open to all writers
1200 words to insert into the research paper I have completed thus far. The 1200 words are for 2 additional subheadings which are:
1) Why the Taliban targeted women
2) The Taliban‘s hypocrisy and true Islam
(twisting of true Islam (in regards to women) -please come up with a better wording of subheading. This section should discuss women’s true rights under Islam versus how the Taliban twisted it to fit their ideology.)
You may distribute the 1200 words in any way you like between the 2 subheadings.
Research must contain MLA citations and biliography.
The research paper I have completed thus far is below. The 2 additional subheadings would be inserted into this paper. Please do not use anything already specifically mentioned. Thanks!
Research Paper Thus Far
Using data primarily gathered by the Physicians for Human Rights, United Nations documents, and information gathered by award winning journalists, the researcher compiled research to document the Taliban?s persecution of Afghani women from 1996 through 2001.
The Taliban?s Complete Subjugation of Women in the Name of Islam
In 1996, the Taliban gained control of Afghanistan and began the methodical torture and total subjugation of Afghani women. Women were completely removed from Afghan daily life and forced to live in the background, severely impoverished, mistreated, terrorized, and left without medical care or educational opportunities. The Taliban used brutal violence and twisted fundamental Islamic teachings to maintain absolute power and control over the Afghani people. This paper will document this persecution during the time period from 1996 through 2001.
Women?s Freedoms Prior to the Taliban
Prior to the Taliban domination of Afghanistan, women enjoyed general freedoms throughout much of the country. Females comprised 60% of the faculty at Kabul University and half of its student body (Goodwin, web). In the governmental sector, females made up 50% of the civilian workforce. 70% of schoolteachers and over 40% of physicians consisted of women (Goodwin, web). Even in rural districts, women worked shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts (Goodwin, web). In the capital city, women moved around without restriction, wearing westernized clothing and patronizing local cafes and discos.
The Taliban?s Rise to Political and Military Power
The Soviet Union invaded the country in 1979. After a decade of war, in February of 1989, the Afghan Mujahideen, or holy warriors, successfully drove the Soviets out of Afghanistan. The Russians left in their wake a broken country with between 5 million to 20 million planted and active landmines and a power vacuum in which sixteen different Afghan factions fought for control. Groups of war-hardened men dominated the streets and transformed from holy warriors to rapists, looters, and murderers.
From within these warring factions, the Taliban surged as a military and political force in November 1994. The group consisted mostly of poorly educated boys who had fought against the communist government still in authority after the Soviet Union was forced out. During 1992, warring Mujahedeen toppled the communist administration in Kabul, and a large group of these boys left to find other war regions to continue jihad (holy war). For initial training and indoctrination, they first moved to the Baluchistan province of Pakistan under the supervision and monetary backing of Arabs, who had aided them in evicting the Russians.
In Pakistan, the boys attended Arab backed madrassahs (religious schools), where they received free food and shelter and studied a twisted interpretation of extremist Islam. At the school, the boys had no interaction with females. Fanatical mullahs (religious teachers) became their religious and spiritual mentors and exercised extreme control over their lives. Most of these young boys had never experienced anything except war. They had never seen Afghanistan at peace. Jan Goodwin, an acclaimed journalist and human rights activist, wrote that the, ?boys grow up totally segregated from any women, including those in their own families. The highest honor they can earn there is that of qari…given to those who memorize and can recite the entire Koran, and a number do. Sadly…they learn to do so in Arabic, a language they do not understand…. Consequently, they have no idea of the rights given to women in Islam? (Goodwin, web).
On October 12, 1994, announcing their intent to stop pillaging Mujahedeen in Kandahar, 200 students led by Mullah Mohammed Omar seized the city in two hours, along with military tanks and combat planes and helicopters. On September 5, 1995, the Talibanovertook Herat, the third largest city in Afghanistan. One year later, they conquered Kabul. On September 26, 1996, the Taliban controlled the main portions of Southern Afghanistan, as well as the capital city.
The Taliban, claiming to have just and religiously pure intentions, presented themselves as a righteous force that would promulgate peace. But within hours of seizing Kabul, the Taliban turned its attacks onto women. In Herat, they surrounded women protesting the Taliban takeover, doused the leader in kerosene, and burnt her alive. The Taliban also declared that sophisticated Kabuli women embodied the city?s morally depraved ways and commanded the women to leave their workplaces and to stay inside their homes.
