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Dear Friends of RAWA and courageous women of Afghanistan,
You may feel alone in your struggle, but please consider that many women all over the world feel strongly about your sufferings and are outraged by what you have been experiencing. Because your problems affect the life of every woman and the future of our daughters wherever they may live. Once hell has been allowed to exist on earth, an unbearable situation can be perpetuated elsewhere. The Taliban are enemies of women all over the world, your struggle is our struggle.
We are a tiny NGO that has been committed to fighting injustice during the war in Bosnia, we worked for the well- being of women and children, for their right to build a better world and live in peace and dignity.
You have our total and unwavering support, our respect and our admiration for your courage and steadfastness. Weapons may not vanquish your oppressors in the long run, but something else, something far more lethal and enduring: the courage of women and their refusal to sacrifice future generations to the senseless brutality of demented and blood- thirsty dictators
President of 'Enfants de Bosnie'
Dear RAWA friends,
Amnesty International expresses its solidarity and support for all Afghan women who meet to celebrate International Women's Day.
Afghan women have suffered enormously during the past two decades of armed conflict in Afghanistan. Thousands of women have been indiscriminately killed in fighting between opposing sides and scores of women have had their honour and dignity violated by members of various armed groups. Many have had been made widows by the fighting and have seen their homes destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of women have been forced to flee Afghanistan with their families to find safety in Pakistan and elsewhere. However, despite enduring such hardship, Afghan women have shown great courage and resilience, both in their struggles to support and sustain their families and in their campaigning for peace and respect for human rights in Afghanistan.
Women's organizations such as RAWA have played a vital role in raising awareness and promoting the human rights of Afghan women, despite facing threats and intimidation for their work.
Amnesty International will continue to work to support Afghan women activists by bringing the plight of the Afghan women to the attention of the international community and urging the international community to take action to protect the human rights of Afghan women. We will also be urging governments to ensure that Afghan women's organizations, such as RAWA, are allowed to conduct their peaceful campaigns for women's rights without threats or intimidation.
We wish RAWA every success with your 8 March activities.
Association of Iranian Political Prisoners (in exile) has always supported and appreciated your struggles for the rights of Afghan women. We are sure afghan woman activists know very well that the struggle for the rights of the women in Afghanistan is not separated from struggles against the reactionary ruling Taliban and other reactionary Islamic forces. Indeed, a fundamental change, establishment of political freedoms and direct participation of the afghan masses, the women in particular, in political power is the only way to achieve the rights of the women in Afghanistan.
In a word, the existing ruling power and system must be overthrown. There is no other alternative for the Afghan revolutionary masses but to organize themselves, to revolt and create a social revolution.
We, the Iranian women activists, members of AIPP (in exile)who are fighting for political freedoms, freedom of political prisoners, nollification of death penalty and struggle for the rights of the Iranian women and a social revolution, have followed our Afghan sisters' struggle carefully all these years. We feel you and understand your problems. We believe that we are sitting more and less in the same boat.
We, the Iranian women like our sisters in Afghanistan have been subjected to both, class and sexual discrimination by ruling powers in Iran for thousands of years. We believe that mutual co-operation will strengthen our domestic struggles against the ruling powers in our countries and our international campaign for the rights of the women.
A revolutionary Iran will have so much to look forward for the oppressed people of Afghanistan, the Afghan women in particular. A revolutionary Afghanistan will have the same manner.
Distinguished friends, please allow us to express our solidarity and sympathy with Afghan women on the occasion of International Women's Day , on 8 March 2000.
Responsible for Women Committee of Kanoon Zendanian siyassi Iran dar Tabeid (AIPP in Exile)
I am so honored and glad you would think of me in time of such a memorable event. I hope you reach your goal. I do promise to try to raise the money. If I am unable to raise enough please accept my condolences and know that I am with you in heart and soul. I am so pleased that there are others out there trying their best to help the Afghan women. I will continue to give my love and support and spread your message. If this message is passed on to anyone who is suffering I would appreciate it if they would know that I am caring every minute about them.
Please let them know that there are others who really care and are trying to help. They deserve so much more in life. They should try to accomplish goals, still. Women are wonderful people and I am proud of myself and they should be too. I hope that all of them still have their integrity and self-dignity. No matter what anyone else thinks they are wonderful people and are still loved. They will one day be happier and people like me are trying extremely hard to get that for them. Until we make as big a difference as we want to they are in my thoughts all the time and I respect them for everything they are. I am under the impression that many of these women are not allowed to go to school. I am so offended by that.
They should know the wonders of the world. I wish so hard I could pick them up and send them flying to the beautiful places on this planet. They should be in palaces treated like royalty, each and every one them. I do not know them yet I feel so extremely close to them. They are in my hopes, my wishes, my heart, and my soul. Even though they are hurt and abonded they are still loved. Not only do I love them but so many more do too. If I could be granted one wish, It would be that every Afghan woman knows she is loved for who she is. Thank you for listening, I kind of hope you're thinking of me too.
Please send my regards: Yours truly,
My dear, brave friends in RAWA,
We must never let ourselves be defined by our enemies, but I am struck by the fact that you have the great honor of fighting against the worst people on our planet. The Taliban seems to represent everything that is violent and ignoble within the human spirit, and yet you have faced them for all these years with grace and dignity and enormous courage. On International Women's Day of this year, my thoughts will be with you, and my love goes out to you.
Richard Oliver Collin, D.Phil (Oxon)
Professor of the Humanities
Coastal Carolina University
To the Courageous Sisters in Afghanistan,
We at the Mahatma Gandhi Foundation are deeply moved by your plight in Afghanistan and also admire your spirit of defiance against the Savage Taalibaan. It is a misnomer if ever there was one that such heathens and barbarians are referred to as The Learned Ones.
I was going through you Web Site and was deeply moved by it.
We at the Foundation have been fighting against the fundamentalists in our country also although our fight is not as dangerous as yours. We would like to pledge our solidarity with you.
I have a personal reason My Great Grandfather Mahatma Gandhi had a close follower in the Pukhtoon leader Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan.
Mahatma Gandhi Foundation
Tushar A. Gandhi,
To the Women of Afghanistan:
On this International Women's Day, we send to each of you our heartfelt wishes of hope for an end to the violence and oppression:
There must be a future with peace and security;
There must be a future with freedom;
There must be a future where Afghan women can live with dignity.
We, in Canada, join together on this day in celebration of your continuous courage and strength to reach towards this future. Our solidarity is with you on this day, and every day!
Women for Women in Afghanistan (Canada)
We thankfully acknowledge your mail of February 6. We are happy to learn of your endeavour to observe International Women's Day on March 8. We are sure from the resolve and purposiveness expressed in your appeal, that you would be able to observe the day in a more successful way than in the last year.
