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Wednesday’s Wise Woman … Meena Keshwar Kamal

March 13, 2013

Meena Keshwar Kamal (1956-1987) in 1977 while  student at Kabal University, Meena founded the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan. (RAWA) It was formed to promote the equality and education of women and girls and give a voice to the deprived and silenced women of Afghanistan.  Women and girls had no human rights. They were discouraged from going to school and to find employment. All homes where females lived had the the windows blackened. While outside women were expected to be completely covered by a burqa with only a small opening to see through and to breath.  If she became unwell she could not see a male doctor and therefore go without medical care and medicine.  Already her basic human rights are being refused.
Afghani women could not wear fashionable shoes or brightly coloured nail varnish. They were not able to perform or listen to music, watch the television, go to the cinema or even laugh.  Any violations of these so called laws were harshly punished.  The situation got worse when the Taliban took power and any ‘action’ of women was cruelly and quickly ‘outlawed’.
Even though the Taliban is no longer in power the present government has done little to protect women and girls. Girls have been able to return to school but their schools have been systematically burned down by marauding Taliban.
Back in the 1970s although the women were not so badly treated they still did not have equal opportunities to men.  The RAWA went some way to address this; by helping women in Afghanistan and Pakistan; the organisation provided a good education for girls and women.
Meena was in no doubt that her life and those she helped were at risk of their life.
Meena was assassinated in 1987, it is told by the Afghan Intelligence Service (KHAD) However even after her death the work of the RAWA continues in secret.
In Afghanistan there are many secret schools and orphanages in the homes of the RAWA members; teachers, doctors and nurses put their lives at risk working for the betterment of Afghan women and girls.  

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