We've been attacked for views we don't hold

| March 31, 2010

On March 23, 16 University of Regina professors, including us, signed a letter to our president, Dr. Vianne Timmons, asking that she review her decision to join the U of R to "Project Hero."

We wrote: "In our view, support for ‘Project Hero' represents a dangerous cultural turn. It associates ‘heroism' with the act of military intervention. It erases the space for critical discussion of military policy and practices."

What followed was a media feeding frenzy that mostly misrepresented our position, and a week of the worst sort of national attention for us and for the university. Despite several of us doing numerous interviews, most media focussed on the erroneous notion that our opposition is to soldiers being considered heroes and to parentless children being given education assistance.

Those of us who signed the letter have been subjected to virulent hate mail and argument by decibels and epithet. The language of many of our critics would make a stevedore blush and a grammarian wince. Always helpful, local Conservative MP Tom Lukiwski poured gas on the fire at every media opportunity, repeating his claim that we oppose help for the bereaved and honour for the dead and demanding our public apology (boiling oil not being available) for something we didn't say and didn't intend.

It seems that some of his fellow travellers have created Facebook groups to maintain that focus and invite people to put pressure on us and on our university. We could be pardoned for thinking that much of the furore has political fingerprints all over it.

On Sunday evening, the local CTV news again ran the story, framing it on our alleged opposition to calling dead soldiers "heroes," with Lukiwski as the talking head, again demanding an apology from us.

What to do? Well, as one elder advised one of us, "Stand firm. Repeat your message. You've argued for peace your whole life."

Here goes, one more time:

Our objection to the Project Hero program arises from its language, which we think glorifies war. We object to its adoption without institutional discussion. It has financial and political implications for our university, as universities contribute tuition and scholarship monies and, in so doing, sign on to the notion of war as heroic. We think war is a problem to be solved, preferably by diplomacy and peace.

We also note that the federal government can, and does, provide for education assistance for families of soldiers; we have no problem with that.

The benefits listed in the "Children of Deceased Veterans Education Assistance Act C-28" provide for additional educational expenses beyond tuition. Although the act should be consulted for the most accurate information, the Veteran Affairs Canada website provides a quick summary:

"We have a program to help children carry on with their education past high school if they have a CF parent who dies as a result of military service; or was pensioned at a medium or high level at the time of his or her death.

"Under the program, full-time students can qualify for grants of about $6,700 a year to help pay for their education and living expenses. This amount may change over time to allow for increases in the cost of living.

"To qualify for the program, students must be under the age of 30 and attend a post-secondary school in Canada. Former students who went to school after 1995 can also apply to have some of their education costs reimbursed."

There was no policy gap and no need for "Project Hero." We continue to think our university should not adopt a program that effectively endorses the glorification of wars -- one of which now is in Afghanistan. Some of us consider that imperialism. That word bothered a lot of people.

We think it fits, but surely, the difference of opinion can be tolerated. After all, Malalai Joya, an Afghan woman politician in the current government, considers Canadian troops as unwelcome imperialists, and wants the troops to leave.

We also think that now, when the U of R is rationalizing its budget, when tuition fees are going up, following the recent provincial budget, when First Nations University is fighting for its financial life against an indifferent federal government -- surely, now, we can argue that all of our students are worthy of funding.

One of our concerns with the language of "Project Hero" is that such language normalizes militarism, and shuts down democratic and academic space for discussion. Our experience proves us right.

Joyce Green and Darlene Juschka are professors at the University of Regina; Green in political science and Juschka in women and gender studies, and religious studies.

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Comments

Thank you so much for doing this. Hopefully your stand will enjoy support all across the country.

Green and Juschka:

First, unless you were physically assaulted, you weren't attacked. You were criticized and insulted, but not attacked.

