Never surrender to the Taliban...
An Afghan-Canadian speaks the truth....
We have lived with the Taliban for a long time, for as far as my memory goes. The only difference is that now “Taliban” is a household name in Western societies. It's repeated nightly on the evening news. It's face to face with Canadian soldiers in Kandahar. Do Canadians recognize what they are facing, like Afghan women do? When they do recognize it, what will they do?Thanks to Terry for blogging this.
When I came to Canada, I found freedom, and perhaps more importantly, hope. I was free to pursue an education, free to plan and dream. I adjusted to my new home. But I still have not adjusted to the support I have found among Canadians for the Taliban state of mind. It made me sad to see that in a free and modern society, there remain those who excuse an ideology based on the hatred of women, by citing multiculturalism. And they are not Afghans, or even immigrants, but those born in Canada who somehow think that the abuse of women and a fundamentalist view of the world, are acceptable among Afghans, and so no intervention is required. But remember that among Afghans, women can also be found. Have you remembered to ask whether the Taliban represent their culture?
I have found that no matter how far away I go, I still live under the shadow of the Taliban. Not only has the ideology immigrated to Canada in parts of the Afghan communities here, it has also immigrated into the minds of Canadians in their tacit acceptance of a future for Afghanistan that includes the Taliban in power.
I have found little acknowledgment among Canadians of the damage that the Taliban did to the women of my country. There is little understanding of the legacy of the Taliban's five year regime in Afghanistan: a government premised on the systematic oppression of women.
It hurts further when I hear the Taliban as being equated with Afghans. That is a terrible mistake, and offensive to me as a Muslim and as a woman. The Taliban have never represented Afghans and to believe this is to succumb to the propaganda and the fear the Taliban seek to impose. The Taliban represent backwardness and ignorance.
Coming back to the question, how to Taliban-proof Afghanistan, my answer is that first we must acknowledge what they represent, then find the antidote. The antidote to backwardness and ignorance is education. But first Canadians will need to educate themselves, to truly learn about the enemy that Afghans, and now Canadians, face and to recognize it as the danger that it really is. Ask an Afghan woman, she can tell you.