Monday, May 11, 2009

Afghan Girl's Mystery Sickness: Taliban Handiwork?

Sixty one Afghan girls and their teacher were admitted to a hospital in Kabul with a mysterious illness. The girls complained of weepiness, irritability and confusion after noticing a"flowery" smell before some passed out and others became ill. ABC News reports as follows.

"Doctors were investigating whether dozens of students were poisoned at a high school in northern Afghanistan on Monday after 61 girls went to the hospital complaining of sudden illness, officials said.

Dr. Khalil Farangi said the 61 students and one teacher from Hora Jalaly high school in Parwan province northwest of Kabul complained of symptoms like irritability, weeping and confusion. Several girls also passed out."

It is not without reason that the Taliban are suspected of what appears to be appears to be a poison gas attack. Under Taliban rule, women were banned from school, working outside the home or even being treated by male doctors. They were also subject to the most rigourous standards of modesty in dress. complete covering of the face was required, aside from the eyes. Since they have been reduced to being a guerrilla army out of power, the Taliban have resorted to attacks on schools, a symbol of a way of life of which they do not approve.

Sadly enough, it was under the Taliban that prostitution flourished. Women who were confined to life indoors were faced with starvation. Banned from being nurses and teachers, they found that prostitution was the only path open to them. In the twisted world of the Taliban, modest and decent professions are closed to women. An underworld of prostitution is tolerated by the Taliban. Needless to say, the Taliban charges in money and services a price for their silence.

The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) has documented many of the abuses of the Taliban and other governments that have ruled Afghanistan throughout its troubled recent history. The following exerpt from a RAWA report was from 1999, when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan. It details how Islamic law is perverted and circumvented to inflict unspeakable abuse.

Each of these brothels has three to five women working and living in them. Some of the terms they use are; “Kharabati” for prostitute, “khala kharabati” for an old woman managing the work of the brothel, “Qala” for the brothel and “Qala dar” for their pimps. The environment is usually hostile and there are arguments and fights over clients. Each Qala has two to three Qala-dars and a khala-kharabati. The male pimps mediate between the prostitutes and their customers. The old women are managing the internal affairs of the Qala; collect money from the clients, prepare food and do other chores around the Qala. Clients either come into the Qala or the women visit the clients house. A third way is through a taxi. Because of its security risk this way is more difficult as the Taliban has banned the use of a taxi without a “muharam” (close male relative). Therefore the prostitute take a 6-9 year old boy with them if they want to work through a taxi. These children are usually witnessing the acts. It has been said that these children are being asked for sexual acts as well. A woman, M. H, told us, “ one day I decided to work through a taxi, along Salang-wat Rd the taxi driver signaled two turban wearing men. The two men got on the taxi and we went to Silo area. In their house they raped my eight-year-old son. I could not do anything. My destitute blackened the life of my son.” Working through taxies is harder. Sometimes the women go without a client for days. Taxi drivers usually don’t want to take the risk and get involved.

The following are some rules for women under Taliban rule as detailed by RAWA

1- Complete ban on women's work outside the home, which also applies to female teachers, engineers and most professionals. Only a few female doctors and nurses are allowed to work in some hospitals in Kabul.

2- Complete ban on women's activity outside the home unless accompanied by a mahram (close male relative such as a father, brother or husband).

3- Ban on women dealing with male shopkeepers.

4- Ban on women being treated by male doctors.

5- Ban on women studying at schools, universities or any other educational institution. (Taliban have converted girls' schools into religious seminaries.)

6- Requirement that women wear a long veil (Burqa), which covers them from head to toe.

7- Whipping, beating and verbal abuse of women not clothed in accordance with Taliban rules, or of women unaccompanied by a mahram.

8- Whipping of women in public for having non-covered ankles.

9- Public stoning of women accused of having sex outside marriage. (A number of lovers are stoned to death under this rule).

10- Ban on the use of cosmetics. (Many women with painted nails have had fingers cut off).

11- Ban on women talking or shaking hands with non-mahram males.

12- Ban on women laughing loudly. (No stranger should hear a woman's voice).

13- Ban on women wearing high heel shoes, which would produce sound while walking. (A man must not hear a woman's footsteps.)

14- Ban on women riding in a taxi without a mahram.

15- Ban on women's presence in radio, television or public gatherings of any kind.

16- Ban on women playing sports or entering a sport center or club.

17- Ban on women riding bicycles or motorcycles, even with their mahrams.

18- Ban on women's wearing brightly colored clothes. In Taliban terms, these are "sexually attracting colors."

19- Ban on women gathering for festive occasions such as the Eids, or for any recreational purpose.

20- Ban on women washing clothes next to rivers or in a public place.

21- Modification of all place names including the word "women." For example, "women's garden" has been renamed "spring garden".

22- Ban on women appearing on the balconies of their apartments or houses.

23- Compulsory painting of all windows, so women can not be seen from outside their homes.

24- Ban on male tailors taking women's measurements or sewing women's clothes.

25- Ban on female public baths.

26- Ban on males and females traveling on the same bus. Public buses have now been designated "males only" (or "females only").

27- Ban on flared (wide) pant-legs, even under a burqa.

28- Ban on the photographing or filming of women.

29- Ban on women's pictures printed in newspapers and books, or hung on the walls of houses and shops.

The love affair between the American left and the those who call themselves Islamic fundamentalists never ceases to amaze me. They create an airbrushed picture of "Islamic" states in Iran and Afghanistan. Then they look at America's sins with an electron microscope. At first glance, Muslims who condemn the West sound a lot like social critics. The surface puritanism of doctrinaire communists in the Stalin era resembles in some ways that of the Islamic fundamentalists. Perhaps the sight of bearded demonstrators sparks nostalgic memories of violent anti war demonstrations in the 1960's.

One thing is certain. If the leftist advocates of "reaching out" were to live under the governments they defend, they would be locked up very quickly. The term used by Vladimir Lenin to describe non communist defenders of communism was "useful idiots". They bear an amazing resemblance to the anti war activists who fought against America in Vietnam and Iraq. I use the term "fought against America" with full premeditation. During the Vietnam war, the antiwar movement was a part of the communist strategy. I have no doubt that the activists fighting American involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan are employing the same strategy.

The women in RAWA are no friends of America. The picture they paint is of an Afghanistan that has been victimised by a procession of corrupt and despotic rulers. They include those who have acted on behalf of the Soviets, the Iranians and the Americans. There is a resonance to their assessment. But the sixty one Afghan girls sickened by mysterious fumes are living testimony to who is waiting in the wings if America withdraws.

The days of the Third International, the world wide alliance of communists out to rule the world are gone. We now have the spectre of militant Islam. It is already a force to be reckoned with in Europe and in Britain. And it is getting stronger here. In the age of instant news and cable internet, there is no way to plead ignorance. A sleeping America has been shaken already and gone back to sleep. How badly will she be shaken again? Sphere: Related Content

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