Friends, the counter-revolution in the erstwhile Soviet Union and the collapse of the socialist camp have accentuated capitalist-imperialist onslaught on democratic minded people of countries world over. The spirit of fundamentalist attack in many countries is interwoven closely with this onslaught. Hence the anti-fundamentalist struggle for the cause of democracy, human rights and emancipation from exploitation goes hand in glove with the broader struggle against capitalism-imperialism. The plight of women at the hands of fundamentalists, such as you face in your soil, is particularly heart rendering. Still it remains a fact that only struggle can help them out of this plight. That struggle too forms an inseparable part of the democratic movement against the fundamentalists as well as the anti-imperialist-anti-capitalist struggle.
The All India Anti-imperialist Forum is trying utmost to form links with democratic minded, militant peace loving forces and people of the world. To that extent, we feel proud to find RAWA acting so enthusiastically against all odds for the cause of the oppressed womanhood in Afghanistan. We express our most earnest fraternity and solidarity with your cause and struggle. We wish your IWD observance a grand success.
Unfortunately, we are not in a position to extend a financial support to you, though we feel even the minimum would have helped you a lot. We hope, you would understand our position.
Once again we wish you the best and the most!
Please keep us posted with your proceedings; of course, they must be available on website. In any case keep touch.
With revolutionary greetings,
All India Anti-imperialist Forum
The Law and Religion Program of Emory University is implementing a series of global studies of Islamic Family Law (IFL). General principles of Shari'a are supposed to govern such matters as marriage, divorce, maintenance, paternity and custody of children for more than a billion Muslims around the world. However, clear variations are to be expected not only because of significant theological, legal, and other differences among and within Muslim societies and communities, but also because Shari'a principles are often in practice modified by customary practices, or as a matter of state policy.
This global series of studies of IFL, as the most widely applied family law system in the world today, has two main objectives: 1) to verify and document the scope and manner of the application of IFL around the world, and 2) to explore and substantiate possibilities of IFL reform within particular communities of Muslims in their specific cultural, theological, legal and institutional context.
These studies are also concerned with evaluating and promoting the practical consistency between IFL and international human rights, especially the rights of women and children. We hope to contribute to this objective through an integrated approach: from research and analysis to policy and law reform proposals, to advocacy for change by groups and organizations within the country or local community.
From this perspective, the Project is designed to provide a forum for presentation of initiatives and reform proposals emerging from within Islamic societies and communities. The Project also seeks to facilitate debate and deliberation concerning these issues of the different perspectives. In so doing, however, the Project's approach is conditioned by a strong commitment to universal human rights norms, especially the human rights of women and children in this regard. By approaching the issues in this way, the Project will provide opportunities for testing and promoting the practical consistency between IFL and international human rights.
The purpose of this letter is to invite you to our thinking and information on the subject in order to strongly and actively invite the widest possible participation and cooperation from all individuals and organizations or groups, educational and research institutions, governmental and inter-governmental agencies, etc., concerned with questions of IFL, whether at the local, national, regional or global level. Please visit our website at http://www.law.emory.edu/ifl.
This is an invitation for whomever is interested to please participate by reflecting on our approach and methodology, correct or add to the information we are presenting, evaluate or suggest revision for any conclusions or recommendations that may emerge over the course of this Project. Please pass this message along to anyone that may be interested in learning more about our research. Thank you in advance for your participation.
Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im
Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law
Emory Law School,
The Welfare Warriors, a group of mothers in poverty fighting for the lives of mothers and children in the United States, sends you our support, empathy and outrage over your "governments'" savage attack on its own people, especially the women and children. We publish a national newspaper, Welfare Mothers Voice, and have reported on your situation repeatedly, urging our 17,000 readers to bombard US legislators with demands to stop the Taliban's destruction of Afghanistan.
Along with the National Women's Council of Ireland and the International Wages for Housework Network, we have joined in the call for a Global Women's Strike on March 8, 2000 to demand that all governments begin the new millennium by including women's unwaged work in their economies. Women around the world are overworked and underpaid. Our unwaged labor causes great poverty among women, violence against women, and exhaustion. And of course our poverty makes us targets for attack by our governments, by the wealthy corporations running our governments, and by the men in our lives.
This March 8, 2000 Welfare Warriors will remember the women of Afghan in our actions for the Global Women's Strike (womenstrike8M.server101.com). At our Open House we will show the RAWA slide show and have visitors sign a petition to urge our government to help stop the Taliban atrocities.
Although the type of fundamentalism that we are enduring in the US is far less lethal now than what women are witnessing, resisting and enduring under the Taliban, we too are feeling the scourge of conservative, wealthy, male control of our lives. In the city where Welfare Warriors is located, 7 children were killed last year by our government's new plan to deny poor women the freedom to raise our own children. Many women and children with disabilities are slowly dying as the government denies them enough cash, medical care and food to survive.
Poor, single mothers are being forced to work for off their rent and food--no pay check-for any government and "non-profit" agency that wants us. Able-bodied women are forced to leave children 11-15 hours a day to work for sub-poverty wages for any corporation who wants us. Thousands of children are being taken from loving mothers--each month-- and placed in institutions or with strangers when their mom cannot support them alone, or if she leaves them alone before and after school while she works, if her home is too messy, or if she stays with a man who beats her. A woman is murdered every week in our city by a male partner who the government forced her to stay with, by denying her children any financial support when she attempts to leave the violent male.
We are watching every moneyed sector of society feed off the blood of poor mothers and children. The wealthy owners of huge corporations use poor, single mothers to work all the starvation-wage jobs that they cannot export to poorer countries. The massive "social service" industry uses poor single mothers to work for them for free and they earn millions of dollars each to punish, control and degrade poor women, under the guise of "services." The lawyers and judges earn millions removing the children from their homes and placing them in the foster care and adoption systems. The Prison industry uses poor women and men to fuel the paychecks of this largest industry in the USA and to work for 40˘ an hour for any corporation that wants their labor, including the government.
To control the poor people's rage, the wealthy import every type of gun and drug to the streets of the poor neighborhoods, while controlling every word on the mass media so the people are confused, self-destructive and despairing.
Despite the economic and physical violence that surrounds our families, we are not giving up, and like you, we are resisting these global attacks on our people with words and songs and photos and public actions and videos and publications and unity with other oppressed peoples.
We send you our sincere prayer for your speedy overthrow of the Taliban, who no doubt make up a small minority of people in your country. As we say here, you may be out moneyed, but you are surely not out-numbered. We know that most of the people are with you, not only in your country, but also throughout the globe. Power to you in your struggle for justice and freedom.
