The Memory Of A Good Friend
The Spirit Of Religious Tyranny
October 23, 2002
Taliban is gone. So is my good friend and colleague Jyoti. The latter fell from cardiac arrest a few years back, and nobody we know ever figured out how to archive his very complex web site, "Bubbles." [Update: We have found a copy of his web page in an archival service and are working to restore some of his writings! Volunteers needed!] The former fell, not from the outrage of concerned people prevailing upon their governments to band together and intervene in behalf of the brutalized citizens, in the name of human rights; rather, it fell incidental to the obsession of a wannabe Insane Anglo Warlord to thrust his fist against that post to which he insists is tethered the ghosts of the sons of the harem of the Old Man in the Mountain.
I post this not only because I promised to post anything I found that my friend has written, but also because I strongly sense that were he still then the mess that has befallen the Positive Atheism project would not be as severe. I know my friend would not have let this happen had he the power to prevent it.
-- Cliff Walker, Publisher
Positive Atheism Magazine
P.S.: If anybody has copies of any of the files from Jyoti's "Bubbles" web site, let us know and we'll give them a home on the web. Missing those files before his server deleted them is one of the few regrets I have in the work that I've done here.
From: "Jyoti Shankar" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Cliff Walker" <email@example.com>
Subject: Fw: Afgan's Apartheid Policy Against Women
Date: February 28, 1999 2:26 PM
I wrote this letter to the editor of Atlanta Journal & Constitution.
All women and civilized people must be seriously concerned about the Taliban Govt. treatment of women and condemn it publicly until the situation is remedied.
Until September 1996, women in Afghanistan were highly involved in public life. They wore contemporary clothes, participated in government, attended co-ed schools and worked in all professions. Many were nurses, lawyers and teachers. Forty percent of the doctors were women.
Then, an extremist military group, the Taliban, overthrew the government and brutally imposed a system of "gender apartheid." Overnight, 11.5 million free, hardworking Afghan citizens became prisoners in their own homes for the crime of being female.
Under Taliban law, the windows of a woman's house must be painted black. She may leave the house only if accompanied by a close male relative and dressed in a smothering head-to-toe garment -- the burqua -- with just a tiny mesh-covered opening to see through.
Women may not work outside the home, attend school or even, for fear of terrible punishment, wear shoes that make noise when they walk. They are forbidden to teach their own daughters to read, and girls are banned from attending school. If women or girls get sick, they cannot be treated by a male doctor -- and since women can no longer work as doctors, nurses or midwives, health care for women has all but vanished. Many have now died of easily treatable ailments.
The Taliban justify all of this as part of an extremist form of Islam, which only they subscribe to -- and which has nothing to do with mainstream Muslim beliefs or the traditions of the Afghan people.
One young Afghan woman told an interviewer: "There is no hope for us. The Afghan women are the walking dead." Not surprisingly, these women are now committing suicide in increasing numbers.
Mavis Leno, Board Member, Feminist Majority Foundation is heading the Feminist Majority Foundation's nationwide Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan. Please ask your concerned readers to call them at 888-93-WOMEN (888-939-6636) to receive a "Take Action" kit and learn how they can help. -- Mavis Leno, Board Member, Feminist Majority Foundation
I think you should write a strong editorial condemning this government and bring the attention to all civilized people to force this government to remove this inequality.
Positive Atheism Magazine
Seven years of service to people
with no reason to believe
Material by Cliff Walker (including unsigned editorial commentary) is copyright ©1995-2006 by Cliff Walker. Each submission is copyrighted by its writer, who retains control of the work except that by submitting it to Positive Atheism, permission has been granted to use the material or an edited version: (1) on the Positive Atheism web site; (2) in Positive Atheism Magazine; (3) in subsequent works controlled by Cliff Walker or Positive Atheism Magazine (including published or posted compilations). Excerpts not exceeding 500 words are allowed provided the proper copyright notice is affixed. Other use requires permission; Positive Atheism will work to protect the rights of all who submit their writings to us.