One year after the Taliban takeover, the Second President of the National Council, Doris Bures, Vienna Institute for International Dialogue and Cooperation (VIDC), and Women without Borders (WwB), hosted the event ‘Afghanistan’s Strong Women: One year of resistance against Taliban rule’ on 3 October 2022 in the Austrian Parliament.
Moderated by WwB’s Dr Edit Schlaffer and VIDC’s Michael Fanizadeh, the event, which was also live streamed and can be found here, featured voices from the ground in Afghanistan and from those who are currently in exile.
Women without Borders is pleased to share with you excerpts from these remarkable women’s stories and calls to action that were shared.
“What brings us all here to the Austrian Parliament today? It’s the call to action of women from Afghanistan who have become the targets of daily terror determining their everyday life. They are political prisoners of a system that accuses them of one thing only–that they are women … [Their struggle] encapsulates everything worth fighting for: the right to life, happiness, and freedom. We stand with the women of Afghanistan, because their fight must also be our fight.”
– Laura Kropiunigg | Executive Director, Women without Borders
Watch the full event here.
Video Statements | The Cost of Protest
Young Women Mobilise for a Future without Violence
Tooba Lutfi | Civil Society Activist
Anonymous Contribution | PhD student in Sociology & Civil Society Activist
I am [ … ] a PhD student in Sociology. I was born into a progressive and intellectual family in [ … ]. Fortunately, my father has always been a great supporter of his children’s education –– especially his daughters’. After the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, many women took to the streets to fight for their fundamental rights and against the new obstacles and restrictions. Their struggle began on the streets. I opted for a softer protest strategy: I started a book club [with my university colleagues]. During our book club sessions in [ … ], women get together to read literature from East to West and women-led research and publications. We then discuss and analyse the texts. We use this method to strengthen and emancipate our minds. Why did we choose this method? Because the Taliban can oppress a woman, but they will never control her mind. Books can emancipate women and free their minds. We know that Taliban is an ideology. This ideology is male-centric in theory and practice. It does not view women as equal to men. It does not trust women. It does not believe women. It views women as slaves and objects. This ideology sees women as instruments of reproduction and sexuality –– to bear children, especially male heirs. This ideology is rooted in a long [patriarchal] history and the misinterpretation of religion. This ominous ideological spell must be broken. But it cannot be broken unless women wake up, understand the value of freedom, step forward, and take risks. We have accepted this risk. And as a first step, we want to build women’s awareness –– so that women do not accept a life of slavery and submission. We will arm women with knowledge and mental power so no other force can oppress them. Our message to the world, especially to the women: in a situation where nearly 16 million women in one corner of the world are held captive, other women have done little more than raise their voices. This is a betrayal of your gender. This betrayal cannot be erased from the pages of history and our collective memory. Rest assured, the world will judge you –– the free women who lived in freedom and left the captive women in captivity.