on International Women's Day, 2001
American supporters see RAWA as a model for the women's movement the world over. RAWA has touched us, inspired us to fight for Afghan women and men, taught us how to struggle for peace and democracy without the violence that has been used against innocent Afghans for so long.
We stand firmly in solidarity with RAWA and the Afghan people seeking freedom, and decency. Representing all of us, some individual members say:
"The women or RAWA are the most decent and courageous human beings I have ever met. Some might call them ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances; others might call them extraordinary people in their own right. Whatever the explanation, one thing is clear: every day they risk their lives combating unspeakable evil with boundless courage and profound dignity. They are sincerely seeking to bring about in Afghanistan a society in which all men and women of all creeds can live in equality, peace and security with one another, without Fundamentalist coercion or oppression. May they be blessed with speedy success!"
"In the midst of unspeakable horror RAWA stands for all of us. It is their ideology that will take us to the stars, not ideas like the Taliban."
"Because of our government's role in destroying Afghan society, US citizens bear a special responsibility to join RAWA's fight for human rights, peace, and the empowerment of Afghan women. RAWA is one of the few organizations of politically aware Afghan women. As they communicate this awareness both to their own people and to the international community, they increase the capacity of Afghans to influence their own future."
"Anyone who works and fights the extremists under those circumstances is a heroic act. I am from [Afghanistan] there and I lived that Life. Of course it is thousand times worse than it was. RAWA and the members there are my heroes, it is a vicious battle that we will win, but it really does take only the [women of RAWA?] RAWA women to get to that point.
"It is our belief that diversity of ideas should not mean the denigration of any people, particularly the horrors the brave spirits of RAWA fight against. Thus, it is with honor we support the work of RAWA and speak in hope for the future of all women everywhere.
"We are WATCHING....the Taliban-women-haters are going to get by with their atrocities only for so long."
"To those who imagine women are not capable of unimaginable courage, wisdom, and integrity I point them to the women of RAWA. I have been touched by RAWA and I am able to face the world with hope."
We thank the women of RAWA for paving the way forward to a world free of fundamentalism and denigration of women.
These RAWA Supporters are all part of an Internet list serve identified as RAWA_Supporters@yahoogroups.com. This list serve includes 71 persons from around the world - mainly North America. The list serve was formed in 1999 and is used to share information about RAWA, about women's social and political situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and about how we, as supporters of RAWA, can help Afghan women.
Recently, our list serve has been joined by a number of impassioned students who are thinking of creative and effective ways to raise awareness about the plight of women in Afghanistan, and raise money for RAWA. One of our members is helping her high school students organize a rally where they will wear burqas that they purchased from RAWA. In a previous event, they raised over $900! The students have formed a group called Students Against Gender Apartheid, and another student-member was inspired by their efforts and created a SAGA organization at her school. In addition, a college student is writing her thesis on women in Afghanistan, and a graduate student is writing a book about Afghanistan.
RAWA_Supporters have responded to RAWA requests to send letters of support on behalf of RAWA to Pakistani, U.N., and British officials. A number of supporters are teachers who have incorporated teaching about RAWA into their classrooms at the secondary and post secondary level, thus spreading the word about the grave reality for Afghan women and the resistance efforts of RAWA. Informal education also occurs as list members talk to friends and colleagues about the situation and forward RAWA email to our email lists. In coordination with V-Day activities around the world, RAWA was one of the beneficiaries of fundraising activities at the UMBC, where two RAWA members visited last year.
Three members of the RAWA_Supporters group and a team of volunteers manage the Afghan Women's Mission. Their goal is to raise funds for RAWA's health and education projects as well as for emergency relief efforts. Their immediate goal is to reopen Malalai Hospital for Afghan refugees in Pakistan. www.afghanwomensmission.org
Additional projects include benefit concerts in the Bay Area, California, fundraising events in New York City that have raised thousands of dollars for RAWA, the production of a documentary film, and numerous events to honor International Women's Day including an event with Afghan women sponsored by Word Delicious in Pasadena, California, and one in Annapolis, Maryland. Another project that has been in the works for a few years is The Octaves Beyond Silence Project, a benefit CD that includes music by top female recording artists as well as narrative by members of RAWA including Meena, RAWA's martyred founder. Proceeds from the CD benefit RAWA and five other women's organizations. www.octavesbeyondsilence.com
To subscribe people either email
firstname.lastname@example.org or can go to: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rawa_supporters and read about the group and subscribe.
It is a privilege to be sending you this message today. As a journalist I have been closely following the activities of RAWA for several years now. Today when we assemble to celebrate Women's Day a question that arises in my mind is, where does RAWA intend to go from here? What are its goals and what can we as supporters in the print and electronic media do to help in the achievement of these goals? As a woman too, I salute the determination with which RAWA has been continuing with its struggle in the face of several obstacles. Though it is not easy in any society for a woman to confront issues important for her, RAWA has a unique struggle and it is the great Afghan tradition that has kept this alive . The success of RAWA over the years, has been to expand its activities where it is now easily accessible on the internet, and where it is now convenient to keep in touch through electronic mail. Modern technology has helped in keeping everyone abreast with RAWA's latest activities and for journalists this has helped us in accessing and sharing information.
My suggestions today to RAWA would be two fold. First they have to activate themselves into reaching policy makers in Pakistan as they have been doing elsewhere in the world. The voice of RAWA has to be heard in the corridors of powers here.
Secondly there is dire need of a newsletter, monthly, to start with so ordinary people familiarize themselves with the struggle of RAWA. The wars of today, are also fought through the media and at a time when the policies of Kabul finds them friendless, RAWA should be determined to exploit the situation through their publications.
