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Afghan women risk death to learn - Comments

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Comment 1 by Rich Wiltshir

"Too afraid.... to say they're afraid..."

Religoon is the tool thugs use to get power. They set up hierarchies and justifications for their whim: concentrate their energies on preventing knowledge and understanding.

Leave it long enough and they'll have archbishops and popes, palaces and cathedrals, unelected seats in government. Let's not forget that Ratzinger, Williams, Lane Craig and Graham are today's inheritors or yesterday's stifled peoples.

Sat, 07 May 2011 09:33:06 UTC | #624095

sbooder's Avatar Comment 2 by sbooder

I wonder if these women are made to think that this is normal the world over. If the religious do not see this as abuse they really are blind...and maybe they want to be blind!

Sat, 07 May 2011 09:51:02 UTC | #624100

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 3 by Richard Dawkins

Religion poisons everything. But Islam has its own unmatched level of toxicity.


Sat, 07 May 2011 09:52:22 UTC | #624101

Cestriana's Avatar Comment 4 by Cestriana

The oppression of Afghan women also has its roots in that country's tribal/cultural heritage, but I suppose it wouldn't take much for the Taleban to justify maintaining the status quo along religious lines. What gets to me is that by denying these women the right to be educated Afghanistan could be missing out on a very useful resource. There will be females there who have (potentially) very sharp minds.

What price stupidity, eh?

Sat, 07 May 2011 10:01:24 UTC | #624102

Dirty Kuffar's Avatar Comment 5 by Dirty Kuffar

Very brave women, and as expected, Islam enforces the ignorance needed for its own survival, rather like some sort of inbred "negative evolution" scenario.

Sat, 07 May 2011 10:15:38 UTC | #624105

danconquer's Avatar Comment 6 by danconquer

And yet European governments continue kicking out hundreds of Afghan women and children, sending them back to that?!

Sat, 07 May 2011 10:38:52 UTC | #624114

Byrneo's Avatar Comment 7 by Byrneo

You've got to respect the religion of peace...

Sat, 07 May 2011 10:52:30 UTC | #624120

Reckless Monkey's Avatar Comment 8 by Reckless Monkey

Next thing they'll be wanting to take off the bags, where will it end?

Sat, 07 May 2011 11:04:17 UTC | #624126

MilitantNonStampCollector's Avatar Comment 9 by MilitantNonStampCollector

The video in link is depressing. It makes it even more poignant when you have visuals of women dressed in bags who are afraid to be afraid, and afraid of their life to learn to read. Wow.

Next thing you know they won't be allowed to breathe.

Sat, 07 May 2011 12:06:56 UTC | #624138

jel's Avatar Comment 10 by jel

Maybe as a humanitarian gesture we should remove all the Afghan females and re-locate them somewhere else and leave the country free to be exploited by the taliban and any other fundie muslims.

I know, I know, I'm being facetious again but I just get so annoyed by this attitude towards women that I sometimes think the only thing to do is to take the women away and then, at least, these people can't hurt them any more.

Sat, 07 May 2011 12:11:05 UTC | #624139

Yakov's Avatar Comment 11 by Yakov

I think if the people there start wearing jeans and T shirt, things may gradually change for better. It all starts from religious clothing and hats... They often act what they look like.

Sat, 07 May 2011 13:38:52 UTC | #624157

sanban's Avatar Comment 12 by sanban

10 years after the start of the War on Terror™, women are STILL being slaughtered for attempting to break away from the hideous Taliban oppression. I wonder if they feel consoled that Osama is now dead?

Sat, 07 May 2011 14:42:55 UTC | #624180

Vicktor's Avatar Comment 13 by Vicktor

Comment 3 by Richard Dawkins

Religion poisons everything. But Islam has its own unmatched level of toxicity.


Dare I ask, Richard, what would it take for you to embrace Islam? :)

Sat, 07 May 2011 15:19:47 UTC | #624189

josephor's Avatar Comment 14 by josephor

But this is not Islam, Islam is the religion of peace and enlightenment. Science is only catching up with the revelations and prophecies of the Holy Koran. This is all taken totally out of context.....blah blah blah. The reality of the situation is that it is impossible to communicate with savages that will kill or mutilate human beings for going to school.I realize that people have a right to their culture, beliefs and traditions but nobody has the right to enslave another human for any reason religion or otherwise.Barbarism and tyranny are unacceptable so fuck religious "sensibilities" and anyone who supports these despicable savages.

Sat, 07 May 2011 15:25:07 UTC | #624191

HardNosedSkeptic's Avatar Comment 15 by HardNosedSkeptic

Comment 13 by Vicktor :

Comment 3 by Richard Dawkins

Religion poisons everything. But Islam has its own unmatched level of toxicity.


Dare I ask, Richard, what would it take for you to embrace Islam? :)


Sat, 07 May 2011 15:25:08 UTC | #624192

HardNosedSkeptic's Avatar Comment 16 by HardNosedSkeptic

I very much admire these brave women. They are being denied a basic human right and they are refusing to take it lying down. I very much hope their defiance pays off. If they succeed, it will be better for themselves, their families and their country.

Sat, 07 May 2011 15:31:07 UTC | #624193

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 17 by the great teapot

Comment Removed by Author

Sat, 07 May 2011 15:36:30 UTC | #624195

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 18 by the great teapot

Comment 17 by the great teapot :

Is it just me or is it a delicious, but sad, irony that these noble womens identities are protected by the burqa.

Sat, 07 May 2011 15:41:22 UTC | #624196

Tord M's Avatar Comment 19 by Tord M

I think these women are heroes. I hope and think some day their future grandchildren will speak proudly about their grandmothers, and how they risked their own security to help bring themselves, their children and their families out of poverty and ignorance, to learning, emancipation and a better lives.