WI - USA
My deepest emotions, our thoughts are with the brave and great women of Afghanistan who are leaving the present from all sides of an unthinking barbaric and un human soc., political system. That women are treated for worse than an animals that worker are consider sinful and as such to be kept under lock and key so much so that they cannot even with out a decent day to day life with all their daily needs, physical & emotional needs not addressed in the face of torture & atrocity which defies imagination.
I salute the great spirit of woman of Afghanistan, mothers, sisters, wives, teachers, daughters, doctors, lawyers, nurses whose very existence is in question each day.
The horrific situations in which they live and have to contend with are the stuff of hellish nightmares. That such situations are created by their won kith and kin, the ken whom they birthed, brought up, loved and looked after, is highly ironical.
I join the ranks of all those who demand an immediate cessation of Hostilities and Atrocities against women of Afghanistan perpetrated by Taliban, and Rectification and Re-compensation of every women's honour and and existence.
Padma Bhushan (Highest Honor conferred by Govt of India for excellence in your field) in case of Sonal its Bharat Natyam
Founder President Center for Indian Classical Dances
We are all a part of this earth and not one of us deserves to suffer. Each and everyone of us who fights against suffering fights a just war. Stay strong and know that I am with you, even if I cannot be present to help you defeat those who cannot bare to see you treated fairly and equally. The battle to overcome male-domination is both noble and necessary. Men who keep women oppressed do so out of fear and this fear is most often a fear of showing their own weaknesses as men. But I am here to tell you that the oppression of women is a sign of man's weakness. It is a sign of cowardice. Stay Strong. You are the symbol of every oppressed woman, of every oppressed people throughout the world. Your struggle is their struggle. We are all standing up against the enemy and the enemy wears a thousand faces. Remember this and keep faith because through our strength and our heroism we will achieve great things and we will fight until each and every one of us has freedom and equality and justice.
Stanley D. Johnson & The 3 Eyed Goat
Women of Afghanistan, you are not forgotten! The women of America support you and your cause, despite our government's actions. We cannot be free until you too are free. Do not give up hope, never give up the fight! No matter how long and difficult the path seems, no matter how dark the night of your oppression, keep faith that you WILL be SET FREE! You are God's precious children and each one of you has a birthright of liberty and justice. Never forget that your cause is RIGHT and your oppressors are WRONG. I send you my love and sincere wishes for a successful rally on this International Women's Day. God bless all of you.
Dear Women of Afghanistan,
We at AVIVA: Women's World-Wide Web, deplore the actions of the Taliban against women in Afghanistan. We send a message of solidarity to you our sisters, and will be thinking of you on International Women's Day as you bravely demonstrate against your oppressors.
We women of the world will not rest until you too have the right to lives free from violence and discrimination,
Greeting in solidarity,
from your sisters at AVIVA:
Emma, Farhat, Janraem, Joo, Kate, Marja, Ursula
To all the women of RAWA:
We, Women in Black of Belgrade, want to extend as much support as we can for the work you are doing in Afghanistan. It takes people of great strength to do what you do, to work for democracy and women's rights under an oppressive government. We will never give up our hope, our optimism for the future, for that is what drives us to change things for the better, for future generations. Know that as we stand in protest on the streets of Belgrade and other cities, we also remember the plight of women in Afghanistan and all over the world, who must fight for their rights. We will continue to raise our voices to draw attention to those working for peace.
We wish you all the best,
Women in Black,
Your struggle, the plight of women in your country and the refugees among you in Pakistan and elsewhere have the unstinting empathy, admiration and support from many sisters in Australia. We wish you every success and stamina in the hard battles you have ahead of you for social justice and liberation and will continue to do what we can to support you. We think of you often and hope for your victory.
with very best wishes to you all
National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health (NCEPH)
Australian National University
Dear esteemed sisters of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan,
May International Women's Day 2000 mark a new beginning of global action to end the vile Taliban fundamentalisms which have prematurely destroyed the lives of countless innocent Afghan women, their partners and their children.
Your personal courage in the face of the Taliban's brutalities is internationally acclaimed, and we dream of the day when your integrity will triumph on the world stage over the Taliban's corruption.
Know that your invincible spirit has inspired feminists from every corner of the globe, and that your struggle is indelibly printed within our hearts and within our souls.
Wishing you every success and joy on March 8, 2000, as we move closer to the day when we can all join together to celebrate your freedom.
In solidarity and sisterhood,
Dr. Lynette J. Dumble
International Co-coordinator, The Global Sisterhood Network &
Associate Senior Research Fellow, History and Philosophy of Science,
University of Melbourne
The RAWA is doing an incredible job, literally incredible. In the face of Terrorism, Fundamentalism, Medieval laws it is standing up for what is right and for what is Just. Women in Britain, America, Japan are too weak, too lazy to even bother stand up for their rights, even though their is NO dangerous opposition to their preaching. But The RAWA stands up against a movement which is nothing but Tyrannical, FundaMENTAL and Corrupt- The Taliban. Long live The RAWA, Long live the Women, Long live Afghanistan, Long Live Freedom and Equality.
Qazi Mullah Muhammad Stanakzai;
Isaac Revivo, Head leaders of The Salihamidzizh movement speaking for The RAWA
We are members of various groups of German "Women in Black":
At our annual general meeting in Mühlheim an der Ruhr on 19th February 2000 we learnt about your meeting to celebrate International Women's Day on March 8th 2000 in Pakistan.
We have heard your cry of pain over the plight of women in Afghanistan. We would like to encourage you in your good and necessary work. Our thoughts are with you in your difficult and often dangerous task.
We hope that this message of solidarity will encourage you in the knowledge that you are our sisters and that you do not stand alone.
In solidarity, signed
Women in Black
Mühlheim an der Ruhr
Irmgard Busemann, Hamburg
Ingetraut Behnke, Mühlheim
Gisela Behrendt, Bonn
Anneliese Butterweck, Köln
Christel Damm, Mühlheim
Ellen Diederich, Oberhausen
Karoline Donner, Kerpen
Astrid Heyer, Kiel
Gerlind Kanders, Oberhausen
Helga Kandt, Köln
Thirza Küpper, Dortmund
Oki Leßmann, Münster
Dörte Massow, Paderborn
Angelika Romeik, Mühlheim
Ulla Tretow, Witten
Margret Ullrich, Dortmund
Nettie Müller -Prosse, Wickede/ Ruhr
To all of you courageous women here today -- special International Women's Day greetings from Radical Women in Australia.
Many of you defied Taliban violence last year to rally for your rights. We saluted your courage then. Many more are here today. Again, we stand with you. You represent many more thousands of women and men who want to end the Taliban regime. You are showing the Taliban patriarchs, and the rest of the world, that there is no compromise in women's struggle to be free. You are showing that no matter how barbarous, the forces of reaction cannot beat women into submission.
