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Afghanistan, after August
Written by Ian | Published. 2021.11.15 00:09 | Count : 371

Somebody once said that there is no fiction which is more cruel than reality; life is a succession of enduring suffering, and each person has a different capacity to endure pain. However, there are certain situations in the world that cause us to objectively see that our own suffering is infinitesimally smaller in comparison. The case of the Afghans’ plight is precisely such a situation: millions of innocent Afghan people are currently suffering from the cruelty of the Taliban.

 

This is evident in the 100 years of grueling history that begins with the invasion of the United Kingdom and Soviet Union. In spite of surviving those years, Kabul—the capital city of Afghanistan—was occupied by the Taliban, which enforced Islamic Fundamentalism through establishing an Islamic nation since 1996, causing Afghan citizens to suffer through patriarchal, discriminatory, and violent policies. Later, the United States invaded Afghanistan in the aftermath of 9/11. As a result, the rule of the Taliban fell, and the capital city, Kabul, was captured by the U.S. However, as it has been reported by various media outlets, the Taliban recaptured Afghanistan in August 2021 following the withdrawal of U.S. Armed Forces. This is catastrophic for various reasons, but it is most devastating for the weakest of their society—the women and children. 
 

It is not a secret that the lives of Middle Eastern women under Taliban rule have been inhumane to many people around the world through stories such as Malala Yousafzai’s for her having survived an assassination for simply seeking an education. Such circumstances are best illustrated through the novel “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini, an American novelist from Afghanistan.

 

 

 

[The cover of A Thousand Splendid Suns, Credit to Amazon]

Hosseini wrote on the theme of Afghan women’s human rights in 2007. He depicts the desperate lives of women whose lives fully depend on men’s choices in a patriarchal world where women cannot even dream because they not only experience constraints on their daily livelihood but face direct obstacles preventing them from even surviving in the face of constant threats to their existence. He also expressed the effects of the religion, politics, and customs of the Taliban, which affected all aspects of women and children’s lifestyle, marriage and childbirth, family environment, and child development. Hosseini recalled in a broadcast interview with CNN on August 12, 2021:  

 

“When I was young, Afghanistan was a place where women smoked in public, wore short skirts, and worked as lawyers, doctors, and public officials. However, in the 1990s (when the Taliban ruled), Afghanistan was the worst place for women. I am most concerned that the voices of women will be overlooked in the future.”

 

Now, two months have passed since the Taliban has taken rule. In an interview with MBN’s Yoon Bum-Ki, a reporter from the Department of Social Affairs, offered some insight into how Afghanistan women are living today and how we should respond to their treatment as their contemporaries.

 

[Interviewing MBN’s reporter Yoon Beom Ki through Zoom. Photo credit: Ian]

 

 

He said, “The Taliban declared they would respect women’s human rights initially, but in fact, they haven’t. They are forcing women to wear burkas that cover their bodies from head to toe. In addition, women are threatened with guns and knives and forced to marry Taliban members as if they were spoils. Unlike the time when discriminatory practices against women were reduced under US occupation, women’s human rights are currently being severely infringed upon.”
 

As a countermeasure, Yoon emphasized how the international community can help protect the human rights of the Afghan people. He said, “Military intervention is the most effective way, but the United States has already tried to create a pro-American democracy in Afghanistan and Myanmar at a military level but failed to do so. With few alternatives, the international community should continue to keep its focus on Afghanistan and continue to make voices heard through civic groups and the media. We must encourage the integration of the Taliban into the global community to influence their standards of human rights and liberalization through continual relationship with the global objective.”

 

Finally, he made remarks on the public awareness and assistance measures that Korean society, especially the Korean youth, can contribute. He said, "The Korean Wave, meaning the global spread of Korean cultural content such as Squid Game and BTS, is leading the world's culture. This means that the current young generation in Korea is playing a leading role in the world's culture today, placing them in a unique position to make their voices heard on a mass scale. I hope teenagers will be more interested in international issues and be able to contribute their worldviews and values for good causes.” He added that, as the Republic of Korea achieved democratization and economic growth faster than any other country in the world, when people in other countries ask us questions and ask for help, we should be able to give appropriate answers. "I hope you try to go beyond simply enjoying the current abundance and become a mentor and leader," he advised.

 

Indeed, the country's security and future must be protected, and we must take more responsibility. Otherwise, the price will be the suffering of innocent women and children; as humans are part of the human race, we must take more interest in the wellbeing of our fellow men and women. The people of Afghanistan will not be able to recover on their own. In particular, the Taliban is desperate for help from the international community because human rights violations against women and children are out of control, which will imminently have a ripple effect on neighboring countries and us all if their cry for help is not answered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ian

Grade 12

Seed International School

 

 

Ian  hsr@dherald.com

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