Today, RAWA has reason to be proud of uniting the proud Afghan women under their umbrella to demand their just rights. Struggles are never easy. But the determination with which RAWA continues to move, has made it difficult for it to be ignored.
As a woman and journalist let me take this opportunity, to reassure you that my professional guidance and support will continue to be with you.
AFGHANISTAN ONE INCOMPREHESIBLE WORLD
Afghanistan is a far and forgotten country, but we all must show solidarity with women and girls, they are victims of the “TALIBAN”, they arrived to the power in 1996 is very much cruel and unaccountable at this moment, because women have got almost all rights.
We Publicly accuse the Afghan government of permitting violations, lapidating, unwanted marriage, kidnappings to women, being treated like inferior human beings and their property.
There isn’t any religion that can support a regime without rights. If the “burqa” isn’t good for men (They don’t wear it) neither should it be for the women.
The Freedom to chose how to dress is a right that nobody can impose with strength or violence onto other people.
Every person has the right to education, to health and to work. All this isn’t wrangled with the faith and the respect to the others.
A country can develop and grow when there aren’t destructive laws towards the citizens. The world cannot consent a totalitarian regime, deprived of all hope, of all illusion and lacking of democracy.
We support a Afghanistan with rights and duties and that stimulate and permit the grow of the human being (men and women).
You must have confidence; Occident accuses with disgust your situation. This cannot be worse, at least you can hope and look forward to a better future of peace and hope.
ENCARNACIÓN PASTOR FELIU
CPFPA F. Giner de los Rios
I am calling on the leaders of the world to give the crisis in Afghanistan their attention. The situation cannot continue. Afghanistan is a blackhole of despair with its citizens suffering from physical and mental abuse meted out by the Taliban. It concerns me that many government leaders and spokespersons have shrugged aside the behavior of the Taliban toward the citizens of Afghanistan, especially their treatment of women and girls, and have bought into the "Islam culture" excuse that the Taliban use to sanction their awful behavior, past and present. The Taliban policies are not about God. They are about the continued control and manipulation of Afghanistan and its resources. The policies cannot continue. Women are imprisoned in burqas, girls have no access to education, boys are growing up without teachers in the schools, internal refugees are freezing to death, drought and starvation are rampant. "Donor fatigue" is affecting the crisis because Afghanistan's situation has been so bad so long and there is no end in sight. There must be a way to end the civil war and begin rebuilding the infrastructure of this country.
Christi L. Spivey
Dear friends, sisters,
All the best for this day which is not good for so many women in the world. Our hearts are with you and with all the women struggling and suffering in the world.
Ornella, Marinella, Roberta, Carmela
Women in black of Milano,
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,
I salute your indomitable spirit, the courage and dedication with which you face such horrific adversity. The way in which you have, all year long, labored to save lives, those of the victims of the Taliban's dehumanizing cruelty and, on top of it, victims of a devastating earthquake, sets an example for all the women who care.
My heartfelt thanks for your work on the behalf of our Afghan sisters and actually on the behalf of all the women of this world, mine included.
You are not alone, sisters, may we together win our rightful place under the sun!
In solidarity, love and tenderness,
I stand with many other men in the United States in my support for the work being done by The Revolutionary Women of Afghanistan in opposition to the tyranny of The Taliban Regime in that imprisoned country. I look forward to the day when the courageous women from RAWA will take their rightful place in the leadership of their government in a free Afghanistan. Women bring all life into the world. Freedom loving men and women from every country should support the efforts of the brave women of RAWA.
Falls Church, Virginia
Dear Women of Afghanistan,
We are so deeply sadden that yet another year passes and we still cannot celebrate your human rights. Please know that our hearts are with you EVERY day and we will continue our efforts to help your voices be heard!
In Solidarity and most sincerely,
Women for Women Afghanistan
Dear courageous and brave friends of RAWA,
As I write this letter of solidarity my eyes fill with tears and sadness again. It is yet another year of pain and suffering and death for my brothers and sisters in Afghanistan. The Taliban and it's puppets continue to oppress and murder and destroy. They continue their campaign of terror. No one is safe. No one!
There is a constant ache in my heart and my soul for your suffering. I am ashamed and angry that the UN has done so little. I am ashamed and angry that my country has done so little. I am ashamed and angry that the world citizens have done so little. Where is their conscience? Where have they gone? ......Do not give up!
What I offer to you today are my words of hope. You are strong, you are dedicated and you are correct in your beliefs and actions. Your spirit lives in the hearts and minds of many friends around the world. You are not alone. Many people are with you in your daily struggles. Our destinies have touched. We will not stop in our efforts to support you and your actions. We will do all we can every day for as long as it takes, and we will do whatever it takes. We will fight along with you until the Taliban scourge has been eliminated. We will fight along with you until your beautiful country is free to breathe and to grow and to blossom once again. We will fight along with you until you have regained your equality, and all of yours rights and protections are restored. I wait for the day when I can walk with my brothers and sisters openly and freely through their most beautiful country in the world.
God did not draw the borders on the land on this earth, man did. We are all brothers and sisters in this world and we are all equal. Together we can build a better future. Together we can stop the killing. Together we can stop the violence and the agony. Together we can defeat the oppressors. Together we can make the difference. Draw your strength from all of us. We are with you always. Always.
Every since I heard of RAWA and saw the website I can not get it out of my mind.. my prayers are with you !!!!!
I WILL BE HEARD
Thousand of miles across the earth I think of you.
I think of the tears you have cried and the blood you have shed.
I wish to help you escape you terror, but I can not help you escape hell.
I hear my children, while your lies dying.
I love my husband while your is dead.
I am so far from your pain, yet it is part of me for eternity now.
I bask in my freedom, as you are held prisoner.
We live on this earth as one, but we can never be together.
Only by voice can we unite.
The voice of freedom, freedom of women.
