Editor’s note: This AWWP essay was inspired by the upcoming 2014 “Imagining Equality” digital storytelling project led by the International Museum of Women / Global Fund for Women.
My Afghanistan is the land of my ancestors and forefathers. This land with its mountains, plains, grass meadows, birds, trees, sun and moon, nights and days, inspires me.
My land has lost its happiness, but not so much by strangers and neighbors as by us. We have oppressed ourselves.
Seventy years ago in Afghanistan, there was some freedom for a limited number of women and girls, while women in the villages were often treated as slaves. Later, opportunist tyrants did not recognize the benefits of having women advance themselves, so they killed women’s rights and closed all the paths that would allow women to be educated and advance. Liberators were hanged. Poor and unaware, people were duped by their Jihadist speeches to sell girls in the name of Allah.
Today, women and liberators are fighting and debating for women’s rights by opening the doors to schools and universities, by becoming part of the political issues and participating in elections. In every nook of our land, women have sacrificed for the sake of restoring their rights.
The day will come when instead of stoning women Afghan people will build statues of women, like queens. Instead of calling women incapacitated and buying and selling women, women will do things like exercise outdoors like men, run businesses, and become president. They will be seen equally as humans, not separately as men or women. This is my dream of equality.
Photo: A biology class at Kabul University in the 1950s.