Why Education Matters When You are Wearing a Skirt

no picture RisaChen
Member since August 13, 2012
  • 8 Posts

“Our watan is now known as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. These are the laws that we will enforce and you will obey. All citizens must pray five times a day. If it is prayer time and you are caught doing something other, you will be beaten. All men will grow their beards. The correct length is at least one clenched fist beneath the chin. If you do not abide by this, you will be beaten. All boys will wear turbans. Boys in grade one through six will wear black turbans, higher grades will wear white. All boys will wear Islamic clothes. Shirt collars will be buttoned. Singing is forbidden. Dancing is forbidden. Playing cards, playing chess, gambling, and kite flying are forbidden. Writing books, watching films, and painting pictures are forbidden. If you keep parakeets, you will be beaten. Your birds will be killed. If you steal, your hand will be cut off at the wrist. If you steal again, your foot will be cut off. If you are not Muslim, do not worship where you can be seen by Muslims. If you do, you will be beaten and imprisoned. If you are caught trying to convert a Muslim to your faith, you will be executed.Attention women. You will stay inside your homes at all times. It is not proper for women to wander aimlessly about the streets. If you go outside, you must be accompanied by a mahram, a male relative. If you are caught alone on the street, you will be beaten and sent home. You will not, under any circumstance, show your face. You will cover with burqa when outside. If you do not, you will be severely beaten. Cosmetics are forbidden. Jewelry is forbidden. You will not wear charming clothes. You will not speak unless spoken to. You will not make eye contact with men. You will not laugh in public. If you do, you will be beaten. You will not paint your nails. If you do, you will lose a finger. Girls are forbidden from attending school. All schools for girls will be closed immediately. Women are forbidden from working. If you are found guilty of adultery, you will be stoned to death. Listen. Listen well. Obey. Allah-u-akbar.”

--Voice of Sharia (Taliban radio), Afghanistan, 1996.

I've nurtured a profound interest in African & Middle-East politics, terrorism, wars, jihad and women's right (which I realized later) since I was 6, the day when I read on the newspaper about Rwandan genocide commemoration and at the same time, that Ahmad Shah Massoud or the Lion of Panjshir was killed by Taliban. The figure of an Afghanistan national hero swept me off my feet and I started to dig deeper about Afghan history, which pretty much explains my 'special' excitement and curiousity regarding the case of Afghan war and Taliban.

It had been a long while since the last time I met that Afghan-war-geek part of me, but today, as I couldn't stop turning the pages of A Thousand Splendid Suns, a novel written by an Afghan-born American Novelist, Khaled Hosseini, my passion regarding this topic is growing back and the old flame that was dimmed by time and other priorities is blazing, again.

As a pro-gender equality and personal liberty myself, I have always wished for a ban of such extreme act of imposing the sharia law. I know that some people are looking forward to imposing their law of their belief on their life as a foundation or a yardstick of the ideal life that they wish for, but I do not think that it should be imposed to the extent where it was extended to 'for-no-good-reason' kinds of restriction, using barbaric 'an eye-for-an-eye' law and harms the right of others. From the list of sharia law which was imposed in Afghanistan during the rise of Taliban in early 1995, we barely need 3 seconds to spot numerous restrictions, limitations and even violations of various human rights which we all actually deserve.

What raged me the most are, of course, the rules for women that were mentioned there. From time to time, women have always been the victim of stigma, the victim of being labelled as 'unimportant' and 'worthless', not to mention the disproportional treatments and freedom that we receive compared to boys. I still don't get the harm of a laughing woman or a sheer colour of a bronzer on our cheeks, and the foremost, the harm of having literate girls who are holding books and opening their windows to the world around, as long as what the current ruling group is doing is in accordance to what they should actually do to create betterment, advancement and whatnot.

I believe that educating women is necessary. Educated women are one of the most powerful and important elements of a 'better society' that is expected around the globe. A better society that is able to fight poverty, a better society that is law-abiding, a better society that is able to contribute to its nation's development. For that, a woman should be able to receive an education regardless of her beliefs, also the fact that she will eventually get married, because:
1. Women make up roughly 48% of the world's population, and we cannot rely on men only if we wish for a significant betterment.
2. Women will most likely be the first teacher of the future children, hence without educated women, a wealthy and prosperous nation is not only out of reach, but worse, out of our sight. If you don't feel like doing that for yourself, do it for your children.

Other than the cliché 'better nation' reason, I long for the equal chance for women to receive an education and to be deemed as equally important and capable as men in front of the everyone's eyes. In my opinion, us, women, will not be regarded as a respectable figure if we are weak, directionless, empty as shell and has no skill or knowledge within us, for that, as what Nelson Mandela once stated, we need education as our most powerful weapon.

Having said that, I'd like to also say "Happy Belated Malala Day" and "Happy Belated Mandela Day".

Heads up, ladies, prepare your books and pen!

© UNICEF/AFGA2013-00007/Froutan

comments powered by Disqus