THE WIND OF CHANGE COMES TO AFGHANISTAN:
THE LAND OF STONES, BLOOD, FEARS AND RESISTANCE
THE LAND OF TALIBAN
“I have the impression that our children are much more excited about going to school than children in other countries are. They think of it as a special privilege. Going to school, being with other children, getting books and pencils – all of that is like a dream for them.”
Cheryl Benard, Veiled Courage: Inside the Afghan Women’s Resistance
Reading books about other cultures and religions has always been my passion. It doesn’t surprise that I have never missed a chance to be the first one who reads and comments newest novels about the secrets of Islamic world, about the ordinary people who live, love and die there. When I finished my travel through ” A Thousand Splendid Suns” written by Khaled Hosseini, I knew that I will never be the same person. So many feelings were tattooed on my soul, feelings which I will never get rid of. Afghanistan. One story. One destiny. One tear that stays in my eye for the rest of my life.
In the global nightmare with the Islamic State and its defected interpretation of Qur’an and something which should have been understood as Shari’ah Law but seems to be legal excuse for modern savagery, we don’t have time or space to take a look on other deviant phenomena in other parts of Muslim regions, there where even Allah is ashamed to reply on many crying prayers. Afghanistan. The country with never ending suffer of people, caused by those who believe they represent God’s rules. The Taliban.
The word TALIBAN comes from the pashto language طالبان and means the student, someone who learns. The movement was established in early 1990s but it has developed itself in many years after, trying to defeat the previous government and to found its own form of governance. The main idea for this group to be started is an idea of local and then global jihad as well as the implementation of Shari’ah Law into the corrupted Afghanistan system.When Taliban militants captured Kandahar, they formed in 1996 the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The religious leader and also the supreme commander of Taliban radical activists was Mullah Mohammed Omar, who died in 2013 and was replaced by Mullah Akhtar Mansoor. Some media believe that this Mullah is killed at the end of 2015 so they also predict that without strong leadership and united politics, this movement with terrorist background will vanish very soon.
But, Taliban made one government structure in political framework what hasn’t been seen often in history. They have been some kind of introduction in pathology of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. There were no experts in that period of time who would have been able to predict that Taliban’s horror Emirate will be fairy tale in comparison with ISIS horror State. However, from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban movement brought Afghanistan in one dark phase, using oppression and methods of terrorism to keep people under control or to punish them if they stand up. Their ideology was something in between reedited Shari’ah Law, local Pashtun norms, colored with Osama Bin Laden’s Salafi jihadism, Deobandi fundamentalism and militant Islam with no mercy. It was the worst cocktail of orders, bans, terrors and crimes. It was against people, made by so called tribesmen with no common sense. They are directly and indirectly responsible for the death of thousands Afghani people. Some of them were punished for protesting against this religious dictatorship by Mullahs personally and some of them were killed during the US war against Taliban, after 9/11, when the whole country was accused as a shelter zone for terrorism.
The geopolitical story of this semi-regime or fake government based on terrorism ideology is well known and it is a result of the wrong historical situations in this part of the world, aggressive diplomatic race between super powers and economical devastation of Afghanistan through the wars and civil conflicts. The poor country which fed itself with opium money became the poorest picture of delusional Islam, greedy religious leaders and civilians who didn’t know what is the future: to embrace the terrorism or to be killed by terrorism.
Women are the most sensible element of any society and here in Afghanistan they have faced up with the mad Taliban vision of Islam, the hell on the Earth, the underground which came out. The women paid the highest price of Afghanistan loss of freedom. Unlimited reports of women abuse in Afghanistan were the scariest topic in international community for years. Taliban implemented their own rules and some Afghani men found those rules positive for family governance and in just 2-3 years, Afghanistan became the cave, with no light and no rights. For anyone who is normal. For women. Especially for women. Taliban Shari’ah Law, interpreted by misogynistic Mullahs and merged with ancient tribe social and cultural model of behavior, placed all Afghani females in the bloody river with no return.One portal for pro-women activism writes the following:” Since the Taliban took power in 1996, women have been beaten and stoned in public for not having the proper attire; even if this means simply not having the mesh covering in front of their eyes. One woman was beaten to death by an angry mob of fundamentalists for accidentally exposing her arm while she was driving. Another was stoned to death for trying to leave the country with a man that was not a relative.Women are not allowed to work or even go out in public without a male relative. Professional women such as translators, doctors, lawyers, artists and writers have been forced from their jobs and told to stay in their homes. Depression is becoming so widespread that it has reached emergency levels. There is no way in such an extreme Islamic society to know the suicide rate with certainty. But relief workers are estimating that the suicide rate among women has increased significantly. Women who cannot find proper medication and treatment for depression, would rather take their lives than live in such conditions.Homes where a woman is present must have their windows painted so that she can never be seen by outsiders. They must wear silent shoes so that they are never heard. Women live in fear for their lives for the slightest misbehavior or infraction of these rules. Because they cannot work, those without male relatives or husbands are either starving to death or begging on the street-even if they hold Ph.D.’s.” This portrait of the current Afghani society was born from Taliban take over of the country, which has been not perfect but definitely was not so bad for women who were enjoyed relatively freedom before 1996. The Taliban machinery of hate towards women and men who don’t accept new Shari’ah Law has touched of segment of life. The set of ridiculous rules was invented to ensure the Islamic life but if we analyze those bans, we can conclude that even the Prophet Mohammed would be ashamed of them.Here are only some of the most terrible rules for Afghani people:
“Banned listening to music, not only for women but men as well.