Everywhere we must speak out.
We must let others know...WE SHALL NOT BE SILENCED.
We must scream to the heavens, across the ocean and overt the land.
We must not be silenced!!
Our existence and freedom depend on it.
God Bless you
Mary Jayne Ivany
I wish to tell you that you are not alone in your fight, and that in this world is many people who wants, could and have a will to help you.
I admire your courage and I feel your safer.
I would like that soon comes the day when you will be completely free and independent, and when you could live with dignity and without fear, just like you deserve.
Be steady, and don't let the sick fundamentalist minds be stronger than you; because of yourself and because all girls who should be born.
I respect you honestly, and sending to you warmest regards!
Bozidarka-Boba Dodik, Vares,
Bosnia and Herzegovina
We have do received your touching letter. It has deeply moved us. In response we are sending our message of solidarity to you please convey it to our sisters of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
We cannot but warmly congratulate you for your programme to observe 8th March, the International Women's Day, braving all odds unleashed by the arch reactionary fundamentalist Taliban rulers of Afghanistan. That you are holding it in Pakistan, instead of Afghanistan, does not mean that you have accepted defeat and they have made you 'ruined and forgotten', rather it proves your exemplary determination and firmness.
No word is strong enough to condemn the religious fundamentalist Taliban rulers who after coming to power in Afghanistan has snatched away all democratic rights of the people. Women are the worst victims. They have been enchained and sent back to kitchen and nursery. They have been strictly instructed to remain under Pardah.
We know that revolutionary women of Afghanistan did not tolerate everything silently. But all their protests were gagged by the Taliban rulers with brutality. The situation has not changed till now. We express our solidarity with you in your courageous fight against this fanatic force, for regaining your hard earned democratic rights.
On this occasion of 8th March we condemn the Taliban rulers who are destroying the ancient relics and monuments of pre-Islamic period of Afghanistan. This reminds us of the demolition of Babri Masjid, a historical monument by Hindu fanatic fundamentalists in India. We condemn such acts of vandalism of both Hindu and Muslim fundamentalist hoodlums and appeal to all well meaning people of the world to come forward and build up world wide movement against these sorts of medieval vandalism, be it in Afghanistan, India or in any corner of the world.
Our organisation AIMSS observes 8th March every year with all solemnity and takes up programmes of action on burning issues confronting the lives of all exploited and oppressed people, particularly of women. This year we observed 8th March - protesting against globalisation and liberalisation of economy and their evil effects on women and culture.
You know that ours is a capitalist country where the feudal hangover like superstition, prejudices, obscurantism, religious bigotry, etc. prevail in social thinking and now at the stage of decadent capitalism all these are getting blended with the most polluted and vulgar individualism, degraded morality and culture. And as a result, atrocities on women like dowry harassment and killings, sexual assaults, flesh trade are growing fast. Naturally, in our country the struggle for emancipation of women includes the unfinished task of fighting out the remnants of feudal culture and feudal attitude towards women along with the fight against decadent bourgeois culture.
We know, globalisation and liberalisation of economy not only open up the scope for plundering the markets of the 3rd world countries by the big imperialist powers, but also open wide the gate for cultural invasion which leads to further cultural degradation. As a result attacks on women have multiplied. Women are being shamelessly projected as sex objects. Fashion shows and modeling are being encouraged with renewed vigour showing nude and half nude women. Sex tourism and beauty contests are being encouraged, too. Women are shown in a very crude and vulgar way in course of advertisements in multi-media by the capitalists and the MNCs for selling their products and thereby reducing women to a commodity of the capitalist market.
Surely you have noticed that for the last five to six years all the Miss Universe or Miss World are being selected mainly from the 3rd world countries, particularly India. The sole motive of these beauty contests is, no doubt, to capture the markets of consumer goods particularly of cosmetics. The ladies who take part in these contests fail to understand that behind these so-called praise and glorification there is utter humiliation and insult to women's dignity.
Particularly when we recall the leading role of women in the history of human civilization, the struggle to establish their rights and their glorious achievements in the freedom struggle of different countries as well as in socialist revolution and more particularly when we think of the political significance of the International Women's Day, we cannot but feel how globalisation and liberalisation are robbing women of their culture and sense of dignity thus making them oblivious of their glorious past.
No doubt, this capitalist-imperialist attack of globalisation and liberalisation is an all-out attack on the oppressed people of the whole world including women. So, it is incumbent on us to build up mighty movements against the menace of globalisation and liberalisation uniting all oppressed people of the whole world including women.
We firmly believe that the need of the hour is to uphold the great tradition of International Women's Day, a day of political struggle for women's liberation and for socialism and to bring about unity and solidarity of fighting women of the world.
So, let us again convey our solidarity with you in your fight for restoration of democratic rights.
Long live unity of the fighting women of the world.
Long live the struggle against imperialism-capitalism-fundamentalism and for socialism.
With revolutionary greetings
All India Mahila Sanskritik Sangathan (AIMSS)
(All India Women's Cultural Organisation)
Dear sisters in and from Afghanistan
we "Women in Black " Hamburg/Deutschland are in thought with you. We know that you suffer, we know that you starve, having been cold that you are refused to live autonom, independent and in dignity.
We encourage you:
Women are tough
Women are clever
Women don't give up.
Many of your escaped sisters live here in Hamburg. They have our direct attention.
The regime which terrorizes your life in your country, has gone a decisive step with the destruction of the Buddha figures:
All governments are outraged about the destruction of this world culture inheritance now.
We think indignation would already have been necessary for a long time.
Your life is already handicapped and disrupted and destroyed for a long time. Hope we that the international "family of staates" -- now finally -- finds means and ways to make a life possible in dignity in Afghanistan again!
In our daily newspapers we can read your stories and more and more people in Europe and special in Hamburg draw attention in your fate.
