As the Taliban unleashed its terror campaign in Afghanistan, hanging four men in the city of Herat’s public square on September 25, thousands of people took action in solidarity with Afghan women in an international action led by the Revolutionary Women of Afghanistan Association (RAWA), V-Day and a Billion Women Rising.
Green Left joined with the Australian Kurdish Women’s Movement, Socialist Alliance branches in Sydney and Newcastle, and Hunter Asylum Seeker Advocacy in a zoom speak-out with Afghan, Kurdish, Chilean, Sudanese and LGBTIQ+ activists. They were responding to RAWA’s call for “justice-loving, progressive and like-minded friends” to raise their voices “for Afghanistan and its suppressed women” standing up against “imperialism, militarism, fundamentalism and fascism”.
RAWA has called on governments to refuse to recognise the Taliban government, “which has no legitimacy beyond the brutal force it commands”, and has demanded an end to governments funding, arming and providing technical assistance to the Taliban. It also wants world leaders to support women’s resistance in Afghanistan, which includes respecting and supporting people exercising their democratic and human rights, including their right to self-determination.
RAWA said governments need to evacuate and ensure safe passage for women and men, human rights defenders, journalists, police officers, public employees, athletes and LGBTI+ people who wish to leave the country.
Sudaba Kabiri and Razia Barakzai sent video greetings from Afghanistan to the Sydney event. Saajeda Samaa, an Afghan Australian and coordinator of the newly formed Diaspora Advocacy Network of Afghanistan, spoke at the event, as did Gule Rose, a co-chair of the NSW Democratic Kurdish Society.
Greetings also came from Maysoon Elnigoumi, a blogger and activist in the Sudanese community, Zeynep Korkmaz from the Australian Kurdish Women's Association's youth wing, Vivienne Porzsolt from Jews Against the Occupation, Paulina Pacheco, a Chilean journalist based in Sydney, and Mark Gillespie, a LGBTI+ activist and 78er.
Participants agreed with the Refugee Council of Australia's call on the federal government to offer resettlement places to at least 20,000 Afghan refugees and extend permanent protection to 4300 Afghans living here on temporary protection visas.
They also agreed with RAWA’s message: “None of us are free until the women of Afghanistan are free.”
[Green Left’s recording of the event can be found here.]