Zarin Hamid

Zarin Hamid (Afghan Women’s Network – AWN): Zarin was born in Kabul, Afghanistan. Her family then moved to New Delhi, with many other Afghan refugees, before moving to New Jersey. Zarin earned a degree in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies at Douglass College, Rutgers University, where she worked as a program assistant at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. Zarin also worked with the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC), helped in community voter registration, and volunteered at soup kitchens in New Brunswick, NJ and Asbury Park, NJ. Prior to taking up her AP fellowship, Zarin completed her Master's degree at the School of International Service, American University.

When lives and rights of people are involved…

21 Jul

Recently, I mentioned taking part in a working group made up of civil society groups and representatives of government and judiciary regarding gender, peace, and security. An interesting point made at this discussion was the porous labels many place on the situation in Afghanistan. Some people choose to discuss or view Afghanistan in a post-conflict scenario, as if because the Taliban and their Pakistani and Arab supporters were ousted from Kabul, it means the avenue for reconstruction and peace is open for business. They wonder why it’s taking so long for Afghans to come around, for the country to get its act together, and why Taliban elements are still on the loose. In reality, the war that began in the countryside and the resistance in the cities in 1979 has continued in turns and twists into the present. The presence and meddling of neighboring states and the West has continued and this has only helped to support and exacerbate the corrupt elements within the country. It seems everyone knows what is good for Afghanistan except Afghans, apparently. And what’s good for Afghanistan is apparently what is in the interest of Iran, Pakistan, China, and the Western states, but of course, this is a basic fact in the region and we must all know this. Today, people in the city of Kabul live out of harm’s way relative to the south and east of the country. Close to Kabul Province, in neighboring provinces, Taliban hold a presence that leaves no doubt that Afghanistan is a country in conflict, and compromise with not just the Taliban but with those who support them, will leave large swaths of the Afghan population dissatisfied and denied their due justice. When lives and rights of people are involved, compromise is not always the best thing. The biggest body politic to lose in the wake of severe compromises is the Afghan woman. Women today are not only afraid of the current insecurity and perpetual impunity that serves for governance and justice here, but what may become of their lives and their rights if government negotiations take a turn that sacrifices the women for peace. The Afghan government and many decision makers of countries whose fingers are dabbed in red seem too easily swept into trading what they feel is least important to both peace and stability of Afghanistan and of the region. One of the most controversial outcomes of the the London Conference in January 2010, was the suggestion of a peace conference. Women voiced this concern long before plans for reconciliation, and have more urgently been lobbying against compromises on women’s rights and gains. AWN is among the leading organizations lobbying against drastic changes against women’s rights. There are plans for a conference in the upcoming weeks which will hopefully give attention to the lack of inclusion of women in the peace process and to the threat women face by negotiations.

Posted By Zarin Hamid

Posted Jul 21st, 2010

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