Women in Black, Hamburg,br> Germany
We are very pleased to send our greetings and best wishes for your activities on this March 8, International Women's Day 2001.
For the Democratic Socialist Party, this is an important day on which to forge stronger links between all those struggling for the liberation of women around the world. It is a day with a proud history for the socialist movement - a history of internationalism, unity, solidarity and struggle.
It was at the 1910 International Conference of Socialist Working Women in Copenhagen that German Marxist leader Clara Zetkin first raised the idea of organising an International Working Women's Day to mark the important victories of women workers in the United States and to provide a focus for women around the world to organise public actions to win the right to vote. That conference broke vital new ground for the world socialist movement with its decision that every year, in every country, they should march under the slogan: "The vote for women will unite our strength in the struggle for socialism".
The sparking of the February Revolution in Russia by women defying the law to march in Petrograd on IWD in 1917 demanding bread and an end to the war vindicated the decision that women must be mobilised in the struggle for socialism, and that it is in their interests as the oppressed sex to do so. Those early marches marked the beginning of women's central role in leading the struggle for socialism.
The first IWD rally was held in Australia in 1928, also organized by communist women through the Militant Women's Movement. It demanded an eight-hour day, equal pay for equal work, paid annual leave and a living wage for the unemployed.
These demands have yet to be met for the overwhelming majority of women in Australia, and under the current neo-liberal offensive by Australia's capitalist rulers, they are becoming further out of reach for most women.
All working people in Australia are being hit hard by government policies which are attacking working people's right to organize and take action in trade unions; to have a job, and decent wages and working conditions; to receive welfare support when they are elderly or disabled or unemployed or sole parents; and to have access to education. Women are hit hardest by these attacks, but are also being targeted by new efforts to remove altogether their limited access to public child-care services, and to force them into ``secondary'', casual waged work and to take full responsibility again for unpaid domestic labor.
The DSP and the youth organization Resistance have been leading many of the IWD march and rally organizing committees in Australia for many years. This year we, along with thousands of others, will be marching in all major cities on March 8 and 10 under the theme ``Fighting for global justice for women'', reflecting our hopes and aspirations for the exciting new anti-capitalist movement that is emerging in the imperialist countries after Seattle, including in Australia. Under that theme, the IWD marches will demand: End corporate tyranny! Women workers' rights, in Australia and overseas! Open the borders, let the refugees stay! End global violence against women! A treaty for Aboriginal people! and Full reproductive freedom for women!.
For the moment, the women's liberation movement in our country is, after a decade of cooption and demobilization by social democracy, followed by the assault of neo-liberalism, small, disorganized and easily diverted by the latest fads in feminism. However, the DSP and Resistance are working consistently among women students, trade unionists and other campaigners, and through our newspaper Green Left Weekly and our public forums and classes, to rebuild a broad, campaigning women's liberation movement that can not only repel the escalating attacks on the mass of women, but, through making alliances with other oppressed people in struggle, play the central role that it must in rebuilding a mass working-class movement in Australia.
Our aim is to revive the great tradition of International Working Women's Day: a day of political struggle for women's liberation and for socialism, for without women's liberation there can be no socialism and without socialism women cannot be liberated.
In that common, worldwide struggle for an end to all oppression, we extend our solidarity to all of your comrades and campaigns.
On behalf of Democratic Socialist Party
I am a New York City based supporter of your organization. I saw a member of RAWA speak at V-day in Madison Square Garden. She was for me, and for others, the most moving speaker of the evening, which was great all around. She moved me to write a poem for her and for the women of Afghanistan, indeed all women, for there is a trend for suppression of woman's rights in the name of 'religion' and "family" all around the world. I wish I knew her name, they announced it, but it was not on the program. If you know her name could you please e-mail it to me, so I can dedicate this poem to her when I read it. I understand it might not be her real name, for her protection. She is twenty-three, very beautiful and very brave. Please dedicate this poem to her and to all the women of Afghanistan. Her honesty and bravery inspired and moved me deeply. I am a poet and spoken-word performer, and I will be reading this poem and spreading word of your situation. Please accept this poem as a gift to read at your function on March 8, International Women's Day. If there is anything in it that is culturally not correct, let me know! I am still doing research for it, but wanted to offer it in a heartfelt way.
Support and love,
- For RAWA representative at New York V-Day, and all Afghani women
In her face
her whole country was blown apart
a ceramic pot dropped and trampled
each piece carefully picked up and hidden
in her face
was a whole painfully glued together
in her determined amber eyes
clear with hard truth
The murder of your father & mother
will be your lover now?
who will cry your skin's
flowing through hills of drought
under the pale lunar cycle of your cheeks
your lips wet with shock
wails over a flooding lake
the shape of your skeleton
tall under the burqa
she walks onstage
her soul a siren's red swivel
the roots of a tree gripping below granite
a nervous system of tears
used to be her favorite color
blue the color of truth
blue the color of sky
smiling in mountain streams
blue the color of God
blue-violet of dusk
used to be her favorite hour
heaven before our beginning
Venus' diamond blur yearning with lovers
under the trees
under the burqa
men she cannot see beat her
for showing one arm
her whole life:
her husband kissing with her
in their kitchen
to be again her cherished moment
returning together from work
in the University, the market, the hospital, the shop
hugging her children
cooking smells of lamb and eggplant
deep blue hour of prayer call
of every day acts made holy
in the freedom of her home.
Thank you for the chance to support and participate.
I will send you a check this evening. My solidarity message is this:
The world is watching Afghanistan. You are not alone in your struggles. We support RAWA's efforts for a free and democratic government in Afghanistan, one which recognizes all people's human rights and civil liberties. We condemn the Taliban and the Jehadi fundamentalists. Their actions should be tried in an international court of law. As long as the Taliban continues its reign of oppression and terror, we, the supporters and members of RAWA, will continue to fight them. Please keep the faith and the hope alive. Don't give up the fight. Right always triumphs over wrong. You will overcome. God bless you all.
