This weekend in the newspaper, I read stories of two women. Two brave women that live in Afghanistan.
Their names are Fatima Rahmati and Hawa Alam Nuristani.
Fatima wanted to help widows and other vulnerable women in remote villages. Last year, using money provided by a Canadian organization, she delivered chickens and goats to women in these villages in Kandahar province in order to help them sustain themselves and their families. Sadly, being an agent for change and empowerment for women, she began to receive death threats from men who are threatened by change. To top things off, by the end of last year, the program was axed as the Canadian government cut back on aid money in Afghanistan.
Hawa has been involved politically and as an activist. She has defied the rules of educating females in her country by teaching girls out of her home. Her husband died as a political prisoner. She has been targeted four times by the Taliban, and even carries a bullet in her leg from one of the attacks. And yet she continues on. She believes in forgiving her enemies, the Taliban, to help the people of Afghanistan. In her words, “Personally, I have suffered too much”.
I read their stories of pain and suffering and death threats as I sipped my organic, Fair Trade coffee while planning my morning.
And as I sat and drank my organic, Fair trade coffee, thinking about my agenda for the morning, I could scarce imagine the sort of life that Hawa and her children must live wherein she finds it hard to imagine “making it home alive each night after a day in the office”. Or the life of Fatima, whose efforts have been stymied by lack of funding, as well as by danger. These stories roused me momentarily from my comfort zone.
I feel angry at the injustice in the world. I feel angry that as I live my suburban, self-absorbed, minivan-driving, sheltered, North American existence, other women in the world are not even free to go about daily business outside of their homes. They do not have the right to education, simply because they are female. And if they are brave enough to stand up against injustice and voice their opinions, and try to help other women in their embattled and war-torn country, they receive death threats. I feel angry at my own complacency in the face of such oppression and injustice.
I feel angry about the women of Afghanistan -
the brave ones, the silent ones, the beaten ones, the hopeless ones, the hurting ones, the imprisoned ones, the oppressed ones.
I can’t help think that God’s heart breaks as He looks down on that country, at so much pain. Those women are God’s daughters, just as I am. Yes, we come from different countries, different faith traditions, different cultures, but we are similar. God created them. God loves them. And they suffer so much.
How can I help them in some way before my own personal agenda once again takes front row center in my safe, self-indulgent, coffee-fueled, North American existence? We who believe we deserve that skinny mocha latte from Starbucks and don’t even blink an eye at buying certain indulgences. What would happen if we each gave up the cost of a cup of coffee per day for these women?
I have included these links, but have not researched the organizations mentioned…
I wish to add another link to a blog that I enjoy. Ann V has such a poetic way of asking the hard questions. In this post, it relates to mine in terms of asking the questions of injustice in the world.