I was on Russia Today (RT) live yesterday evening discussing the issue of the new Time Magazine cover that has forced everyone to, at the very least, momentarily abandon their convenient case of amnesia when it comes to the plight of Afghan women.
To be honest, after almost eight years of working on this issue and witnessing funds and support for not only Afghan women, but the war itself vanish in Washington, I am having déjà vu: Haven’t we been here before? Haven’t we had these exact discussions? Why is the suffering of Afghan women and the fight to secure their rights still only rolled out when it is convenient for us?
They should be a part of the discussion every day. They should always be a part of US policy on Afghanistan. There can be no sustainable future for Afghanistan without the participation of half of their population, without women. If the international community abandons Afghan women again, it will be an immeasurable loss for women all over the world.
Tell me what you think. Is the US media exploiting Afghan women?
Yes. They are and have been exploiting Afghan women, and Muslim women in general. It’s only in our odd humanitarian discourse where we can contemplate the photograph of a mutilated woman as an incentive to mutilate more women (and children, and men) in the name of stopping further mutilation. If Time were honest, next week they would have the photograph of a woman missing a limbs or body parts from a US or NATO airstrike!. Would that one photo be sufficient reason to end our war in Afghanistan? I certainly doubt that such a photo in that context will ever be published, nor is it likely that one photo of one woman so injured would compel Americans to rethink their need to interfere in the nations of others.
I think not only the media, but the NGOs, IOs and the politicians all tend to exploit the Afghan women. Intentionally or out of ignorance that is the debate that should take place. Lip service is what one can name, at the end of day, all this noise. The positive impact of all that has happened can only be felt in the lives a few dozen urban elite women, with a few exceptions. The media, agencies and politicians need to understand that segregation for the sake of lasting segregation is not the solution.