Denver, Colorado, USA
On International Women's Day, this message of support and solidarity for the women of RAWA comes from the Australian Federation of University Women. We wish you continuing strength in your struggle for a better and more just life for all the women of Afghanistan.
A donation of $371 collected from members of the State Association in Victoria is being forwarded in combination with the donation of the Global Sisterhood Network by courtesy of Lynette Dumble. We hope that this will be of some assistance in your work.
With very best wishes,
Jennifer Strauss, President, AFUW
Margaret James, President, AFUW-Victoria
Heather Wheat, Vice-President, AFUW-Victoria
On the occasion of International Women's Day, we would like to join our friends at RAWA in calling for an end to oppression for all women in Afghanistan, and around the world.
The appalling discrimination and oppression that women in Afghanistan face as a direct result of the forcible rule imposed by the Taliban is unacceptable. We call on people around the world to raise a voice against the denial to women of basic liberties and the right to dignity that are due to every human being. The continued denial to Afghan women of these rights is an appalling crime against humanity, which has already resulted in immense suffering for many thousands of women and their families.
We would also like to express dismay over the grim situation caused by the drought in many parts of Afghanistan. Past experience from around the world has shown that women and children are frequently the worst victims of such calamities. We call on international organisations to extend support to the stricken people of Afghanistan within their own country, and help alleviate the extreme suffering and threat to life that they are facing.
The HRCP would also like, on this occasion, to extend its felicitations to all our friends at RAWA for their brave struggle to improve the status of Afghan women. We wish them all possible success in the future.
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan
Please accept my message of solidarity for International Women’s' Day on March 8th.
As a young Australian woman, I am deeply concerned about the plight of women in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Please take some comfort from the thought that there are people in Australia who are aware of your plight; we only wish there was more that we could do to help.
You have my heartfelt best wishes, and admiration for your tremendous courage.
Yours in solidarity,
Helen Elizabeth Dale
Dearest RAWA friends,
Greetings and congratulations on your demonstration on International Womens' Day on March 8. There are people here in Australia who are aware of the dreadful situation of Afghan women. I wish to send a message of total support for the principles and ideas of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan--- the principles of democratic secularism and the liberation of women from the chains of ideological and religious fanaticism. Yours in solidarity forever.
Brisbane - Australia
Esteemed sisters of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, With each passing year, and 2001 appears no exception, you have stood as an unparalleled pillar of strength, an oasis of kindness and generosity, for Afghanistan's women, their children, their partners, and their parents, whose lives have been devastated by two decades of militarism and religious fundamentalism. That you have survived yourselves is testimony to your courage and stamina, but in reaching out to ensure the survival of your fellow Afghans you have captured the heart and respect of the international community.
Feminists, and indeed all who abhor indecency, are outraged by the culture of terror which the Taliban has created for Afghanistan's women and girls. We call on government and non-government agencies worldwide to provide you with both protection and resources. Failure to do so can only be seen as complicity with the Taliban, and spits in the face of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.
We pray that IWD 2001 may be the final occasion on which we mourn your struggle, and that of other women, against the Taliban and their women hating brothers. Our prayer may seem unrealistic at this dark point in time, but we are inspired by your endeavor against a barbaric, ignorant, and sadistic enemy. The alternative, to surrender, would end our mutual aspirations of a future where women, from cradle to grave, enjoy the freedom to live their lives on their own terms.
In solidarity and sisterhood,
Dr. Lynette J. Dumble
Medical and Environmental Scientist
Global Sisterhood Network
For Working Women Organization March 8th is an important day to forge stronger links and unity between all those struggling for the liberation of women around the world. It is a day with a proud history for the women’s movement - a history of internationalism, unity, solidarity and struggle.
This day remember us the struggle of women workers starts on 1857 for the betterment of working condition. At that time police brutally beaten the women workers to stop their voice, due to this brutally attack by police several women workers sacrifice their life.
It was at the 1910 on the event of International Conference in Copenhagen that German leader Clara Zetkin first raised the idea of organizing an International Working Women's Day to mark the important victories of women workers in the United States and to provide a focus for women around the world to organize public actions to win the right to vote.
Current Pakistan and Asian political, social and economic situation is extremely alarming for every one. Day by day obstruction and grievance of workers particularly women workers are augmenting. Huge unemployment, sexual harassment, worst working conditions and high inflation are making hard to survive for majority of the people. Most awful social and economic deprivations are compelling the grass root people especially women to committed suicides.
We deep concern that March 8, 2001 is a day of review and analysis of our movement’s, weaknesses and achievements and it is the day to chalk out new plan of action and strategies to over come the constraint, it is a day of struggle for women's liberation and a day for struggle to getting their legal rights.
I would like to inform you that on this occasion WWO organizing a series of activities for whole month of March against the exploitation and oppression on women and for the achievements of their unity and getting equality and justice.
On the behalf of Working Women Organization and its members, we extend our deep solidarity for all who are struggling world wide to the end of oppression and exploitation. Wish your great success and achievements in your struggle.
On behalf of Working Women Organization, we cordially invite you to join us or send messages to encourage and support the struggle of downtrodden women in Pakistan. Please send your solidarity messages before March 8, 2001.
Working Women Organization
Rubina Jamil, President
Aima Mahmood, Secretary
To me, RAWA's work goes far beyond the tragically necessary humanitarian, medical, and educational assistance RAWA members offer to their sisters and brothers. In the midst of the stifling, degraded, and violently oppressive situation that is today's Afghanistan, RAWA builds and nurtures self respect and determination, resilience, a love of justice and freedom, and a most valuable spark of Hope among Afghan women, men, and children*and therefore in all people across the world. Women of the world stand with you on this International Women's Day, and every day.
