Six female angles to the Afghanistan crisis

Background image by matt brown on Unsplash.

The West-induced collapse of Afghanistan has been horrific to watch.

First of all, I am not an expert on the situation, so if you want an in-depth breakdown of it all you’ve come to the wrong place.

But, I know that with the Taliban taking complete control of the capital Kabul, and the rest of the Middle Eastern state, the plight of Afghanistan’s girls and women, which was already beyond dire, will deteriorate even further.

I am not writing this to offer a hot take on the humanitarian disaster, but I do want to recommend a few powerful posts about the crisis — videos, articles and alike — featuring women.

When I was putting this together I came across a similar article from Mamamia which I also encourage people to read.

1. A TikTok explainer

Stop. Don’t close the tab. Tiktok shouldn’t be dismissed as it is an extremely effective platform for journalism — something BBC reporter Sophia Smith Galer has shown since 2018.

Most Australian’s (or even just people) probably aren’t au fait with what has taken place during the Afghanistan War, but the Guardian Australia’s Matilda Boseley has summed it up in an accessible two-minute package.

2. This interview with the founder of the Afghan Women’s Network

Mahbooba Seraj helped found the NGO which aims to empower women and ensure their equal participation in Afghan society in 1996.

In an interview with Turkish public broadcaster TRT World last week, a rightly furious Seraj scorned the men in suits thousands of kilometres away who have led to this crisis which she said will put Afghanistan back two centuries.

“To those world leaders I am going to say shame on you. We are disgusted.”

3. This article by an Afghan university student

On Monday The Guardian published the words of a 24-year-old female Afghan university student who would have graduated from the American University of Afghanistan and Kabul University later this year.

For her own safety, her name isn’t revealed, but she details how the collapse of her capital led to her life “flashing before her eyes”.

4. A piece on Afghanistan’s first female mayor

Zarifa Ghafari became the youngest, and first female, mayor in Afghanistan in 2018.

There have already been three attempts to assassinate her and now, as she tells iNews, she is “sitting and waiting for them to come”.

But still, Ghafari said she has hope — especially in Afghanistan’s young.

5. This recount from an Afghan journalist

This is another piece delivered by The Guardian, this time as a part of their excellent rights and freedom series.

This is a first-hand recount by an anonymous 22-year-old journalist who fled her home in the north of Afghanistan for somewhere unknown.

Media, especially those who have spoken out against the Taliban, are in grave danger and now this journalist is somewhere without running water, electricity and barely any phone signal.

It’s horrific, but I couldn’t even begin to imagine how harrowing it actually is.

I encourage you to read more of the rights and freedoms series including this article about female journalists fighting to remain heard and this article about the perils of divorced Afghan women.

6. These perspectives from Afghan-Australians

This disaster isn’t just affecting people on the other side of the world.

There are around 50,000 Afghanistan-born people in Australia and Shepparton News reporters Caitlin Cassidy and Rosa Ritchie have given voice to three in the Goulburn Valley community including Afghan Youth Association of Shepparton leader Mezhgan Alizadah.

This is vital local journalism.

I don’t know how to end this article. I wrote it because this will probably be a disaster that is recounted by men, even though women will be the most severely affected and I want their stories to be heard. It isn’t much, I concede that, but it’s all I think I am able to do right now.

The situation in Australia is pretty stellar when compared to Afghanistan. That seems obvious, but I hope it doesn’t lead people to lean back and say “well at least we aren’t in XYZ place”.

Progress doesn’t have a start and it doesn’t have a finish. We need to keep striving to be a better society, but I regret to say that I don’t think enough Australians are on the same page.

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