Sunday, March 30, 2008

Inside Islam, A Woman's roar


from the March 05, 2008 edition - http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0305/p13s03-lign.html
    

Wazhma Frogh, an Afghan, uses her religion to press for women's rights – and development
agencies take note.
By Jill Carroll Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

Just hours after Wazhma Frogh arrived in an isolated, conservative district in northeastern Afghanistan in 2002,the local mullah was preaching to his congregation to kill her. Ms. Frogh was meddling with their women with her plan to start a literacy program, he told the assembly.
As she walked past the mosque during noon prayers, his words caught her ear. Shocked, she marched straight into the mosque. In a flowing black chador that left her face uncovered, she strode past the male worshipers
and faced the mullah. Trembling inside, she challenged him.
"Mullah, give me five minutes," she recalls saying. "I will tell you something, and after that if you want to say Iam an infidel and I am a threat to you, just kill me."
She then rattled off five Koranic verses – in both Arabic and the local Dari language – that extol the virtues of education, tolerance, and not harming others. She criticized local practices of allowing men to use Islam to justify beating their wives, betrothing young girls, and denying women an education.
The room was silent. All eyes were on Frogh and the mullah. Then the mullah rested his hand on her head.
"God bless you, my daughter," he said.
With that, Frogh won permission to start the literacy program that later helped women from Badakhshan Province participate in local government and run for the national assembly.
Where rigid interpretations of Islam relegate women to second-class status, Frogh uses rhetorical jujitsu to turn religious arguments on their heads and win women's rights.
Her steely determination has earned her attention inWashington.

"In a country where religion is so important to people, we need to understand the religion," she says. Arguments
based on principles of universal human rights or on what international conventions say don't persuade many Afghans to support reforms, she says. "[M]y experience in the last 10 years is this does not matter to the people in Afghanistan," she says. Only religious arguments hold sway.
The international development field has lately seen more of that approach, says Rachel McCleary, a fellow at the Center for International Development at Harvard. In the 1960s and '70s, foreign aid became more secularized, but now religious groups are a growing presence in international development work, says Ms.McCleary.
Frogh is like a number of Islamic scholars – from the United States to Yemen – who are using religious jurisprudence to argue that women have greater rights under Islam, convince leaders in Muslim communities to make reforms, or even turn around extremists who use Islam to justify violence.
As an Afghan Muslim, Frogh is in the best position to persuade other Afghan Muslims to support her various projects, experts say."The fact [that] this woman is from within, and from the culture and society is much more powerful and salient
than if a woman from outside said the same thing," says Eileen Babbitt, professor ofInternational Conflict Management Practice at Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
The Indeed, Frogh believes so deeply in the power of religious arguments to bring reforms, she plans to get a graduate degree related to Islam. She says many mullahs in Afghanistan are usually only schooled by their
fathers, who may be illiterate and not understand the Koran's original Arabic, even if they have memorized it.
Her breadth of religious knowledge is key to persuading local religious leaders.
"My goal is to really represent Islam. It's not a religion that oppresses women," Frogh says. "Of course it's very risky. I may lose my life during this process, but if I am able to open a door for rights for one woman, then it is worth it."
She has worked for various humanitarian and development agencies to give women greater rights and
education in Afghanistan. Now she works for the Canadian International Development Agency in Afghanistan, consulting on the suitability of projects there, implementing a gender-equity policy, and conducting feasibility studies and other preparations for new projects.
Changing men's perceptions
The mullah in Badakhshan Province is one of many men she persuaded to change with regard to their ideas
about women. The first was her father. When her wealthy family fled upheaval in Afghanistan in the 1990s for Pakistan, her father, a rigid former Army officer, had a hard time supporting the family. Frogh, then in eighth grade, thought of a way to help. She offered her landlord's children tutoring in exchange
for cheaper rent. "It made a difference in the way my father perceived me," Frogh says. "He thought women are consumers [who
could] never be providers." He even began to consult her on family decisions.
"Because I was able to have that status in the family, it got me thinking. I could be a lawyer and help other people," she recalls. Even as a child, injustice needled her. She resented the fact that women ate in the kitchen while men dined in the living room. Girls swept the yard, but boys played in it.