With great love and respect from one of RAWA's many American sisters
My heartfelt congratulations go out to the courageous members of RAWA on this international women's day. Your commitment and dedication serve as an example to all.
(organizer, RAWA benefit concert Berkeley, CA. 1-20-01)
I wanted to add my voice to the many others around the world who are standing behind you in your struggle for peace and democracy in Afghanistan. Please know that there are so many people who are touched by your work on behalf of Afghan women and Afghanistan, by your bravery in the face of serious threats, by your efforts to save the lives of Afghan women, children and men in Afghanistan and in Pakistan, by your dedication to bringing human rights, education, opportunities and choices to all people, regardless of gender, ethnicity, language, age. We are moved by your example, strengthened in our own battles for peace and equality by your bravery, and resolved to support your efforts in whatever ways we can. You are not alone.
I am with you with all my heart for the celebration of the women’s day.
I am living in a free country, Italy, I am alone, never married, had a carrier as a mathematics teacher and now am retiring. I think Taliban would lapidate me, even if I have no sexual relation. I’m Christian and a good Christian woman not married has no lovers.
In this days our newspapers all writing on Afghanistan, but they are worried for the statues of Buddha which Taliban have decide to destroy. Since they like finding enemies everywhere, they make war even to stones!
But it is absurd that our newspapers worry for Buddhas and not for women!
I hope only that at end even men will be feed up with those paranoiacs and will eliminate them. The problem is that in Afghanistan there is a lot of poppies for opium, so the westerners countries prefer close theirs eyes and buy drugs.
Dear sisters of RAWA,
On this International Women's Day, I send you the strongest message of support for your fight against the Taliban, a vile and contemptible regime that has declared war on Afghan women. Your work, to have this regime exposed for what is, and your untiring and self sacrificing efforts for your women are inspirational. I am thinking of you all at this special time for women and send all those celebrating IWD with you an ocean of solidarity.
Global Sisterhood Network
With our very best wishes for your day event, A Voice of the Women of Afghanistan. Keep up the good work.
Women Against Occupation
Dear friends and sisters,
In these times of hardship our people is still standing, and we have to remember, as a people we have always managed to stand back up. Whether it was because of very early invaders, or the British, or the Soviets and now the hideous and ignorant Taliban. They are trying to break our souls by torturing the innocents and attempting to eradicate our culture and traditions. They can't be real Afghans!...
It will not happen! I have hope and faith that we will get through this somehow. The world is watching now because of Bamyan and our Archeological Heritage is on a death row. This is again very dangerous for our nation but it is also the opportunity to remind the world once more of the true horror we are faced with. Remind them once more of the unacceptable silence. That we are being slaughtered, that the children of Afghanistan are dying of hunger, cold, disease and murder. That we have been abandoned, and we are part of this world, it, the world has a responsibility towards us. This is one lonely little planet and we need to HELP each other! We have to remind them constantly of us. We are all or have been children and we all need protection, peace, joy, love, our families, and most of all we need our lives back, we need our freedom back, and we need our respect back. We need to remind them every day that we live. RAWA has to continue the fight, continue to grow, continue to go everywhere and inform the world. The women and men of the world are starting to get more and more aware and angry about Afghanistan's ordeal. I have hope because I have seen their faces, I have felt the silence of grief fill rooms, as if a river was suddenly been heard flowing by in their back yards, here people are listening, people want to know the truth. They are rarely well informed. We need to do just that, inform them! And the most important is that a lot of people want to help, and that brings me hope. As a mother of two, as a woman, as a woman whose father is Afghan, as your half sister if you allow me, I send you today in memory of all the Afghan women, children and men who have died, suffered and are suffering still, to them from all the women and men I know in USA and in Europe a rainbow of hope. A prayer from the bottom of our hearts that we may prevail. The dark never comes without the light, we will prevail. May God be with you,
Another year gone by and not much has happened to alleviate the suffering of Afghan Women. We salute you for your continued struggle for justice and equality. The most difficult task in life is to try to make sense of the actions of senseless people such as Talibans. Even the international community does not know what to do with these irrational and barbaric Mullahs. Afghan women are imprisoned by people who have no education, no mercy and no wisdom. Any government who is going to destroy statues made thousands of years prior to Islam has no mercy for women. I believe people of Afghanistan are placed in a jail and the key has been given to a man with no brain or feeling, a total Moran.
You have our sympathy and support and we wished there was something we could do to end this brutality toward our Afghani sisters. However as you know we have a similar situation in Iran to deal with.
Please stay strong, keep up the good work and don't defend this religion that is causing you all so much pain and hardship.
Dr. Homa Darabi Foundation
Greetings to all courageous woman that work for the respect of the right and for a better situation of your people, all of you are in our heart and in our mind. We hope this is the last year under T. constriction, We Women in Black are with all of you.
Women in Black,
Salam dear friends/sisters,
Just wanted to wish you a happy and save March 8th.
Wish you all the best in your struggle for women's right.
Down with Taliban and the Parchamis
Please accept our warmest greetings and solidarity on the occasion of International Women's day 2001.
Your activities sin the last 12 months have made us all proud. We wish you success in the struggle against fundamentalism and the rule of the
Etehad Chap Kargari
The Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press wishes to express solidarity with all Afghan women, not just for International Women's Day, but for all your struggles throughout the year. We know that your voice and concerns need to be heard around the world and that the injustices need to be remedied. Stay strong. The women of the world care about you and together we will find a way for justice to prevail. Our love to all of you.
