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The Crucial Role of Afghan Women in Building Lasting Peace

L'ÉPOQUE - While the world is captivated by ongoing conflicts and pressing global issues such as the Israeli-Hamas conflict and climate change, it is dishearteningly evident that there is little attention being paid to the dire state of human rights, particularly women's rights, and the immense challenges faced by Afghan women under the Taliban regime. In this chaotic landscape, where international efforts seem lackluster at best, it becomes imperative for the Afghan people themselves to find a solution for their war-torn nation. It is through the resilience and determination of Afghan women that we find hope; they possess both the inherent right and unparalleled potential to rebuild their country with lasting peace.


12.19.2023 © L'ÉPOQUE USA


By Nereides Antonio Giamundo de Bourbon


The Crucial Role of Afghan Women in Building Lasting Peace
Fawzia Koofi, Habiba Sarabi and Maryam Rayed - Photo by © UN Women/Ryan Brown.

In a nation rebuilding from years of conflict and turmoil, the power of Afghan women cannot be underestimated. Their resilience and determination have the potential to shape a future of lasting peace and prosperity. As we delve into this captivating journey, we will explore how empowering Afghan women is not just a noble endeavor, but an essential one for the restoration of their beloved homeland. Join us as we celebrate the incredible strides these women are making, defying odds and carving out a brighter path for themselves and their nation. Together, let us witness the transformative power of empowerment in action. 


Today, I have the immense honor of reconnecting with a remarkable Afghan woman who continues to inspire through her unwavering commitment to women's rights and peace in Afghanistan. Despite the necessity to protect her identity due to security concerns, her voice remains as powerful as ever. In this extraordinary second interview, we delve deeper into her journey, unearthing profound insights that will undoubtedly leave you feeling empowered and optimistic. Prepare to embark on a transformative conversation that highlights the resilience and determination of one incredible individual.


In a powerful and positive testimony, the woman we will refer to as Maryam, for security purposes, graciously shared her story with L'ÉPOQUE for the second time. With immense pride, I now pass on her personal account to our esteemed readers.


Maryam takes center stage, ready to inspire and captivate as she opens up about her journey:


The Crucial Role of Afghan Women in Building Lasting Peace
Afghan women - Photo by © UnitedNations.

« It has been two years since the government and the system have fallen in my country. At first, it seemed that the fall of the government was overnight. But how is it possible that the entire political, social, cultural and economic system of the society will fall all together?

 

Every day that passes, the more I realize how many incredible gaps have existed in our society, all of which have led to the prison that the people of my country are living in today. Especially women who are airbrushed from public life and according to a recent report by the Afghanistan Centre for Epidemiological Studies suggested that two-thirds of Afghan adolescents had reported symptoms of depression. The UN has warned of “widespread mental health issues and escalating accounts of suicides”.


The Crucial Role of Afghan Women in Building Lasting Peace
Habiba Sarabi and other Afghan women leaders participate in the Women’s Leadership for Peace Global Convening in Glen Cove New York in September 2022. Photo by © UN Women/Ryan Brown.

The current Taliban regime is not an inclusive regime. There is no woman in the high ranks of the government. There is not enough participation of other ethnicities but only Pashtoon ethnic, in the governmental organisations. They are fundamentalists, extremists rulers. Today the power they have gives them the authority to force people to practice their culture, language and beliefs. The regime systematically violates and discriminates against women because of their gender. As a result, peace has lost its meaning for more than half of the population in Afghanistan.

 

I am wondering why the majority of people who suffer living under this regime are silent and do not do anything to not accept the oppression and solve the problems and hardships?

 

Additionally when I follow the news in the Afghan society in exile it sounds like a very disappointing environment. 98% of talks are about the division of my homeland. It is heartbreaking. I’m not pro Taliban but I don’t want the territory of my country to be divided for any reason. We all can live united and in peace in one territory.


The Crucial Role of Afghan Women in Building Lasting Peace
Shabana Rasikh, Pashtana Dorani, Aydin Sahba © UNESCO.

To figure out the answer to my question and learn more about how my fellow Afghan women and I make peace in my country I searched for every opportunity that could help me. And recently I have heard about an online course about peace and culture for Afghan women.Their efforts to heal one of the important gaps of my society is extraordinary, amazing and really needed.


Today, when I look at my country and the conditions of its people, I see many problems. I believe that all peace lectures and conferences about peace and creating a culture of unity and common and national values are like water of life to survive this society. I always thought that what makes people from different ethnic groups of my country not accept each other and not unite and stand together in this dark time?


The last session in the peace conference discussed national values and when I heard the topics and all the information, my family witnessed that I was shocked for minutes, because I had found the answer to my question. I had found the source of the pain. We do not have a national value in our country, which would force us to stand together to overcome this crisis. How painful it is. 


As women in my country, our role to make changes, solve the problems and in peace building is very important because we can contribute to the prevention and resolution of conflicts, the promotion of human rights and gender equality, and the recovery and development of our society.


Usually I have been asked by people how we can help women in Afghanistan. Afghan women need support to be educated with peace as they are current and future mothers of the new generation in Afghanistan. Create the opportunity for us, to learn to build our society and to create a culture of unity, peace, justice , honesty and kindness among Afghan people. Many generations in my country have been born and grew up in war. They never experienced peace and all these common values, this is why they don’t know how vital it is for their present and future.

 

We Afghan women are key actors in peace building in Afghanistan, as we have the skills, knowledge, and networks to mediate, negotiate, and reconcile. We also have the vision and values to foster a culture of peace and nonviolence. We can bring diverse perspectives and solutions to the table. By including us in peace building, the quality and sustainability of peace agreements can be improved. As we proved in the past two years that we fought for the rights of all women in Afghanistan and across the globe. because if we stop fighting more women in the world will experience the same situation ».

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