Last night I spoke briefly on Pacifica’s KPFA about the TIME Magazine article (see links below) and the using of Afghan women to sell the war. Here is the clip, my few seconds of fame starts after the 24 minute mark. And yes, they got my name wrong. The entire interview from which this was taken will hopefully air at a later time.
Click to listen (or download)
One of the things that I mentioned in the longer version of this was that Afghanistan is the only country in the world where the suicide rate for women is higher than for men. Shortly after we taped the interview, I came across this horrifying story on the RAWA site:
The advisor of the president of Afghanistan in health matters estimates that each year 2300 Afghan women and girls, aged between 15 to 40 years who suffer from depression, commit suicide.
Mr. Kakkar said that on the basis of the above information the rate of suicide among women is 5 out of every 100,000. Mr. Kakkar said that the continuation of civil wars and violence in Afghanistan, immigration, early and forced marriages, rape, domestic violence and widespread poverty in families are viewed as the main reasons for mental illnesses and depression in Afghanistan.
This isn’t from 2001 before we went in to rescue Afghan women while coincidentally squashing terrorism, killing Bin Laden and routing the Taliban. This is now. So NYT, McClatchy and TIME sob pieces not withstanding, forgive me for not understanding just why our continued presence in Afghanistan is beneficial to women.
Anna Clover has additional excellent commentary about the TIME piece here,
Through presenting the image of a young women who has been brutalised and maimed, the magazine is inducing within the viewer not only compassion for its subject, but confirming the understanding that she is ‘other’. That America is all this image is not…Coupled with the near unbelievable heading that ‘This is what happens when we leave Afghanistan’, Time has successfully managed to project an imperialist view over the event occurring in Afghanistan, and through deliberately using such an upsetting image, leaves the reader feeling emotionally swayed towards the message of the piece. Which is essentially, the barbaric people of Afghan need us to be there so they will stop chopping up their women. Never mind that this has absolutely nothing to do with the original reason for invading Afghan. Never mind that this event actually occurred whilst American and British troops were supposedly helping the Afghan people. And nevermind as well, that in supposedly civilised countries such as Britain, The Donkey Sanctuary receives more funding than all Domestic Violence safe houses put together. Like so many cases before, the image of the woman has been conjured up as a means through which a war propaganda machine can keep on churning.