“On a day when it was very cold and windy, the wind brought the news of a child who was not yet in the world. Soon it would be time for the child to be born, entering into a world of expectations. Until then, maybe this child did not know where it was going, or why, or what people would expect from the child,”
Seeta, that’s how she is called, has experienced gender discrimination from her father’s family since her birth. By writing her story, she shares the pain she has been enduring during her whole life. Founded by journalist and author Masha Hamilton, The Afghan Women’s Writing Project is a platform where Afghan women can share their emotions and experiences.
Started up in Ms Hamilton’s kitchen, the project was firstly created in memory of Zarmeena, a young mother brutally executed in Afghanistan in November 1999. Zarmeena, who was accused by the Taliban Regime of having cruelly murdered her husband with a hammer while he was asleep, had been executed with a Kalashnikov in the Kabul’s football stadium.
“On a Kabul football field marked with white chalk as though ready for sport, a woman in a burqa kneels, her shadow yawning long before her. A man approaches almost casually, his Kalashnikov pointed skyward. She half-turns toward him, her left arm raised slightly, then seems to glimpse the weapon out of her peripheral vision and turns away. He lowers the muzzle to her head. The rifle kicks as he fires once, then twice more. She surrenders to the ground, a discarded blue handkerchief.”
This is how Ms Hamilton, who had watched the video of the execution online, described Zarmeena’s last moments on the AWW Project website. Established in her memory, the project helps Afghan women to produce blog posts while being mentored by a prepared team of novelists, journalists and university professors.
Named as the worst place for being women by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Afghanistan is not famous for its women friendly policies; according to WomenforWomen.org, almost 87.2% of Afghan women experience physical, sexual, psychological violence or forced marriage at least once in their lifetime.
Moreover, Afghan women are subjected to continuous restrictions on a daily basis; from being banned from attending any school or courses to riding in a taxi without a male relative. It is also a little surprise that the presence of the Taliban regime in various Afghan areas has worsened the living conditions for women even more.
The Afghan Women’s Writing Project helps Afghan women to help themselves, face their problems, learn new writing skills, improve their resumes and enhance their chances of finding better jobs.
The project empowers women by proving a platform intended to help and understand their challenging lives. The project celebrates women, women like Seeta, who bringing her tale to a close, says:
“Today I am happy that I was born a daughter, not a son. Some of my friends say to me, “Seeta, you are a man, not a woman. But I say, “I prefer to be called a woman.””