Afghan Woman Defies Threats to Run For Re-Election
Aug 16, 2009 00:16
Despite receiving threats week after week and facing discrimination, Zaiba Habib Durrani is still campaigning to gain re-election to one of the five seats reserved for women on the provincial council of eastern Afghanistan's Nangarhar province.
Durrani said a caller even vows to kill her or disfigure her face with acid. Insurgents had followed her husband and her on a 200-mile round-trip drive to Kabul from Jalalabad. One of the insurgents later called her and recounted the couple's every move.
But these threats haven't stopped Durrani from campaigninig for re-election on August 20th. The election will choose Afghanistan's next president and hopefully, help set the course of the war with the Taliban and al-Qauda, which U.S allies are struggling to win.
Durrani and the other female candidates are also fighting aginst the ultra-conservative interpretations of the Islamic law and traditional customs that force most Afghan women into condemnation - living lives of abuse, ill health, illiteracy and like slaves.
"We don't like that our sisters and mothers stand for election," said Najubullah Qureshi, an 18-year-old English teacher, proving how discriminatory the mindsets of the people are. "They should stay at home. Education for women? Yes, but only until the 12th grade. If our sisters graduate from 12th grade, they are more eligible for marriage."
But thankfully, Durrani has some support from her male peers. Haji Jan Mohammad, the octogenarian headman said: "We spent 27 years in Pakistan as refugees and we saw how women and men can work together. We want her to succeed."
"I travel from village to village and explain my aims," Durrani told her audience. "The right to rebuild this country doesn't belong exclusively to men."
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