"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
                                                                                                                     -- Hermann Goering

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Casualties in Afghanistan


Suraya Pakzad (right), founder of the Voice of Women Organization in Afghanistan, with Nazifa, a former resident of VWO's shelter, who was rejected by her family, but helped by the shelter staff.      Video

Peace Unveiled - Full Episode
Women, War & Peace - 2011 PBS series

Former U.S. Soldier Camilo Mejia on Killings of Iraqi and Afghan Civilians

Audio excerpt from following youtube video @ 00:49:50
Seymour Hersh, Jeremy Scahill, Chris Hedges and Laila Al-Arian in Conversation



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US Special Forces May Have Gone On a Murder Spree in Afghanistan -Did the Army Cover It Up? 090115


"I was pretty much based in Kandahar city. And the reason I was not able to go to the districts, the areas close to the city, was simply for security reasons. By year 2011, or even beginning of 2010, there was very little movement between people from the city to the districts and back and forth. So my perspective is merely and only from the city. And unfortunately, having lived there for nine years in a row, I witnessed some of the horrific, violent activities that happened in the city, one including that cost the life of my, you know, my father, who was the mayor of Kandahar city, last July. So you can, you know, it is very difficult for me, personally, to accept the military reports or other international reports who constantly claim that security was getting better, because on a daily basis, life for us citizens living in the city, things were getting worse, day by day. And that is the reason why I’ve left the country. So I don’t know where these reports are coming from.."
                                                                                            --Rangina Hamidi, Afghan Women's Activist


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Should NATO Exist? Phyllis Bennis vs. Ex-CIAer Stan Sloan on Alliance’s Purpose, Afghan War’s Future 052212

"No NATO, No War": U.S. Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan Return War Medals at NATO Summit 052112

Photos of Soldiers Posing with Afghan Corpses the Latest Outrage of U.S. Occupation of Afghanistan 041912

Afghan Women’s Activist Rangina Hamidi: Worsening Conditions Should Hasten U.S. Withdrawal 031612

Afghan Massacre Sheds Light on Culture of Mania and Aggression in U.S. Troops in Afghanistan 031612

Robert Greenwald and Ed Schultz Discuss Panetta's Afghanistan Decision 020312

Journalist Chris Hedges Sues Obama Admin over Indefinite Detention of U.S. Citizens Approved in NDAA 011712

NDAA: Obama Signs Law Restricting Transfer of Guantánamo Prisoners and Expands Indefinite Detention 011012

Guantánamo Exclusive: Former Chief Prosecutor, Ex-Prisoner Call
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Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to Trio of Women for Championing Gender Equality, Peace-Building 100711

Tamim Ansary - a History of the World through Islamic Eyes

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10 Years Too Long: Rep. Barbara Lee Renews Calls for End
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Pakistani General Hamid Gul - "Why America Cannot Win in Afghanistan" with Bonnie Faulkner, KPFA Guns & Butter 090810

Inge Missmahl brings peace to the minds of Afghanistan TED Sep 2010

The Afghan Women's Project for The Institute for Circlework 072310
Institute for CircleWork

Eisha Mason and Liz Gover: Conversation on Afghanistan

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Eisha Mason and Hector Aristizabal : ImaginAction in Afghanistan

Islamophobia and War on Afghanistan, Deepa Kumar 120909

Developing Peace in Afghanistan

Eight Years After Orchestrating Massacre at Dasht-e-Leili, Afghan Warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum Returns to Afghanistan to Campaign for Karzai 081809

Courage of Conviction - Suraya Pakzad and Aldo Magazzeni 041309

"Afghan Massacre: The Convoy of Death," Part 2: Award-Winning Director/Producer Jamie Doran Alleges a Media Cover-Up of US Complicity in the Massacre of up to 3,000 Taliban Prisoners 052603

Afghan Massacre: Eyewitnesses Testify U.S. Troops Complicit
in Massacre of up to 3,000 Taliban POWs

Afghanistan: From Ground Zero to Ground Zero 2002
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Suraya Pakzad - Voice of Women Organization 040309