Sat, 07 May 2011 15:45:42 UTC | #624198

Paul the Pretentious's Avatar Comment 20 by Paul the Pretentious

Comment 7 by Byrneo :

You've got to respect the religion of peace...

...or else get detonated.

Sat, 07 May 2011 15:59:36 UTC | #624208

Tim VI's Avatar Comment 21 by Tim VI

"In the last suicide bombing, lots of students were killed".

People are actually willing to blow themselves up to blow students up, all for wanting to learn? This is a whole new level of sickness that I feel directly in my stomach.

Sat, 07 May 2011 17:52:15 UTC | #624246

NorthernAtheist's Avatar Comment 22 by NorthernAtheist

Nicholas Kristof wrote an interesting op-ed on the oppression of Afghan women. Let me quote a rather revealing passage (emphasis added):

"One man from Helmand Province, Wali Khan, told me that there would be no difference for women in his village, whether the Taliban rule or not, because in either case women would be locked up in the home. He approvingly cited an expression in Pashto that translates to: “a wife should be in the home — or in the grave.” In other words, oppression is rooted not only in the Taliban but also in the culture."

The whole op-ed is worth a read.

Sat, 07 May 2011 17:55:43 UTC | #624248

SheilaC's Avatar Comment 23 by SheilaC

This reminds me how very grateful I am to the suffragettes and Marie Stopes and the women who went on strike in the car factory for equal pay, and so on, down a very, very long list of heroines. Without them, my life might have been almost as bad as it is for these Afghani women.

And I really hope that the grandchildren of these Afghani women get the chance to remember them with as much gratitude as I feel for the suffragettes.

Sat, 07 May 2011 19:04:49 UTC | #624273

lackofgravitas's Avatar Comment 24 by lackofgravitas

I remember an old story that was about a funeral in India. A British officer was watching the proceedings and noticed that the widow was tied up. 'What is this?' asked the officer. 'It is a tradition that the wife (and sometimes servants) died on the funeral pyre of a powerful man.' It is a tradition'. The indian man expected the officer's acceptance of the proceedings.

A short time later, a company of soldiers arrived and began to build a scaffold for 20 people to hang from.

'what is this?' asked the indian gentleman. 'Oh, in my country, anyone who enslaves or murders another human being is hung by the neck until dead.' He went on to explain; 'It's one of those traditions we have.'

We have to lead by example, not in a colonialist way, but in an enlightened way. Teach by example, not by rule.

Sat, 07 May 2011 20:03:46 UTC | #624291

pj's Avatar Comment 25 by pj

Comment Removed by Author

Sat, 07 May 2011 20:54:11 UTC | #624303

pj's Avatar Comment 26 by pj

Dare I ask, Richard, what would it take for you to embrace Islam? :)

Brain tumor?

Sat, 07 May 2011 20:55:40 UTC | #624304

theldyrn's Avatar Comment 27 by theldyrn

Dare I ask, Richard, what would it take for you to embrace Islam? :)

The chance to deliver a terminal sleeper hold, I presume.

Sat, 07 May 2011 21:43:21 UTC | #624321

Antipodean Atheist's Avatar Comment 28 by Antipodean Atheist

I say bravo to those women for trying.

Sat, 07 May 2011 21:50:42 UTC | #624323

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 29 by Ignorant Amos

When is the human species gonna grow up ffs?

Sat, 07 May 2011 22:26:17 UTC | #624337

LaurieB's Avatar Comment 30 by LaurieB

Northern Atheist

I read the op-ed by Kristof that you linked us to. While I admire him and his wife and their work, it really does aggravate me that he dances around the repulsive restrictions that strangle the life out of Muslim women and that are very directly straight from the Koran and the Haddith. (I do understand that he would like very much to stay alive). The Taliban and their culture are being blamed for the fact that Afghan women are nothing more than reproductive and domestic slaves but no mention of Islam? Of course the Koran and Haddith restrict Muslim women in every aspect of their lives. Clerical Interpretation adds insult to injury. With all the rules that women must follow to leave their houses, I'm not sure why they would even bother trying. Here's some of the rules that can be found in entirety in the book cited below by Ibn Warreq:

  1. She may leave only in case of a real need.

  2. The exit must be authorized by her husband or legal guardian. (from my own observations in North Africa, a Mother in Law also has the authority to grant permission to leave the house and she will probably accompany her Daughter in Law or she will send a son or grandson to accompany her.)

  3. She must be well-covered, including her face, to avoid tempting any men who might be around; she must move with her head bowed down looking neither left nor right. (Koran24.31)

Isn't that Pashto guy who was quoted in Kristof's article a Muslim? And all his ancestors the same? Aren't the Taliban a bunch of Muslim fundamentalists who follow their holy book and Haddith to the letter? Isn't religion a component of a culture?

The very common claim by Muslims that Prophet Mo and his victorious military forces improved the situation of the women in the conquered tribes is absolutely disputed by many. The author of the book Why I Am Not A Muslim, Ibn Warraq, has presented views on this. I highly recommend his book. The Muslim women with whom I've had this conversation are always shocked to hear that I believe women had more freedom and independence in pre-Islamic societies. Here we have the crux of the issue. When the great majority of women in any society are illiterate and uneducated, they have no access whatsoever to ideas and history of women in the west. Any Anthropology 101 course would be very eye opening to Muslim women. I am reminded of the fact that it was a crime to teach an American slave to read since they would begin to have ideas that would be "above their station in life". This is exactly what Muslim men are afraid of too; that their women will get some bright ideas from the evil, scary American feminists and then once the horse is out of the barn, how will they get it back again?

Sun, 08 May 2011 00:03:46 UTC | #624374