!”
I subscribe to a website called GoodReads.com, where I keep track of the books I read and get great recommendations from seeing what my GoodReads friends are reading. They also send me a newsletter a couple times a month, one a general newsletter, and one customized based on authors it sees me reading regularly. This morning, I got the general newsletter (which I actually do skim) and when I reached the end, I read this chilling poem.
When we lived in Kuwait, the first two lines of the poem were a reality. A first wife whose husband was taking a second wife set fire to the celebration tent where the women were celebrating. While the bride escaped, several lives were lost in a horrifying fire, fed by an accelerant.
Joan Colby captures the power and rage of the woman, scorned, in every culture.
A Woman Scorned
by Joan Colby (Goodreads Author)
A woman scorned sets fire to the tent
Where the new wife is celebrating.
Carves her name and yours into a tree
Then chops that tree down with her nail file.
Cages a bird and teaches it to speak
In a language where every verb is an obscenity.
Combs her hair with broken glass until
It glitters like a million diamonds
That you stroke until your hands bleed rubies.
Watches how you sit quietly near the water
While she poisons the tea she is about to serve.
Drives a team of black horses down the avenue
Of your lovers whipping them white as judges.
Climbs through the window that you forgot to secure
Wearing a burglar suit sewn of her eyelashes.
Picks a bouquet of jimson weed, hydrangea,
Lily of the valley, poison ivy, rhododendron
To prove the base and beautiful can both be lethal.
Paints graffiti on the wall of your Facebook
And for good measure stamps a letter with your heartsblood.
Enters your dream unbidden
Wearing the scarlet dress you once admired.
Paces up and down, up and down
Before your place of business.
Removes all the signposts pointing to
The street you used to live on when you were happy.
I took a wonderful photo at Easter, wonderful because I have the same exact photo at the same exact age of my son, holding up his Easter Egg exactly (or, oh pardon me, I can’t resist, eggsactly) the same way. There are just some little things that make a Grandmama’s (and Mama’s) heart sing
Because AdventureMan has worked so hard with him, little Q has been moved up to a more advanced class, and we are all excited about that. I know there are some who prefer to be the BEST in their group, but we always learn and achieve more when surrounded by people a little more accomplished and skilled than we are. We are happy he will be pushing himself to be a really GOOD swimmer!
When we pick Q up at school, all his little school friends say “Q – your BaBa is here!” LOL @ all these little kids speaking Arabic!
I saw this on one of the parenting posts on AOL and loved it. Hug your babies, yes, hug them and hug them again! Make their brains grow BIG and strong!
Yesterday when I got home from a day-long seminar on Heirloom Feathers (a follow up to another one earlier in the week on making quilts from Heirloom linens), with Cindy Needham, well-known expert and instructor, (that’s Cindy giving us an extra demo during lunch on how to do beading embellishments while on an airplane)
I found a huge bouquet of flowers from my sister and her husband, who had been house guests this week. It’s one of those gorgeous days we have a few of in Spring, warm and sunny, not too hot, and oh, this bouquet looks like Spring. Arriving home and finding this gorgeous bouquet just made my heart laugh. Can you see the Easter Bunny? We had time to walk and talk, to laugh and share stories, and we were able to take them to Five Sisters. We hope they come back soon
We’ve had a busy week. AdventureMan is getting ready for the big Expo and garden sale in May, we expect our next set of house guests tomorrow morning, and meanwhile, we have our normal daily busy lives to follow. Tonight we meet up with friends we love, people who spend their lives doing good for others, and with whom we always have great conversations, and tomorrow, early, we pick up the house guests, get them settled in, and share an Easter banquet with them, and with our son, his wife, our sweet little grandson and her mother and her husband.
I found a wonderful new Spring salad recipe to share with you Very easy, very good:
Spring Asparagus Salad
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1. Whisk together the rice vinegar, red wine vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and mustard. Drizzle in the peanut oil and sesame oil while whisking vigorously to emulsify. Set aside.
2. Bring a pot of lightly-salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus to the water and cook 3 to 5 minutes until just tender, but still mostly firm. Remove and rinse under cold water to stop from cooking any further.
3. Place the asparagus in a large bowl and drizzle the dressing over the asparagus. Toss until evenly coated. Sprinkle with sesame seeds to serve.
Tomorrow is our happiest of holidays, the day that sin and death are defeated and HOPE for all mankind is welcomed joyfully into the world. Happy Easter, my friends.
AdventureMan and I were up early yesterday, headed for early church, then he headed home to vacuum (God bless him mightily!) and I headed to the commissary. We expected house guests today, Monday, but they were coming by car and I had hopes they might arrive a little early, which they did.
As we were cleaning, putting away groceries, making sure the guest suite was in top condition, we could hear a symphony of buzzing, humming, clicking, sawing – we had the windows open, and with the temperatures in the 70′s, climbing into the 80′s (F) it was one of those irresistible days for yard work, and all the neighborhood was out mowing, trimming, weed-whacking, etc. We could hear the hmmmmmmmmm of air conditioners turned on, and the clicking of pool cleaners whirring and cleaning.
We treasure these rare days; warm enough to enjoy having the house open, to hear the birds and cicadas. It’s one of those days that energizes.
And then, the wind shifted, and grew cool. From the 80′s, around three in the afternoon, to evening, it dropped 30 degrees. This morning, it is in the high 30′s – a fifty degree shift! I hope the pool is warm at the Y.