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banner Monday, 8 April, 2002, 18:09 GMT 19:09 UK
Silent scream: Your comments
Afghani women
Silent Scream
As a Muslim woman, I would like to protest this systematic stereotyping. Firstly, why are you ignoring the Loud Screams from Jenin, Gujarat, Chechnya and Kashmir? Do the terms "Malleus "Maleficarum" or "auto-da-fe" mean anything to our critics? Who is more respectable - the Sultan of Brunei publicly backed by his two wives on state occasions, or the Monica Lewinskis of your world? Do I not have a democratic right to choose a Hijab? According to your definition, a nun in "hijab" should also be classified as oppressed. Can the West not realise that many of the problems of the Taleban era emanate from the harsh sanctions, exacerbated by the eradication of opium? Why was no such attention given to the horrors of apartheid? Give me my Islam any day.
Feroza M A Esat

You stopped people understanding Islamic roles, because in one shot, you showed that Afghan woman is like dead body, but in fact the hijab is her security. And this hijab is the instruction of Islam not the Taleban, what do you mean with these kind of photos, pls note that 85% women of Afghanistan like the hijab and are proud of this way of life - not like the western women being used like toys selling there bodies and making sexy films, and no have no self value. Afghans have culture, have roles, there husbands must in die, but bring food and money for their wives. Pls study before, if they don't have husband and they are killed, they have brothers, relatives and all life they pay and bring food for them, ok, we are Muslims and believe in this.
Alam Khan

After recently lobbying Jack Straw at his constituency, on an Afghanistan, Iraq etc. this programme gave a lie to his statements about life in Afghanistan.. Many many thanks (It had me in tears)
Graham A. Carter

I would like to say that after seeing the programme this was the first real opportunity I have had to hear from the women themselves. I found them to be very brave and intelligent, also very beautiful, no wonder the men of Afghanistan wants to keep them down. They are an inspiration to all of us and we, as a Western Society, should do everything we can to help them lead normal lives as we do.
June Price

I cannot believe that women are treated so badly in this day and age. Women have rights as well as men. Women are as intelligent as men if they are given the chance. More women are gaining high-powered jobs today and they deserve all the rewards they receive. Women should stand up for their rights and those of their female children.
Rachel Holmes

International aid should be conditional on hard targets agreed with the Afghan government to improve the circumstances of women in Afghanistan and monitored by women appointed by the international community under protection of peacekeeping military forces. Women's rights are the key to begin the process of establishing democracy in this nation.
Roy Stansfield UK


Freedom of choice is not just about western women flaunting their bodies nakedly, but also accepting the dignified and modest dress code which includes the veil

Suleman Kazi

With reference to your coverage Silent Scream, it really epitomises nothing but a naked hatred for the veil. No one denies that certain people may use the veil to subdue and oppress women. But what I find most difficult to understand is how the BBC repeatedly patronises and demeans the veil as anything but a mode of respectable dressing for women. Freedom of choice is not just about western women flaunting their bodies nakedly, but also accepting the dignified and modest dress code, which includes the veil. Sorry if this email disappoints you.
Suleman Kazi

Harrowing story. Seems like we've backed people no better than those we've fought against. Northern Alliance may not be terrorists in the 'war against terrorism' but sure are to their native women. Enlightening programme.
Dave Lowe

This programme was very upsetting. So was the one a couple of weeks ago about women in Pakistan. What I don't understand is why is it that we get such few programmes about this. The media should be bombarding us with this topic in every shape and form and yet we only get token gestures on the subject. Please BBC can you show more of this so that EVERY one gets to know about it. I also cannot understand why this government and so many others are turning a blind eye to these atrocities.
J.Nield


Please keep making programmes like this to raise the consciousness of free people throughout this country and hopefully the world

Pamela Holbrook
I have just watched Silent Scream and feel horrified that the plight of women in this country is no further forward whoever is in charge. Please keep making programmes like this to raise the consciousness of free people throughout this country and hopefully the world in the hope that one day we might do something to help them.
Pamela Holbrook

The programme showed that conditions haven't really changed for the better. Women are still afraid to go out without the burqa although technically they are can. Watching the scenes in which those in charge today kicked and beat women like dogs enraged me. The Northern Alliance are thugs and not the heroes our government and the US would have us believe. A colleague who has just returned from Afghanistan told me that during the curfew it was believed that the Northern Alliance used this opportunity to rob and terrorise people. I have nothing but admiration for the women who have built up the resistance movement, Rawa. These women should be consulted on the future of women in their society and not those who exiled themselves.
Pauline Phillips

Last night's Correspondent programme about Afghan Women was most interesting, moving and uplifting. Let's have further updates please. However, I noted that among all the women interviewed there was not one Pashtun. All the women were ethnic Iranian - Dari speakers, who are not representative of all Afghan women. Are we to believe that they, who are so much like their Iranian sisters across the border, are the only vocal and educated women in the country? You did not make clear whether RAWA has followers among the women of the Pashtun majority. As the Taliban are mainly made up of ethnic Pashtuns, it would be fascinating to hear from their women too, to see if women's solidarity can/is breaching the cultural and linguistic divide.
Rosalind Sudlow, Aberdeen