Banned the watching of movies, television and videos, for everyone.
– Banned celebrating the traditional new year (Nowroz) on March 21. The Taliban has proclaimed the holiday un-Islamic.
– Disavowed Labor Day (May 1st), because it is deemed a “communist” holiday.
– Ordered that all people with non-Islamic names change them to Islamic ones.
– Ordered that men not shave or trim their beards, which should grow long enough to protrude from a fist clasped at the point of the chin.
– Ordered that all people attend prayers in mosques five times daily.
– Banned the keeping of pigeons and playing with the birds, describing it as un-Islamic. The violators will be imprisoned and the birds shall be killed. The kite flying has also been stopped.
– Ordered all onlookers, while encouraging the sportsmen, to chant Allah-o-Akbar (God is great) and refrain from clapping.
– Ban on certain games including kite flying which is “un-Islamic” according to Taliban.
– Anyone who carries objectionable literature will be executed.
– Anyone who converts from Islam to any other religion will be executed.
– All boy students must wear turbans. They say “No turban, no education”.
– Non-Muslim minorities must distinct badge or stitch a yellow cloth onto their dress to be differentiated from the majority Muslim population. Just like what did Nazis with Jews.
– Banned the use of the internet by both ordinary Afghans and foreigners.
– Compulsory painting of all windows, so women can not be seen from outside their homes.
-Ban on women’s wearing brightly colored clothes. In Taliban terms, these are ‘sexually attracting colors.’
– Modification of all place names including the word “women.” For example, “women’s garden” has been renamed “spring garden”.
– Ban on women appearing on the balconies of their apartments or houses.
Ban on the photographing or filming of women.
– Ban on women’s pictures printed in newspapers and books, or hung on the walls of houses and shops.”
I am sure that those rules sound like back to the middle ages although I am not convinced that this level of social and religious pathology existed then. The Mullahs wanted to rape every dimension of Afghani life, to make people being slaves and to break their resistance and desires for social changes.The women lost all they had and got oppression and tyrannical system and daily violence:“Up to 87 percent of Afghan women have experienced some form of violence, and 62 percent have experienced multiple forms of violence. Incidence of violence remains under-reported and women continue to face significant difficulties in seeking justice as their cases are often handled through informal or traditional justice mechanisms that may not protect their rights.”
Thanks to the effort of global human rights authorities, Afghanistan is opening the places and centers for offering the help to the abused women, children and men, declared as victims of dying Taliban’s Islam. When Ashraf Ghani was elected as president in September 2014, it seems like this country is taking some democratic breath. It is not easy and this process is slow and endangered by Taliban’s last tries outside the cities, located on the peripheral zones. Millions of refugees who were run away from oppression regime of Mullahs started coming back, to the country with no secure future. Health system in attempt, economy deeply broken, society divided into so many customs and traditions but still afraid from brutal Islamic terror, that is Afghanistan.
The great problem for Afghanistan now is the rise of Islamic State. The Afghani people don’t share the glorious Arabic identity and purity of Qur’an so they won’t be so easily exploited as Caliphate’s children of anger. There are also many of them who join the club but there are also many of those who would never do it, because of the previous experience with militants. What I see as a disadvantage for Afghanistan now or as a threat to the possible democratic recovery is definitely a chance for Taliban to strike back and to rise up again, consolidating their forces and using the world wide obsession with ISIS to push their own goals forward and to make chaotic disturbance in already vibrant and fragile society. The last incidents when the Taliban attacked the University in northwestern Pakistan and killed 20 people shown us that they aren’t weak and they are still capable to be a regional terrorist force. In one moment, they could enlarge their range of activities and merge with ISIS, which would enable the Islamic State to come on the wider area with access to the Southern Asia.
The Taliban’s crimes against human rights and freedom are the outstanding letters of shame for the for the international community, because it didn’t give proper response. The phenomena of Taliban’s Islam should be taken as an insult on regular Islam in Muslim World, faced up with real Islamic radicalism on one side and islamophobia on another side. The breeding of Talibans and ISIS terrorists would be the first class global security risk but somehow, having in mind previous leadership’s conflicts between ISIS and Al Qaeda, there are doubts that will happen and even if it happens, it will be crashed very fast due the different selfish goals and ideology.
Afghanistan is like a Fenix bird….rises up from the ash of broken dreams, burnt freedoms and Allah’s temptations. Taliban Islam will never be strong as it used to be between 1996-2001 but it could be used as a base for spreading of ISIS’s Islam on the Indian subcontinent.