Second, if you want to comment on and influence matters of public interest, there's a price to be paid. It might not always be fair, and it certainly isn't terribly civilized, but everyone else pays that price and you are no exception. I'm sure some of the stuff that Rex Murphy receives is utterly vile, but he deals with it without complaint cause he knows it comes with the territory.

Bottom line: If you can't take the heat...

 

 

I wrote the headline whiterabbit, and went with definition number 2:

at·tack   (-tk)

v. at·tackedat·tack·ingat·tacks v.tr. 1. To set upon with violent force. 2. To criticize strongly or in a hostile manner. 3. To start work on with purpose and vigor: attack a problem. 4. To begin to affect harmfully.

 

 

1. Unfortunately sometimes war is required, soldiers that put themselves into harms way to give girls the right to go to school without fear of acid being thrown in there face, is a hero. You cannot use diplomacy with certain people in the world, Taliban being one such group.

 

2. This issue was and is not a political one; however Joyce Green and Darlene Juschka are trying to make it one with this article on this left wing blog. The fact of the matter is that most people that agree with them fall to the left on the political spectrum and the people who disagree fall on the right, the discussion by its very nature will divide people along political lines. Therefore when your opinion is criticized by someone they are most likely going to be right of centre that does not mean they are specifically trying to make political hay with the criticism.

 

3. The simple fact is that Malalai Joya, an Afghan woman politician is able to stand up and give her opinion is proof that what our "heroes" have been doing there is good, honorable and is working. It is a fact that prior to 2001 Malalai Joya, an Afghan woman would be killed if she tried to make her views known.

 

4. The fact (if it is indeed true) that these profs get free education for there children is a level of hypocrisy that is beyond belief.

 

5. These 15 profs and the left in general have themselves have taken on the duty of being the moral compass for all of us whether we like it or not, you may be learned, you may have higher education, you may smugly believe you are all smarter than the rest of us. But your view cannot be forced on the rest of us, and unfortunately for you we unwashed masses are still the majority.

 

6. The continual teaching of your extreme views on the world in general are soon going to force you out of positions that teach our children, not because all of your personnel views are wrong but because your views are not balanced.

 

7. Just because you say it does not make it so, your self righteous, pompous attitudes can no longer be forced upon us all, this push back is not politically driven, it is driven by our weariness of left wing nonsense being forced down our throats, just because you say it does not make it true, we think you are wrong.

Thanks for your comments Sask Man. Just to let you know, this same commentary has been published today in the Canwest newspaper The Leader-Post, as a letter. So, not just rabble then...

http://www.leaderpost.com/opinion/Project+Hero+raising+real+issues/2746413/story.html

That's fine, my comments were directed at the x2 profs who wrote the letter and the balance of the Regina 15 as a whole, not the Rabble. Although I hope that the regular Rabble browsers read my points and hopefully realize that there are opinions that need balance. Single minded one sided opinion without balance is not healthy, no differant than everyone being force fed garbage from the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Pat Robertson or Ann Coulter and the rest of the nutty right that certainly does not represent the vast majority. I would however submit that some of the "Regina 15" are equally nutty representatives from the left. The differance is the likes of John Conway are teaching our youth and Anne Coulter and Rush Limbaugh are poor excuses for entertainment that can be turned off, John Conways ultra left view of the world needs to be curbed, because he presents his views to students as truth.

I would also like to use this forum to thank all our military men & women for serving, you are truly heroes to some of us, and we believe in what you are doing. Keep up the good work.

 

Sent in by email: 

There are many, many Canadians (including myself) who were very pleased
when we heard about the stand taken by the 16 University of Regina
professors last week.  Please take this opportunity to pass on some
"supportive" email to Joyce Green and Darlene Juschka, as well as the
others.
Steve Knowles
Peterborough, Ontario

"1. Unfortunately sometimes war is required, soldiers that put themselves into harms way to give girls the right to go to school without fear of acid being thrown in there face, is a hero. You cannot use diplomacy with certain people in the world, Taliban being one such group."

