Against The Taliban's War on Women

Tor Andre Myrvoll (
29 Jan 1999 12:40:30 +0100

Please sign to support, and include your town. Then copy and e-mail to
as many people as possible. If you receive this list with more than 50
names on it, please e-mail a copy of it to

Even if you decide not to sign, please be considerate and do not
kill the petition. Thank you. It is best to copy rather than forward
the petition.

The Taliban's War on Women:

The government of Afghanistan is waging a war upon women. Since the
Taliban took power in 1996, women have had to wear
burqua and have been beaten and stoned in public for not having the
proper attire, even if this means simply not having the mesh covering
in front of their eyes. One woman was beaten to DEATH by an angry mob.
Another was stoned to death for trying to leave the country with a man
that was not a relative. Women are not allowed to work or even go out
in public without a male relative; professional women such as
professors, translators, doctors, lawyers, artists and writers have
been forced from their jobs and stuffed into their homes, so that
depression is becoming so widespread that it has reached emergency
There is no way in such an extreme Islamic society to know the suicide
rate with certainty, but relief workers are estimating that the
suicide rate among women, who cannot find proper medication and
for severe depression and would rather take their lives than live in
such conditions, has increased significantly. Homes where a woman is
present must have their windows painted so that she can never be seen
by outsiders. They must wear silent shoes so that they are never
heard. Women live in fear of their lives for the slightest
misbehavior. Because they cannot work, those without male relatives or
husbands are either starving to death or begging on the street, even
if they hold Ph.D.'s.

There are almost no medical facilities available for women, and relief
workers, in protest, have mostly left the country, taking medicine
and psychologists and other things necessary to treat the
sky-rocketing level of depression among women. At one of the rare
hospitals for women, a reporter found still, nearly lifeless bodies
lying motionless on top of beds, wrapped in their burqua, unwilling to
speak, eat, or do anything, but slowly wasting away. Others have gone
mad and were seen
crouched in corners,perpetually rocking or crying, most of them in

One doctor is considering, when what little medication that is left
finally runs out, leaving these women in front of the president's
residence as a form of peaceful protest. It is at the point where the
term 'human rights violations' has become an understatement.

Husbands have the power of life and death over their women relatives,
especially their wives, but an angry mob has just as much right to
stone or
beat a woman, often to death, for exposing an inch of flesh or
offending them in the slightest way.

David Cornwell has told me that we in the United States should not
judge the Afghan people for such treatment because it is a 'cultural
thing', but
this is not even true. Women enjoyed relative freedom, to work, dress
as they wanted, and drive and appear in public alone until only 1996
-- the
rapidity of this transition is the main reason for the depression and
suicide; women who
were once educators or doctors or simply used to basic human freedoms
now severely restricted and treated as sub-human in the name of
fundamentalist Islam. It is not their tradition or 'culture', but is
to them, and it is extreme even for those cultures where
is the rule. Besides, if we could excuse everything on cultural
then we should not be appalled that the Carthaginians sacrificed their
infant children, that little girls are circumcised in parts of Africa,
blacks in the deep south in the 1930's were lynched, prohibited from
voting, and forced to submit to unjust Jim Crow laws.

Everyone has a right to a tolerable human existence, even if they are
women in
a Muslim country in a part of the world that Americans do not
If we can threaten military force in Kosovo in the name of human
rights for
the sake of ethnic Albanians, Americans can certainly express peaceful
outrage at the oppression, murder and injustice committed against
women by
the Taliban.


In signing this, we agree that the current treatment of women in
Afghanistan is completely UNACCEPTABLE and deserves support and action
the people of the United States and the U.S. Government and that the
current situation overseas
will not be tolerated. Women's Rights is not a small issue anywhere
and it
is UNACCEPTABLE for women in 1999 to be treated as sub-human and so
much as
property. Equality and human decency is a RIGHT not a freedom, whether
lives in Afghanistan or the United States.

1) Leslie London, Cape Town, South Africa
2) Tim Holtz, Boston, MA
3) Joyce Millen, Cambridge, MA
4) Diane Millen, Falls Church, Va.
5) Bill Millen, Falls Church, Va.
6) Milt Eisner, McLean VA
7) Harriet Solomon, Springfield, VA
8) Arlene Silikovitz, West Orange, NJ
9) Susanna Levin, New Rochelle, NY
10) Ruth Slater, New Rochelle,NY
11) Elisabeth Keane, Westport, CT
12) Mercedes Lopez-Morgan, Chappaqua, NY
15) Michelle Lee, San Francisco, CA
16) Karen Muiter, San Mateo, CA
17) Nate Walker, North Hills, CA
18) Jasmyn Hatam San Jose, CA
19) Brigette Young, Los Angeles, CA
20) Rebecca Kniss, Chico, CA
21) Sarah Hayman, Whittier, CA
22) Kendra Dole-Stoll, Salem, OR
23) Robert L. Tolar, Portland, OR
24) Lisa Cramer, Providence, RI
25) Kristi Rudelius-Palmer, Minneapolis, MN
26) Charmaine Crockett, Brooklyn, New York
27) Anne Hemenway, New York, New York
28) Ned Rothenberg. Brooklyn, NY
29) Richard Wesley Nance, Birmingham, AL
30) James Powell, Sarasota, FL
31) Ivy Feraco, Sarasota , FL
32) Patricia Feraco, Plantation, FL
33) Jessica Feraco, Plantation, FL
36) Catherin Seele, Miami. FL
37) Bruce Burke, Los Angeles, CA
38) Chris Bowater, Westlake Village, CA
39) Susan Gillmar, Thousand Oaks, CA
40) Mickey Van Caneghem, West Hills, CA
41) Jaime Taylor, Oak Park, CA
42) Aimmee Hagler-Calvano, Northridge, CA
43) Meryl Rosofsky, New York, NY
44) Lillie Goodrich, Redding, CT
45) J M Stifle, New York, NY
46) Ashton Applewhite, New York, NY
47) Gene McCarthy, Dewitt, NY
48) Diana Hartle
49) Terry Kennedy
50) Sarah Ellis
51) Chris Sowers, Rolla, MO
52) Toni Scott, Rolla, MO
53) Mikki wosencroft, Wellesley, MA
54) Dianah Barrett, Wesleyan, CT
55) Katie Augustyn, Middletown, CT
56) Leah Ralph, Middletown, CT
57) Ilan Goodman
58) Linn Bølstad, Volda, Norway
59) Annicken Vargel, Volda, Norway
60) Karin Tötterman, Helsinki, Finland
61) Erik Grande, Vadsø, Norway
62) Elin Horn, Oslo, Norway
63) Inger Margrethe Moa, Trondheim, Norway
64) Tor Andre Myrvoll, Trondheim, Norway