Sunday, August 15, 2010

What Happens If

The South Asia Solidarity Initiative has put forward a response to this TIME Magazine article titled, "What Happens If We Leave Afghanistan." With the strong emotional response an image like that of Aisha on the cover of TIME elicits, it's especially important to read other takes on the issue. Sometimes we get so overwhelmed by strong emotional responses (and the image of Aisha certainly draws justified rage and sheer devastation), that we don't take the time to see the full picture.

Certainly read TIME's post, if you feel so inclined. But then go and read the response to it -- here is an excerpt:
The August 9, 2010 issue of TIME magazine featured a striking cover photograph of an 18-year-old Afghan woman, Aisha, who was disfigured by the Taliban last year.  The cover title read, “What happens if we leave Afghanistan.”  While Aisha’s story and the stories of many other women like her may depict some part of the reality of women’s lives under the Taliban, TIME’s conclusion that continuing the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan is necessary, is highly misleading and troubling. [. . .]

For the last decade, the occupying forces of the U.S. and its NATO allies have nourished warlords and supported a corrupt government, leading many to join the Taliban and increasing their influence across Afghanistan. Increased civilian deaths, a fundamentalist resurgence, and deadly bombing raids have led to a devastated country and a Taliban stronger than ever before. TIME’s claim to “illuminate what is actually happening on the ground” falsely equates the last decade of occupation with progress. The occupation has not and will not bring democracy to Afghanistan, nor will it bring liberation to Afghan women. Instead, it has exacerbated deep-seated corruption in the government, the widespread abuse of women’s rights and human rights by fundamentalists, including Karzai’s allies, and stymied critical infrastructure development in the country. The question should not be “what happens if we leave Afghanistan,” the question should be “what happened when we invaded Afghanistan” and “what happens if we stay in Afghanistan.”
Racism and Misogyny are often used against one another, to justify the existence of one over the other. In this case, "protecting the women" seems to be the guise under which US racism and imperialism justify their presence. The truth is that both racism and misogyny go hand in hand. Where there is one, the other always lurks nearby.

Read the rest of SASI's response here.

1 comment:

Doret said...

I don't truly understand what's going on in Afghanistan. But the idea that any country being able to force another country to become democracy is crazy and a little ironic.

I can see how a U.S. presence in Afghanistan could make things worse for the women in the country. When men are being pushed, they take it out on women.

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