Radical Women believes that Taliban fundamentalism is the creature of a very unstable and desperate global economic system. The ruling patriarchs are thugs for international cartels that have made vast fortunes from the region, but have also encountered revolutionary resistance. These Taliban men are puppets of Washington DC which orchestrates wars in the region to crush anti-imperialist rebellion. Taliban fundamentalism is a doctrine of fear and control. It is based on the understanding that to subject a people, it must control the women -- women who have a proud history of resistance.
Women in Australia are also facing a fierce backlash. The government is setting new economic policies to coerce women back into the patriarchal family. Families are being forced to replace state-funded health care, child care, aged care and disability services. Women are shouldering the economic crisis. Independent women are being blamed for Australia's troubles. These conditions could turn into a Taliban-like hell.
Like you, Australian women are resisting. Our fight for a better world is tied to yours and to the struggles of women everywhere. This solidarity is powerful. With our exploited brothers standing with us, we can defeat the Taliban and bring down the capitalist system that breeds it.
On International Women's Day in 1917, Russian women launched the revolution that toppled the feudal Czarist regime and then seized state power in the name of all workers. That revolution is not finished. In this century, let's complete what our Russian sisters started and make a new world built on equality, solidarity and freedom. Radical Women calls this socialist feminism.
On behalf of Radical Women (Australian Section)
The members and staff of the National Women's Council of Ireland wish to express our solidarity with the women of Afghanistan. We hope that your celebration of International Women's Day in Pakistan will be successful, we will be thinking of you on March 8th in Ireland, and applaud your work in raising awareness of women's rights.
With very best wishes,
Grainne Healy (Chairwoman)
& the staff and members of the National Women's Council of Ireland
I am so moved by your courage in the face of overwhelming oppression. I am sending as much money as I can by registered mail. I hope it helps to get some more women to your IWD celebration so that they can be motivated and supported to carry on the struggle. Here is our message of solidarity to your meeting from the Amnesty International Australia Women's Network of New South Wales:
Hail Sisters of the Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan!
The women of Amnesty International Australia Women's Network of New South Wales send you their warmest greetings on International Women's Day. Your courage against the brutal Taliban inspires us to continue our fight for the human rights of women everywhere. We stand with you in solidarity and admiration for your heroic and resolute revolution against the terrible injustices of the fundamentalist Taliban regime. No woman can be at peace until all women are free of oppression.
Coordinator of the Women's Network
(Please excuse that we are so late and our bad English....)
We are a small preparing committee for an international demonstration in Hamburg in Germany on the 8th of March. Our parole is: "For women's liberation all over the world". We know about your hard situation in Afghanistan and we are aware, how difficult your conditions are. So for us it is very mobilizing, to hear from your efforts to make a demonstration. It gives us courage and strength to see, how you struggle even under this conditions. Until we found your statement in the Internet we didn't know something about your organization and your demonstration on the 8th of March. But we know about the situation of women in Afghanistan and we think about you. We want to send you many solidarity greetings for the 8th of March and we hope that you will have a strong demonstration. We will spread your appeal here in a small radio broadcasting and we will read it on our demonstration.
Women of Afghanistan: we support your struggle for freedom and woman's rights and in our mind we will demonstrate at your side on the 8th of March.
The struggle for women's freedom and rights is an international one.
If you have another statement especially for the 8th of March, please mail us, so that we can read it too.
Solidarity greetings from the 8th of March Preparing Committee
Hamburg - Germany
SISTERS! Today is a great day. Freedom is your birthright and you march to claim it! Stand tall and proud. If I could be there with you, I would walk and speak with determination. Let your words and actions silence your fear. Remember, there is power in numbers.
There is a storm on the horizon. The collective rage of women (more than half the earth's population) will not tolerate this abuse any longer. The new millennium will usher in a new world of equality and prosperity for ALL women!
What is possible? Anything we DARE to dream. Our fortress against the oppression of patriarchal rule is what we can withhold. This world is ours too. We bear every generation. There is NO LIFE without us!!! What would be beyond our grasp if we joined our spirits and declared:
"We will no longer continue this race until every man that walks the earth sees it as his DUTY to end the horrendous abuse of the world's women. No more beating, raping, controlling, enslaving. NO MORE!!! Or else watch every blood-line die. Never to see the faces of our children, our grandchildren until this world opens its arms, once and for all, to every one of us!"
We are ALL accountable. We must demand of those good men in our lives that they, too, take a stand. It is not just a women's issue...it is a human issue. We will abolish this tyranny and then affirm (as with the holocaust) - "NEVER AGAIN"!
Someday, I want to wake up in a world where I can live unafraid and from my heart. That day has come!!
Dear RAWA sisters!
International Women's Day Greetings from Scotland!
Women in Scotland and Europe (WISE) group sends our warmest greetings and solidarity to the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) and all women marching with you today. WISE is a feminist and internationalist organization of women who are working to achieve political change in many areas of women's lives.
We send this solidarity message to comment your courage in raising your voices against the brutality in your country - we are standing with you wherever we are celebrating this day.
We thank you for allowing us this opportunity to show our support and admiration for your endurance as an example of the strength of women's unity in the face of such adversity.
You are all in our thoughts and we look forward to being able to support your work in the future.
Chris Corrin for WISE
University of Glasgow
I'd like to send a message of support and encouragement to the women of Afghanistan who are presently suffering under the Taliban government. As a Western woman, it is virtually impossible to imagine what it would be like if suddenly I was told that:
- I could no longer pursue an education
- I could no longer earn my own income (and if I had no one to depend on financially, I would be out of luck)
- I could no longer leave my home unless accompanied by a male, even a small child
- I could no longer be in public without a concealing veil, or burqa
- I could no longer be seen by those outside my home even while I am inside, and I would therefore have to paint my windows black
- I would be subject to public shaming, whipping and the most extreme of punishments if I transgressed the above "rules," or even momentarily forgot about them.
I have to ask myself how I would feel, and I cannot imagine. Because it is difficult to believe that women living like this, now, were at one time just like me. They are not "different," and they have not lived lives where they have not "know better," where they have lived under the weight of such oppression since their earliest memories, and have therefore, somehow, had time to "adapt." Or simply stop caring, or hoping.
These women are, instead, just like me. They have experienced fullness in life, surrounded by family, friends, those they love. They have felt ambition, and been unashamed of their desire to contribute --fully-- to their community, to the rest of humanity. They have felt a creative urge, one that perhaps kept them awake at night, reminding them that they must develop their potential, they must express their talents--for that is what makes them unique, and is the best contribution they can offer to the world around them. And I imagine, at a certain point in time, they learned that all of the above would need to be "shut off." Somehow. They would simply have to stop living, if they were to exist in a "legal" and therefore safe manner.
