THE EXCLUSIVE STORY
BY ISHITA ROY
“I do not fear anybody now [but] God…”
The voices of Afghans. So resilient and fearless. Their future is at stake. But dare you think they are scared. Because they are not!
When you already lost everything. You no longer fear a loss. You have nothing to lose anymore. And that is exactly how the Afghans feel right now.
A young, fierce man from Afghanistan, Naser Vedi. Also, a student of Political Science, University of Delhi’2021, agreed to speak with me for my article. And I had no words by the end of our conversation. I was stunned. I could not find the words to console him when he said, “today my future is unclear…It is too late, they trampled our flag and are about to declare their Islamic Emirates.”
I am still speechless.
But I will continue to write for humanity. For the women of Afghanistan. For the voices of Afghans. They need to be heard. Recognized. And Remembered !
Capturing Kabul– Darkness Engulfed !
It was 10 in the morning. Naser was out as he had heard the news that the Taliban reached the outskirts of Kabul. Usually, it takes him 30 minutes to drive back home. But that day, it took him 3 hours. It was chaotic. He saw people running for their lives. His phone flooded with calls and texts. As he waited to get back home.
It was a sleepless night that day. For Naser. And for many like him. As they realized that their leader had left them. President Ashraf Ghani had fled Kabul. Leaving the people in the hands of unknown terror.
The beautiful city of Kabul was now captured. Armed forces everywhere. Cars were searched. Not a single woman outside.
“This is your city; you can go outside. I can assure you of your safety and security.” Naser was told as he too was stopped at a security post. But he knew, these are nothing but hollow promises. They have done that before too. Promised a lot of things. Delivered none but atrocities.
Back in 1996. They promised security under their rule. Safety of women’s rights. And whatnot. But we all know what has happened in the 6-year rule. Peace was destroyed. Afghans were killed. And women have been stripped of their basic rights.
Voices of Afghan Women
While Ghani had abandoned his people behind, Salima Mazari, one of the first female district Governors of Afghanistan, stayed back. Fought for her people. Until the very end. She has been arrested by the Taliban as they took over her region. But her resilience will always be remembered as a true example of what Afghan women are capable of doing!
“I am waiting for the Taliban to kill me and others like me.”
These words should haunt you. Like it does to me. Fearless like Salima Mazari, Zarifa Ghafari, the youngest and the first female mayor of Afghanistan is also ready to die for her country.
Afghan women are so resilient. They are aware of the current situation. And are aware of the atrocities that have taken place against women in 1996-2001. But they are here to fight! To do or die for their country. This resilience is infectious. And the world will remember them!
“I might be murdered by tomorrow,”
are the words of Pashtana Durrani, Executive Director of a Charity that focuses on Women’s Education in Kandhar.
“Shame on You…For what you did to Afghanistan…”
are the words of Mahbooba Seraj, founder, Afghan Women’s Network. “We demanded, we asked, we did everything. And nobody paid any attention. They just made decisions with their “gut feeling” or whatever. All of these men of the world and their power, they are destroying something we worked so hard for.”
The Voices Continue To Cry Out :
“You play the towers falling on 9/11 every year. My people do not have the luxury. My people are constant gardeners, planting flowers on top of mass graves”
“We have too many dates to grieve; your 9/11 is our 24/7. We exist within these systems that were meant to kill us, and while you sit in privilege, we fight amongst ourselves, our morale lowered each time, we grow closer to believing there is nothing left to salvage.”
“Look what you’ve done. I hope it haunts you.” – Madina Wardak, Sourced : Brut Media
As we sit in the comforts of our home. Afghan women continue to protest against the Taliban rule. Five women stood on the street and demanded their rights in front of the Taliban.
We see the Taliban hosting news conferences, complying with female anchors for interviews. Ensuring female healthcare workers their safety. But we must understand that this is nothing but a PR Stunt or is it ? Are we willing to wait and find out ?
As I write, I received a notification at 2:36 PM, 18.08.2021 that read “Taliban attack women, children at Kabul airport despite peace promise.”
Naser’s mother, who herself is a lecturer at Kabul University has lived four years of her life under Taliban rule. She knows what will happen. Yet, she wants to serve the nation. Continue educating Afghan women! Continue empowering them!
“Our women [have] achieved a lot in the past 20 years. We fear losing those achievements. We as Afghans just want our International Friends to stand with us.”
How Can You Help :
1. Educate Yourself: Read the History of Taliban Rule in Afghanistan from 1996-2001
2. Raise Awareness
3. Support: (i) Women for Afghan Women @womenforafghanwomen – for shelter, resources, aid: womenforafghanwomen.org/
(ii) Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security @georgetown_wps – for humanitarian visas, emergency evacuation, safe houses: giwps.georgetown.edu/how-to-save-the-lives-of-afghan-women/
(iii) Women for Women International @womenforwomen – for safe spaces, support networks, sponsorship: support.womenforwomen.org/donate/afghanistan-emergency-2x-match?src=SBUA21082A)
Now I have to burn everything I have achieved! All I could see around me were the fearful and scared faces of women and ugly faces of men who hate women !A Kabul Resident – Sourced ( The Guardian )