FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
On the occasion of the 2nd anniversary of “Operation Enduring Freedom” and the US bombing of Afghanistan, The Afghan Women’s Mission is organizing a vigil in memory of Afghan civilian victims of the US campaign. The vigil is also intended to highlight that almost two years after the toppling of the Taliban, Afghanistan is as far from peace, democracy and stability as it was before September 11th, 2001.
The vigil will be held on Tuesday the 7th of October, at 6:30 pm at the Westwood Federal Building, 11,000 Wilshire Blvd, in West Los Angeles. Participants are encouraged to bring candles, signs, and any other expressions of solidarity.
According to AWM volunteer Heather Schreck who is spearheading the vigil, it is a “message of love and solidarity to the citizens and refugees of this war torn country. We want to have as many people as possible and to make a strong statement that day. Two years is long enough and the citizens of this country have paid too large of a price!”
The Afghan Women’s Mission is a non-profit US-based organization working in solidarity with the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA). RAWA supports the Tuesday vigil and confirmed that the US war has not improved conditions. According to RAWA:
“The US “war on terrorism” has caused so many miseries to our innocent people… It is painful to hear some Western leaders and media speak frequently about the “liberation” of Afghanistan. Our land is not free yet. The people of the world should know that though the disgusting, ludicrous and oppressive rule of Taliban was over in our ill-fated Afghanistan, but this never means the end of the horrible miseries of our tortured nation. Because contrary to the aspirations of our people and expectations of the world community, the Northern Alliance, these brethren-in-creed of the Taliban and Al-Qaida are again in power and generously supported by the US government. It has completely shattered the dream of our wounded people for liberation from the heavy chains of the Taliban tyranny, because the NA is nothing but a fragile coalition of a “batch of bandits” -according to the UN especial envoy- with a long list of crimes and brutalities. Afghan people will never forgive them for the crimes they committed along with the so-called older generation of the Alliance, i.e. Dostum, Khalili, Sayyaf, Rabbani, Gulbuddin etc. while in power from 1992 to 1996. Only in Kabul 50,000 where killed during these bloody years.
The war in Afghanistan has removed the Taliban, which so far does appear to be an improvement for women in certain limited parts of the country. In other areas, the incidence of rape and forced marriage is on the rise again, and most women continue to wear the burqa out of fear for their safety. The level of everyday violence in Afghanistan is something we would find it hard to imagine. “War on terrorism” has removed the Taliban, but it has not removed religious fundamentalism which is the main cause of all our miseries. It will require a very different approach indeed for those evils to be eliminated, which is RAWA’s point. And in fact, by reinstalling the warlords in power in Afghanistan, the US is ultimately replacing one fundamentalist regime with another.”
The Afghan Women’s Mission aims to empower Afghan women by improving the education and health facilities of Afghan refugees, many of whom are women and children.
More information about RAWA’s humanitarian work is available on their website, http://www.rawa.org.