Martha Leslie Allen, PhD,
Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press,
Dear brave women (and men) of Afghanistan,
We have not forgotten you. We have passed out your messages on the street and forwarded them by e-mail. We reach out to you in hope and solidarity on the occasion of International Women's Day.
Wishing you peace and safety,
Women in Black
Justice and Peace Studies at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, USA, wishes to express its solidarity with Afghan women who are experiencing persecution and lack of respect for their human rights. In the active and nonviolent spirit of the late Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Muslim compatriot of Mohandas K. Gandhi, we offer our prayers and cooperation in your struggle. May all peoples of every faith, tribe and culture come to respect each other and support each others' legitimate aspirations and freedom of conscience.
Rev. David W. Smith, S.T.D., S.S.L.
Director, Justice and Peace Studies
Professor of Theology
We here at 3 Eyed Goat in the United States stand with you in your struggle for human freedom, human liberty and women's rights. Your strength and heroism gives us strength. You are not alone in your struggle. With our publications we are helping to spread the message of your struggle across the globe. In unity of spirit we can free all those suffering under the heel of aggressive and dominant rulers. There are no limits to what can be accomplished, through unification of spirit. We salute your brave and noble cause. We are tied to you through love and understanding. Push forward.
Stanley D. Johnson
3 Eyed Goat: Vegan-Communist International,
Dear mothers and sisters,
Our hearts go out to you in the calamity that has befallen you. May God grant you the strength to prevail in patience and courage, and all of us wisdom and compassion so that we never allow such tragedies to befall anyone again.
The Anti-imperialist Camp is sending its warmest greetings to RAWA's function on the occasion of the International Women's Day (8th of March).
It is an out crying fact that women in the poor countries of the world are the first and most suffering victims of the neo-liberal "globalisation" and its devastating effects. Instead of improving the women’s' situation the imperialist globalisation has been aggravating it: Women work for the lowest salaries and under the worst conditions. Women are being denied the most basic social and human rights including the right to live. Women are forced to live in utmost oppression and under conditions of slavery.
In your country, Afghanistan, women particularly suffer from the inhuman oppression and persecution by the cruel Taliban-regime which is turning their life into misery, violence and desperation.
Thus, the struggle against the inhuman regime of the Taliban has to be also a women's struggle in the same way as the fight against imperialist oppression and exploitation against neo-liberal globalisation has to be also a women's fight. It will never succeed if women's liberation will not be a genuine part of it.
The 8th of March reminds us each and every year that the women's striving for better living conditions, for equal rights and for liberation from oppression has already a long history. The 8th of March recalls all the women who gave their lives during these longs years of fighting and reminds us that we must not give up. And we will not!
The women's struggle will continue and will be alive as long as women's oppression will exist.
Solidarity with the oppressed and exploited women!
Long live the international anti-imperialist women's struggle!
for the Anti-imperialist Camp
Dearest friends, many good wishes and many kisses for women's day.
We're making preparations for a dance spectacle for you, the 23 march in Padua, in Modigliani school, where we have done the theatre spectacle "Zena" on December, when Zoia and Mariam were here. We always remember you.
Carla (Amnesty International)
Greetings to our dear friends in RAWA
We were sorry to hear that you had to postpone your celebrations for International Women's Day, but we hope your celebrations on March 17 are even more joyous and powerful.
As part of your celebrations please receive our warm congratulations for all the work you have done and continue to do in the efforts to achieve justice and empowerment for women, that they may live their lives in freedom. We support your efforts to ensure that the perpetrators of human rights abuse against women in Afghanistan are not allowed to continue without impunity. We hope this International Women's Day celebration marks the beginning of a year in which RAWA will see the success of its work come to fruition.
Asia Pacific Forum on Women Law and Development
Women become victim in case of war, drought, famine or any other natural calamity. To sustain family, they are treated as a commodity. This is what happening in Afghanistan. Women are paying the price of men's follies and ambition of power. It is admirable that how in such circumstances when women of Afghanistan are removed from the outer space and confined to the four walls, RAWA is struggling without any pause to create consciousness among the oppressed women. Great battles are always fought intellectually and RAWA is engaged to fight for woman’s rights against all odds. We also remember that we must fight unitedly against the enemies. RAWA needs support and help from friends.
On the behalf of "Working Women Organization" I would like to express our warmest greetings on international women day. We extremely appreciate RAWA's valuable work and struggle against injustice and brutal chauvinism. WWO strongly condemn fascism in the name of religion and firmly opposed all practicing values and customs that badly hurt women's rights and dignity. It's my pleasure to share that with the perspective of International Women Day, WWO is also organizing women seminar on March 17th. We are celebrating IWD with the sprit that in spite of enormous suppression and deprivations we "women" are not ready to tolerate any sort of fascism and violence. And we "women" are united and strong enough to defeat existing social norms and prejudices against women.
International Women day is a day of womanhood that reminds proud history of women struggle for building equal, peaceful and prosper world for every body without any differences and discriminations. This day gives us optimism towards bright future. In this remarkable day we feel pleasure to extend our strong solidarity and support with our RAWA's sisters impressive struggle under most critical circumstances and congratulate them for their continue struggle.
Wish you great successes and achievements.
Working Women Organization
Do not be discouraged. Know that women around the world care about you and are thinking of you. Even in the darkest hour is always a ray of hope. Search deep within and find the strength to go on - we must NEVER give up or give in.
To the brave women of Afghanistan and the brave members of RAWA,
You are *not* forgotten. The struggle may at times or even often seem futile but we will not give up, we will not withdraw our support, we will not cease our efforts until you have regained your rights, your freedom, your dignity, and your pride.
