The Collective Shame of the Modern World

They weren’t a huge number, yet their courage was collectively greater than of the thousands of men who surrendered and pushed the women of Afghanistan into the monstrous hands of a terror group, once again. About 50 women marched on the streets of Herat, Afghanistan, in protest for their right to work and against the lack of female participation in the new government to be formed. “We’re not afraid, we’re united,” they said while refusing to bow meekly to the Taliban, who have and will destroy the lives of all women who refuse to comply with their rules, who grant females no human rights and treat them as cattle. They marched bravely, in a country where women are currently disallowed from stepping out without a male relative by their side.

I wonder how many such voices are being silenced before even their neighbours hear them. I watched a video of an interview by Kabul news, where the female interviewer asks the Taliban leaders whether women politicians will be allowed in the government, if democratically elected. Their response to this was hysterical laughter, as if they had heard the greatest joke of the year. Followed by their laughter, were the words “Turn off the video.” As a girl myself, their laughter and expressions rang through my ears for the next few hours, making my heart race with terror for all the women and girls stuck in that country right now.

Outside the Kabul airport in Afghanistan, families are paying strangers to get married to their daughters, since the Taliban has banned travel by women unaccompanied by male family members. Such are the horrors of not being a man in a Taliban ruled country – the women are ready to be victims of human trafficking than suffer under the organization’s regime.

“Our women will be safe and protected living under the Sharia Law”, a Taliban spokesperson had said on August 17. The same day I heard news of a woman shot by terrorists in Takhar for not wearing a burqa.  Reports of women being tortured, raped and publicly executed are slowly seeping in like whispers of the news reporting world. A woman was burned alive for preparing an “unsatisfactory” meal for the Taliban’s fighters.  The terror regime is making a list of women from the ages of 12-45 to get them married to their fighters. The calendar tells me it’s 2021, but it feels like a huge lie. Growing up in a democratic country, the word “law” gave me a sense of comfort, like it was there for my protection. But the same word is synonymous to “doom” for the women in Afghanistan.

During Afghanistan’s non Taliban years, women’s life expectancy increased from 56 to 66. By 2020, 21 percent of all Afghan civil servants were women while there had been none in the Taliban regime. In fact, even in the 1900s, before the Taliban, women had the right to vote, dress as they like, go to work and live like humans. A world of the 1900s is now a dream for the Afghan women.

It angers me that a powerful country like the US thought it was okay to hastily leave these people abandoned with their fate in the hands of inhumane people. I am angry at the countries and governments headed by a bunch of men, who do not understand how urgently these women require to be rescued. I hate how they don’t comprehend what their silence and inaction is doing to their lives, their dignity and their children. I am terrified for the women in Afghanistan, for the children there, for the LGBTQ+ people there. If only God can help these people, he had better hurry up.

Some pages I follow on Instagram and Twitter have been collecting funds to send airplanes to evacuate the people of Afghanistan in need. There are organizations with links and resources to help you help them. There are many such resources online where one can donate what they can. A country-full of people have nowhere to go. You and I cannot imagine the plight of these people, especially the women there.

As Military Helicopters hovered over the Kabul Airport, amidst the sound of the rotors and the terror echoing throughout the nation, drowned the voice of a young Afghan woman pleading to the American soldiers, “You’re our family. Please help!” But the lack of empathy she got in return backed the words of Mahbouba Seraj, a prominent Afghan women’s rights activist – “Shame on you – really – shame on you, world.”