Thursday, 7 May 2009

We can't let the Taliban have the final say

It is always disturbing to be reminded of the atrocities and brutality of the Taliban (warning: contains images of horrific violence and brutality) in Afghanistan. With the ever-changing allegiances of the different factions and leaders and no discernible difference between the politics and religious views of the Taliban, Northern Alliance and Hamid Karzi's religious extremist bed-fellows, there is no solution to the dismal human rights situation and abject poverty (in material and spirit) in Afghanistan.

Karzi's acquiescence to religious extremism (seen most recently the "Family Code" which disinherits women, legalises spousal rape, child marriage, etc.) shows that groups like RAWA that are fighting for freedom, peace and human rights are firmly shut out of formal politics and still face life-threatening risks.

It is important that the innocent and defenseless victims of the Taliban and other religious fanatics in Afghanistan be remembered. Their stories should be told and kept from being blown away with the dust of history.

Who was this woman murdered by the Taliban on the dirt of a football pitch? How will she be remembered and by whom? What was she like? Was she funny and outgoing or shy? Did she tell jokes? What was her laugh like? What colour were her eyes? What was her favourite flavour of ice-cream? Was she kind to her sisters and brothers? Did she like reading and telling stories? Was she clumsy and apologetic when she knocked over a glass of tea? Did she like cooking or was she lazy but sly and quick to convince her sister that she was a terrible cook who would only ruin an evening meal?

How long did she have to wait, trembling and crying knowing her death was inevitable? Or was she calm and resigned? Did she hope someone would notice? Did she fear that nobody would ever know what happened to her? What "crime" had she committed before having her memories, dreams and fears shot out of the back of her head by a hate-fuelled fanatic? Did she know her killers? Her accuser? Did she have children or elderly parents she had to care for? Who betrayed her and let the Taliban take her? Was she loved? Is she missed?

What was her name?

Maybe her's is a story that can never be told but there must be others and they must be.

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