Monday, September 25, 2006

Safia Ama Jan, RIP

Safia Ama Jan was the southern provincial head of the Afghanistan's Ministry of Women's Affairs. Was, because she is now lying in a morgue somewhere. She was assassinated outside her home in Kandahar, in apparent retribution for her work in educating women. Taliban has claimed credit (!) for turning her into a corpse.

Even cut short, Safia Ama Jan's work was impressive:

One of Ama Jan's most successful projects was running vocational schools for women, said her secretary, Abdullah Khan. ''She was always trying her best to improve education for women,'' Khan said.

In Kandahar alone, Ama Jan had opened six schools where almost 1,000 women learned how to bake and sell their goods at market. She had also opened tailoring schools for women, and clothes made there found their way to Western markets, Khan said.

During the Taliban's rule, Ama Jan, a former teacher, ran an underground school for girls out of her home, said Mohammed Asif, her nephew.

Horrendous crimes, it seems, in the eyes of the Taliban. Why? Partly because anyone working for the Karzai government is seen to be a lackey of the West. But the Taliban has for long believed that women should not be educated.

I'm trying to imagine how a loving father could look at his daughter and prefer her ignorant. Or how a loving brother could look at at his sister and decide that she shouldn't learn anything but housekeeping. I fail, but this is a failing I'm accustomed to. As I mentioned in the comments of an earlier post, it is very hard for me to understand that there are people who see other people just as instruments, as tools for their own well-being. These instruments don't get tribal rights, can't belong to the tribe of human beings that matter. These instruments must remain usable as instruments, and too often it is women who are treated this way.

And it hurts. It does, even when I know why it is done. Or especially then.