Whenever America goes in to help a country in distress, or in the case of Afghanistan right now, we are then blamed for not staying on and creating a democratic society for them

Ken
Your program April 7 detailed the absolute slavery imposed on women by the Taleban and other Afghan men. And the American woman who helped the women of RAWA was wonderful. The problem is: Whenever America goes in to help a country in distress, or in the case of Afghanistan right now, to demolish the Taleban, America is then blamed for not staying on and creating a democratic society for them. If America did this, can you imagine the BBC and other left-wing establishments shouting that America is now imposing her democratic values of individual rights, equality and free trade upon peoples who, no doubt for centuries, did not choose that for themselves? Being the most successful country in the history of the world economically, militarily, culturally has placed burdens on Americans that we don't deserve or want. We are not our brother's keepers, nor will we fall into the trap of making them free. That's not our job. Anyway, you cannot impose freedom, only tyranny, and most of the Muslim world is brilliant at that. I know, I speak as an Arab.
Ken

I just wanted to say how good I thought this programme was. So much more realistic than much of the propaganda on our screens at the moment. It was really accessible and put into context other footage we have seen. Any chance of it being re-shown on BBC 1 at a more high profile time? Thank you.
Anon


All children grow up emotionally stunted in the climate that is operating today, and that will perpetuate unrest for as long as it continues

Anon
First of all ... I wish to give a comment about tonight's programme .... The British government and USA (but more importantly - to me - the British government should put the plight of the Afghan women at the forefront of any decisions they make about the future ruling party of Afghanistan. the rights and development of EVERY PERSON in Afghanistan is dependent upon the way women are treated. ALL children grow up emotionally stunted in the climate that is operating today...and that will perpetuate unrest for as long as it continues ...
Anon

I was so glad to see Correspondent giving the women of Afghanistan a chance to show their bravery, humanity, humility, patriotism, scepticism, faith, doubt, hope and fear. They have been used as token female appeal in the War on Terror's propaganda campaign and I feel that to let them speak in their own right with their own voices was a move away from the patronising tone of "victim reports". Bravo!
I Barden

I thought silent scream doc on Sunday eve, was really interesting disturbing, moving and enlightening. Your programme at last has shed light and presented, for me a different perspective on such a complex situation re the world (the west) and Afghanistan. Congratulations. I have never contacted a programme before; so cheers, I have been motivated get off my butt to know more about the organisations reported in your prog. I'm not sure whether you are able to do so, but I would really like to know more re 'rawa' and ' v-day' , and how i might contact them i. e. do they have a news letter or web site? i am yet still a novice re the web and i did try but i could not get any connection. i am percussionist and i indeed possess a beautiful afghan dol drum which I play. I was really moved by the plight of these women and would therefore like to contact the organisations to find out more, even if just to offer my support as a women here in Britain living in a multi -cultural and democratic society. which in this day and age of fighting and trouble, i feel lucky and privileged to be living in. kind regards and in pursuit of world peace...
miss j cupido

I watched your programme this evening and was deeply moved. Whilst I don't consider myself to be ignorant of the plight of these women I do feel powerless to help.
Kath Rogers

My 9year old daughter has just read the book 'The Breadwinner' by Deborah Ellis. It is a story about a young Afghan girl who tries to survive under Taliban rule. We noticed in the paper that this episode told a similar story. Unfortunately we were out and missed it. My daughter is very interested in seeing this. Please could you tell me when you will be showing this again? Thank you.
Mrs D Jackson


I feel that even e-mailing and speaking to them [RAWA] may at least give them a small twinkle of sunshine

Leah Phryce-Jones
Thank you for such an interesting but such a sad programme. These women are like me, us...and it is so hurtful and frustrating to look and watch...yet feel so helpless.....what can we do, it is such a tragedy, and yet these poor women are left...behind their burkas, because they are so terrified...and have been so misused. I tried to contact RAWA but couldn't get the page...any contacts or WebPages you could give me - I feel that even e-mailing and speaking to them may at least give them a small twinkle of sunshine..
Leah Phryce-Jones

Thank you, thank you for your excellent report on the women of Afghanistan and their fight for safety in their own country. As an expat American I can only express my chagrin and shame for the history of the US involvement and then abandonment of the people of Afghanistan. Thank you BBC for continuing to bring the hidden issues forward, even to rub our noses in it. I keep wondering how the UN can allow the US to hold sway about such important issues as the conduct on another sovereign state in the way it has since Sept. 11. Am I really foolish to think that the UN should be a tool for justice country by country, women by men, religion by religion? I look forward to hearing more about Afghanistan and the aftermath of the US involvement there.
Respectfully, Amita G

