We live in the same 21st century. For these girls and women, however, life returned to a Middle Ages that I reflected in movies and books.
For them, human rights have become science fiction overnight.
Sharia law on women’s rights, as interpreted by the Taliban:
- You will stay home all the time. It is not appropriate for women to walk the streets. You are only allowed to leave the home in the company of a family member. Those who will be caught alone on the streets will be beaten and sent home.
- It is forbidden, under any circumstances, to uncover your face. It is allowed to leave the house only covered by the burqa. Those who do not do this will be severely beaten.
- Cosmetics are forbidden.
- Jewelry is prohibited.
- Attractive clothes are prohibited.
- You are not allowed to speak except to answer questions.
- You are not allowed to look a man in the eye.
- You are not allowed to laugh in public. You will be beaten if you do.
- You are not allowed to paint your nails. You will lose a finger if you do.
- Girls are not allowed to go to school. Girls’ schools will be closed urgently.
- Women are forbidden to have a job.
- If you are found guilty of adultery, you will be stoned to death.
This is what the next few years will be like for Afghan women and girls, if we sit and watch. The international institutions that should take action are still in lethargy. A general mobilization is needed for these women to maintain their status as men.
At Herat University, the Taliban have already stopped students and teachers from entering. In the conquered cities, the burqa is becoming mandatory again in public places, women have started to lose their jobs. There are reports that the Taliban are going door-to-door to make lists of girls and women between the ages of 12 and 45 to force them to marry Islamist fighters. Education for girls and women is a right.
Women who have held visible positions, worked in women’s rights NGOs or campaigned against the Taliban fear that once identified, they will be tortured and killed.
What will happen to the lives of these women? Their chances of education, work, independence and the freedom to decide their own lives were shattered overnight.
An overwhelming reality, shocking images. What will happen to a generation of women in the public area – doctors, teachers, judges, functionaries. Can only escape be their salvation?