These images were selected from Canadian photojournalist Lana Slezic’s book, “Forsaken,” which were shot over her two years in Afghanistan. In a documentary for tvo (seen here), Lana says she always gravitates towards photographing women, describing an unspoken language - a universal body language - which she feels exists between the women she photographs and herself regardless of locale or barriers in spoken language.
Lana became quite close with Malalai Kakar, the first and only female police officer in Kandahar, who can be seen in the last photo. A mother of six, Malalai became a police officer prior to the Taliban’s rise, and, once they were ousted, began working as the head of the city’s department for crimes against women. In September 2008, Malalai was assissanted in front of her children at their home by the Taliban.
Says Lana, “She was killed so unjustly and why? Because she was a woman with power, because she was helping other women.” That photo now hangs above her home computer. “My work represent a very emotional journey that has given me an insight into the lives of Afghan women, which is largely horrific. I hope that [this] collection of photographs will communicate, influence and inspire others to learn more about the plight of Afghan women,” she says.
Many of these women are better described as girls, like eleven year old Gulsuma, seen in the third photo, who was found by Lana in an orphanage. Gulsuma was married off for 60 dollars when she was four, and was physically tortured for seven years before eventually running away. Sixteen year old Lida, seen hiding behind a door with her nails done in the eighth photo, was recently married off, and now no longer attends school (such as the one seen in the fourth photo, made from an abandoned, war torn building) or is permitted to see her own family.
The Human Rights Commission in Kandahar claims that 86% of women in Afghanistan are clinically depressed. Many who don’t run away instead attempt suicide by self immolation, like nineteen year old Zaha seen in the fifth photo. As Lana says, “Most Afghan women and girls understand all too well the concept of fear and subservience.”
She adds, “As human beings it is our responsibility to not only see and hear, but to listen and act.” For more on Afghan women, see these posts.
Posts tagged Afghanistan
His right leg was severed. I watched him bleed out from his femoral artery. It was shocking. It’s pixelated, and it doesn’t really look real. But it was real.You’re still in the war zone and regardless of whether you’re physically there or not. America wants an antiseptic war… The reality is that nothing is clean. There’s a level of intimacy that goes with every action in war. It’s completely psychological. You hear the hum of a computer. You don’t feel the missile coming off the rail; you watch it. All the drone operators, they get a bad rap. It’s not a video game… It is real life, and these people need just as much help.
More of this: we need so much more of this. Not perverted for our pleasure at experiencing the gruesome from a first-hand account, but expressions of humanity, morality, and justice/injustice; like Kosovo, Rwanda, South Africa, Germany, every where there has been a culture severed by the harrowing divide of war, these individuals need healing. This in no way vindicates what they’ve been asked to do - and the lines of morality and the normative get fuzzy here - and, in no way does it excuse the very necessary conversation that is happening between Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and UN, amongst others; but we need more of this - more healing, more communication, more exposure on, what we can only hope becomes illegal conduct during war: drones, drone warfare, ‘robotic’ war, and ‘othering’ away these wrongful deaths and the individuals who ‘push the button’.
…a situation of this nature does not need an individual, it needs an organization like the United Nations to mediate. We must understand the seriousness of this situation.
The United States has made serious mistakes in the conduct of its foreign affairs, which have had unfortunate repercussions long after the decisions were taken. Unqualified support of the Shah of Iran led directly to the Islamic revolution of 1979. Then the United States chose to arm and finance the [Islamic] mujahedin in Afghanistan instead of supporting and encouraging the moderate wing of the government of Afghanistan. That is what led to the Taliban in Afghanistan.
But the most catastrophic action of the United States was to sabotage the decision that was painstakingly stitched together by the United Nations regarding the withdrawal of the Soviet Union from Afghanistan. If you look at those matters, you will come to the conclusion that the attitude of the United States of America is a threat to world peace.
Because what [America] is saying is that if you are afraid of a veto in the Security Council, you can go outside and take action and violate the sovereignty of other countries. That is the message they are sending to the world. That must be condemned in the strongest terms. And you will notice that France, Germany Russia, China are against this decision. It is clearly a decision that is motivated by George W. Bush’s desire to please the arms and oil industries in the United States of America. If you look at those factors, you’ll see that an individual like myself, a man who has lost power and influence, can never be a suitable mediator.
84-year-old Madiba in a 2009 Newsweek interview speaking on Bush, Iraq and U.S. foreign policy.
Protesters carry placards as they protest against the visit of U.S. President Barack Obama in Pretoria, June 28, 2013. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
Can we just talk about how awesome this is? And that by signing the petition against UJ’s decision to award Obama an honouray doctorate I was automatically updated and informed about this protest, despite being in rainy Britain?
74 schoolgirls in Afghanistan fell sick after smelling gas and were being examined for possible poisoning, three days after a dozen students fell ill at another girls’ high school in the same city. No one has claimed responsibility for either incident, but mass poisonings are a periodic tactic used by those opposed to girls’ education.
Learn more via Reuters
stay strong, ladies. the forward motion of the Millennium Development Goals will not pass you by.