Thank you for bringing us this story of true awfulness, now I know more about it at least I can try and support Afghan women's struggle. Excellent correspondent. Thank you -
Mary Norden

Is there anything that ordinary people in the UK can do to help the plight of those brave tortured women that your programmed highlighted? I have known about them for a long time and felt frustrated at not knowing how to contribute. Is the government doing really typing aid to women's rights? To whom can we write to ensure this remains so? Can we contact RAWA directly?
Joyce Glasser


I am glad I saw your film, Correspondent. Thank you for bringing Afghan women's plight into my lounge

Mary Percival
I knew about that Rawa website, I am sorry I did not reply then. I was too scared to do so, even though I am British, English, born here. Two weeks ago I went to the cinema to see a film about a journalist's journey through Afghanistan to visit her sister. The fear and non-existence for women was featured. There was a sequence that if a woman visited a doctor then she had to have a male with her and talk to the doctor from the other side of a sheet. If an examination was necessary, this was done through a hole, which the female patient looked through. I am glad I went to see that film. And am glad I saw your film, correspondent. Thank you for bringing Afghan women's plight into my lounge. To tell you the truth I am speechless with remorse. If evil is to be overcome then I hope that women will pay a bigger role in doing so. Perhaps you really have to be a woman to understand another woman's misery at the hands of men. Thank you for allowing me this chance to voice my opinion. I do not feel afraid this time, not with the backing of the BBC.
Mary Percival

Women of Afghanistan are still being abused. The RAWA women must be heard and have a say in how their country is run.
Colette Thorne

To the brave women of Afghanistan, to the women of Rawa, to Biby Ayish, Tahmeena, Dr Anwari, Widow Zeban and Eve Ensler, I salute you. The human spirit will remain intact, regardless.
Maysaloun Faraj American born Iraqi artist, living in the UK since 1982.

I watched your programme tonight and was moved by what I saw, but we must realise that we cannot just go into a country and try and change their way of life. Women in this country get beaten by husbands, brothers, boyfriends, and know one steps in to help or stop them. In Afghanistan this is the way of life. If you do wrong then you get punished. Beating a woman or man is wrong but we can never stop it. We know it goes on but you have to help yourself, I myself was beaten but got out of the relationship to save myself. If you put cameras in lots of homes you would see the same thing. But still it goes on. It helps that you show such programmes but afterwards its soon forgotten. Thank you for bringing it to viewer's attention.
Teresa Lamkin


Some of the millions of dollars that are now being poured into Afghanistan should be earmarked for the assistance of women

Ruth Barber
I was horrified to learn tonight that despite the so called liberation of Afghanistan women have still not been liberated. Some of the millions of dollars that are now being poured into Afghanistan should be earmarked for the assistance of women. Perhaps the reason that this has not been done is that the West is afraid of upsetting the Northern Alliance who it seems have the same attitude to women as their predecessors. The West must realise that unless the situation of women is challenged then we are seen to support the status quo. And another generation will grow up uneducated and ripe for exploitation by extremists.
Ruth Barber

I'd like to congratulate you on an absolutely brilliant programme tonight about women's plight in Afghanistan. I have been following Rawa's plight in Afghanistan from yourselves, from the programme 'Under the veil' previously. Well done for again (& I think this is necessary to be done rather than 'Jim Davidson' so called 'comedy' programmes) to educate all people in the UK about women's plight in Afghanistan.
Tim

I have just watched Silent Scream and feel horrified that the plight of women in this country is no further forward whoever is in charge. Please keep making programmes like this to raise the consciousness of free people throughout this country and hopefully the world in the hope that one day we might do something to help them.
Pamela Holbrook

May I congratulate you on the content of this evening's Correspondent. The plight of the Afghan women was impartially portrayed and provided much food for thought. The Doctor was both eloquent and outspoken in her views. Equally so the American lady provided an interesting perspective on the American 'malaise'. Let us have a follow up soon before 'we' forget RAWA and their like in Afghanistan.
Terry Dennett

As always Correspondent has produced a wonderfully fascinating program which offers a different opinion to the one we are spoon fed in the mainstream press. I only have one complaint - why is it that far too many of the intelligent people in this country seem to work for the BBC and far too few for the Foreign Office?
Richard - New Cross

I watched some of your programme on women in Afghanistan, I thought it was really helpful, why didn't you publicise this programme, I missed half because I didn't know it was on. I am currently writing a development communication campaign for the empowerment of women in Afghanistan, i really wished I'd seen more of the programme. I think you should re-show it, it covers some important issues and people in Britain should be aware of them.
Katie.

Having seen some of the above-mentioned programme, I would be interested to know which countries in the West are contributing to the amount of 2 billion to be invested in the rebuilding of Afghanistan which was destroyed by American and England in the post September 11, 2001 attacks.
Norma Cairns


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