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April 16, 2009

Women Protest (Men Answer) In Kabul

(To shift back-and-forth, put your cursor on the far left- or far right-center of the viewer till you see “+” or “-” button)

“We want our rights!” one of the women shouted, turning to face them. “We want equality!”

The women ran to the bus and dived inside as it rumbled away, with the men smashing the taillights and banging on the sides.


But the march continued anyway. About 300 Afghan women, facing an angry throng three times larger than their own, walked the streets of the capital on Wednesday to demand that Parliament repeal a new law that introduces a range of Taliban-like restrictions on women, and permits, among other things, marital rape.

Not that they aren’t strong enough on their own, but the images from yesterday’s rare women’s protest in Kabul are that much more powerful when compared to the “weak” tea protests that played out around the U.S. yesterday, as well.
Surveying the newswire, the “call-and-response” quality of the pictures of the women’s group opposite the angry men’s counter-demonstration is particularly striking. The first two images above capture the juxtaposition brilliantly presented by The New York Times. For myself, I felt the need for the third photo which I pulled from the newswire. This image highlights the same woman from the first image (in the purple head scarf, left).
Comparing the first and the last photographs, I get a deeper sense of what a brave and unusual thing these women did yesterday, the look of sadness expressing the intimidation and repression that represents the norm.
Images/quote from: Afghan Women Protest New Law on Home Life (Dexter Filkins/NYT)
(image 1: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images, for The New York Times; image 2: Shah Marai/Agence France-Presse — Getty Image; image 3: Omar Sobhani/Reuters. Afghan shi’ite women attend a demonstration in Kabul April 15, 2009. Afghan women staged rival demonstrations for and against a new family law, which opponents said it would revive the cruel treatment of women of the Taliban era, but supporters said it would defend Islamic Justice.)
  • merl

    I’d like to see how many teabaggers would show up at a protest like that.

  • Hermetically Sealed

    Not that this could happen, but it would be interesting for women to “go Galt” on these Afghani men and leave the country in droves. “You think we are just chattel for you to f*ck twice a week cos you’re horny? Bye.” Since they hate women so much, why not?
    Are there any translations of writings/speeches or biographies of women suffragists and other women’s rights activists we could just drop from planes? Bomb them with books.

  • Saleema

    Bomb them with books?
    You must not be aware that more than 80 percent of the population is illiterate.
    Why not give them an education? Education does wonders to fight ignorance. Give their young generations of men and women education, access to health care and watch them grow.
    That should have been done after the Soviet was defeated. But what did the world do? They forgot them and left Bin Laden there to exploit them further.

  • jtfromBC

    I note more women with closed fists than men
    I suggest Western women inspire Afghan women by implementing the strategy of Lysistrata.
    Lysistrata – is a comic account of one woman’s extraordinary mission to end The Peloponnesian War. Lysistrata convinces the women of Greece to withhold sexual privileges from their husbands as a means of forcing the men to negotiate a peace.
    - the Lysistrata consequences on our western warlords and religious extremists would truly be something to behold !
    - okay so its time to wake up, stop day dreaming, consider taking a pill or playing John Lennon’s ‘Imagine…

  • blackjackshellac

    Of course, it was only a century ago that this protest result would have been witnessed in the west. We are so much more advanced.

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