‘I wish to shoot them for their atrocities on women, but we will not use guns as we are civilized and will keep raising our voice’.
New Delhi: In the interim Taliban government headed by Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund in Afghanistan, the 33-member Cabinet has all male members and not a single woman. This has led to Afghan women taking to the streets protesting against the all-male, new interim government. The radical-Islamist group on Friday said that women can’t be made ministers and they should rather give birth. The Taliban used whips and sticks against the women protesters to stop them from raising their voices. The Sunday Guardian spoke exclusively to one of the social activists in Afghanistan who participated in these protests.
Homa Saadat, 21, a social activist, is an active part of the female resistance group and is also a feminist. She is a painter who tries to raise her voice against female atrocities via her painting and is also head of the children’s program at the Liberty Book Club and head of a free street kids’ school. Homa Saadat said, “Currently, giving an interview is dangerous because they may find my location or they may trace me in some or other way. But to speak the truth and bring to world the real face of the Taliban, I am ready to face any consequences as it’s my main responsibility to raise the voice of all Afghan women who are under the reckless rule of the Taliban. I want to express my anger against the Taliban and their silly laws. What most of media are saying is not the real situation there—the situation in Afghanistan is really bad, they are beating up women, and bashing up journalists. You just heard the recent case of two photojournalists, who tried to cover our women’s protest, being beaten up. All this increases my fear here. They had promised that they will not trouble women, they will allow them to continue education and do jobs, then why are they beating us up or those people who are protesting or supporting our protests? The Taliban said that they have changed and but in reality they have not. Not a single woman is there in the cabinet.. they did this because they fear women and their presence in politics and other social sections. Sitting inside homes doesn’t mean supporting women.”
Seeing her motherland in such a horrible state, Homa said, “I am in deep pain and full of anger because the country that I saw in the past 20 years is not the country I see now, as now a girl is not even allowed to go out of her home. Universities are open, but ladies are not allowed to go. The Taliban said they will allow women with full cover and head scarf and all, but unfortunately, that’s not the case. Yesterday, my friends had gone to the university, but they were stopped by the Taliban person at the gate and he said ‘you should go back home and education is not for you’. We fear going anywhere now, even to step out of our home or visit the market; everywhere we are scared. I am trying to raise my voice and this is the least I can do to tell the true facts about Afghanistan. Every individual here is living in fear even if they are sitting at home. Taliban is house-hunting people like us who are talking about human rights, women’s rights, or child rights and they may harm that person once they find him/her. Unfortunately, we are not safe in any part of Afghanistan.”
Talking about the center of resistance Panjshir and “Lion of Panjshir” Ahmad Shah Massoud, Homa said: “Ahmad Masood is the hero for me and all other Afghans; he fought for Afghanistan. I wish I could support him in some way. Even if he takes the lead with some negotiations, it’s fine; we are with him. But we don’t have much hopeful with the Panjshir resistance as there is no UN support. Ahmad Masood tried his level best—he did what a hero could do, but unfortunately, not all Afghans could stand tall against the Taliban. We are afraid as we have no guns to fight or other arms and ammunition. Fighting with empty hands is not logical and we can’t do that. I wish we could fight against the Taliban with him.”
Expressing her anger over the rules and laws made by the Taliban, braveheart Homa Saddat said, “The Taliban’s rules are completely against humanity. They say a girl can’t go out alone and she must have some male to accompany her; this is really illogical. Women here have been going out for higher education, and have been working. If 5 million women step out of their homes, they want 5 million men to accompany them, to escort them? This is really ridiculous. They also say that girl’s education is Haram—that is something against Sharia law… and that girls’ and boys’ classes should be separate. Which century are we in? We are living in the 21st century and this is not the Afghanistan that we had made in the past 20 years. Girls and boys interact to make a better country. Else, divide the country and make two different countries—one only for girls and one for boys.
I am ashamed of the way the Taliban is making ridiculous laws for my country. I wish to shoot them by gun, but this is not the logical and civilized way. I can have many other choices than using a gun. If I use guns like them, then there will be no difference between me and the Taliban. Civilized society can never use guns against reckless laws and thus we will keep on raising our voice via demonstrations and protests.”
Homa Saddat added: “If people like me don’t speak up and start fearing, then who will tell the world the truth. My family is my big moral support; my father stands like a pillar behind me to speak against these inhuman Taliban.” Saddat requested all to support Afghan women, to listen to their cries and “please help us in all possible ways”.