And I can't imagine how this must feel. I would imagine that--aside from the physical suffering of hunger or cold (as when one begs on the street), or pain (as when one is subject to physical violence and has no recourse against it), or shame (as when one sells anything they have in order to survive, even if it is their dignity, their very person)--I would imagine that even alongside these sufferings, the suffering of simply being told that one can no longer "live", can no longer be or glow or share happiness or find freedom, must be the most severe of sufferings.
I feel a pain for all women, worldwide, who endure under such circumstances. I hope that sometime, very soon, all of humankind will realize that a violation of women's rights is (so very obviously) a violation of human rights. It is that simple. And we must do all we can to ease the pain of such women, and clear the path so that they can help themselves, regain their lives and become again fully living members of the human community.
The force that attacks these women is fear. It is a fear based on ignorance and arrogance, and it is ultimately a fear of powerlessness. It is this fear that the world must confront, and dispel it, or put it in a place where it can no longer cause suffering to those caught in its path. In Afghanistan, those caught in its path are most often female.
I send my fondest support for the women of RAWA, strong, brave and beautiful women--strong, brave and beautiful HUMANS--who I am proud to know, albeit vicariously. I send them (and all those, male or female, who join their cause) the most sincere good wishes in their efforts to help the women of Afghanistan.
The participants to the Commission for the Culture of the Circolo ARCI Isolotto - Florence - Italy express their solidarity to afghan women and assures them that they will continue to make the public opinion and Italian institutions aware of the situation so that the fundamental rights of women will be recognized and respected
Circolo ARCI Isolotto
Warmest greetings to the women of RAWA and the women of Afghanistan. The life and work of each woman under the most discouraging and dangerous conditions is a testimony to the triumph of humanity in the face of pure evil. I wholeheartedly commend you for the most difficult work that you have done in the past, that you are doing now and that you will do in days to come.
Your web site and literature have painted a vivid picture of the most desperate conditions under which women and people may be forced to live. Your work in exposing these conditions and naming the perpetrators for all the world to see is most laudable and requires the utmost courage. I dearly hope that you will be amply rewarded with the help you so much deserve after having risked so much to make known the truth. I will continue to pledge my support to you through the coming year.
May the blood of Meena, and of your fallen colleagues continue to strengthen and empower your efforts. And may the torch of truth burn ever more brightly in your capable hands until the dark blot of misogynistic fundamentalism is removed from your land once and for all.
Long live a free and peaceful Afghanistan
Long live RAWA and the women of Afghanistan
Director, Support Afghan Women
On behalf of the Iranian Revolutionary Socialist's League, I have been given the opportunity to convoy our fraternal greetings to the Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan on Women's Day this year.
March 8th does not only mark a day when women around the world displayed their temerity in fight for their human rights, but also their audacity to fight in the path of the historical struggle against oppression, suppression and exploitation. The valorous women of Afghanistan like all other women of especially underdeveloped or developing countries, have experienced all forms of pressure and tyranny of the ruling class in generations, yet have stood against it and fought courageously and endlessly.
The women of our countries now know that organizing themselves against the common enemy would lead to the encounter of others who share the same enemy in the society. This in turn would become the enormous power which then could bring down even the super oppressors of our time.
In the view of the above, we, especially our women comrades, wish you and all our sisters in Afghanistan the most success in reaching your goals this year.
On March 8, as indeed every day of the year, we send you a message of solidarity and support. Here in Melbourne, Australia, we are publicly acknowledging your inspirational, courageous and unfailing efforts to expose and rid Afghan women of a system of political inhumanity, that demands world condemnation and global demand for change.
Many Melbourne women are taking part in the Global Sisterhood Network fundraising dinner for RAWA, one celebrating all women's freedom and publicly acclaiming the true value of all women, particularly Afghan women.
We send our strongest wishes of support to all women at your function and know that it will be a great success!
Global Sisterhood Network
Everyone admires your courage in spreading the truth. It's hard to imagine anyone who benefits from freedom not being a supporter of RAWA's principles. But because the fundamentalists invoke the names of 'God' and 'religion' and 'traditional culture', people become confused and distracted, and do not know how to protest. Sometimes they can no longer tell good from evil. People are more afraid of words and false beliefs than of physical attacks. Your clear thought and your determination to do what is right in human terms will be an inspiration to many people.
I am not much of a speech writer, and my hatred of the Taliban is pretty deep -- I think they are a bunch of primitive savages not worthy of living in our modern age.
I am a man who supports freedom of speech, thought, and religion, and I firmly believe people should live their lives as they wish to -- both men and women -- as long as they do not hurt any others.
Anyway, regardless, I do not think my thoughts would make it in time for March 8th. But even so, my heart really is with the women of Afghanistan -- I think what's happened to you all is truly terrible. Most in America (women included) could not imagine the horrific life you all must endure.
Best wishes to all of you, and don't ever think you are alone.
Dear Sisters in Afghanistan,
We have been reading about the extreme repression of women and girls in your country with a mixture of sympathy and horror. Here in the West we continue to celebrate each victory along the road to gender equality.
I believe that women have an intrinsic value which is equal to men's, and that their contributions should be valued, both within the family, and in the larger world of the workforce, and in the larger context of national and international affairs.
Women deserve to have their human rights defended rigorously through the courts so that a stern message is sent that violence against women and girls will not be tolerated for ANY reason, and perpetrators will be punished for their crimes.
Men must be made to understand that our families should be oases of peace and tranquility, where family members are nurtured and encouraged to grow to fulfill their optimal human potential, regardless of gender. Our families make up the fabric of society; they are both the springboard for our efforts in society as well as our refuge from the stresses of modern life.
In peace and friendship,
Dr. Carolyn Few,
Topsail Road Medical Clinic,
To the Women of RAWA,
Warm expressions of solidarity from the Feminist Caucus of the British Columbia Teachers' Association, Canada. It is difficult for us to comprehend the sexist laws that Afghani woman are being forced to live under. You have been imprisoned in your own homes. We are deeply impressed by your courageous struggle against the oppressors who deny you your human rights. Hopefully, the Taliban will realize that international support for the women of Afghanistan will shame their government and they will reverse the horrific laws that discriminate against girls and women in Afghanistan.
From the Feminist Caucus of the British Columbia Teachers' Federation
I, Teesta Setalvad, editor, Communalism Combat write this to express deep solidarity to the struggle of Afghan women against authoritarian, violent and fascist forces in your country. Your struggle is ours. You have fought and continue to do so against all odds. We salute you and wish you greater strength in your struggle.
