This video, recorded in 2009 in Britain, says about itself:
The inspirational anti-war Afghan MP Malalai Joya was joined on the platform by Lance Corporal Joe Glenton, a serving British soldier who was speaking in public for the first time against the horror caused by the war in Afghanistan.
Malalai Joya really is one of the bravest women in Afghanistan. She told the 300-strong audience at Conway Hall in central London that she has survived five assassination attempts and is still not safe with personal security guards or by wearing a burkha to cover her identity. Yet she continues to campaign against foreign occupation and fundamentalist warlords, and for women’s rights and education. She believes all NATO troops must leave Afghanistan immediately.
This year, the Dutch coalition government broke down, as most people in the Netherlands, and eventually one of the coalition parties, opposed continuing having Dutch soldiers in Uruzgan province as part of the Afghan war. This meant that the caretaker government formed after the breakup had just one option, bringing Dutch soldiers home from Uruzgan, which is happening now.
Over the past years, it was impossible to see Dutch TV programs without having to see expensive taxpayer-paid advertisements, saying “Join the Dutch air force. That will help Afghan girls to go to school”.
However, what, meanwhile, happened to real Afghan girls and real Uruzgan schools (as far as they were not bombed by the Dutch air force)?
Dutch daily Trouw of today says (translated):
Four years of Uruzgan mission did not help girls to go to school
The number of girls going to school in Uruzgan remains very low after four years of presence of Dutch soldiers and development workers. This is one of the setbacks in the ‘reconstruction mission’ about which politicians in The Hague in 2006 claimed they would apply high standards to.
The war propagandists then claimed it would not really be a military mission, but a reconstruction mission.
An assessment of the mission which was made yesterday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, shows results and setbacks in the military and reconstruction fields. The figures for the girls remain bleak. This contrasts with the repeated promises which politicians in The Hague made in 2006 at the beginning of the mission.”Girls will go back to school,” especially the then Minister of Development Cooperation, Bert Koenders, told in every debate. They were a symbol. According to official figures now given about the 174 schools in Uruzgan, 53,805 pupils are taught, of whom 4611 are girls.
Women are now slightly better off in health care than four years back. … Now, 40 percent of hospital patients are female.
Is that really an improvement? Or just an indication that anti women violence is rising under the Karzai puppet regime, basically as misogynistic as the Taliban? Or of more women getting wounded by the war?
The military side of the operation cost 1.4 billion euros; on development projects, a total of 130 million was spent.
With probably a lot of that 130 million disappearing into the pockets of Afghan warlords.
The pseudo-feminist talk of George W. Bush, and of his Dutch allies, about women’s rights in Afghanistan did not have anything to do with real Afghan women really living in Afghanistan. The aim of the girls as “symbols”, as propaganda props, was to mislead people in the USA, the Netherlands, and other NATO countries, into supporting or at least not actively opposing a bloody war hurting Afghan women more than anyone else.
From the Feminist Peace Network in the USA:
July 31, 2010
CIA Document Calls For Using Afghan Women As Messengers To Humanize The War
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The August 9th issue of Time Magazine, with a cover picture of a an Afghan woman, horribly disfigured last year because of the Taliban, is meant to pull at American heartstrings as it asks what will happen to Afghan women if the U.S. withdraws from the country. It has caused considerable comment in numerous publications and blogs (see below for links), including on the Feminist Peace Network blog.
Several serious issues have been raised, first that this appears to be a reduction of facts to support the war effort and secondly that it is yet another callous use of women’s lives to justify war. Reading the article in full (and I’ve seen a copy of the print edition), as well as the excerpt online, one is left wondering if the article is simply a piece of military propaganda.
Feminism as imperialism, by Katharine Viner. George Bush is not the first empire-builder to wage war in the name of women: here.
WikiLeaks Afghanistan war logs show US pays local Afghan media outlets to run US propaganda: here.