She Died for Speaking Up for Women

September 5, 2010 Leave a comment
Meena, founder of RAWA

Meena, founder of RAWA

After the terrible events of September 11, 2001, we started hearing more about Afghanistan, and especially about the situation of women in Afghanistan, and about the limited rights of movement, expression, etc. that Afghan women enjoy.

News teams and documentaries showed  us women and girls in burqas and we shook our heads in dismay at the lack of rights and opportunity.

But did we hear what the Afghan women were doing for themselves to fight their own oppression?  There is a grassroots Afghan organization called the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) that has been fighting for the rights of Afghan women since the 1977.

The founder of the organization was assassinated in 1987 but the organization did not give up the fight.  Besides political activism and providing first-hand information about conditions in Afghanistan to journalists around the world, RAWA is also involved in social service activities such as running orphanages, providing schools for girls (UNICEF estimates that only 3 to 4 percent of Afghan girls are literate) and providing healthcare services within Afghanistan and in refugee camps in Pakistan.

These women are heroines. They consistently strive for democracy and freedom from oppression through decades of war.  You won’t hear much about them in the US mainstream press now, because they also oppose the Karzai administration and the Warlords that support him as another fundamentalist regime. It is not only the Taliban that oppose women and girls’ equality.  It is also any of the traditional fundamentalist warlords.

Every day these women are facing down a dangerous enemy who feels they should not have the right nor the ability to act in the world. Their work is so necessary and important. It is the kind of dangerous work we have not had to do in this country for a long time, but it is everyday reality for them, in the face of opposition from the most powerful forces in their country.

Find more information at the links below:
RAWA’s website
Biography of Meena