 

We will keep partaking in and glorifying wars as long as we have citizens like Sask Man who has been easily duped into the belief that we are in Afghanistan to "liberate" their women. Sask Man did not deemed more charitable if we had fought our own rot at home before cleaning up others' backyards. I salute Joyce and Darlene and all those who signed the collective letter and I am sure they will hold their ground. No apology to anyone. Universities should apologize for aiding and abetting the indecent unfairness (there are needy choildren who don't have a father or mother who died for the cause of killing and maiming to secure a gas pipeline for Western corporations) and for glorifyng war and mayhem.

A little additional biographical info on Malalai Joya refutes Sask Man's point. As Joyce Green and Darlene Juschka note, Joya indeed views the occupation of her country as an imperialist venture. (A view shared by millions of Afghans, a people intimately familiar with the long history of empire-building at their expense).

It's not strictly accurate, however, to say Joya is a politician "in the current government." She has never supported the Karzai regime. She was the youngest elected Member of Parliament in 2005, but in 2007 she was thrown out of her elected position by the warlords and corrupt men who dominate the NATO-backed government. Since she first rose to national prominence for criticizing the warlords in 2003, she has survived five assassination attempts. The Karzai government withdrew funding for her security, which she was due as an elected representative. The governments of the NATO countries, including Canada, have said absolutely nothing in defense of her right to return to her elected position, nor have they said anything in defense of her right to stay alive while airing views critical of the warlords and of the occupation.

So there's nothing heroic about the way the Canadian government has responded to Joya's plight. On the contrary, it's one of many sure signs that this military intervention never had anything to do with promoting women's rights or democracy. -Derrick O'Keefe

First of all, as a former U of R professor I salute my colleagues Joyce Green, Darlene Jushka and the rest who signed the statement.  The university's "Project Hero" does glorify war, pure and simple.  And whatever noble personal qualities our troops may have is wasted on the war in Afghanistan, which has no clear goal beyond propping up the Karzai regime of heroin producers and rapists.  Yes, rapists.  They are a refried version of the Northern Alliance who made a policy of raping Pashtun women, and if we want to understand the rise of the Taliban, let alone the continuing support for them, we better not overlook this important fact.  Got that Saskman?  The idea that Canadian military intervention is about protecting women's rights is a joke, one of a dozen shifting rationalizations for why we are spending hundreds of young lives and billions of dollars on an absolutely pointless military adventure.  Redirect some of those resources to First Nations University and we'd all be better off. 

Since we're bringing up dictionary definitions, here's"Imperialism:"the policy of extending the rule or authority of an empire or nation over foreign countries, or of acquiring and holding colonies and dependencies."

 

I don't think Canada, which has expressly committed itself to withdrawing combat troops from Afghanistan in 2011 could be realistically accused of "imperial" interest there. Our interests can clearly be linked to a western interest in seeing democracy and stability enabled in a failed state formerly ruled by theocrats who denied education and freedom of movement to its entire female population and gave aid and sanctuary to terrorist groups.

There's a disappointing trend on the pages of rabble and its contributors to attempt to justify a position becasue "he or she said it's so". Imperialism requires certain conditions. The fact that Malali Joya may say or believe it isn't one of those conditions. Just as Desmond Tutu saying Israel is an apartheid country doesn't make it so if it fails to meet the definition and conditions. These are vacuous arguements. If someone claimed something was true on the basis of Sarah Palin having said it, I'd say they were an idiot. But that doesn't just apply to Palin.

In response to Sask Man.

1. Were all diplomatic possibilities exhausted with the Taliban? You seem pretty sure that diplomacy was impossible with them, have you interacted with their governement in the past? I personally find that this claim lacks facts to back it up. As for the justification of the war, it was sold as part of the war on terrorism, yet Al Qaeda seems to have been reinforced rather than harmed by this so-called war. To truly defeat terrorism we would need to attack the source of it, namely the conditions that breed the desperation of people who join such groups. Attacking a sovereign country in a traditionnal war will never solve this problem. As for the Human Rights progress in Afganistan, well the extreme poverty and growing corruption more than make up for those.

