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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Quote du jour

Here there is no democracy, no security, no women's rights. When I speak in parliament they threaten me. In May they beat me by throwing bottles of water at me and they shouted, "Take her and rape her." These men who are in power, never have they apologised for their crimes that they committed in the wars, and now, with the support of the US, they continue with their crimes in a different way. That is why there is no fundamental change in the situation of women.
-- Malalai Joya, 28 years old, "the youngest and most famous of all the women in the Afghan parliament." From a Guardian article on the still-miserable state of affairs for Afghan women--an article Bush apparently, like pretty much everything else, hasn't read:
Every ally can take pride in the transformation that NATO is making possible for the people of Afghanistan. Because of our efforts, Afghanistan has gone from a totalitarian nightmare to a free nation, with an elected president, a democratic constitution, and brave soldiers and police fighting for their country.

Over 4.6 million Afghan refugees have come home. It's one of the largest return movements in history. The Afghan economy has tripled in size over the past five years. About two million girls are now in school, compared to zero under the Taliban -- and 85 women were elected or appointed to the Afghan National Assembly.
-- aWol, babbling yesterday at the NATO summit about Fantasy Afghanistan. I wonder how many of those returning refugees are returning from Iraq, or maybe New Orleans? My guess is that that number is a complete lie, unless by "have come home" he means "have died." The part about zero girls in school under the Taliban is directly contradicted by the Guardian article--the woman quoted above worked in secret underground schools in Herat during Taliban times. The article makes it pretty clear that in most of Afghanistan, secret underground schools are still about the only way for girls to be educated.

And I'm guessing that most of the tripling in size of the Afghan economy has come from the resurgence of opium production.