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A report from RAWA function on International Women’s Day
March 8,1999
To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8th March and to remind the international community of gross human right violations in Afghanistan, the Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) organised a function, funded by its supporters, in Nishter Hall at Peshawar Pakistan. More than a thousand people participated in the function which included foreign guests, members and supporters of RAWA, representatives from democratic organisations of Pakistan and Afghanistan, intellectuals and influential personalities and a large number of journalists. 

The hall was decorated with slogans against fundamentalism of Jehadis and Taliban and in support of democracy, freedom and women’s right in Persian, Pashto, Urdu and English languages and a number of pictures showing the destruction of Kabul and other provinces of Afghanistan, demonstrations and functions by RAWA and some portraits of Martyr Meena. 

The on stage tableau which was depicting the fury and rage of our women against oppressive restrictions such as compulsory hejab (head to toe covering) attracted a lot of people’s attention. 

The functions started at 2 PM. The opening speech was by Shahla Latifi one of the organising members from RAWA. Her talk was followed by a patriotic song ‘pain of our land’ by students of RAWA school which met with repeated applause from the audience. 

Two of RAWA’s members shed light on (in Pashto and Farsi languages) the tragic state of women of Afghanistan, activities and position of RAWA with respect to the present situation in Afghanistan, the negative role of the international media specially those of Pakistan, indifference by the international community on the Afghanistan issue and the need for unity among the democratic forces of Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

A letter from one of RAWA’s member from Kabul described the 20-year-old pain and sufferings of women and ways of salvation from those pains. The letter was read by Yasamin and made a number of audience’s tears rolling down their faces.  

In a number of speeches and letters which were reflecting the present day situation in Afghanistan and its unfortunate female citizens they imparted the crimes and brutality of Taliban and Jehadi traitors and the need for uncompromising and decisive struggle against the enemies of freedom and  democracy. Following friends and supporters of RAWA expressed their solidarity with impassionate poems and speeches and added to the magnificence of the ceremony: 

- Fanoos Gujar (Leader of PAP) 
- Zaitoon Banu (Famous writer and head of Women Writer’s Forum) 
- Afzal Khamosh (General secretary of CMKP) 
- Qaisar Khan (Information secretary of PQP) 
- Deb Ellis (Founding leader of Women for Women in Afghanistan) 
- Saber Kashmiri (Acting chairman of Jamu Kashmir Liberation Front) 
- Saber Jan Saber (Famous Pushto poet from PQP) 
- Farida (A compatriot refugee poet in Pakistan) 
- Baigum Asghar Qizilbaash (General secretary of Women’s Wing of PAP) 

In between the speeches and letters a number of revolutionary and patriotic poems and songs were performed which met with warm responses from the audience. In one stage in the ceremony a song in the memory of Martyr Meena prepared and performed by our friend from America Lorrie Sprecher was presented.  

(Click here to listen to the song in RealAudio format)

A poem ‘woman’ by Partaw Noori Ahla in the memory of women of Iran under the rules of fascists regime of Iran was performed by RAWA activist Huma Saeed. 

Due to lack of time only a portion of solidarity messages from human rights and democratic organisation and individuals from all over the world was read. 

The play ‘This is an Islamic Emirate’ was performed by youths from ‘Watan school’ of RAWA which showed the insults and degradation that our battered women and men have to endure under the tyranny of Taliban beasts. The play met with enthusiastic response while some audience member could not stop their tears. 

Due to lack of funds, hundreds Afghan women including most of our activists and supporters from inside the country and from Quetta city couldn't take part in the event.  

Our table of publications situated near the entrance of the hall sold a large number of our publications and cassettes. 

The ceremony was extensively publicised in Pakistani media and reports from the ceremony and interviews with the members of RAWA were broadcasted by BBC (Persian, Pushto, Urdu), Voice of America (Farsi and Pushto), Radio Iran, Radio France and...


[Home Page] [Photos of the function] [Reflection in the Pakistani press]
Statement of RAWA on March 8: [English] [Persian]
[Threatening letter of Taliban to Ms Deb Ellis]
[A number of solidarity messages to RAWA on International Women's Day]
[ Amnesty International statement about RAWA's safety]