The women of Women's Aid to Former Yugoslavia, Yorkshire Branch, send a message of support and solidarity to the women of Afghanistan and Pakistan in celebration of International Women's Day, 8th March 2000. We support your calls for the end of the oppression, humiliation and torture of women in Afghanistan and throughout the world. We wish women who participate in your International Women's Day function a safe and peaceful journey.
Women's Aid to Former Yugoslavia - Yorkshire Branch
In celebration of International Women's Day, I send a message of solidarity and support for the women of Afghanistan. I support your demands for an end to the oppression, abuse and torture of women in Afghanistan. I wish that the women who are participating in your International Women's Day event have safe and peaceful journey. May we continue to fight for an end to violence and abuse against women throughout the world.
I congratulate all the Afghan women and their revolutionary association, RAWA and its leaders on the occasion of 8th March, the International Womens Day.
It is the first 8th March of the new century. In the twentieth century, the women of the world faced lots of ups and downs for the social and economic equality. But still they have to go a long way. Today also the women havent achieved equal status and their rights . In the third world countries, this struggle is more protracted and tedious. The majority of these countries under the torture of tribalism, feudalism, and social and economic backwardness. These conditions make the majority of the people of these countries oppressed. But as far as the women are concerned, they even dont enjoy the very basic human status. Their daily life is under the burden of rights violations and the shameful tradition and custom. It is an unfortunate point that these inequalities, violation of rights and the inhumane behavior have been justified by the help of the reactionary and religious oppressive forces.
The situation in Afghanistan is very unfortunate. There is no any type of oppression, brutality which has not been used. All these destroyed the country and named it Islamic Emirate. At the very bottom of the debris, the women have been buried. To dig them up, give them social status and prestige and to change the whole Afghanistan to democracy and an happy country is one of the most important challenges of the twenty first century.
RAWA is the vanguard of this struggle. I pay tribute to your struggle and hope you will return to an Afghanistan based on prosper democracy and equal society as soon as possible.
Abid Hassan Minto
National Workers Party of Pakistan
This message has been translated from Urdu into English
AIDOS, the Italian Association for Women in Development is close to our Afghan sisters in their struggle for the recognition of their human rights. We will continue to support your cause within our country and in Europe in the hope to see positive changes in the near future.
Dear RAWA, friends and allies,
I am writing to express my solidarity with you and your struggle. Your resistance is the cornerstone of a just and free society for women all over the world. As a Canadian-Afghan women I support your struggle and I will do everything in my power to make sure Canadians understand the urgency of Afghan women's issues. With all of my heart I hope to visit Afghanistan one day - when women will have freedom to live their lives as they choose, free from any form of violence. You are my sisters and your work is part of a global web that we are all weaving against violence against women. When women are harmed, when their freedom is stamped out, all of society suffers. The very fabric of life is nurtured through women's ways of being. Without healthy, free women everywhere, all societies will be plagued by male violence. The violence must stop and the freedom of choice must begin. We as women must be able to define and determine how we live.
Ally of Afghan women
To our brave sisters of Revolutionary Association of the Women in Afghanistan:
The Samata Party stands for equality and justice in all aspects of life. that is why the struggle for democracy, gender justice and against fundamentalist forces who throttle the true development of women as dignified and respected human beings are all our struggles too.
We salute the brave work done by all those who work for women right in the current difficult conditions imposed by the Taliban. We also salute the memory of Meena.
We condemn the atrocities committed on women in Afghanistan by not allowing them proper access to jobs and education.
These are basic human to which all women are entitled. No one attacking women both physically and psychologically can claim to have the support of the almighty.
May your conference, your mobilization and your struggles be recognized by all freedom loving women and men all over the world.
Please be assured that our support is with you.
Mrs. Jaya Jaitly
The Samata Party
Sorry as I was sick i could not communicate with you. I have just started working today.
Today is International Women Day and I wish you all the best for the challenging task you have undertaken of freeing your nation from the clutches of Fundamentalism of Taliban & all.
I had tried to convince lots of people about your orgz but as you know that unless you meet the press & leaders here the task will be daunting for me. However I am not going to give up. Continue your March & We will not let you down at all.
I am sure you will receive message of support from at least 2000 people across India.
Again keep it up. I wish I could help you more.
Sorry for the message going late but I was down for two weeks.
The Socialist Party of Canada sends its heartfelt good wishes to the women of Afghanistan.
In your struggles we hope that you come to see that beyond the particularly repugnant treatment suffered by Afghani women, all of us, men, women and children, everywhere, must eliminate the current class divided global social system -- capitalism -- if we are to create a society that is really worth living in.
Most people want a better world than today, but simply better than today is not good enough. And every battle won, often needs to be fought again to maintain what we have won. We must work for, and succeed in, establishing a system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interest of society as a whole. We must end the battle for humanity by creating a human society: socialism.
- For Socialism
Socialist Party of Canada
Dear women of RAWA,
I send you on International Women's Day greetings to you and to all the women of Afghanistan. We will be thinking of you and your public event today in Pakistan, wishing you much success.
Here on the farm where I live, a small group of women will gather by the river to sit in a (Buddhist) meditation from 5:00 to 6:00 PM, dedicated to the liberation of women everywhere but especially in Afghanistan. I will hand out the brochures you sent me and encourage these women to connect with RAWA. We want you to know we are joining you in spirit on this day of women.
Thanks to Sue for declaim of one of her poems and dedicating it to RAWA on IWD, which was presented at our event with its Farsi translation.
On this day, the 8th March,2000, my message to RAWA is.
I truly admire all the members of RAWA, for their love for their country and their courage and boldness. The path you people have chosen, very few people will dare to walk on that path. It is a matter of pride for me to know you people, who have chosen path of giving where in this world most of the people will select path of receiving. In my country there was a young man who died for his country at the age of 23 and I always respect him the most. I am very happy that I came to know about another young person, a woman, named Meena, who sacrificed her life for betterment of lives of women and children of her country. I will always have lot of respect for Meena in this life of mine.
I hope that one day all the women of this world will join you in making Afghanistan a wonderful and FREE country.
Wishing you all the success.
Dear sisters, Womens rights activists,
For women across the globe, the third millennium heralds bright prospects to obtain their fundamental rights and equality. This hope is based on the accomplishments of women in the century we just left behind. In many areas throughout the world, dictatorships have given way to democracies and representative governments, a development which has impacted positively the struggle of women to attain equality.
In Iran and Afghanistan under the reign of the mullahs and Talibans, we were witness to a reversal in the position of women, as religious dictatorship gradually monopolized all organs of power and spared no crime, especially against women. The execution of 120,000 political prisoners in Iran, many of whom were women, reflects only one aspect of the mullahs atrocities against the Iranian people.