2. Militarism is a political position.

3. Already adressed by derrick.

4. Where do you see that teachers get free education for their children? I don't see that anywhere in this article.

5. You object to the left acting as a moral compass and yet you see no problem with our military doing the same in other countries? Going to war for Human Rights violations sounds to me like taking on the mantle of moral police. Also in this point you seemed very defensive, these teachers never claimed being smarter than anyone. They are expressing their view as is guaranteed by the right to free speech.

6. Unfortunately, extreme views seem to take more and more space, especially on the right side of the political spectrum. I salute the work of these teachers who are trying to contribute to the reflexion on the direction our country is taking. Thank you.

7. The left is not forcing anything down anybody throats. The right likes to play the victim, which would be funny if it wasn't working so well. Looking at the way the world is continually edging towards neo-liberalism, corporatism and militarism against the will of the majority it seems far more likely that the right is forcing their worldview upon the world. For more information on this, I highly recommend you read The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein.

No matter the argument, social minded left leaning people will always find an excuse. You are never happy with anything done by a government viewed in any light to be slightly right of your position, if so they are war mongers and or capitalist pigs with a hidden agenda. If 1/2 of you were to be honest I am sure you would have to admit you believe 911 was an inside job. 

How long do you use diplomacy ? never ending ? Trevor Greene tried to "negotiate " with the Taliban and took an axe to the back of the head. I certainly agree that diplomacy must be exhausted prior to military action, obviously we will not agree on the length of time required, I would argue that the Taliban are particularly tough to deal with in that they want us all dead and if not converted to there way of living including Sharia Law.

The current Gov in Afghanistan is certainly not perfect, not without corruption, agreed. However you cannot deny that the situation in that country is much better for all than it was prior to 2001, there are no more public executions at the soccer stadiums, girls can go to school, women have many more rights (modest as they are) this cannot be denied. Yes the situation is not perfect but is is substantially better than if we had done nothing. And just because Malalai Joya says it is imperialism does not mean she represents 51+% of the population and to geuss or speculate that her views are shared by millions is pure guess work. Bottom line we are helping you cannot deny things are better than prior to 2001, not perfect but better. If further diplomacy is to be the road to peace with the Taliban by all means go with a contingent of University left wing academics, I'm sure Jack Layton would join you as well and go to Afghanistan and broker a deal with them, I would suggest you keep an eye open for axes.

The point about the left wing mush heads like John Conway teaching our kids being of a particular sore spot, you bet. These people like the Regina 15 offer very little balance for our youth, it's all about how they view the world. And yes they all get free education for there kids being on faculty.

Gotta Run, argue with you later.

To Derrick,

I have a question for you, what do you think we are doing in Afghanistan, do you feel we are wanting to colonize the place, make it part of Canada? What good, what value is there that we are spending so much money & blood trying to gain? Please explain to me what Afghanistan has that our government is secretly plotting to add it to our "EMPIRE" There is nothing there worth what we are paying. Other than to try and help them move forward, if I am wrong please explain what is so valuable in Afghanistan because I don't see it.

Unfortunately for Miss Joya the government of Canada can't help every single person in the world that needs help. I know that this shocks your left wing senseabilities because I am sure that you feel there is endless piles of money & resources that Canada has to take care of every person on earth who is feeling oppressed. I will however bet that Miss Joya if given the choice would finally admit that she is glad we came in the first place, she may want us to leave now, but must admit she is better off than before we came. If not she is a liar.