Yours in solidarity,
Cara Schlesinger, Managing Editor, Social Research Journal,
New School for Social Research,
Arien Mack, Editor, Social Research Journal, and Marrow Professor of Psychology, New School for Social Research,
Cara N. Schlesinger
Managing Editor and Social Research Project Manager
A beloved Afghan comrade said to me "When a house catches fire everything burns... but the walls... they become stronger in the fire." The flowers of Afghanistan, the brave and courageous women of RAWA are the walls that have become stronger and stronger still in the fire of war and fundamentalism.
On behalf of the vanguard of the workers and peasants of Pakistan, we salute the glorious struggle of the revolutionary women of RAWA.
We remember that when fundamentalism first reared its ugly head in Pakistan during the Zia regime, its first victims were women. Their goal was to split the ranks of the progressive forces and impose on them reactionary ideas. Fundamentalism is a local form of fascism and is opposed to the development of the peoples movement for revolutionary democracy.
We, the vanguard of Pakistan, realize that it is from Pakistan that this vicious reactionary and fascist attack was launched on our sisters and brother in Afghanistan. Therefore, we accept this responsibility and hang our heads in shame that we were not able to do enough to help the brave fighters of Afghanistan.
But there is a new spirit in the party and in the progressive people of Pakistan. We are rebuilding, recreating, reconstructing and mobilizing to meet the new challenges. We will fulfill our historic duty to the people and especially to the women of Afghanistan. We extend our unconditional support to the democratic movement in Afghanistan and the movement for women's emancipation that is being spearheaded by RAWA.
Long live the democratic movement of the peoples of Afghanistan!
Long live RAWA and the brave Afghan revolutionaries!
Long live the unity of working people in Afghanistan and Pakistan!
A new day will dawn! Revolution will triumph!
Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party
You don't know me, but at the small place in Spain where I live, I have known all about the hell that you and many other women are living in Afghanistan.
I can't understand how a man can decide about your freedom as human beings. How can a law forbid women to study, work out, dance, read books, etc. Why should women wear a "burka".
I agree with you. It is necessary to fight tyrany and ignorance to find a way to avoid discrimination against women.
These Taliban men look like insane... I think they have forgotten that they were born from a woman.
Much love to all of you
Mª Carmen Burgos
MESSAGE OF SUPPORT TO AFGHAN WOMEN
Today, the world celebrates women's International Day in the new millennium.
Women from all over the world have been struggling to improve their rights as human beings since the 1800s. As survivors of torture we feel what they are experiencing. we, members of TASSC would like to take this opportunity to send a message of support to all women in general and to Afghan women in particular who have been experiencing the worst inhuman treatment and have been striving to improve their rights.
In fact, since the suspension of the Afghanistan's constitution, which guaranteed fundamental rights to women in April 1992, women in Afghanistan have been facing discriminatory gender practices, rape, imprisonment, torture and other human rights violations and abuses to say the least. However, they are still struggling to regain their rights.
Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states: "NO ONE SHALL BE SUBJECTED TO TORTURE OR TO CRUEL, INHUMAN OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT." TASSC would like to encourage Afghan women to continue the fight and to amplify these voices of justice against these atrocities.
We are calling on the international community and all women and men to join their voices and efforts with Afghan women. We ought to stand up and speak fearlessly against all forms of torture, and human rights violations that others still face today. They may not have the means to speak out for themselves, thus our silence becomes a conspiracy against the tortured.
It is time to reaffirm our faith in the abolition of torture around the world.
Afghan women should be encouraged by the fact that TASSC is behind them. To our Afghan sisters, we the members of TASSC worldwide say to you, we are behind you hundred percent and we will fight along together until all instruments of torture are destroyed, human rights are respected and justice prevails.
The Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition (TASSC)
This message has been translated from PersianDear friends!
The Association of Iranian Political Prisoners (in Exile) extends its sincere congratulations to you on the occasion of March 8, the International Women’s Day. The Association of Political Prisoners through the past years has always supported the struggles of the suffering masses of Afghanistan, especially women, against religious reactionaries and oppressors who rule Afghanistan. We have no doubt that the women of Afghanistan are aware of the fundamental principle that the struggle for their emancipation from tyranny and oppression and inequality is inseparable from the struggle against the reactionary ruling regime and the reactionary Taleban gang and other ruling religious factions. The women of Afghanistan will achieve their human rights when unjust relations and misogynous customs are supplanted by new and human relations in which all human beings enjoy equal economic, social and political conditions. And this achievement will not be possible unless the suffering and oppressed masses of Afghanistan continue the struggle until the downfall of the religious reactionaries, and gain full political power.
Iranian women too, like their persecuted sisters in Afghanistan, suffer from the dual gender and class oppression and custom and religion, which have turned them into human beings of a second sex. The Islamic government that rules Iran has deprived them of all of their human and social rights, and stones, tortures and executes them for rejecting the reactionary and retrogressive norms of this tyrannical regime. The solidarity in struggle between the oppressed women of Iran and Afghanistan against the reactionary Islamic rulers in Iran and Afghanistan must more and more find a palpable basis, and, in combination with the wide-ranging struggles of the masses, free itself from the yoke of repressive relations that govern the two countries. In expectation of that day, once again we make the most of this opportunity, and declare our solidarity with your liberating struggles.
On behalf of the Coordinating Council of the Association of Iranian Political Prisoners (in Exile)
Also thanks to the Association of Iranian Political Prisoners (in exile) for sending their messages in Persian and also our thanks to the following freinds from Spain for sending their messages in Spanish:
Asunción Hernández Martínez,
Angeles Gago Albarán,
Sidney Romano Benjamín,
Manuel Antonio Baeza Martinez,
Teresa Quinto García,
Emilia Arocas Gimenez,
Maria del Mar Asencio González
[Messages we received on March 8, 1999]
[Messages we received on March 8, 2000]
[A number of solidarity messages to RAWA on Feb4, 2002]