The women of Afghanistan under the Taliban
The book “The women of Afghanistan under the Taliban” by Skaine Rosemarie gives the account the suffering and the experiences that the Afghanistan women went through under the rule of the Taliban. The author believes that although all the citizens of that country had their fair share of tribulations, women were the most affected.
Skaine Rosemarie is one of the renowned authors of books in sociology and the above title is just one of her text books. She mostly writes on issues to do with sociology and human rights. She was born in Grand Island in the US.Skaine Holds an MA in sociology and numerous honorary awards and memberships which include: I Kappa Delta, speech, Scroll, sociology, national forensic league and Quill among others. The author also boosts of more than12 publications as well as articles and international journals t hat have been coauthored with other writers. Apart from being actively engaged in book writing Skaine also conducts consulting services on television documentaries, expert testimony and other presentations with different media houses in form of interviews.
Throughout her career she has managed to several awards on sociology and human rights work. They include: Gustavus Myers awards for study of human rights in North America which was received in 1997 for her outstanding work on the state of intolerance in North America. These studies were captured in her book “Power and Gender: Issues in Sexual Dominance and Harassment. “In September 2002 she was awarded a certificate for participation in the international congress on family law which was hosted in Havana, Cuba. In the year 2009 she was an inductee at the Grand Island high hall of honor in Nebraska. During the same period she received an award from the American association of University Women Award for excellence as well as a certificate for appreciation for her contribution towards the work of the association.Skaine has also made several visits to international countries in pursuit and development of her work in human rights especially in gender issues and sociology. In 2004, she was in Kenya and Tanzania to study the progress of her book FGM which aimed at creating awareness about the discriminative cultural practices on women in these countries. She was particularly fascinated by the experiences of the Massai community while in the two countries.
These experiences and adventures have really shaped her work in sociology and make her one of the most distinguished authors in matters of human rights and sociology and the book “The women of Afghanistan under the Taliban” is specifically done to provide the readers with the clear picture of the experiences that women went through in Afghanistan.
The book therefore analyses the political, historical and religious factors that have shaped the lives of the women in country. The whole episode began when the Taliban militia took over the government of Afghanistan in 1996 and declared themselves as the legitimate government of the day. Some of the highlights of the book are the erosion of the human rights of women in the country by use of unacceptable religious practices. The militia group used the Islamic religion to advance their oppressive acts on the people of the country and since women takes a special place in the society, they were the most affected. The Islamic teachings that are found in the holy Quran have always advocated for equity in the rights and sura 2 verse 228 women are entitled to the rights similar to those against them. Women have therefore been subjected to tough conditions that culminate into violence, killings, imprisonments and other forms of oppression. The Taliban militias who have entrenched strong fundamentalist Islamic religion started dominating the country in early 1992 and have since taken over most of the cities in the country. Their activities are quite extreme and brutal but predominantly directed at women. They have been mostly consolidated their support from religious and ethnic groupings which have led to seclusion of women in the country. This is a view that most scholars have clearly stated their reservations about and even the Muslim women league have clearly indicated that this trend is not supported by the teachings of islam.Hence this is purely cultural affair that uses religion believes to extend their oppressive activities against women. The author however believes that the problem in Afghanistan is not only because of the Taliban but a global challenge and many other Asian nations are experiencing the same problem (Skaine, 2).
Afghanistan is a country that boosts of many tall mountains and the general terrain of the country is ragged. The country mainly depends on agriculture but has mostly remained poor owing to the lack of resources to build the nation as well as the instability in the government. The country has a life expectancy of about 45 for women with a mortality rate of 1 in every 7 but generally women can give birth to six children. Only 15 % of women in the age bracket of 15 and above can read and write. These statistics clearly shows how women are lowly regarded in the country (Skaine, 7).the country is based on strong Islamic religious background with the Sunni comprising of 84% of the total population while the shia comprises of 15% with the rest being other religions. The country’s political system is totally collapsed and there is no constitution and no working legal system. This has therefore exposed women who suffer from all forms of atrocities from the militia groups without any redress. The Taliban though believed to be using the Islamic faith to run their affairs, there is a problem with their interpretation of Islam.
The total collapse in the political system in the country and the existence of the Taliban militia has really affected women of the country and as they are not able to receive their basic rights like right of education and other rights this can be demonstrated in chapters one two and three that basically deals with the issue of politics and social roles of women in the country, contemporary wars and the role of women in islam.Although the Taliban have always subscribed to Islamic religion, their interpretation of the Islamic teachings with regard to the role of women in the society is wanting and this has led to a lot of questions as to whether the Taliban clearly represents the Islamic faith( Skaine,36).
Chapter 4 clearly demonstrates the difficulties that women have gone through under the rule of the Taliban. The rights of women were reduced as well as those of other people. For instance men were forced to grow beards and music was banned as form of recreation, women were to cover their bodies and remain indoors and any women who defied the rules were killed or subjected to imprisonment. Other restrictions included right to education and working from outside the country and also receipt of medical care. These are fundamental rights of women which the Taliban used to suppress the women of Afghanistan (Skaine, 22).These and other restrictions that women have undergone in the country have been highly publicized but the country’s long history of women segregation and hence the women of the country have never been willing to share these experiences with any person. It’s however recognized that they would really like regain their freedom.
The book also evaluates the social role of the society in Afghanistan and as such most scholars have given a lot of attention to the geopolitics of the country and ignored the issues affecting women especially in their reform program. Programs like educating women, legislating the hejab and recognition of the role of women in the society has been met with a lot of rebellion that normally generate into ethnic problems. The women of Afghanistan have however proved to be strong and dedicated to their works and promotion of the societal values which have raised the profile of some as described in chapter five( Skaine,86)
The author concludes in chapter six by giving hope to the women of Afghanistan and believes that the efforts of the few women who have clearly come out to fight for their rights and the issues of globalization will one day lead to the liberation of the Afghan women. The stakes are high for country a major change could be coming soon (Skaine, 126).
This book has therefore provided a lot of information about the problems that women can go through when political, social and cultural systems collapse. Women are an important component of the society and matters that affect women will normally have a lot of impacts in the society at large. Other issues that come out clear is the role of the government to protect its people irrespective of their gender orientation most women in the country have fallen as victims of the failed government and the militia that have been in charge of the country have not been able to protect women but continues to oppress them with restrictions that have no basis in law as well as in religion. The use of religion to advance cultural and social practices has also come under sharp criticism as the Taliban are believed to be using the Islam to advance practices that does not exist even in the Islamic teachings.
The author has also provided statistical information about the people of afganistan, the political systems and the political parties. Education and literacy levels of Afghanistan and other selected countries. One of the data that has drawn specific interest is the level of women education which also reflects on the development level of the country. The book has also documented the effects of the policies of the Taliban on women and the people of Afghanistan. Finally it provides the estimates for people who have fled the country and become refugees as a result of the constant war in Afghanistan.
This text book therefore provides valuable lessons that countries should learn on the effects of violence on women and should be used by the international community to avoid repeat of the same situation in other countries.
Skaine, Rosemarie.The women of Afghanistan under the Taliban. Jefferson, NC [u.a.]