In Iran and Afghanistan women have been suppressed in all aspects. Their most elementary rights are violated and they are harassed and intimidated by government-organized club-wielding thugs. Not a day goes by without hooligans persecuting and harassing women in streets under the pretext of Islam. In Irans case, regimes laws also sanction stoning to death and women more than men have been condemned to this inhumane punishment.
Such a situation requires the reaction of all womens rights activists and those who promote womens equality to protest in one voice against this gender apartheid and express support the struggle and resistance of Iranian and Afghani women to achieve liberty and equality.
The current declaration is a small but an important step in this direction. In the first celebration of International Womens Day in the new millennium, we call upon you to support this international call and raise your voice of protest to the ruling mullahs and Talibans inhumane and degrading treatment of Iranian and Afghani women. In this way, women of Iran and Afghanistan would be assured that they are not alone in their endeavors to achieve equality and emancipation.
National Committee of Women for Democratic Iran
We will be celebrating International Women's Day with you on March 8. It is so easy for us here to take for granted the things that are so important, things that we consider basic human rights. I am deeply saddened by what is happening in Afghanistan - the tears flow as I write this. There is a part of me that wonders how it has gotten to be the way it is. My personal belief is that the world religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have been so male-dominated for so long that all honor for the female has been lost. This state of affairs seems to be most oppresive at this time, under the Taliban. I can think of nowhere else on Earth where women are treated so badly.
Therefore, I hope you are not offended that we have titled our benefit concert Arinna, after the Great Sun Goddess who was worshipped in the Middle East 4,000 years ago.
As you must know, there is very little media coverage here about the situation in Afghanistan. No doubt our government feels some guilt and wishes to sweep it under the rug. We intend to promote our event on radio, television, all the area newspapers and do everything we can to bring awareness of your plight to the people here on the central coast of California.
Our hearts are with you. Please let us know what else we can do to help. Can clothing, medical or office supplies be sent? I will be out of town for a couple of weeks, but when I return I will get a web page set up for you so people can contribute money via the internet.
Hang on and cheer, Islamism, is declining and one of these days we will all be free from a religion of oppression and despotism. The Iranian women and the youth have proven in the last election that Islamism is dying. What I am questioning is that why should we follow the traditions of a man who said:
"I was standing by the edge of the fire (hell) and most of them going there were women." Prophet Mohammed.
Or a man who had some 15-46 wives. A man who married a child of seven years of age when he was in his late fifties. Why was God so partial to him.
I feel so sorry for some Muslim women who say that God wanted him to oppress all these women. Why did God want to cover women?
Here is my message
Does God Hate Women?
They differed with me over what times we are living in, It is not democracy when a man can talk about politics without anyone threatening him Democracy is when a woman can talk of her lover without anyone killing her. Dr. Sauad M. Al-Sabah
There are two types of violence perpetrated against women. First there is the violence committed by husbands, boyfriends, lovers of female victims and secondly there is the violence against women (including female babies and children) by parents, brothers, uncles, in-laws, priests, mullah's, witch-doctors, religious vigilantes, fashion designers, politicians, government officials and etc. Today I like to talk about the later.
In September, of 95 I attended the NGO Forum on Fourth World Conference on Women, in Beijing. During the conference, I was given so many brochures, handouts, books and other material by the religious establishments against the equality of the sexes which convinced me that God, the Almighty, must have some animosity toward women. Now I am asking why?
First was the Catholic Church, and its representative Marry Ann Glendon, a Law Professor, while representing Vatican City, who put womanhood in shame by calling the United Nationıs document anti-family. In my opinion Vatican itself is anti-family. The fact that the Catholic Church believes in celibacy is a sign of disregard of the church for "family" and its values. Vatican City is a "city of priests and nuns" who have no understanding of what is all about family and children. They never raised any. How could they know what it takes to have and raise children.
The Pope has never been married, nor had a child. He has never had to mourn the death of a child or that of a spouse. He has never been unemployed, laid off, homeless, hungry, cold, and with no one to turn to. How in the world does he know what it is to raise children under the conditions listed above. And then there are the Moslem countries who propagate the Islamic Wisdom which has been mostly taken from that of the Judaism. The wisdom that has a set rule for everything from how to go to toilet to how to prosecute women for wearing make-up and nylons.
In his book, "The Wisdom behind the Islamic Laws Regarding Women", Shaykh Abdul-Rahman Abdul-Khalig quotes from Koran 2:228, "Women have such honorable rights as obligations, but men have a single degree above them." This means that God gave men the responsibility for women.
And according to Koran 4:34 "Men are the managers of the affairs of women for that Allah has preferred one of them over another and for that they are expended of their property."
What proof does he have that this is the word of God? Why do women are born with obligations? Why did God prefer men over women?
In another place in the same book the Shaikh continues by saying that "Allah commended men to be responsible for the care of women and their children." And if she has no male relatives, "the obligation falls upon the community. The responsibility of her care is a communal obligation; if non fulfills that, all have sinned." So the community has sinned. What happens to the woman and children? Must they be left to die? So that the community can be punished in some other life which so far we have no information about! Isnıt the welfare state a form of communal obligation for the care of the women and children who have no men or have been abandoned by them? And isnıt this same system of communal obligation that got challenged in the United States by the Republican Party, the Religious Right, the Christian Coalition and our President Clinton under the title of Welfare Reform?
And besides why should a capable woman with potential to earn a good living and contribute to the progress of her society become a charity case because some men had said, some hundreds of years ago, that she should?
Why is that all religions place such a heavy burden on women for "family values"? Donıt men have anything to do with family and its values? Why is it that everyone always combines the words women and children? The fact that women carry the fetus to term does not make them totally responsible and obligated for the childrenıs lives. Children don't belong to women only. They have fathers too. Then why nobody talks about the fathers?
Average woman is able to bear one child every sixteen to eighteen months for a period of forty years of her life and after some 20 or more pregnancies, her child-bearing machine breaks down.
Average man, however, can make a child every day or even every hour for some 70 plus years of his life with almost no breakdown. So why is the problem of population explosion, birth-control, and all measures for family planning and raising children placed on women? Women can not produce children by themselves. So why do we keep asking women to keep their legs together why not asking men to take a cold shower? So why do we keep blaming women for what ever happens to family and its values. Why is it always, that she tricked me and got pregnant!
Why is it that Mr. Newt Gingrich who abandoned his wife and children can run for office, get elected, become the speaker of the House, write a book, and recently forgiven for lying, cheating, and falsifying information be a pillar of the society and a woman who abandons her child face imprisonment and the one who is left by her man to be left in cold by the same society? Why? These are shameful "family values!"
My point is that religion is a man-made business with menıs interest as its top priority. They are three big businesses where one collects money on Fridays, one on Saturdays and one on Sundays and has nothing to do with what God or the creator had planned. Men created the business of religion, therefore, we, men and women, can change, modify and even if needed replace it.
