This is a chain e-mail/petition which has been circulating in
one form or another since 1999.
Afghan Women (Petition)
Recently, the editor of Chatelaine (Sally
Armstrong, ex Homemaker's Editor) was interviewed on CBC radio. She had just
returned from a trip to Afghanistan to see the present state of affairs for
herself, having been told the situation had "improved". She stated
that the situation has deteriorated even further, as is detailed in the
following message. She noted that there has been a worldwide outcry against
the Taliban's recent destruction of ancient Buddhist statues, far more vocal
than any outcry against the Taliban's destruction of Afghan women! With the
speed and scope of Email, we can, if we persist, provide not 9,000, but
9,000,000 signatures to the governments of the free world. Let's do it!
Subject: Afghani women - If you decide not to
forward this, please send it back to me. This is an actual petition, and
"signatures" will be lost if you drop the line. Please take a few
minutes out of your life to do your part for our sisters in Afghanistan. Be
sure to include other members of your household who are willing to sign. Oprah
recently had a show about this atrocity and it was heartbreaking. Petition to
the United Nations Background
Information: Madhu, the government of Afghanistan,
is waging a war upon women. Since the Taliban took power in 1996, women have
had to wear burqua and have been beaten and stoned in public for not having
the proper attire, even if this means simply not having the mesh covering in
front of their eyes. One woman was beaten to death by an angry mob of
fundamentalists for accidentally exposing her arm(!) while she was driving.
Another was stoned to death for trying to leave the country with a man that
was not her relative. Women are not allowed to work or even go out in public
without a male relative; professional women such as professors, translators,
doctors, lawyers, artists and writers have been
forced from their jobs and restricted to their homes.
Homes where a woman is present must have their
windows painted so that she can never be seen by outsiders. They must wear
silent shoes so that they are never heard. Women live in fear of their lives
for the slightest misbehavior. Because they cannot work, those without male
relatives or husbands are either starving to death or begging in the street,
even if they hold Ph.D.'s. Depression is becoming so widespread that it has
reached emergency levels. There is no way in such an extreme Islamic society
to know the suicide rate with certainty, but relief workers are estimating
that the suicide rate among women must be extraordinarily high: those who
cannot find proper medication and treatment for severe depression and would
rather take their lives than live in such conditions. At one of the rare
hospitals for women, reporter found still, nearly lifeless bodies lying
motionless on top of beds, wrapped in their burqua, unwilling to speak, eat,
or do anything, but slowly waste away. Others have gone mad and were seen
crouched in corners, perpetually rocking or crying, most of them in fear.
It is at the point where the term "human rights violations" has
become an understatement. Husbands have the power of life and death over their
women relatives, especially their wives, but an angry mob has just as much
right to stone or beat a woman, often to death, for exposing an inch of flesh
or offending them in the slightest way. Women enjoyed relative freedom: to
work, to dress generally as they wanted, and to drive and appear in public
alone until only 1996. The rapidity of this transition is the main reason for
the depression and suicide; Women who were once educators or doctors or simply
used to basic human freedoms are now severely restricted and treated as
subhuman in the name of right-wing fundamentalist Islam. It is not their
tradition or 'culture', but it is alien to them, and it is extreme even for
those cultures where fundamentalism is the rule. Everyone
has a right to a tolerable human existence, even if they are women in a Muslim
country. If we can threaten military force in Kosovo the name of human rights
for the sake of ethnic Albanians, citizens of the world can certainly express
peaceful outrage at the oppression, murder and injustice committed against
women by the Taliban.
STATEMENT: In signing this, we agree that the
current treatment of women in Afghanistan is completely UNACCEPTABLE and
deserves action by the United Nations and that the current situation overseas
will not be tolerated. Women's Rights is not a small issue anywhere, and it is
UNACCEPTABLE for women in 2001 to be treated as subhuman and as so much
property. Equality and human decency is a fundamental RIGHT, not a freedom to
be granted, whether one lives in Afghanistan or elsewhere.
DIRECTIONS: PLEASE COPY this email on to a new
message, sign the bottom and forward it to everyone on your distribution
lists. If you receive this list with more than 300 names on it, please e-mail
copy of it to: email@example.com Even if you decide to not sign please
return to sender.
If you send the signed petition back to the e-mail address
given, then it will bounce and you will receive this notice from Brandeis
Please read this message carefully, especially
the next two sentences. Do not reply to this email. Do not forward this
email to anyone else. Anyone who needs a copy, already has one. Do not make
things worse. Do not "help" by forwarding this message to everyone
who has corresponded with you on this subject.
Due to a flood of hundreds of thousands of messages in response to an
unauthorized chain letter, all mail to <firstname.lastname@example.org> is
being deleted unread. It will never be a valid email address again. If you
have a personal message for the previous owner of that address, you will
need to find some means other than email to communicate.
<email@example.com> was not an
organization, but a person who was totally unprepared for the inevitable
consequences of telling thousands of people to tell fifty of their friends
to tell fifty of their friends to send her email.
It is our sincere hope that the hundreds of
thousands of people who continue to attempt to reply will find a more
productive outlet for their concerns. There are several excellent
organizations and individuals doing real work on the issues raised. Some of
them were mentioned in sarabande's letter. None of them authorized her
actions. We suggest that you contact them through non-virtual channels to
help. They all have web sites with information and contact points. Unlike
sarabande, they can channel your energy in useful directions. Do not let
this incident discourage you.
Please do not forward unverified chain letters,
no matter how compelling they might seem. Propagating chain letters is
specifically prohibited by the terms of service of most Internet service
providers; you could lose your account.
Any replies to this message will be deleted
unread. The issue is closed.
If you receive a message about this then please ignore it and don't pass it on as this only serves to propagate
You are not going to help anyone by signing this well-meaning, but useless