Walk away and don't look back
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Two stories out of Afghanistan caught my attention this week. The first deals with how the Afghani government treats women.
Half the women in Afghani jails are imprisoned for what are considered moral crimes. These so-called moral crimes include
- escaping forced marriage
- leaving an abusive husband
- being the victim of rape
The story of 19 year old Gulnaz is reported in the documentary.
After she was raped, she was charged with adultery. Her baby girl, born following the rape, is serving her sentence with her.
"At first my sentence was two years," Gulnaz said, as her baby coughed in her arms. "When I appealed it became 12 years. I didn't do anything. Why should I be sentenced for so long?"
Gulnaz's pardon may be in the works because she has agreed - after 18 months of resisting - to marry her rapist.
And we treat the government which enforces such a moral code as the "good guys" and support them with money and with lives.
Of course the "bad guys," the Taliban, have their own way of dealing with women.
I suppose that if given a choice, this widow who was given no chance to defend herself from her accusers would have preferred the government method of dealing with moral crimes but either way, the treatment of Afghani women is abominable. And notice - in both cases, the truly innocent (by any standard) daughters suffer the same fate as their mothers.
The sad thing is that regardless of our good intentions, we are failing to improve the condition of women in Afghanistan. The few successes only put the women in greater danger. The religious and cultural mind-set is such that we would have to impose Western rule at all levels of government from Kabul down to the smallest village for a minimum of two generations to make a lasting change. We do not have the will to do that. We are not willing to waste the lives it would take to do that.
It is time to walk away. Completely. No more aid money. No more advisors. No more weapons. No more training. And no more treating the corrupt central government as worthy of any consideration on the world's stage.
Walk away and don't look back.