Today, 8/16/2021, Taliban has taken over Kabul and has become in power in Afghanistan (again). They say this time things will be different yet we are already seeing photos and videos of masses of people fleeding, or hoping to fleed, Afghanistan scared for their own lives and those of the people they love. We have seen dead bodies, wounded bodies, including those of young people and children. Women and girls have already shared their fears and what they have to renounce to such as jobs, education and human rights.
I live in Tuscany, Italy, and we're right in the middle of summer right now. I spend a couple of hours every afternoon at the beach. I go there alone, and I enjoy spending time with myself. This means I take the bus alone, I walk alone from the last bus stop to the beach, if I meet somone I know they stop and say "hi" or ask me how I am doing and we end up chatting regardless of the fact that they are men or women. I usually wear trousers, a t-shirt and nothing to cover my head. I reach the beach. I wear a bikini. I swim in the sea. I talk with the people around me. I eat something and read a book. I listen to the music I like. I usually take the bikini top off when it's wet and just wear a t-shirt. I go back to the bus stop. I talk with another woman who waits the bus with me. I travel on the bus. I reach home. I spend much time alone at home when my family members are at work.
If I were an Afghan woman today I couldn't do most of these things. Some men called Taliban would ask me, sorry, force me, to cover my whole body and head up with a burqua. I work as a writer, copywriter and ghost writer and mostly use my passion for writing to speak my own truth and to support social causes. If I were an Afghan woman today, I probably would be seriously afraid of having to give my job up and I love my job, I've worked hard to get here, yet I feel it's not as much as any woman in Afghanistan must have worked hard to get to her job or school place.
Afghan women had to fight hard to get their basic human rights, something - we should remember - women and girls shouldn't be granted, because it's something that belongs to them, as well as to any boy or man, at the moment of birth. Yet we all know in some countries around the world women must fight really hard to get rights we often take for granted.
We all are following what is happening in Afghanistan, and I sometimes find myself stepping out of the bigger picture and wondering what I'd do and feel if I were an Afghan woman.
Women and girls were banned from various things from 1996 to 2001:
Banned from studying
Banned from working
Banned from leaving house without male chaperone
Banned from showing any skin in public
Banned from healthcare
Banned from politics
Banned from speaking out to an audience.
I ask any woman, or even better, any human being, currently reading this to try to picture their daily life adjusting to those conditions. It wouldn't simply be possible to go on with our daily lives. We'd end up sacrificing something, even because punishment for not obeying to any of these laws was immediate and could have been carried out by any Taliban, usually in the street were a crowd, often an all-men crowd, could see the punishment. A girl who tried to study or whose skin was exposed, even just a little bit, could have been flogged but other atrocities were rapes, forced marriage and abduction.
Lately, we all have heard about the request from Taliban leaders to have lists of girls over the age of 15 and widows under the age of 45, for "marriage" with Taliban. I'm 36 years old. If I were an Afghan woman today, my name would be on one of those lists.
Taliban also seem to be determined to ban girls over the age of 12 from getting an education. We're talking about entire generations of girls and women which will never have the tools to get a jobs and to defend their own selves. Women may also end up being banned from empolyment and it seems Taliban are also determined to reinstate the law who allowed women to get out only if chaperoned by an adult male.
It all may seem distant sometimes, like something terrible who is happening to people far away from where we live, something we sadly are getting used to due to the high number of wars and humanitarian crises as well as human rights violations all across the world, but I think trying to pur ourselves into the shoes of others and imagining our daily lives as well as our dreams, hopes and goals for the future as if we were living in Afghanistan in this very moment, could help us understand this is not only about wars and bombs. Taliban taking over Afghanistan again is already having an impact on the daily lives of many people, most of them forced to flee their region or even their country, or desperately wishing to do so.
Imagine how your daily life, your future, would be affected if you were an Afghan woman today.
Images are taken from Google. Rights belong to their owners.
On Thursday July 15th, Italy has approved the renewal of funding toward Libya's coast guard. Italy is my home country. I am so proud of being Italian on many occasions, but when something like this happen, how could I - and many others like me - be proud?
It's not like decisions maker don't know what happens to people who flee from their countries. We all know that. We all have seen photos and videos. Journalists and media have talked about what happens in those detention camps. This decision has been made despite the fact that we all know. Decision makers have decided to stand with Libya's coast guard despite the fact that this means violating human rights on a daily basis.
The majority of the Chamber of Deputies approved renewed funding for a training program for Libya's coast guard as well as other Italian military missions abroad. Amnesty International has released a report which describes abuses perpetreted against refugees and migrants in Libya's detention camps. Let's not even talk about the fact that today, in 2021, there still are such detention camps. What's really outrageous is, again, how much we know and how little we do. Many people have taken to the streets to show their dissent yet many Italian coalition governments have supported the Libyan coast guard hoping to stop the arrival of people from North Africa on Italian coasts.
Thousands of migrants arrived in Italy in the past years and many of them haven't been found eligible for asylum by Italian authorities. Italy has tried to ask other European countries to help them hosting some of the migrants and refugees arriving on its shores, but those country have been unresponsive. Still, many people died in the Mediterranean sea and the no-profit rescue boat Sea Watch has recently reported about gun shots fired at a migrant boat by Libya's coast guard. The goal was to prevent those people from reaching Italian shores. The boats Libya's coast guard was using were donated by the Italian government to Libyan authorities, along with other tools, with the goal detain migrants from getting to Europe.
People, especially policy makers and politicians, seem to forget why these people flee. They flee because they are forced to leave their countries due to war and/or persecution. Most of them know the journeys on those boats can be dangerous or even fatal, yet they have no other choice than jumping on board and hope for the best. No parent would bring their child on those boats unless life on dry land was so dangerous. These aren't people who have decided to come to our countries and steal our jobs. They actually have no choice but to try to leave their countries and start a new life somewhere else. They wouldn't want to; they love their countries. They want to go back to their countries, but it's often impossible.
Again, Italian governement has showed us how humanity is failing. How can these politicians sleep at night? How can they play with their children and grandchildren? Do they think their kids are worth more than those on the migran boats? Do they think their own lives are worth more than those of those desperate people confined in Libya's detention camps? Amnesty International talks about more than 7.000 people that, in the first six months of 2021 alone, have been forcibly returned to Lybian camps. This means being forced back to torture, forced labor, inhuman detention conditions, cruelty, ill-treatment and extortion.
I think the main problem often is those who make decisions, those who'd have the power of actually changing things for the better and support and help refugees and migrants, don't actually see them as equals. They don't see them as mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children, workers, students, dreamers.... they don't see them as people who, like all of us, had lives and still have dreams, hopes and a lot of resilience and courage. There is no other way to explain all this. If policitians would actually see refugees and migrants as equals, they'd do anything in their power to help them. They wouldn't choose to turn their backs on them and they wouldn't still be able to sleep at night. They can't even hide behind the "I don't know what happens there" excuse because they know. We all know. Everyone who simply dismiss the information or says "It's not my problem", to me, is as guilty as they are.
Until there won't be a global understanding of each other and a willingness - including a political willingness - to actually change things to create a better world for everyone, and not for a handful of people at the expenses of many others, preventable and avoidable tragedies such as this one will still happen.
Notes: this is my personal opinion and doesn't reflect the ones of any NGO and/or individual mentioned in the blog post. Photos are taken from Google and their rights remain to their owners.
Welcome to my blog! Here I talk about social issues close to my heart, my opinions, ideas, books or movies I've particularly liked, ideas and interesting facts about my writings, places I've seen, people I've met, experinences I've had and I also have conversation with inspiring people. It basically is a little slice of my world.