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What Can We Do to Support the Women Who Stood Up to Extreme Patriarchy?

The sight of Afghan women marching for their rights in Kabul this week, shouting, “We want our rights!” was both exhilarating and terrifying. Exhilarating because this appeared to be one of the first public protests staged by women in Kabul against repression, prompted by a new law that permits marital rape and demands that women ask their husband’s permission to go to school or work, and even to leave the house. Terrifying because they were met with physical and verbal abuse, and shouts of, “Get out of here, you whores!” A crowd three times the size of their group  that included men and older women met the 300 protesting women.  Tradition dies hard, it seems, even for some women. I ask myself, what can we do to support these women who risked their lives to stand up to extreme patriarchy?  What can we do to convince President Hamid Karzai not to implement the law? Outside pressure will intensify the rabid emotions of some of those who fought for the law and feel besieged by foreigners but it may also put additional pressure on Karzai who is beginning to feel the heat.  The United States should put intense pressure on Karzai to protect his country’s women.  This is the country to which we are sending 16,000 thousand more troops to protect Afghanistan’s citizens, including those who called these women whores.  And some of our troops will die in the effort and some of these American soldiers will be women. What greater irony can there be?

Tourist Eyes

For two weeks my husband and I traveled to London, Paris, Zurich and Bern—familiar haunts where one can drink water from the tap. Read More..

Gays in the Military

We’ve come a long way in the sixteen years since the policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” was adopted to deal with the question of gay and lesbian members of the military.

This time, advocacy for repeal did not come from any outside group; it came from the apex of the military establishment itself. Read More..

The Supreme Court and Corporate Electioneering

The Supreme Court decision which will allow unfettered campaign contributions from corporations and unions poses a threat to the very workings of our democracy.

Read More..

In the Wake of Massachusetts

A political earthquake hit Massachusetts last night. The tectonic plates of the Democratic Party shifted with the election of Republican Scott Brown to the United States Senate and left untold amounts of debris in its wake. Read More..

Greeting the New Year

This time of year we automatically say "Happy New Year" to friends, acquaintances, and even strangers, days after the champagne corks have popped and the fireworks are but a memory. It has become a standard greeting for the first days of January, partly to cheer ourselves up so we can face the rest of the winter. Read More..