Do all of you feel that fighting Hitler was wrong? Chamberlain thought he could talk to him, that didn't work out so well, should we have sat back and talked & talked & talked until they were goose stepping into London and soon looking at North America, was that fight right or wrong, were those men heroes or tools of empire building?  I believe they where heroes and many of them I knew hated war, and went to try and prevent it from happening again. So I ask again what would you lefties have us do when faced with pure evil, talk to it? We saw what happened in Rawanda when we talk, talk, talk or was there some hidden agenda there as well?

Several things all of you social minded lefties have to understand about most people on the right that share my views. We realize that there are corrupt people in the world that use politics, to there own gain, people that have hidden agendas, people that can be negotiated with and people that cannot. We also want to see wars brought to an end, we want to see the end to starvation in the world, we want every form of social injustice to end, same as you do. We want the homeless problem in Canada addressed, we want the many 1st Nation issues resolved. And on & on & on. We are not so differant than all of you, we even have our previously mentioned right wing wackos, Coulter, Robertson & Limbaugh, so does the left, I will spare you a list of them however some are certainly in the Regina 15.

We want many of the same things for our country, our world, but we view the path to acheive them very differantly.

When we get real upset is when you dishonour the men & women who do the worst job in our society, the toughest job in our society, the job you, me and most Canadians could not or would not do. We don't care if you feel the political reason or purpose of the mission is not to your liking (was it easier to live with, more palatable when the Liberals were in power?) We just expect you to realize that indeed, much as you hate war (we all do) it is still required in our world today we still need soldiers that are willing to put themselves into harms way without questioning the rational, the politics. You must show them respect, don't use them to gain advantage to your cause, your agenda, they are not pawns to be played. They are the most special servants our country has and thus deserve the highest respect from all of us, even those of you who despise what they represent, because without there sacrifice you could not spew many of the comments we have heard and read since this letter came to light.

Please, just say Thank You to them and leave it at that.

 

In response to Denotaurus,

 

In response to Sask Man.

1. Were all diplomatic possibilities exhausted with the Taliban? You seem pretty sure that diplomacy was impossible with them, have you interacted with their governement in the past? I personally find that this claim lacks facts to back it up. As for the justification of the war, it was sold as part of the war on terrorism, yet Al Qaeda seems to have been reinforced rather than harmed by this so-called war. To truly defeat terrorism we would need to attack the source of it, namely the conditions that breed the desperation of people who join such groups. Attacking a sovereign country in a traditionnal war will never solve this problem. As for the Human Rights progress in Afganistan, well the extreme poverty and growing corruption more than make up for those.

counterpoint: As far as I know diplomacy has been nearly impossible with either AlQueda or the Taliban, I have no personnel experiance. As far as "the war on terorism" what are these problems that need to be addressed, am I wrong to assume that Al Qaida has a fundamentally differant view of society than does most of the 1st world counties and populations not to mention the extreme religeous views that they have compared to us, if those are the conditions then I certainly do not know what we should do, I do know we have to stop them from attacking us. Regarding the extreme poverty & corruption well that is sad no question, by I would submit again, it certainly is better than it was prior to 2001.

2. Militarism is a political position.

counterpoint: It certainly is but is it a right wing stance now that the Conservatives are in power and was a left of centre when the Liberals were in Power? The military is used equally by the right & left, Green & Juschka are certainly trying to deflect, and make it more political than it ever was, I repeat was this war easier to swallow when Chretian was PM?

3. Already adressed by derrick.

counterpoint: Derrick is able to know how millions of Afghans feel, he must be pyschic?

4. Where do you see that teachers get free education for their children? I don't see that anywhere in this article.

counterpoint: I live in Regina, I know several profs at the UofR, it was told to me first hand by numerous people, maybe they are liars, I doubt it however. This is certainly not so strange, many US universities offer this same benafit to lure staff. I have no problem with it at all, my problem is the hypocracy these 15 show, why are there kids so deserving?

