00:24 mercoledì 24.07.2019
Freedom seeking, in Afghanistan
For now it is impossible to predict when the hope of Afghan women will find comfort, respect for rights is still an untranslatable concept
fotografie di: Cybernaua

25-01-2019 - Much of the Afghan society is still convinced that women have no right to express their needs, to be employed in jobs that they love to perform, to take courses of study that they would like to choose.
But, not all women adapt to such denials of their dignity and freedom.
A ''little'' transformation comes to us, quickly crossing the streets of Herat, observing women's clothing. While before we saw almost exclusively women in blue burka, like light ghosts without voices and very few chadors, now you can count on the fingers of one hand the burka, at least that's how it seemed to us, while on the Lince (armored military vehicle) we crossed some streets of the city.
Women walk the streets of the city dressed in the chador, showing less insecurity in moving, stopping to talk to each other and looking around.
Herat is perhaps the city that most of the last few years has been able to take steps forward ... but much more needs to be done.
It is certainly not the clothing that defines whether the Afghan woman is getting due respect from the male side.
We have been there in November 2018.
Thanks to the collaboration of the Italian contingent involved in the mission RS (Resolute Support) at that time on brigade basis Pinerolo, under the command of general Francesco Bruno, at the base of Herat we met representatives of the Association of Afghan women's craftsmanship and with them also some colleagues of the Association Herat journalists, from whom we have had real information about the situation of women in their country.
We applauded their courage, in addressing this uncovered theme, allowing them to be photographed, while illustrating the reality that the Afghan woman has to face every day.
They reached us at the Herat base, to talk with us that we want information from the voice of women; special women because they work in a very sensitive sector, under the control of the Country in which they live; but also to satisfy their desire to make known to the international community the true situation of the female world of Afghanistan.
"The situation of women in Afghanistan is still unsafe“, they almost tell us in chorus.
Then, one at a time, for the specific sector they are interested in the respective newspapers and in the various work activities, they explained to us the difficulties that are still imposed on their lives.
One is a freelance journalist, another photographer, a third is manager of the Herat artisan association, another directs the country's chamber of commerce and industry of the West of the country.
Accompanied by Sayd, director general of the Afghan women's craft association, which, an enlightened man, helps and supports them in their battle.
While in Herat, as we have mentioned, the problem appears less heavy, in the rest of the country, which we want to remember twice as big as Italy, with a number of tribes spread over the territory that exceeds hundreds, the society is still linked to ’traditional culture’ against the freedom of women, who lives to serve man.
There are three pillars to be built, support our interlocutors: social, economic and legislative.
The family is the basis of everything; the family decides what and how it must study, because it is still not allowed to the woman to choose what course of study to do: it is the father who decides.
The only free thing you can do is to cook for your husband or family. No traveling alone for shopping, no holidays alone, no travel without the permission of the father or brother or husband ...
Thus, in addition to denying freedom of choice, financial autonomy is also denied to women.
The government does not prohibit women from working, but it is from her husband that they must be authorized.
And up to now, there are not many women employed.
Moreover, she who is lucky enough to be able to work with her husband's permission, does not receive the salary in her hands: her husband withdraws and administers it.
The 64% of Afghan women have no income.
It is the same limitation of freedom as regards political activity.
Women who are interested in the country or in their region are increasing. Even in the last elections women on the list received votes.
One of our Afghan colleagues was elected; but, due to the imposition that still persists in the male world,she did not have permission to put her electoral success to good use. If the family man, father, brother or husband who is not approving, the elected one can not participate in the political or administrative activity of her region.
"There are still too few women who are committed to obtaining their rights. Women, especially those who live in rural areas, are still dominated by the culture that wants them to be subjugated to man“, underlines Elaha “the international community is working in an appreciable way to help us and we are grateful; we ourselves are lucky because we have the support of the family, but for now only about 20% of Afghan women have acquired awareness of their situation and of the desire to change it. And for those aware, it is still a difficult path, sometimes impossible“.
Considering the economic sector, Anisa, Herat's Regional Manager, points out that: "There would also be good opportunities to get women out of submission to the family; for example, the creation and management of farms, which would also help the country to escape from the strict importation of fruit and vegetables from Pakistan; work in the countryside would also serve to create progress in the ecological sphere, to protect the environment; women are very sensitive to health. But for now, only men are allowed to be agricultural entrepreneurs. Peace in Afghanistan will come when women will be independent “.
Underlining how important the collaboration on the part of the international community is to urge changes in the female situation in Afghanistan, Maryam, photographer, explains that ... out of 62 departments in Afghanistan, only three are characterized by the presence of women, precisely because of the scarce support from the government which, among other things, disseminates inaccurate statistical data. The situation is worse than the government claims.
For some lasting situations, the seventeen years of presence of the international community seems not to have been effective: the mafia is present in an authoritative manner.
This serious problem, our colleagues tell us, prevents their growth and the determination of the status of a free woman.
Journalists are also forbidden to participate in seminars or conferences, thus preventing them from writing, under pain of the intervention of the judge.
"Much responsibility also on the part of religion“, emphasizes the colleague "What the Mullah says is the law; order a negative behavior towards women already from school age, inculcating in the students of the madrassa conditioning that for life will remain as a standard line of conduct: the woman must do what the man claims ".
Fortunately, not all men are subjected to this conditioning.
Speaking with a young man from Kabul, Amid, 28, a lawyer, we understand that a glimmer of light for the condition of women could also be revealed ... but not immediately. Educated young people are able to understand that respect for human rights, including women, is fundamental for the growth of a country.
But Kabul, where he lives, is still a dangerous city for those who express ideas of this magnitude. Not only that, even the social and economic situation is conditioned, above all by knowledge and friendships.
Despite a degree in law, he does not have "saints in heaven", he can not autonomously access his own activity and is therefore forced to adapt to any job, just to keep the family. Thus, it is a complexity of situations that together lead society to be still subject to power and conditioning beyond democratic laws.
Kabul, who, like us, sees it from the outside, looks like a city under development.
Skyscrapers under construction, houses and streets illuminated at night appear to those who fly over the city with the helicopter that takes us from the airport to the compound in the green zone, where the headquarters of the coalition of the 41 nations are committed to helping the country find conciliation and governance, in the new Resolute Support mission.
But inside houses, nobody knows what happens.
An Afghan woman friend writes to us: “Married by imposition of the family, after 11 months of marriage, her husband, addicted to drugs, opium, heroin; often drunk, he beat me so terribly that I went into a coma; he wanted me to die; but I survived.
He escaped, while I was in hospital for a month. He left me and hid himself.
When I recovered, I came back to my mother, who was not happy, because people whispered that I certainly had some defects, if her husband had left me …

