Saturday, May 22, 2010
Why are we so judgemental?
Have you come across people who think they actually guard everyone else's behavior and actions, forgetting even their own selves? At times, this is sensible because we then get to know people better. But there are also times when you feel disillusioned with their quick judgements.
Yesterday, I received an email from an unknown intellectual questioning my activism and continued struggles for women's rights in Afghanistan. The email read as:
" Dear Wazhma, I usually follow your work and write ups and recently read your interesting piece in Guardian on the how the Peace processes currently going on in Afghanistan will impact women's conditions. Particularly if militants are granted amnesty and get easy admission into the country's political processes to make harsh decisions for women's rights. I also read the comments beneath the article by readers and they were quiet interesting. Mainly they were suggesting that why do u care about women's rights in war. If women's rights are part of human rights then even International Human Rights laws dont get applied during the times of armed conflict. Wazhma, I appreciate your struggles but for all these years that I know you, you seem to be taking things so idealistically. You think that the people who invaded your country cares about the situation of women? If you think so then you must be very naive and opposite to what is known about you. More importantly, your country is going through internal and external war and you should rather work to bring peace and stability and women's rights will come later and itself. You are a very smart woman and have already spent so many years of your life for an empty struggle and I know that you are under threats and pressure as well. So its still time for you to reaffirm your priorities and utilize your talent towards stabilizing Afghanistan, and quit on the empty struggles for women rights. " Your well-wisher.
My initial reaction was a simple smile. As I read through the entire email, my feelings became more resonant and tumultuous. Many questions ringed around my brain and weaved their way towards alittle disdain, alittle obscured, and alittle of an outcry. I wondered how easy it is for us to come up with terms that should govern people's beliefs and actions and be judgemental about them? Even if someone is at odds with our subjective comprehensions of rights vs wrong, what gives us the strings to question other people's beliefs and struggles? But more importantly this interface with myself brought out my convictions that I think have resided in me tacitly, and I never needed to justify my struggles for anyone, even not for myself. Therefore, chose to respond to that well-wisher and knit the disoriented strands together.
Dear Well-Wisher: Thank you for taking time and writing to me about your analysis of my situation, never expected it though. I also appreciate your feelings that you commiserate with our cause in Afghanistan and the need for stability in the country. However, my response to your query and propositions is embedded in your email. I do struggle for the stability of Afghanistan, for the long term peace in my country through creating avenues to raise the voices of Afghan women. I believe that stability will come but only if the half of population of my country make it happen. If we are half of the population, then we are also half of the solution and maybe half of the problem as well. The incursions on women in my country have resulted in an almost dissolved agency of women throughout that need to awaken rejuvenate Afghan nation. Can stability come when half of the population are submerged and distorted?
You said that no one cares about women in my country and if I think so then I am naive. I actually think its naive of anyone who ties the progress of women with the notions of an expanded and violent war. I never expected nor believe that women's cause can taken an emphatic and streaming shape through military interventions or war. However, this is one of the realities of our times. Before 2001, the world knew little or almost nothing about Afghan women and after the war started, the women's plight seemed emanated from the recent totalitarian regime, while that is half of the reality. Women's rights have been diluted from the course of governance and state building throughout the history, and this claim is echoed in various historical analysis on Afghanistan so far. The paramount necessity therefore lies in a revolution of and for Afghan women.
You are right. Such a struggle isnt immune from revolt and reprisal which in turn created threats and rampant deliberations against me and many other activists in my country. However, our cause has outstripped those threats and we continued the struggle. The immense receptivity and stark rage of activists and ordinary women give us strength and bolsters the novelty of our endeavor.