Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) Fighting fundamentalists can be a dangerous business. This has been the case for women and children throughout the war-stricken, poverty-embraced country of Afghanistan for many years. The ultra fundamentalist Taliban regime control ninety percent of Afghanistan, and are recognized by neighboring countries as the sole legitimate representative of the Afghan people. Since coming to power in 1995, the Taliban have turned Afghanistan into a hell on earth. They have executed and tortured thousands of people in the name of ethnic cleansing, banned music, television, films, sports, dancing, kite flying; and burned thousands of books. Misinterpreting the Koran and using it for their own personal and political interests, they are proud of stoning men and women to death, cutting their limbs, closing the doors of all the schools, and eliminating TV and radio from the people all in the name of religion. Under the Taliban, women cannot work outside the home, leave the house without a male relative, or wear shoes that make noise. The windows of women’s homes must be painted black so they cannot be seen from the outside. They must wear the burqa, a hooded robe that conceals their heads and bodies, with only a piece of mesh over their eyes. Members of the Department for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice roam the streets and assault those who do not obey the rules. Non-compliant women are beaten and tortured, even for such minor infractions as inadvertently allowing an ankle to show from under a burqa. A woman who is raped can easily be convicted of adultery and executed. Because of the ban on female employment, war widows and other women must resort to begging and prostitution to feed themselves and their children. The Taliban are supported financially by cultivating, and smuggling opium and its products around the world. With the perpetuation of human right abuses against the people of Afghanistan by the Taliban, and other fundamentalist groups even before their regime, an organization of women called the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) was established in Kabul, Afghanistan.
The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) was organized to give voice to the deprived and silenced women of Afghanistan. RAWA is an independent political organization of Afghan women fighting for human rights and social justice. Two thousand women strong, RAWA has established home-based schools for girls and boys and literacy courses for women in Afghanistan. RAWA has underground mobile health teams and organizes income generating projects for Afghan women. The organization has no office because this could expose members to persecution, and death. RAWA receives death threats daily and is condemned as "an organization of prostitutes." Sehar, a young, soft spoken RAWA member, told the New York Times Magazine , "the Taliban would torture and kill me, stone me as a 'prostitute,'" if they caught her in Afghanistan. She adds that RAWA is operating its home-based schools and literacy courses in various provinces of Afghanistan, in such a way that it would be difficult for the Taliban to discover these programs. Even if they were discovered, RAWA has arranged for there to be no evidence of its involvement. Another member of RAWA by the name of Mehmooda said, "I am ready to devote myself for my nation and accept any danger as a member of RAWA." Conducting most of their activities underground, other RAWA members share her determination. RAWA is totally alone in its struggle against Islamic fundamentalism. With the utmost contempt for women, the Taliban are cleaning Afghanistan from the evil of the west and other infidels in order to establish the pure Islamic state in the world.
Working under the Taliban to liberate Afghani women and children is very challenging because so many live in total fear. The Taliban are the champions of illiteracy and the highest incarnations of ignorant arrogance. RAWA believes that despite their manifold impediments and meager resources, one of its duties is to carry the torch of literacy and knowledge among women in defiance of the Taliban and enlightenment-hating fundamentalists. In addition to the home based schools and literacy courses, RAWA teaches Afghani women about women rights, the need to fight the fundamentalists, the necessity of education and social participation, concepts of democracy and civic freedoms, and the ways to solve the Afghan problem establishing and maintaining women’s and human rights in Afghanistan. RAWA plans to expand and focus their activities as much as possible on education of women and children to establish free and modern schools. They want to set up many computer courses with Internet facilities for women and girls and trade courses for women, especially widows, so that they can earn their living as honorable members of society. Despite extreme limited resources, RAWA continues to provide free health services to women since the Taliban have prohibited women from seeking medical attention in areas where some form of health facilities do exist. RAWA has also established chicken farms, small carpet-weaving, embroidery and knitting workplaces, a bee fostering project, and handicraft and tailoring units. They also provide short-term loans to assist women who want to run their own projects like chicken farms, and handicraft or tailoring shops.
We the members of Global Community Communications Alliance take this time to honor all the women of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan for their courage and devotion in taking a stand against fundamental tyranny and human injustice, creating a light of liberation in the hearts and minds of the women and children of Afghanistan.