Oct 22, 2001
Within days of the September 11 attacks, Bush began to talk about the fate of women in Afghanistan, making a big show of indignation.
It’s true that the situation of women in Afghanistan is horrible. Their condition has long been shown by the images of bodies completely covered in a kind of shroud out of which they could only see through a wire net. Girls cannot be educated, women cannot work and they are not even allowed to be treated in a hospital. They are shut up in their homes, not allowed to go out without being accompanied by a man. They can be killed for even the hint of acting “incorrectly” toward any man not their husband or their father.
But none of this began on September 11. This scandalous oppression of women, which was carried out by other fundamentalists even before the Taliban existed, did not disgust the American leaders when it was a question of using the Taliban to reinforce the U.S. position in this area of the world – an oil-rich area that U.S. corporations have long coveted.
In fact, the U.S. government provided millions of dollars worth of arms to the Islamic guerillas, including the Taliban. And not a word was said then about the disgusting condition of women in Afghanistan.
The condition of women in this area of the world is, has been and will continue to be horrible until all the reactionary regimes which today oppress them are overthrown by real mass movements of the poor and laboring population, including obviously, of the women.
But to free themselves from these regimes, the population will have to take on the big imperialisms – including the U.S. – which support these regimes.
Anyone who wants to see the condition of women improve in this part of the world also wants to see these popular movements develop – just as it’s true that anyone who wants to see the condition of women improve also wants to see a movement in this country to get rid of governments which pass anti-women legislation and carry out policies against women.
Bush may make a point of bragging about policies harmful to women – but these policies existed long before he came to office.