5. You object to the left acting as a moral compass and yet you see no problem with our military doing the same in other countries? Going to war for Human Rights violations sounds to me like taking on the mantle of moral police. Also in this point you seemed very defensive, these teachers never claimed being smarter than anyone. They are expressing their view as is guaranteed by the right to free speech.

counterpoint: The lefties are always looking out for the downtroddin, the weak, the lazy, the useless and thus feel that they alone are the ones who should dictate social issues, economic dispersal of funding for social programs conceivably because they care so much, the left has no trouble spending tax dollars they don't contribute and feel that they should be able to dictate money for any and all social programs. As far as free speech, they can say whatever they want just try and show some balance when teaching and show respect when speaking of our soldiers.

6. Unfortunately, extreme views seem to take more and more space, especially on the right side of the political spectrum. I salute the work of these teachers who are trying to contribute to the reflexion on the direction our country is taking. Thank you.

counterpoint: Huhhhh, ??? These teachers bring nothing in this letter to forward the reflecting on the direction our country is moving, they are being disrepectful and chose the wrong group to disrespect, and are a bit stunned by the reaction, and are now trying to justify a clearly outlandish position shared only by left wing loonies and mush heads!

7. The left is not forcing anything down anybody throats. The right likes to play the victim, which would be funny if it wasn't working so well. Looking at the way the world is continually edging towards neo-liberalism, corporatism and militarism against the will of the majority it seems far more likely that the right is forcing their worldview upon the world. For more information on this, I highly recommend you read The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein.

counterpoint: Only when they are profs teaching our students who generally believe what they are taught especially if it comes from a person they respect, teachers need to be able to set aside there biased opinions & attitudes and present all viewpoints, many do not that I can attest from personnel experiance. Funny how when Al Gores fictous movie an inconveniant truth was all the rage it was being shown in schools as absolute truth with no fair balance rebuttal, now that it has been debunked as based on fictional science you simply don't hear of it at all, and still nothing taught on the opposing counterpoint and now known to be the truth that global warming was a lie cooked up by right wing leaders (did you know Al Gore stood to earn and still does being a carbon credit broker, true). As far as playing the victim you need to come to Saskatchewan and listen to poor Dwain Lingenfelter, would you feel bad for him, he is such a victim, that was a reversal I did not see coming. The shock doctrine is nothing more than an expansion of a left of centre viewpoint, because it is in print in B&W does not make it true my freind, however I guess if it supports your viewpoint then it must be true, I as well could name several books that reinforce my point of view and expound how true it is The Shock Doctine is still a work of fiction no matter how much you wish to believe what it states as fact.

 

Don't feed the troll.

M. Spector

I assume you meant me as the troll, did you mean?

- to sing in full rolling voice, why thank you.

- to fish by trailing a baited line????

- A supernatural being from Scandanavian folklore???

- A person who lives in a park and sleeps on a bench or under a bridge, no that's not it.

- ugly dwarf or giant, hmmm, maybe.

Can't stand me taking up space on your left wing mushead blog, can't even respond except for calling me a troll, did you say it in an uppity high fallootin voice with a touch of a British accent? either way, f$#k you!

 

Most Canadian voters have consistently rejected this war, as have most voters across NATO nations. In Canada, there are excellent reasons for opposing this war, and everything that smells of it:

* The unacceptable complicity of Canadian Forces in human rights abuses;
* our government's disrespect for parliament and senior diplomats in covering up its complicity;
* the increasingly shrill politics of the pro-war crowd (as seen right on this board);
* over $18.5 billion spent (and more spent than in any other Canadian foreign development assistance);
* mounting Canadian casualties;
* continuing deaths of civilians;
* an Afghan resistance that has never been more powerful;
* that rather than some fabled war against misogyny, women's rights have receded dramatically under a regime dominated by warlords;
* an implausible, historically baseless "domino theory" that "losing" Afghanistan means losing a region, when it is the occupation itself that has spread war into Pakistan;
* and, the public statements of several high-ranking NATO military officers attesting to the fact that the war cannot be won.

