October 11th, 2006

spark, bound hands


This is an interesting -- and
rather depressing -- article. Women in Afghanistan are getting death
threats for working. Isn't it great that we liberated them?

It's disappointing that the headline writer felt the need to describe
them as "trembling in fear". The women interviewed in the article don't
seem to be trembling. Afraid, yes, certainly. Anxious. But they're not
trembling helplessly. They're working anyway, because they need to.
They're meeting with each other for support, both moral/emotional and
practical. These are not helpless victims -- they're doing what they can
to take care of themselves, their families, and each other. They're
active participants. And the writer of the article seems to understand
that. The headline writer, though, has to turn these women into passive,
helpless, trembling victims. It's as if, in order to draw attention to
the Afghan women's plight, they have to pretend that those women have no

The comments are interesting as well. They seem, almost entirely, to go
straight to "well, this is why we're in Afghanistan" -- never mind that
we've been there for a while and don't seem to have made things better.
We Westerners are standing there with our shiny guns, and the death
threats are still rolling in.

Not that we shouldn't be doing something. And no, I don't know what. But
I hate to see this image of the helpless Afghan woman who just needs a
big strong Western army to defend her... She may need our support and
help, but let's not assume she doesn't know a few things herself. Maybe
we should be asking her how we can help?