Let's just look at one aspect of religion, does anyone here knows what women get when they go to heaven? Anyone? Christian, Jew? Anyone? Well I donıt know about other religions, but in Islam the description for where men will end up is that of a heavenly whore house. According to Koran, in heaven men will be given tall beautiful angels who have not been deflowered by any other man, and these beautiful angels will dance for them and please them in any way or shape they require. This seems a lot like the Chicken Ranch in Los Vegas to me.
I just wonder what do we women get?, Do we also get hunks and studs when we go to heaven? but in Islam there is no description of what will happen to us women when we die. May be we just donıt go to heaven. If there are plenty of female angels running around loose in heaven why would they need to import surplus!
And then why should we, men and women, wait till we are in heaven to enjoy the pleasure of being with each other. What is wrong with having pleasure from sex? There were men who told us that we shouldnıt enjoy sex. They were the clergies, they called it filthy and told us it was only for creation and not recreation. They told us we had to lay silent in bed and meet our partnerıs sexual needs any time they wanted it with no pleasure for us. And we believed them. Even today the Orthodox Jews will place a sheet with a hole over the body of the female and cover her fully and have intercourse with her through the hole so that their precious and blessed bodies will not rub against this filthy human being. And every morning they look at their own face in the mirror and say "Thank you god for not making me a woman." And the brain washed woman who allows them to abuse her and humiliate her so badly accepts it because she believes she would bear their son, the chosen one.
But that is not the reason. You know why they said that sex was only for creation and not recreation, because men did not want to work hard. It is not so easy to arose a woman sexually. We all know that. We are demanding and they are lazy and helpless. So they told us God did not want us to enjoy it. Isnıt that ironic that God wanted us to go through the pain and agony of having a baby without the pleasure of making it ? That really bugles my mind.
Men told us what to wear, they were the fashion designers, they made us uncomfortable because they had pleasure from our body and our movement, they toiled with us like dolls in their hands. We were noticed and realized for our beauty and only our beauty. The beauty according to their taste. They even told us and we believed it that we were either beautiful or went to college. So we stopped going to college because we wanted to be measured by what they valued to be our beauty.
They told us we had to wait for them to ask for our hand in marriage and if they did not we were called, old maids, ugly, burden to our family and even asked us to make picnic baskets and be placed like animals on auction tables to see which man is willing to pay for us even less than the costs of our lunch basket so that we could find a man and not live as an old maid. They told us to fight each other so we could land the best man in the neighborhood, they were our fathers. Even today most second and third wives and mistresses of married men blame his wife for his bad behavior or visa versa. Why? Why do we women always take their side when it comes to another woman. Wake up sisters it is not the other woman it is the snake, the scum, the man.
They told us we had no brain, we could not study math and engineering, we could not fly or kill them in the battle fields and they even made us to believe that we were afraid of helpless animals such as mice and snake. They told us we needed them to protect us. From what I ask? From a lousy mouse? For heaven sakes, why? We are just as good to step on a mouse or shoot a snake to protect ourselves. They were our lovers, husband, brothers and male relatives. They felt strong and courageous as we pretended to be weak and helpless. Isnıt that something that most men feel strong only if we are weak. That is why the group called "the promise keepers pack stadium after stadium, with a budget of over 150 million dollars, cheering for their God given right for men, which is to control women. What right? And the pity is that many women actually like it.
They told us we could not go to prestigious and good schools. They denied us entry to good jobs. They told us it was a waste of money to train a woman in good and restigious schools, when she will marry and have children. All the money had to be spent on boys, because they were the protectors of family and its values. They were the government officials, the school administrators, and the male voters.
They told us we did not have to vote after all what difference would that make. They said that the women after all would vote the way their husbands, fathers, brothers and lovers wanted them to do so why not just let men vote.
Of course only the white man with property. They were the politicians, and our founding fathers.
We were told that a good woman stands by her man. So no matter what he did. We stood by him. We accepted humiliation, embarrassment, shame, mortification, disgrace, sarcasm, ridicule, and abashment because we were married to the bastard and had to stand by him. We were good women. But did the society ever, ever asked a man to stand by his woman. No. We got our hairs cut off, heads shaved, stoned to death, and killed because we brought shame to the family. But men like Dick Moris, President Clintonıs advisor get millions in book deals for bringing shame to his family. I wonder did he really master mind the strategy for our president or was it the $200 per hour prostitute? How do we know that she was not the advisor to the advisor? They told us and we believed them that "let boys be boys" and that "men are boys with more expensive toys" and we had to stay silent and bear it if they spent the month grocery budget on their sporting goods or expensive hubbies. These were our advisors and counselors.
Where is the justice? Sisters, justice is in our hands, not at the local courts and or the supreme court. We have the power. We have a power unknown to us and the world around us. We have the power to vote them out of the office, kick them out of our homes, and our hearts. And above all we have the purchasing power. We have the power to deny them, love, affection, friendship, companionship, warmth and the shoulder to cry on. What they cannot find in any sports stadium. We have the power. They called us the soccer moms. They talked like we were nothing. But we showed them we had the power. So sisters donıt put up with it. We have the power. If they want to be with us, live with us, represent us, teach us, learn from us and above all share what is placed on this wonderful earth for all of us to enjoy and get pleasure from, then they must respect us, listen to us and appreciate us. And we donıt need to hide behind fifty yards of fabric as they do in the Islamic countries so that the other half of our population pays attention to us. Men and women need each other to survive equally and neither oneıs need is lesser or greater than the otherıs.
So for over 20 centuries we have been controlled by our fathers, brothers, husbands, sons, priests, mullahs, rabbi's, monks, governmentıs officials, politicians, fashion designers, counselors, and administrators, all of them men. They told us it was our duty and obligation to obey. We no longer accept this male superiority and say end to patriarchy. Sisters letıs make the 21st century the one in which, we, women, all over the globe, take control of our lives and rights, which includes our reproductive right. Let's pledge that in the 21 century we as women will live, work, enjoy for ourselves first and then as equal partners to our husbands we will contribute, better than in the past, to the well-being of our families, societies, nations, and our environment.
That was why all of us from all over the world gathered together in Beijing. We finally did something for us. It took us thousands of years, but we did it at last. After Beijing, I am certain that it is not God that hate us.
Sisters let's take charge. Let's make the 21st. century truly our century.
Dr. Homa Darabi Foundation
Apologies for the delay. Please note that we support your cause, and we send this message in solidarity.
Mia M. Roman
Center for Women's Global Leadership
Also thanks to the Iranian friends from Green Party of Iran, Union of Democratic Women of Kurdistan of Iran and About Iran... for sending their messages in Persian.
[Messages we received on March 8, 1999]