A picture is worth a thousand words

The old adage refers to a complex story that can be described with just a single image. TIME magazine’s current cover photograph by Jodi Bieber delivers a lasting impression.  It shows a haunting, disturbing, yet beautiful, and brave Afghan woman named Aisha.  Her nose and ears are missing.  When she was 18, the Taliban wanted to punish her from running away from her husband’s house.  As a result, her husband cut her face. The punishment would leave her scarred physically and emotionally for life.

This horrific incident happened last year.  According to TIME magazine, she is “now hidden in a secret women’s shelter in Kabul, Aisha listens obsessively to the news. Talk that the Afghan government is considering some kind of political accommodation with the Taliban frightens her.” Aisha feels that the government can not reconcile with the Taliban given their gruesome and barbaric behavior.

The United States has been at war in Afghanistan for almost nine years.  The poor economy and domestic issues have put pressure on the United States to search for an Afghanistan exit strategy.  Money and time are running out.  In order for “peace” a reconciliation with the Taliban is most likely to occur.

However, THE HUFFINGTON POST reports a different perspective: “If the treatment of Afghan women has not improved — and may have even deteriorated– since the American invasion, the question of what happens if we stay in Afghanistan may be just as important a question as what happens if we leave.”  They report that women’s rights have worsen in Afghanistan because of a perpetual state of war that creates an extreme fundamentalist judiciary and radicalization of the population.

Where does that leave the women of Afghanistan?  Can we trust Afghan president Hamid Karzai and the United States with women’s rights?  Afghan women will only be able to trust themselves.  Peace can never be called peace if women are being brutalized to achieve it.

The links:

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2007238,00.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/29/time-magazine-cover-expla_n_663617.html

http://www.time.com/time/video/player/0,32068,294175100001_2007267,00.html

Photos of Women of Afghanistan: Living Under the Taliban Threat: http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,2007161,00.html

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