The Morality Decrees
Within days, the Taliban released numerous Morality Decrees designed to subjugate all Afghani women. They stated that the decrees were necessary to cleanse society and to keep women under the power of male family members. Women were now permanently banned from the workplace. They could not leave their homes or ride in a taxi unless publicly accompanied by a male relative (even in an emergency). Girls at the state orphanage were not allowed outside. Women were forbidden to attend school, and parents were prohibited from teaching their daughters to read. Male doctors could not treat females. Women were not allowed to speak with men who were not relatives (even shopkeepers). They were barred from playing sports, entering a sports center, being on the radio or television, attending any public gathering of any kind, riding motorcycles or bicycles (even with a male family member present), washing clothes next to a river or in a public place, or even appearing on the balcony of their home. The exterior windows of homes containing females had to be painted blank to prevent outsiders from seeing in.
Since no part of a woman?s body could be visible at any time, the Taliban mandated that women wear burkhas when outside the home. The burkha had to completely cover a woman from head to toe with only a narrow mesh netting on their face to peer through. A woman?s hand could not show, even when she paid for goods at the market. Women were not permitted to wear makeup, nail polish, jewelry, shoes that make sound when walking, sheer stockings, or white socks. The Taliban deemed vivid colors to be sexually stimulating, and women were banned from wearing them. It was also illegal for women to pluck their eyebrows or cut their hair short.
All Afghani citizens were banned from recreational activities deemed to be distractive to religious devotion. This included music, parties, movies, phones, audio/video equipment, and electric razors. Cigarettes, alcohol, cameras, board games, and toys were also declared illegal. Pictures or photos of people and animals were also banned, hampering the efforts by international aid workers to educate the largely illiterate populace about the dangers of land mines. Alternate teaching aids, such as flash cards, were deemed to be gambling and also outlawed.
Non-Muslims were forced to wear badges to differentiate themselves from Muslims. All men were ordered to grow long beards. Homosexuality was a crime punishable by death.
Under the Taliban, curfew began at 7:30 p.m. The only people allowed on the street after this time were government troops. There were no exceptions to the curfew rules including medical emergencies. Women in labor had to stay at home until daybreak.
Religious Police, under the Department for Propagation of Virtue and the Suppression of Vice, continually monitored the streets and brutally and arbitrarily enforced the decrees. Often, they were boys armed with automatic weapons, car antennae, and electrical cables so that they could immediately punish anyone they decided was not properly observing regulations.
The Decrees Result in Forced Poverty
The decree prohibiting women from working resulted in brutal poverty. Many Afghan women were widows after the war with the Soviet Union or the civil war that followed Russia?s departure. Kabul alone had an estimated 45,000 war widows. Many of these widows supported an average of six dependents. Without jobs or any alternate means of income, they were forced to sell their household possessions and live on bread and tea. Multitudes of women and children were forced into beggary. In 1998, a researcher for the Physicians for Human Rights visiting Kabul reported seeing, ?a city of beggars?women who had once been teachers and nurses now moving in the streets like ghosts under their enveloping burqas, selling every possession and begging so as to feed their children?(Physicians for Human Rights, web).
In Kabul, foreign aid organizations established relief centers to feed the malnourished children. Jan Goodwin, on a visit to Afghanistan in the fall of 1997 reported seeing, ?four-year-olds weighing 16 pounds and 18-month-old toddlers weighing 9 pounds? (Goodwin, web). A 1998 United Nations report estimated that 40% of the capital city depended on food donations from either charitable organizations or through begging. The number of street children in Kabul was estimated to be approximately 60,000.
Also adding to the financial hardship was the Taliban decree requiring women to cover themselves. The Taliban did not provide burkhas to the women, and without employment many women could not afford to purchase one, which cost approximately $9. Sometimes whole neighborhoods had to share a single burkha. Often a woman would have to wait several days until it was her turn to wear it. She could not go outside until then.
The brutal poverty in Afghanistan was supplemented with treacherous landmines that maimed or killed an average of 25 people daily. Two-thirds of them were children. In an effort to help support their families, children searched for unexploded bombs or shells to sell to scrap metal merchants. Fearing an explosion, these merchants would buy these shells only if the kids deactivated them first. Children performing this extremely hazardous job earned only enough money to buy a few pieces of bread. Also, since rocket explosions brought human remains closer to the ground, children would dig up graveyards for human bones to sell to bone brokers. These bones were taken to Pakistan for use in making cooking oil, soap, chicken feed, and buttons.