The woman, refugee in her mother's house, has however to do with her brother, who does not want her "between the feet":
For all these years, my brother continued to humiliate me, making me suffer every minute of my life. I had to tolerate his harassment, because I had no place to live and no person who could help me.
After passing an exam, I was able to find a lucrative job in the government environment, which gave me satisfaction.
While my brother insisted that I should get married to leave the house free; but I had no other place to go …

Then, in accordance with the law that still lasts, his brother obliges her to marry a neighbor's son ...
He commits her to that boy, without first checking who he was and how he behaved.
And our friend continues: “Perhaps I too hoped he was a good man. I prayed it was. Once married to him, I realized that it was even worse than the previous husband.
Is it my destiny to be with a violent man? He's crazy, surly, he gets drunk with wine.
It torments me, it hurts me, it beats me and it breaks my hands and my feet ...
He appropriates my salary, sharpens knives threatening to kill my children, he also owns a revolver ... I'm thinking of suicide …

If an Afghan man thinks and acts like the young Amid we meet, another hundred do not allow his wife to go out alone; the task of women is to make children and take care of their home and husband.
And therefore, even the "enlightened" Afghani wife can not go out alone, because she would be rejected by society, still tangled in the maze of commonplaces and dangerous for women.
The fundamental point is the society which in turn is formed by families.
"When family education will allow it, the country will find its own conciliation” says our interlocutor.
But Afghanistan is big, has a territory twice in Italy, where hundreds of tribes live, each with its own traditions, culture and language.
Families proud of their tradition and authoritative existence, often in conflict with each other, even for reasons that, in our modern age, could seem futile.
And, above all, set in the year 1397, according to the Pakistani calendar, although almost all now equipped with tablets, cell phones and computers of the last generations of the third millennium.
They exercise their power over a few or many people, inciting fears and forcing restrictions of freedom.
And, to further highlight the situation, it was useful to have a look at the Herat women's prison, visited several times in the past, when general Abdul Majid Sadeq headed the institute ://www.cybernaua.it/news/newsdett.php?idnews=2260 and later, the director colonel Sima Pajman, thanks to whom it was possible to interview some prisoners, take pictures, report the activities inside the prison ... ://www.cybernaua.it/news/newsdett.php?idnews=4833
Now, the director of the penitentiary, which includes the men's and women's prison, is the forty-five-year-old colonel Nassy Ahmad, who has firmly stopped us from having any contact with the prisoners, receiving us in his office, to tell us about the situation: 2670 are the people in prisons, including 126 women; crimes range from the social sector to that of security, to homicide.
Many Iranians in prison. Prisoners can practice sports, or learn craft activities or study, and then continue their studies once they leave the prison.
In forgetting to introduce us the assistant director, a woman, who sat next to us without saying a word, took notes and recorded everything that was said by her "director", he also forgot to underline the substantial aid that the Italian contingent periodically provides to Herat prison .
At our request, we have known that the assistant is called Taisa Oseni, but nothing more, for the prevalence of self-centered protagonist of the colonel director.
Woman in the corner, as expected from tradition.
Tradition that the international community should take responsibility for correcting; but who has the courage to face this rather unclear side of Afghan society? we have asked some femininary associations if it is possible to do something to help …the answer is that Afghanistan is dangerous.
This is the multifaceted context in which the international coalition makes enormous efforts, at the request of the Afghan government, to bring the Country to a useful reconciliation for governance, but on the condition of women the suggestions are not worth it.
Listening to "enlightened" people, Afghani who have attended school, university, who speak foreign languages, who attend other countries, the situation in general seems, in some respects, not very different from what was looming over some centuries ago the 41 Countries that, now in a coalition with command in Kabul, are committed to helping Afghanistan to carry out the process of transformation that many Afghans dream of; those Afghans who will sooner or later find a common land, overcome the cultural conditioning of the tribes, consider with the eyes of equality women and men ... concept still very difficult in many ways and in many countries, a common denominator of which we can not predict the moment of resolution.
Their time flows without time, the year in which they are now located is 1397.
Not everyone seems to be in a hurry to realize the dream of the women and men we have listened to; moreover, a saying to them that we run with the watch on the wrist, as if there were no tomorrow, they say: you have the clock, we have the time.
For now it is impossible to predict when the hope of women will find comfort.
Inshallah
Maria Clara Mussa


Extrema Ratio Knives Division

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