ANTHROPOLOGISTS FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE firmly stands with the University of Regina 16:

AJP supports professors who have taken a principled stance against the "Project Hero" scholarship program and the valorization of the deeply flawed "War on Terror" that it represents, and in particular Canada's intervention in Afghanistan which has been consistently rejected by the majority of the population. "Project Hero" does nothing to address the fact that post-secondary education has become evermore inaccessible to those of low or moderate incomes - precisely the people who are recruited into the armed forces as a path to economic security and career success. Furthermore, as universities are increasingly enlisted as research and development and policy arms of war profiteers, "Project Hero" further advances this colonization of what ought to be open, critical, and non-militarized public spaces. Rather than glorifying war and providing consolation prizes to the children of Canadians killed in the unjustifiable war in Afghanistan, AJP maintains that education is a public good that ought to be accessible to all and directed toward addressing the social injustice that is so often both the cause and outcome of violent conflict.

We invite all those who read this statement to go to our ACTIONS page and send emails to the appropriate authorities.

 

Some of Anthrojustpeace's statements are clearly accurate, some could be argued either way, but one in particular stood out and perhaps the poster has some credible evidence to support, what on the surface seems an unlikely assertion.

I'd be very interested, Anthrojustpeace, if you could provide some tanglibe examples that relect the overall experience, rather than isolated incidents, that demonstrate your assertion that, "rather than some fabled war against misogyny, women's rights have receded dramatically under a regime dominated by warlords." Given the Taliban's regulations controlling the freedom of women and the overall changes, how exactly is what you claim the case?

SlimeJello: Read what Afghanistan's women say:

Quote:
The war in Afghanistan has removed the Taliban, which so far does appear to be an improvement for women in certain limited parts of the country. In other areas, the incidence of rape and forced marriage is on the rise again, and most women continue to wear the burqa out of fear for their safety. The level of everyday violence in Afghanistan is something we would find it hard to imagine. "War on terrorism" has removed the Taliban, but it has not removed religious fundamentalism which is the main cause of all our miseries.

- RAWA

Spector, being able to distinguish between state imposed restrictions of freedoms, with legal enforcement and penalties prescribed by law, as was the case with the Taliban, as opposed to cultural practices imposed by individuals and segments of society without force of law, appears beyond your cognitive abilities. To say that something is "on the rise" in no way establishes that the condition has receded to a level worse than under the Taliban. Actually, from what you write here and elsewhere, it is obvious that there are a lot of things that would come easy to others but are beyond your cognitive abilities.

LimeJello,

There are state imposed restrictions, with legal enforcement and penalties prescribed by law, as outlined in the Shia marriage law. There is also custom, which far outweighs anything the state does (and it does little to counter custom, especially since rapist warlords are in the government). You write as if the Taliban have some special monopoly on misogny, which they clearly do not.

Tell me, do you remember the last time you saw Hamid Karzai's wife in public?

What you're pointing out on your April 15 post, anthrojustpeace (can I call you AJP for short?) is clearly true. And I to not recall seeing Karzai's wife in public (although I don't think I'd recognize her if I did).

Agreed, Afghanistan now is obviously no shining example of gender equality. But what I was getting at was the assertion that women's rights have receeded under the current circumstances from what they were under the Taliban. Is that in fact the case and how so?

Centuries of tradition are not going to be undone in a few months or even a few years. And some of what happens in Afghanistan is going to happen irrespective of who is politically in control, but will be based on local practice and tradition.

But when you think of the Taliban's state ban on girls/women's education, employment and freedom to be in public alone, compared to the situation now where girls can attend schools, can hold elected office and employment, I don't understand the assertion that their rights have receeded compared to the Taliban's rule.

I see what is going on now with regard to women's rights in Afghanistan as the first, very small steps toward improvement. There may be local practices that deny women's rights, and current Afghani laws may still be discriminatory against women, but how does that make matters worse than under the Taliban?

 

 

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