The Ban on Female Education
The Afghani women fought quietly against the ban on education for girls. After the Taliban?s decree prohibiting female education, women turned their homes into educational centers. On June 16, 1998, the Taliban ordered that home-based education be limited to girls under eight and focus solely on the teachings of the Koran. In addition, the religious teachings would be restricted to reading the Koran. Interpretation was a prerogative for men alone. To enforce this restriction, Kabul was targeted, and members of the Taliban closed down more than 100 private schools there, affecting thousands of girls.
Women however continued to resist, quietly but incessantly, against the ban on education, often putting their own lives at risk. The United Nations estimates that in 2001 underground private educational centers reached 300,000 children. As commendable as these efforts were, women?s literacy rates in Afghanistan at the end of 2001 were estimated to be 13% in urban areas and only 3% ~ 4% in rural districts.
Women?s access to health care was also deplorable. Decrees restricting women?s movements without a male family member meant that women feared leaving their houses to seek healthcare for themselves or their kids. In addition, restrictions prohibiting women from working meant that female doctors could not practice medicine. Further prohibitions against male doctors treating female patients meant that healthcare for most women effectively vanished. Many women and girls died needlessly.
The Virtue and Vice Department posted its guards inside the hospitals to enforce their decrees. Many women were denied treatment. A researcher for Physicians for Human Rights documented an incident in which a female patient with burns covering 80% of her body died after the religious police prohibited a male physician from removing her clothes. In addition, a dentist told the researcher that he worked on a female?s teeth only if someone he trusted was guarding the door, noting that he and the patient would be harshly beaten if he were caught treating a woman (Physicians for Human Rights 8).
In January 1997, the Taliban declared that there would be complete segregation of men and women at hospitals. Men and women could no longer inhabit the same building. This further restriction on women?s healthcare contributed to the low doctor-patient ratio of one physician for every 50,000 people in the country. As a result, the percentage of women with access to even the most basic health services plummeted to a mere 12%. In addition, the Taliban failed to provide immunizations and other basic medicines to its citizens. Many women and children died from basic ailments such as diarrhea and preventable diseases like tuberculosis. An average of 85,000 children in Afghanistan died each year because of diarrhea. The region registered 133,000 cases of tuberculosis by the year 2001, one of the highest on earth. Of this number, 75% were women ages fifteen to forty-five. Furthermore, in the year 2000, the region gave birth to a measles epidemic that killed 2,000 children. Malnutrition and inadequate health services also affected pregnancies and lead to delivery complications, abortions and disabilities in newborns such as cerebral palsy.
By the end of 2001, Afghanistan was host to one of the worst health care indices in the world. Infant mortality rates were 165 deaths for every 1,000 live births, and 25% of children died before the age of five. Furthermore, the ratio of mothers dying in childbirth was 17 deaths for every 1,000 live births. This ratio was the second highest in the world. Finally, the life expectancy of women was 46 years.
The Taliban?s Use of Violence
In order to exercise absolute power, maintain complete control, and enforce morality decrees, the Taliban used arbitrary and strict reprisals for all perceived violations of their laws. Without the presence of any type of judicial system, gun-wielding street members of the Taliban became the judges, juries and executioners.
Punishments ranged from ritualistic terror administered in the middle of the street to weekly public displays at the Kabul Sports Stadium. The punishments were designed to showcase the might of the Taliban, invoke a high level of fear, and suppress the people.
The public punishments were administered in front of audiences of more than 30,000 people on a weekly basis after the morning prayers. They included floggings, amputations, hangings, beheadings, death by stoning, and death by wall toppling. Male Talibancheerleaders with loudspeakers egged on the crowds.
Taliban punishments were severe and brutal. Thieves accused of stealing as little as 25 cents had their hands amputated. Women were severely whipped for showing their ankles. Some women had their feet amputated for wearing white socks. Others had the tips of their thumbs amputated for wearing fingernail polish. Many were sprayed with acid, shot, or beaten for showing their hands while paying for food or allowing their children to play with toys. An unmarried woman who spoke to or walked with a male who was not a relative was beaten nearly to death. A married woman that was out with a man who was not related was put in a hole in the ground, buried to the neck, and stoned in the head until she died. The Taliban physically crushed homosexuals by using a tank to knock over a 15-foot brick wall on top of them.
The Taliban used the vicious punishments and a perverse version of Islam to commit gender apartheid against the Afghani women. The group?s systematic persecution and suppression of the women effectively removed all females from the eyes of Afghan society. The women were unable to move freely, economically disenfranchised, and unable to receive healthcare or an education. At the end of 2001, the women had few prospects for improving their plight. The price for disobeying the Taliban was beatings or death.
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