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Julia Frugoli jfrugoli at bio.tamu.edu
Mon Jan 25 13:00:51 EST 1999

>In an effort to spur discussion, I've posted this petition-if you feel so
>moved, sign and pass it on, but if you don't want to do that kind of thing
>(I'm not sure it accomplishes much more than awareness-raising, but there's
>something to be said for that), I think the issues it raises are ones the
>newsgroup might be interested in-it can put things in perspective the next
>time someone scoffs at the need for "women's rights"
>**** Please Sign at the bottom to support and include your town.
>If you receive this list with more than 50 names on it, please email a
>copy of it to
>     sarabande at brandeis.edu
>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. *
>Melissa Buckheit
>Brandeis University
>The government of Afghanistan is waging a war upon women.
>The situation is getting so bad that one person in an editorial of
>the times compared the treatment of women there to the treatment of
>jews in pre-holocaust Poland. 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 of fundamentalists
>for accidentally exposing her arm while she was driving.  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 levels.
>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
>treatment 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 are slowly wasting
>away.  Others have gone mad and were seen crouched in
>corners, perpetually rocking or crying, most of them in fear.  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' have 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 generally 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 are now severely restricted
>and treated as sub-human in the name of right-wing fundamentalist
>Islam.  It is not their tradition or 'culture', but is alien to them,
>and it is  extreme even  for those cultures where fundamentalism
>is the rule.  Besides, if we could excuse everything on cultural
>grounds, then we should not be appalled that the Carthaginians
>sacrificed their infant children, that little girls are circumcised
>in parts of Africa, that 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 understand.  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 by 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 1998 to be treated as sub-human and so
>much as property. Equality and human decency is a RIGHT not a
>freedom, whether one lives in Afghanistan or the United States.
> 1) Leslie London, Cape Town, South Africa
> 2) Tim Holtz, Boston, USA
> 3) Jennifer Kasper, Boston, MA, USA
> 4) Ali Noorani, Boston, MA
> 5) Juli-Ann Carlos, Boston, MA, USA
> 6) Elaine Alpert, MD, Boston, MA USA
> 6) Ben Siegel,  Boston MA, USA
> 7) D. Paul Robinson, Columbia, MO, USA
> 8) Judith Miles, Columbia, MO, USA
> 9) Cyndy Jones, Columbia, MO. USA
>10) Eva Orsini, Columbia, MO. USA
>11) Keith Campbell, Columbia, MO, USA
>12) Diana Schroeder, Memphis, TN, USA
>13) Lynda Logan, Memphis, TN , USA
>14) Jennifer Spiwak, Memphis, TN, USA
>15) Kimberly Morrison, Memphis, TN, USA
>16) Stacey Holifield, Memphis, TN, USA
>17) Amber Ryan, Memphis, TN, USA
>18) Lisa Jobe Memphis, TN USA
>19) Haley Williams, Memphis, TN USA
>20) Richard Treharne, Memphis, TN USA
>21) Brian Cruz, Memphis, TN USA
>22) Annie Keazer, Dover, NH USA
>23) Dan Fisher, Granville, OH US of A
>24) Jen Skillicorn, Granville, OH, USA
>25) Katherine Soucy, Granville, OH, USA
>26) Kathryn Hibbert, Williamstown, MA, USA
>27) Andra Hibbert, Peacham, VT, USA
>28) Steven Frost, Monroe, NH, USA
>29)Julia Frugoli, Huntsville, TX USA
>Julia Frugoli
>Department of Plant Pathology & Microbiology
>Texas A&M University
>College Station, TX 77843
>phone 409-862-3495/2595
>FAX 409-862-4790

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