To Afghan Youths, It's Simple: They Want US Troops Out 053005

From Bagram to Abu Ghraib March/April 2005

Afghan delegate creates uproar - Young woman exposes underlying factions 121803

Afghan women soldier on - freedoms not yet realized 111703

A ticket to equality for Afghan women 110903

A house for Haji Baba Oct 2003

Book - With All Our Strength - The Revolutionary Association
of the Women of Afghanistan - by Anne E. Brodsky

Women draft bill of rights in new Afghan constitution 092803

America's Pipe Dream -- A Pro-Western Regime in Kabul Should Give the US an Afghan Route for Caspian Oil 102301



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A ticket to equality for Afghan women

Theodore Roszak
Sunday, November 9, 2003

"No one listens to us, no one treats us as human beings." That's the quote Amnesty International uses to head its October 2003 report on the sorry state of women in Afghanistan. Whatever the American military presence may be accomplishing in that troubled land, it hasn't done much for the female half of the population. The women are still getting kicked around.

Reading Amnesty's account of wife beatings and rapes, abductions and forced marriages, repression and neglect, I'm reminded of the two proud Afghan women who came to see me during my office hours at California State Hayward in the winter of 1999. They looked to me like their nation's best and brightest. But here they were taking classes at a school far, far from home. Why? Because that was back when the Taliban were still using whips on women who allowed an inch of skin to show in the streets of Kabul.

The United Nations thinks the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan should be expanded to 15,000 members. The United States refuses to raise the number above the current 4,800. The Afghan Ministry of Reconstruction estimates that getting the country up to the poverty level it knew under Soviet occupation would cost $15 billion over the next 10 years. Fat chance President Bush will appropriate a tenth that much. As Sen. Joseph Biden has put it, the Bush administration has "given up the ghost" in Afghanistan and is allowing the country to slip back into the hands of the warlords.

What makes me most ashamed about this betrayal of trust is the plight in which it leaves the women of Afghanistan. As Anne Brodsky points out in "With All Our Strength," her new study of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, women may have found token participation in the new government, but they are working against overwhelming odds in simply getting back to where they were before the Taliban. The Taliban -- whom, let us remember, the United States brought to power -- took over a country in which women enjoyed decent status.

My Afghan students speak proudly of mothers who were doctors or chemists. Half the civil servants in the country were female. Now, according to the watchdog group Feminist Majority, whatever progress the American intervention brought for women is rapidly being lost outside the capital. Feminist Majority reports that, with American forces hunkering down within the city limits of Kabul, warlords like Ismail Khan are forcing women of Herat to wear the burqa again and to have gynecological exams to check for "illicit" sexual activity. On the other hand, when women have a legitimate need for medical care -- say, during childbirth -- UNICEF reports that prudish husbands often refuse to let male doctors attend their wives, with the result that Afghanistan is running one of the highest death rates for child delivery in the world.

When American troops went into Afghanistan, Laura Bush said the liberation of women should be our highest priority. Well, perhaps it can still be -- and without waiting for her tardy husband to get around to it. Suppose we invited the first lady to head a program for encouraging Afghan women to resettle in the United States. The deal would be this:

If an Afghan woman makes her way to a U.S. Army base, an office of the assistance force or through the door of any relief agency in the country and asks for a plane ticket to the United States, she gets one, no questions asked.

In the States, she will be received by a consortium of universities that have agreed to scare up the money for a full college scholarship plus living expenses. The program would be a sort of gender-based underground railroad, though neither as clandestine nor as illegal as the escape routes offered to slaves before our Civil War. If George or Laura Bush wants to contribute a few federal dollars and the prestige of their support to the effort, fine. That might help make a reality of the Afghanistan Freedom Support Act the president signed into law in 2002.

After all, Sen. Barbara Boxer managed to make the liberation of Afghan women a "funding priority" under the act, which authorizes spending $2.3 billion over the next four years. Here's one way to achieve that goal directly and with minimal overhead.

Currently, women who flee the country looking for a better future are apt to wind up as unwelcome guests in one of the refugee camps in Pakistan. With a diminished number of Afghan men left after the nation's long wars, they often find no husbands. My students tell me that many a refugee woman must reluctantly settle for a marriage of convenience with a male immigrant in the United States to be admitted to this country. A "save the women" rescue program would provide another option, one that might even pay unforeseen dividends for Afghanistan, especially if the new government succeeds in making it attractive for educated women to return. Indeed, the program might help achieve that goal by serving notice to the warlords that if their misogyny continues, they will see the best and the brightest of their women vanish and their country will be all the poorer. They may not care; but why should millions of women suffer for the alpha-male stupidity of their leaders?

