Women fighting fundamentalism

Submitted by Anon on 28 February, 2002 - 12:50

It took an atrocity thousands of miles away to draw the world's attention to the plight of women under the Taliban. The most extreme anti-woman regime in the world was helped to power by US arms and training, and tolerated for 5 years. When it came into conflict with the US, suddenly its treatment of women was condemned. The danger is, with Afghanistan 'sorted', women's rights fall off the agenda, and vicious anti-women regimes, on which the Taliban modelled themselves, flourish.
Women of Afghanistan were not 'liberated' by the fall of the Taliban. The interim government contains jihadi warlords with as terrible a record of rape and atrocity as the regime they've replaced.

Jihadi fundamentalism, political Islam, islamism, what ever you choose to call it, is by no means sorted. It is on the rise world-wide, and wherever it comes to power, women suffer. Socialists, trade unionists, national and religious minorities, are also targeted, but their treatment of women is the one constant. If you want to judge how reactionary or progressive a movement or regime is, the position of women is a sure indicator.

Bush in his war on terror is very selective about which fundamentalist regimes he will take on. At the moment Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are allies, so the fact they are anti-democratic and treat a woman as worth half a man (if that) is glossed over.

Iran, the first modern islamic regime, the model the islamists would like to impose wherever they get power, is for the moment declared part of the 'axis of evil'. So, while it suits Bush, we may hear of its abuse of women. Then again, as has happened in the past, it may be deemed a potential ally against Iraq, and its institutionalised war against women be forgotten.

Just as in Afghanistan, women in these countries are resisting, heroically, under extremely adverse conditions. The solution for women will come, not from bombing them, but from supporting and publicising their struggles, exposing the vicious nature of these regimes.

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