Afghanistan Women's Rights Petition Chain Letter Please don't bother forwarding this: When you try to send the "petitions" to the listed email address, the mail is bounced.
Date:    Sat, 9 Jan 1999 15:59:23 -0500
From:    Terry Dougherty <tdougher@CONCENTRIC.NET>
Subject: Please read this - the women of Afghanistan need your help!
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I received the following message from a fellow RPCV from Afghanistan.
I don't know where this "petition" may end up, but in the tradition
of the "100th monkey" theory one can only hope that if enough people
become aware of the plight of Afghanistan's women, some positive
change will occur.

Terry Dougherty
RPCV - Afghanistan '72-75

Susan Aronson wrote:
This is a situation we should all be aware of and is worthy of our
concern.  Thanks for your consideration.

Susan G. Aronson, Newsletter Editor
Afghan Connections (Friends of Afghanistan)

The Taliban's War on Women:

**** Please Sign at the bottom to support and include your town.
If you receive this list with more than 50 names on it,
please email a copy of it to

Even if you decide not to sign, please be considerate and do
not kill the petition. Thank you.  It is best to copy rather than
forward  the petition.

Melissa Buckheit
Brandeis University

The government of Afghanistan is waging a war upon women.  The situation
is getting so bad that one person in an editorial of the times compared
the treatment of women there to the treatment of Jews in pre-holocaust
Poland. Since the Taliban took power in 1996, women have had to wear
burqua and have been beaten and stoned in public for not having the
proper attire, even if this means simply not having the mesh covering in
front of their eyes.

One woman was beaten to DEATH by an angry mob of fundamentalists for
accidentally exposing her arm while she was driving.

Another was stoned to death for trying to leave the country with a
man that was not a  relative. Women are not allowed to work or even go
out in public without a male relative; professional women such as
professors, translators, doctors, lawyers, artists and writers have been
forced from their jobs and stuffed into their homes, so that depression
is becoming so widespread that it has reached emergency levels.

There is no way in such an extreme Islamic society to know the suicide
rate with certainty, but relief workers are estimating that the suicide
rate among women, who cannot find proper medication and treatment for
severe depression and would rather take their lives than live in such
conditions, has increased significantly.

Homes where a woman is present must have their windows painted so that
she can never be seen by outsiders.  They must wear silent shoes so that
they are never heard. Women live in fear of their lives for the
slightest misbehavior. Because they cannot work, those without male
relatives or husbands are either
starving to death or begging on the street, even if they hold Ph.D.'s.

There are almost no medical facilities available for women, and relief
workers, in protest, have mostly left the country, taking medicine and
psychologists and other things necessary to treat the sky-rocketing
level of depression among women.

At one of the rare hospitals for women, a reporter found still, nearly
lifeless bodies lying motionless on top of beds, wrapped in their
burqua, unwilling to speak, eat or do anything, but are slowly wasting
away.  Others have gone mad and were seen crouched in corners,
perpetually rocking or crying, most of them in fear.  One doctor is
considering, when what little medication that is left finally runs out,
leaving these women in front of the president's residence as a form of
peaceful protest.

It is at the point where the term 'human rights violations' have become
an understatement.

Husbands have the power of life and death over their women relatives,
especially their wives, but an angry mob has just as much right to stone
or beat a woman, often to death, for exposing an inch of flesh or
offending them in the slightest way.

David Cornwell has told me that we in the United States should not judge
the Afghan people for such treatment because it is a 'cultural thing',
but this is not even true.  Women enjoyed relative freedom, to work,
dress generally as they wanted, and drive and appear in public alone
until only 1996 -- the rapidity of this transition is the main reason
for the depression and suicide; women who were once educators or doctors
or simply used to basic human freedoms are now severely restricted and
treated as sub-human in the name of right-wing fundamentalist Islam.  It
is not their tradition or 'culture', but is alien to them, and it is
extreme even  for those cultures where fundamentalism is the rule.
Besides, if we could excuse everything on cultural grounds, then we
should not be appalled that the Carthaginians sacrificed their infant
children, that little girls are circumcised in parts of Africa, that
blacks in the deep south in the 1930's were lynched, prohibited from
voting and forced to submit to unjust Jim Crow laws.

Everyone has a right to a tolerable human existence, even if they are
women in a Muslim country in a part of the world that Americans
do not understand.

If we can threaten military force in Kosovo in the name of human rights
for the sake of ethnic Albanians, Americans can certainly express
peaceful outrage at the oppression, murder and injustice committed
against women by the Taliban.

In signing this, we agree that the current treatment of women in
Afghanistan is completely UNACCEPTABLE and deserves support and action
by the people of the United States and the U.S. Government and that the
current situation overseas will not be tolerated.  Women's Rights is not
a small issue anywhere and it is UNACCEPTABLE for women in 1998 to be
treated as sub-human and so much as property. Equality and human decency
is a RIGHT not a freedom, whether one lives in Afghanistan or the United

(*** To add your name to the petition, simply highlight all of the
text, and in "EDIT" click on "COPY".   Then start a new EMAIL, and
after addressing it to your mailing list, and adding a subject line, go
to the body of the EMAIL letter, and in "EDIT" click on "PASTE."
This will give you everything that you copied.   Now go to the bottom
of the document, add your name.  The document is now ready to send.)

1) Leslie London, Cape Town, South Africa
2) Tim Holtz, Boston, USA
3) Jennifer Kasper, Boston, MA, USA
4) Ali Noorani, Boston, MA
5) Juli-Ann Carlos, Boston, MA, USA
6) Elaine Alpert, MD, Boston, MA USA
7) Diane Morse, MD, Rochester, NY
8) Mark Winsberg, MD, Rochester, NY
9) Elizabeth Hirsh, Rochester, NY
10) Ellen Goldstein, Rochester, NY
11) Kathryn Fiske, Rochester, NY
12) David H. Hunt, Seattle, WA
13) Dan Freeman, Kent, WA
14) Sheryl Allen, Bellevue, WA
15) Larry Allen, Bellevue, WA
16) Nancy Kahn, Seattle, WA
17) Jim Ekberg, Olga, WA
18) Carol Summers, Seattle, WA
19) Ken Jenkins, Petaluma, CA
20) Daniel B. Holeman, San Rafael, CA
21) Griselda T. Yarbrough, Madera, CA
22) Rev Jack Bittler, St. Petersburg, FL
23) John D. Anderson, Fort Myers, FL
24) H.A. Rose, Cape Coral, FL
25) Nancy Yannayon, California, MD
26) Suzy Camp, Mechanicsville, MD
27) Chris Schriner, Santa Ana CA
28)  Jean Raun, Laguna Beach,  CA
29)  Suzy Moraes, Mission Viejo, CA
30) Susan Neyer, Walnut Creek, CA
31) Pete Johnson, Walnut Creek, CA
32) Susan Aronson, Sacramento, CA
33) Dennis Aronson, Sacramento, CA
34) Terry Dougherty, Fort Wayne, IN

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This page last edited August 28, 2013.