Thursday, October 6

Afghan women call for ‘Black Day’ march to regain their rights

“They have not been able to with us and they will not be able to, we will continue fighting until we regain freedom,” are the words of Shahla Arifi, who after two decades in the Ministry of Women now coordinates ‘Women in search of justice’. This group is made up of more than 800 women and is part of a nationwide movement of Afghan activists standing up to the restrictions imposed by the ’emirate’. Next Monday marks one year since the seizure of power by the Islamists and «as we call this day the ‘black day’, we will go out in a march dressed in black. It will not be the same day 15 because we know that they are very nervous about the date, but around the anniversary we will make ourselves heard again in the streets of Kabul », says Arifi under her striped scarf. The slogan of this symbolic march will be “work, bread and freedom”. She is 41 years old, she is the mother of four children and her activism has cost her serious threats in the last twelve months. “They have sent me photos of one of my children and my husband to tell me that they are following in their footsteps and that either I stop these activities or they are killed,” she says, unable to contain her emotion. If things don’t change, she is not ruling out the idea of ​​emigrating to Iran temporarily this winter. At the moment what she does is move frequently from home to Kabul and avoid Taliban checkpoints as much as possible. “Deep down they fear us, that’s why they take all these measures and in the coming months they can reach more” Shahla Arifi Afghan activist Obsession for the Taliban The rights and freedoms that Afghan women won for two decades have been disappearing every day that they pass under the ’emirate’. Despite being in the midst of an economic and humanitarian crisis, women are the obsession for the new leaders. The Taliban insist that they are not the same as in the first Emirate at the end of the 1990s, but since their return they have prohibited women from playing sports, they did not include any in their government, they closed their ministry and changed it to the Promotion of the Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, they prohibited them from secondary education, they keep them away from positions in ministries and public offices… « Deep down they fear us, that’s why they take all these measures and in the coming months more may come. They are worse than those of the late nineties, they cannot fool anyone and it is time for the international community to make a move because this country will once again be a nest for terrorists,” warns Arifi, who yearns for his 20 years of promoting sports. among girls in the country as a ministry official. Related News standard Si Zawahiri’s ghost fades in a Kabul threatened by Daesh Mikel Ayestaran At least 120 members of the Shia minority have died in the attacks carried out by the terrorist group in recent days in the Afghan capital Interview women marked by the Taliban requires looking for a safe place in Kabul. “We are persecuted and we know that at any moment they can come for us,” explains Estorai Yazdanparast, another of the familiar faces among the activists of the capital, who now divides her life between Kabul and her native Badakhsan, in the north of the country. She has been associated with organizations and projects for the defense of women’s rights for thirteen years, she is also a businesswoman and ran for parliament in her province in the last elections. She began her humanitarian work with organizations such as Oxfam or USAID, but now what she has left are her Afghan companions and she does not hide her “disappointment with Europe and the United States, they have abandoned us, they have broken our hearts.” Shahla Arifi Mikel Ayestaran Death Threatened When summarizing this first year of the Emirate, Yazdanparast is emphatic and says that “I have been under a kind of house arrest for twelve months, my daughters cannot go to school, I cannot talk to the Afghan media and a Facebook post, which mocked the physical appearance of a Taliban commander in which the author tagged me, has earned me death threats.” In these months, the Islamists have also recommended that women wear the burqa, although in the center of Kabul it is not seen much, prohibited from traveling more than 72 kilometers without the company of a male family member and appearing in television series or movies. and talk on the radio. “The country is broke, unemployment soaring, people desperate to emigrate and they have issued 27 regulations on women, what will be next?” Yazdanparast asks with tears in her eyes. She cries for her eldest daughter. She is 18 years old and they have been informed by a Taliban commander in her province that he wants to marry her. This news made them leave the country for a few weeks and they went to neighboring Iran, but they have returned and fear that the commander will take her away by force. «In Kabul they are somewhat more permissive with us (…), but in provinces like mine they do what they want, there are no limits» Estorai Yazdanparast Afghan activist «If I could, I would leave this country in a minute, but I can not. I owe it to my daughters and women, the future is at stake », she says, wiping her eyes. The next big challenge is the ‘Black Day’, in which Yazdanparast plans to take part. “In Kabul they are somewhat more permissive with us because there is the press and they want to take care of their image abroad, but in provinces like mine they do what they want, there are no limits,” she points out. Afghanistan is now a prison for these women who grew up and worked for two decades in fiction supported by Americans and Europeans. On August 15, 2021, the fictions ended and they came face to face with the reality of some Taliban obsessed with making them invisible. A year later they will be seen in the streets with that black color like the darkness that has taken over their lives.

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