So Our Youth Will Stay

The other day, I was in my office thinking about Afghanistan and how the situation is improving. We are fortunate that the international community is helping us rebuild our country. We have an elected president. Girls are going to school. Women are working outside the home. It is beautiful here. I wondered about the many Afghans living abroad. I thought to myself that they should come see that Afghanistan is getting better. Our country needs us and they should come home.

The sound of the door opening interrupted my thoughts. My colleague entered my office. He had a very worried look on his face as he asked if I had watched the news on TV. “No,” I said. “Why? What is wrong?”

“You must watch. It’s awful,” he said. “Once again, we are faced with our government’s failure.”

Only a few minutes before, I was counting the blessings of Afghanistan; now I was watching a story out of Kunduz, where the mullahs and elders had punished three young girls. One girl was beaten in public with a whip for running away from her home. The beating had been televised. Two other young women were stoned for adultery.

As I watched, my head was exploding in anger. This is not human rights. How do I stop this? To whom do I speak? Will my government hear my voice? Can someone pass a message to them? Why, in a country with a history of five thousand years, is it the elders and the public who punish wrongdoers? The government must set the standard. The government must punish the wrongdoer, not the public.

Indeed, according to Islam, adultery (gunahe kabira) is the biggest sin. But let’s make it clear. The girls can’t commit those crimes on their own. There must be a man so that we can have the adultery case completed. Where were those men? If you want to punish a girl for adultery, then according to Islam, you have to punish the woman and the man—not just the woman. Men have the right to do anything, because they are men. They are powerful; they are the bread-bringers.

And why does a girl want to leave her house? What is running away from home? When you ask our people, most of them say: “Yes, running from home is a crime according to Islam.” So of course young women can’t have their rights. Help them to get their rights.

Our leaders must stop buying villas in Dubai. Think about your people. Think about those young girls who run away from their homes because their families don’t treat them like human beings. What if this was to happen to your own daughter, sister, mother, or your own wife? Youngsters are the treasure of our country. The future of Afghanistan is in the hands of our youngsters. Give them their rights. Treat them like human beings. The justice system in our country is horrible. Do something about it. Otherwise, our youngsters are going to leave their country and will never come back.

By Elay


  1. Dear Elay and all women who write in this blog,
    I’ve just found out the blog and the Project. I’m very happy you have the chance to write your feelings and your life but, at the same time, I’m sad when I read what you are compelled to live, how terrible your life can be to live.
    I live in Italy and our life is completely different: sometimes we complain about it but it isn’t worth while talking about our moans which are stupid compared with your situation.
    I am aware I can’t do anything but I just wanted to say you I’ve bookmarked this site in my favourites. Please go on writing, we will support you even though just reading you!
    A great hug!

  2. Elay,
    This piece you have written is absolutely moving. I could not agree more with you on every detail you spoke about. Particularly that the government should protect all people, but it is the children that we need to take the most care and pride in. If all we have to do is show kindness and teach the children how to treat others like humans imagine how strong and fair a country could be developed.
    Also your writing style is beautiful. You open with positives your country is making and entrance the reader slowly into a story showing how even with the progress that has occurred there is much to do. You clarify beliefs of Islam for your readers and explain them. I greatly appreciate that and it makes your point so much stronger. In the Western world I feel that so many write off the atrocities happening else where in the world by saying that is their culture, or that is their religion; but its not. Sure someone may have a different culture but that does not mean they should be allowed to demean others in their own society.
    This is the first piece I have read of your’s but it is so well written and thought provoking that I plan to read the rest of the entries you have submitted. Please keep writing. I appreciate the effort and courage that it takes to post your inner most thoughts into the world but people do see it, and it makes a difference, even if you never meet them.
    I plan to try to show this to all of my close friends. I wish I could share this with the entire world, but as with anything, there must be slow progress before real change can be seen.
    Thank You and Best Wishes,

  3. Dear Elay,
    I can’t imagine how it feels to have such atrocities commited in your own country, as i have only read accounts such as yours and seen photos from people who like yourself are trying to bring change. I’m sorry that change is not coming quick enough but these terrible occurances cannot continue under the watchful eye of the international comunnity forever. The only thing we can do is try to raise awareness through articles such as this where your message and story so keep writing. Write until your message gets across and change comes. I appreciate what your’re doing for your country and your people and im sure they do too.

  4. Dear Elay,
    I don’t understand why anyone in the world would dehumanize another being. Especially children whose’ lives have not yet been lived. I feel disgusted when I learn about the inequalities of men and women around the world. There is no point in this oppression. I have a lot of respect for you living through these circumstances and expressing that this is not how life should be. It’s sad to see humans destroying their own society. Both your strength and bravery are visible to anyone reading your writings. Please continue to express yourself.

  5. I imagine how painful is to see this kind of situation happening without having a direction to call out for help. If authorities don’t do anything about that, there will be a lot of time until the big changes in people’s minds happen. It is so sad to know that Afghan women still face these outrageous acts.
    I hope things can be better for all Afghan women in the future.
    Best wishes,
    Renata, from Brazil.

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