Nameless, faceless, helpless, powerless

It’s been a tough year for women. Progress is not inevitable and human rights can be taken away. But, freedom resonates within the human spirit, and political or religious oppression cannot erase the memory of freedom in those who have experienced it. I believe freedom ultimately will win.

(After that paragraph, this post could go in several directions. You may need to pause a moment and let your mind and emotions roam around whatever application is most relevant to your life.)

The direction I’m going with this is Afghanistan, prompted by an August 12 article by Christina Goldbaum and David Zucchino in The New York Times (updated on August 15) that profiles several Afghan women whose lives have been upended, and whose hopes have been doused, by the Taliban’s resumption of power in Kabul one year ago. Afghan women aren’t nameless, of course, even as the regime thwarts any hint of individualism and requires female faces to once again be covered.

The regime’s male dominance surely robs the country of well more than 50% of its brain-power and potential. The spokesman for the ominously named, decree-issuing Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice offered this mind-bending attempt to frame the narrative: “All these decrees are for the protection of women, not the oppression of women…. A woman is a helpless and powerless creature.” One day, he’ll know better. Sadly, dire Afghan poverty perpetuates this illusion.

From “Taliban Rewind the Clock: ‘A Woman Is a Helpless and Powerless Creature,’” by Christina Goldbaum and David Zucchino, The New York Times, August 12, 2022 (Updated August 15, 2022)

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