Stern Magazine, No. 50, 6th December 2001 (Translated from German)

Relief for Afghanistan

Tail wind for RAWA: yachtsmen on international sailing regatta, authors and boy-scouts are donating for the peaceful rebels. Stars are selling souvenirs. Already more than DEM 185,000 on the account of the stern campaign.

They founded schools for a girls' generation, who until now had no hopes of ever writing a letter nor reading a book. And for children, who are more accustomed to daily executions, whippings, lootings, and rapes than to the ABC. Now, they want to rebuild a hospital, which had to be closed due to lack of money. The hospital of Quetta, Pakistan, with 400 beds for victims of land mines, for women and children, had been one of the best in the region.

In our issue no. 46 we presented the work of RAWA, the Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan, appealing to donate something to this organization. Since then, readers have been wondering how the battle of the "peaceful rebels" will continue.

The team of social democratic women of the German political party SPD is supporting RAWA politically. "It's not sufficient just to state that the participation of women in a transitional government is desirable. The international community has to make sure that Afghan women will be liberated instead of simply bending apart the bars of suppression", its president Karin Junker urged UN secretary-general Kofi Annan.

Further politicians of SPD and the Greens (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) joined the "Civilian Alliance against Terrorism" of the German peace initiative Nottuln. Together with RAWA, this alliance is supporting human rights in Afghanistan. The week before last, their representatives met RAWA activist Shahla, before she received the ZDF-prize for the struggle for feminist rights in Afghanistan, awarded by the German women's broadcast "Mona Lisa".

The German vocalist Nina Hagen organized a charity Christmas gala performance on 23rd December to benefit the reopening of the RAWA hospital. Other artists, who cannot be there, donated personal things, which will be sold on a charity bazaar afterwards. Among others, Sabine Christiansen, Senta Berger, and Nadja Auermann contributed something for Nina Hagen's bazaar.

The crew of Gisbert Pauen is even circumnavigating half the world for the benefit of RAWA. During the Daimler-Chrysler North Atlantic Challenge, an exhausting regatta taking place in summer 2003 and leading from New York to Hamburg alongside the polar border, these men want to sail close to the wind for the women and donate to RAWA all money raised by sponsors and their cash prize, in case they will win.

The Swedish author Henning Mankell transferred his royalty for an article in this magazine ("Der Turm zu Babel und die Apostel der Verzweiflung, stern no. 47/2001) to the RAWA account.

Often it's the small activities which will support these women. The boy-scouts and girl-scouts St. Georg from Sendelbach for instance, organized a Christmas bazaar selling waffles and punch. They forwarded the proceeds to stern to benefit RAWA.

It's a long way towards an Afghanistan, where women will have equal rights. Many men died in the war so that women now make up about 60% of the population. But only 3-4% of them are able to write or read. So, the way will lead to schools and educational institutions - mostly against tough resistance of Afghan men.

Three weeks after the donation's appeal, DEM 185,648.73 were received on the account already (no charitable donation certificates may be issued, since RAWA has no charitable status in Germany).

RAWA will use these funds to build additional schools and orphanages. They will reopen the hospital in Quetta and set up workshops, where women may earn their own living.

Angelika Franz


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