Her nation's future: hopeful, tenuous

At the age most American teenagers are learning to drive, Frogh crouched at night on the family's toilet in
Pakistan studying English. Only there could she turn on a light without disturbing anyone in their one-room
home.
Now, not yet 30, she has President Bush's attention. In February she and women from three other countries met
with Washington policymakers and aid donors to discuss women and security. The president made a surprise
appearance during the group's meeting with the first lady. With her usual directness, Frogh described Afghanistan's future to the president as hopeful but tenuous.
"There is not justice," she recalls telling Mr. Bush. "The Taliban is very much all over the country. Those [who] have violated human rights, they are the ones in the government." Frogh's solution: After her studies, aim high."I want to be chief justice."

The Culture of Violence by wazhma frogh

“Wow, another punch, hey beat him, wow what a murder!!!!”

These are exactly the words heard near by from youngsters when they are watching action movies which stimulate their emotional capacity and they get out of their ways. I am not writing to condemn the makers of the action movies around the world, but here I would like to point out some important facts about the action movies, the negative aspects and influences of the action movies on youngsters or teenagers.

By watching such kinds of movies, then practicing on each other, grows the culture of violence at the individual basis which forms the societies. Particularly on communities where literacy rates are so low and the youngsters haven’t got the ability to analyze things logically, these action movies play a vital role in deteriorating the thoughts and ideas of youngsters and teenagers, maybe these movies have got lesser effect on modern and high educated communities around the world, but experiences from under developing countries have been vice versa.

The age from 9-16 years is a really dynamic, influenced and sensitive age duration, teenagers and youth of this age can go on different directions which attracts their interest and the action movies with lots of glamour and fantasy capture their attention entirely and promotes the culture of violence which later on spreads around the society and grows as the time swifts on. This fact has been very obvious in countries going through national or international conflicts.

Youngsters and teenagers grow up with the concept of beating and killing and defending with very violent means, which possibly becomes the terrorists, a terrorist is not born a terrorist, there are many contributing factors in his young age which influences his emotions and provoke him towards the violence and the concept of the snatching the rights.In teenage many features influence a young, especially the emotional enforcement by the action movies, which leads the youngsters choose a violent direction and go on conflict with civil societies.

I recommend the film makers take a new direction and change the success symbol as action movies, and try to promote the culture of peace and unity around the world, with no cultural, racism, economical and political discriminations. As we all are experiencing the majority of the countries being in national or international conflict, we should remember that action movies have got a very grass root role in contributing to all violence.

نمیدانم......

بسیار دلم تنگ است ....برای گریه کردن ..برای شنیدن صدای دلم که همیشه در قید زمان در چنگ است...بسیار سخت است که من در اجتماعی زنده گی دارم که باید برای گریه کردن نیز دلیلی در چوکات " فرهنگ و دین" داشته باشم...بسیار پر درد است..اما نشاید این را زنده گی نامید و اگر نه بزم پایه های زنده گی به قول حافظ و فروغ متزلزل خواهد شد... و دیگر هیچ شاعری برای امید های آینده اش لفظ " زنده گی " را نخواهد برد
بسیار دلم تنگ است ز دست فریب و نیرنگ های زمانم ..چقدر خودخواه و حسود استیم... فکر میکنیم همه چیز در بازرگان در خرید و فروش است و میتوانیم همه چیز را بخریم یا بفروشیم اگر توان پولی اش را داریم
ای کاش هنوز هم در همان گهواره چوبی ام خفته و گریه میتوانستم چون دیگر برای بهانه ای احتیاج نبود... چقدر زیبا ست نوای بیگانه گی دوران کوده کی
ادامه دارد ........

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Afghan Women missed another opportunity this year!

Its really frustrating to see that we women in Afghanistan havent learned that women's rights for equality and justice can not be attained by partying with elites and gifting each other for being a woman!
8 March 2008, likewise other previous years was celebrated amidsts of empty speeches and flying promises from the president and its all three branches, but when will the women of afghanistan will wake up and ask them for implementing those promises and commitments!
Once again hundreds of dollars were spent in food and luxury of parties and gatherings at beautiful and expensive hotels under the name of 8th March celebrations but what are the outcomes?
I think its very important for the women of afghanistan to be serious about themselves and make those accountable who make beautiful promises and commitments for uplifting their conditions.
The women of Afghanistan need to be explicit in assessing what have they achieved, why have they achieved and what is their future plan? I dont mean the 10 year action plan that ministry of women's affairs have prepared by its international partners in English langauge.
A strong woman movement is strongly needed in Afghanistan to get out of this "projecty" limitations and see the conditions and rights of women out of the development and short term projects like tailoring and embriodery. No international community can promote such a movement but the women of this country! Wazhma