In Aristophanes' "Lysistrata," women exert power by withholding sexual favors. In a country like Afghanistan, so severely in need of all the scientific and technical brains it can muster, women who find their way to a decent education might gain even greater leverage with the patriarchy back home. They would be in a position to say, "If you want us back, equality is the price you'll have to pay."

Theodore Roszak teaches history at California State University, Hayward. His latest novel is "The Devil and Daniel Silverman."

San Francisco Chronicle
























        With All Our Strength

        The Revolutionary Association
        of the Women of Afghanistan

           by Anne Brodsky


Book report:

Behind the Scenes
UMBC’s Anne Brodsky Tells the Story of Afghan Women

By Charles Rose
Retriever Weekly Guest Writer

In the two years since the horrific attacks of Sept. 11 and the ensuing American invasion of Afghanistan, the world’s attention has shifted away from the plight of the Afghan people, who have been ravaged by decades of war. But even before Sept. 11, Anne Brodsky, an associate professor of psychology and affiliate professor of women’s studies at UMBC, was already risking her life to tell the story of Afghan women under the oppression of the Taliban and other fundamentalist Islamic factions and she continues that fight today.

Brodsky’s research background studying the resilience of women and the role of communities in resisting societal risks such as violence, poverty and racism led to her current work with the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA).

RAWA is a humanitarian and political women’s organization that has operated clandestinely in Afghanistan and Pakistan for the past 26 years. Brodsky has been working with the group for over three years to help raise awareness of the plight of women who still risk their lives when they stand up for basic freedoms like going to school, having a job, wearing modern clothes, and being able to leave the house unescorted by a male.

As part of these efforts, Brodsky has traveled to underground girls’ schools, orphanages and refugee camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan. She has risked her life ? both from the dangers facing a Western woman in areas controlled by fundamentalist groups, and from the ongoing fighting and unexploded landmines and ordnance that litter the countryside.

Recent news items have underscored the relevance of Brodsky’s work: a report released this summer by Human Rights Watch detailed how women are still being raped and attacked by Afghan warlords outside of Kabul and a Newsweek story noted the post Sept. 11 rise in domestic violence in American Muslim families.

Even worse is the apparent resurgence of the Taliban, who have launched several recent attacks on Afghan border police and girls’ schools from just across the Pakistan border, a development that doesn’t surprise Brodsky.

"While schools for girls have reopened, only about 32 percent of the students who returned were girls," she says. "Girls’ schools have been fire bombed and threatened; and forced marriages, imprisonment of girls and women for attempting to escape abusive marriages, forced medical chastity tests and other extreme forms of oppression are ongoing, thus RAWA’s activities and message are still urgently needed."

Since Sept. 11, Brodsky has continued her research through multiple trips to the region and by helping to bring members of RAWA to the United States and UMBC to tell their stories. Earlier this year, Brodsky published a book about RAWA and her experiences with the group, With All Our Strength: The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (Routledge).

Publisher’s Weekly described With All Our Strength as "Groundbreaking...The first writer with in-depth access to RAWA, Brodsky writes a passionate narrative...[S]tands out as a lone and important study of a remarkable organization." Ahmed Rashid, author of Taliban, calls it "A powerful story."

Brodsky will never forget her five months in the field with the brave women of RAWA. "I gained a much deeper understanding and appreciation for their struggle, and was able to record the in-depth stories of real people’s lives under so many years of oppression, war and trauma," she says. "But more than being victims, RAWA has empowered women, children and men to use education as a tool to fight for democracy, freedom, human rights and peace."

According to Brodsky, the fight for democracy and human rights in Afghanistan is far from over. "RAWA remains a threatened group for their outspoken opposition to the oppression of women and all democratically minded people that continue under the current, warlord dominated government," she says. "They fervently hope that the rest of the world will continue to support them and will not, once again, turn their backs on the long suffering people of Afghanistan."

Brodsky’s work on behalf of women at UMBC and beyond was recognized with the 2003 award from the President’s Commission for Women, one of several presented at UMBC’s 37th Anniversary Opening.

Article originally published in Insights Weekly.








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