Time Passes as Difficulties continue
Winter in an Afghan province 2023 (photo: M)
The lack of posts on this blog over January and February reflects how time is passing and the silence of Afghan news. My women contacts' hopes to return to their university are diminishing: "It is very difficult for me that the university starts again, but now it is not clear whether it will start again or not for women" (M). After the university winter break, only male students were allowed to continue the next semester of their studies.
The passing of time in silence regarding Afghan news – the lack of reports in our media about Afghanistan – reflects our distancing from the continuing struggles of its people.
Is nothing happening? In one way, nothing seems to be progressing in terms of human rights and particularly women's rights. I have little inside information about the country, and likewise, the women I'm in contact with have little information as they're prohibited from public life.
One of the women I know needed to travel temporarily to Iran to fulfil administration requirements for a student visa application to a western country. She is barred from travel without the accompaniment of a
Mahram (father or brother), yet neither her father nor her brother have a passport.
She wanted to travel with her uncle who has a passport. However, she needs a letter from the Taliban Court to prove that this man is really her mother’s brother. In her province, the issuing of a Mahram letter from the Taliban Court is prohibited until ‘the second order’. There is no time given for when ‘the second order’ will be. She is stuck.
Is nothing happening? In another way, things are happening, but are not extreme enough to make our news, though they are extreme enough to shake Afghanistan's population. Two days ago there was a 6.5 magnitude earthquake in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The BBC reported at least 10 deaths in Afghanistan, tragic yet less than what could have been, since the quake was centred in a mountainous region rather than a highly populated urban one. Yet residents left their houses and stayed outside all night in fear and in memory of the tragic earthquake in Turkey. A wrote to me:
"I woke up violently and went out to the courtyard with my family members. I felt very bad. I felt like Turkey, like all Turkish people. One by one, we are moving away from all the dreams we have, from all our possessions, from our loved ones who are far away from us. All of us Afghan girls are in a state of gradual death. Remembering the Turkish dead, we were all in a bad mood."
The 6.5 magnitude earthquake sent people rushing out of their homes. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-65034776