Afghan villagers look at the bodies of women killed by NATO air strikes in Laghman province September 16, 2012. NATO-led air strikes in southern Laghman province on Saturday night killed eight women, according to a local official.
[Credit : Parwiz/Reuters]
reblog for new institutionalism (yes, again, second wave)
We recently partnered with two leading television channels in Afghanistan and Pakistan to host the first-ever international town hall connecting Afghans and Pakistanis for direct dialogue.
This groundbreaking event brought together live studio audiences and government officials in Kabul and Islamabad to discuss the way forward for Afghanistan and Pakistan as the US prepares to withdraw troops in 2014, as well as the role Pakistan should play in the reconciliation process.
Check out images of Afghans viewing the town hall here
She just does such a great service for all of us on tumblr.
Some of the links are difficult to click through because the content shakes us, disturbs us, and we’re left unsettled. In my opinion there were at least 3 posts (1 post not part of my series) from her weekly round up that warrant a further breakdown for anyone to disturbed to click through or looking for the ‘meat and veg’ of it.
Part 1:from thepoliticalnotebook
IAVA released its annual survey of members this Monday. Veterans listed as their top concerns in this order: employment, mental health, disability benefits, health care, education, suicide and families.
Here are some of the findings from the report I think are essential to break down:
- "17 percent said they were unemployed when they took the survey in January, a higher rate than was documented by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which put the veterans’ unemployment rate for January at 9 percent." (Source: NY Times; all quotes below from same source) .
..I’ve said this time and time again, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics might as well pull their numbers out of hat.Also, 9% are disabled and unable to work.
- 'More than one in three respondents, 37 percent, said they knew someone who had committed suicide, down slightly from last year’s result. Asked if the person who committed suicide was serving or had separated from the military, respondents were almost evenly divided: 30 percent said the person had separated when the act occurred; 27 percent said the person was serving but not deployed; 25 percent said the person was serving and deployed. Another 11 percent said the person was in the National Guard and not deployed.'
- 'Two-thirds said they think troops and veterans are not getting the mental health care they need.'
- 'Asked about their relationships, nearly 80 percent said they were married or in a long-term relationship during a deployment. Nearly two-thirds said the deployment strained their relationships, and 6 in 10 said readjustment was difficult.'
- Nearly 9 in 10 of those surveyed were men
- 6 in 10 were Army veterans
- More than 8 in 10 had served in Iraq.
- Almost half, 45 percent, were 36 years or older.
- Nine in 10 said they were registered to vote.
- When asked, ‘The President listens enough to service members
and Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.’ (Source: IAVA), 23% Agree or Strongly Agree; 16% No Opinion, and 61% Disagree or Strongly Disagree
- When asked, ‘Congress listens enough to service members and
Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.’ (ibid), 13% Agree or Strongly Agree; 13% No Opinion, and 75% Disagree or Strongly Disagree
- When asked, ‘Corporate America supports service members and
Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.’ (ibid), 32% Agree or Strongly Agree; 22% No Opinion, and 46% Disagree or Strongly Disagree (the most variant across the 5 questions asked on public opinion)
These are just some pieces I pulled from the article and corresponding report (available for download at the IAVA link above) that I found interesting/alarming/disturbing.
After going through thepoliticalnotebook's Friday links, (especially the one on the US solider(s)’ 17 March killing of Afghan civilians from the first Western journalist to cover the story on the ground) I was left remembering the patches that went around tumblr a few weeks ago. Here were a few others I found while surfing.
…apparently these patches originate with Benjamin Franklin’s 1751 symbolism during the independence of the United States from Great Britain.
Tell me why/if/how these patches affect you?
This Is All Kinds Of Wrong of the Day: A woman in Afghanistan who was sentenced to 12 years in prison for the crime of being raped by a relative has been pardoned by Afghan President Hamid Karzai after she agreed to marry her rapist.
The woman, identified only as “Gulnaz,” was convicted of adultery after reporting that she had been raped by her cousin’s husband. According to Gulnaz’s lawyer, marrying her rapist was not a condition for release, but she has agreed to do so in order to “legitimize her daughter.”
“In my conversations with Gulnaz she told me that if she had the free choice she would not marry the man who raped her,” attorney Kimberley Motley said.
Gulnaz had been raising her daughter, who was conceived as a result of the rape, in jail.
Her rapist was sentenced to 12 years in prison, but later had his jail time reduced to 7 years. Gulnaz also had her 12-year sentence reduced to 3 years. Authorities said she would not serve all 12 years, but would still have to spend time in jail for not reporting the rape soon enough.
In Kabul, [US secretary of state Hillary] Clinton bluntly warned Pakistan that the US would act unilaterally if Islamabad failed to crack down on the Taliban-linked Haqqani network inside its North Waziristan sanctuary.
She then flew to Islamabad to deliver the message in person during a four-hour meeting with Pakistan’s top generals, calling on them to bring the Haqqanis to the negotiating table, kill the group’s leadership or pave the way for the US to do so.