Fawzia Koofi & Shukria Barakzai
Editor’s note: On June 5, 2015, a group of nine Afghan women—including female lawmakers and members of the High Peace Council—who had traveled to Oslo, Norway last week concluded three days of talks with Taliban men about peace. The group included parliamentarians Fawzia Koofi and Shukria Barakzai, who both have survived assassination attempts for their activism.
On the eve of their meetings, AWWP writers at a workshop in Kabul discussed how the movement for women to become involved in defending their country and bringing peace in Afghanistan is growing. Here are some of their comments.
Afghan women have suffered so many difficulties during 30 years of war in Afghanistan, waiting at home as the bodies of their husbands and sons were brought back from fighting. Later, as power transitioned to the Karzai government, women began to appear in social activities, dared to study and become educated and stand up against injustice, advocate for inequalities, and defend their country. Now, women are ready to ask for peace in their country.
Why are women trying to bring peace? I believe it is because it appears that the government is unable to get peace or to do anything for the people. The security situation has become so bad now in Afghanistan that women are trying to bring peace so they can defend their homes, villages, cities, and their country. We must help them and take part in bringing peace in our country.
Afghan women have requested that the government give them guns to fight the enemy and defend their country. But women have kind hearts and it is not so easy for them to kill. Afghan women are brave, but I don’t think they should fight against the enemy. Now is the time for women to bring peace. Afghan women are tired of war and want to bring peace to their country.
In a man’s world, the word bravery is used to describe men, rarely women, but today everything is changing. The idea that women can bring peace by their bravery has not been considered yet in Afghanistan, but everyone has the ability to stand up and defend herself. Women can take weapons and defend their people and other women. Women can save their people. It is time for women to step forward against violence and all the unfair thinking about women, to be brave and protect our people.
It has become our responsibility to bring peace because the government can’t do anything for us. In the past, no one paid any attention to women. Men can’t bring peace, and that is why Afghanistan has not been able to develop. The women see that the government is not able to bring peace so they will defend their country themselves.
Now is the time for peace. Women can bring peace through their leadership. They want peace for their children, for their country, and for our future. We all have the right to have peace in our country.
By the Kabul Writers Group