Radio Singapore International, March 29, 2005
Inspirational Stories of Afghan Women
- More than just victims
This week, Bharati Jagdish looks at how books about Afghan women and their stories are inspiring a whole new generation of women.
Meena was born into a middle-class family in Kabul in the 1950s - a time when Afghan women's rights were considerably more respected, but the cause of achieving full equality was very much alive.
Meena received an education and intended to study law so that she could fight for women's rights in the courts, but by that time, the liberal atmosphere had changed and as Afghanistan gradually lost its independence and the government became unstable, fundamentalist groups began interpreting every democratic reform as a sign of corrupting foreign influence and emancipated women were their first targets. Random attacks were carried out on women but Meena did not let this stop her and continued speaking out for women through an underground rights organisation, The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan or RAWA - an organisation which she built and nurtured. But after years of upheaval and brave efforts at changing the lives of Afghan women, Meena was murdered by an Afghani who had pretended to be a RAWA supporter.
Meena's story has been told in a book called "Meena - Heroine of Afghanistan" written by Melody Chavis. Other similar books like "Behind the Burqa"also tell stories of other Afghan women who had suffered under the Taliban but who had also had the courage to stand up against them.
But how far have these books gone in terms of changing the lives of Afghan women?
Bharati Jagdish speaks to Sahar Saba from the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan to find out more.
Click to listen to interview
Books on RAWA