November 1, 2007

lesbians in afghanistan?

translated with babelfish
(the original is to find in the german magazin lespress:

In an interview in December 2001 answered Shahla Asad, woman employee of the woman Mrs. RAWA (the name stands for "Revolutionary Association OF Women in Afghanistan"), in scarce words the question about the situation of lesbians and gay in Afghanistan: "the rights of lesbians and gays are not existent. They are seen as prostitutes." Shahla explains that homosexuals are hated and at all no rights to have. If they became "discovered", them expected the death penalty under the Taliban. But would look in such a way in many Islamic countries. Women in Afghanistan could not express themselves. How are they to then take the liberty to feel their lesbian feelings? "Homosexualitaet is a taboo", terminates Shahla their explanations and adds that RAWA recognized that it needs time, until it is accepted by humans. "RAWA says that they are not a prostitute and that they have the fundamental human rights."

It is substantially simpler to arrive at information about the situation of gays in Afghanistan than at information about lesbians. Allegedly the male Pashtunen, is strongly homosexual oriented conservative Muslims. Even master princes are to have fought with one another for their lovers. "Ashnas" are called these (younger) loving. Their friends are often married and have children. "ashnas" (they are called also "halekon") gifts receive from their friends. After Tim Reid in the "Times" of 12 January 2002 these homosexuals practice as part of the culture Kandahars of the population one accepts. Often however the young people (between 15-16 years) died the connections, because the poverty forced them to it.

With this report on male Homosexualitaet in Afghanistan some questions remain open: Is male Homosexualitaet possible in Afghanistan only in the subordinate position? Is it sexual exploitation of persons under age? Is it Sexarbeit? These questions must remain unsettled here. In each case applied according to Tim Reid the city Kandahar the Taliban era ago as "capital of the gays of south Asia". Pairs of men are to have moved until 1994 openly in the roads. Afterwards the Taliban Mullah Omar, which took over the city, prepared an end. It let some gays execute.

The interim government announced the death penalty right after to its assumption of office in December 2001 against gays was abolished. The punishment consisted of the public execution of homosexuals by the umstuerzen of a wall on it. Most survived this punishment not. On the homepage the international lesbian and gay organization ILGA ( the names are called by five murdered gays. The age men executed of two is 18 and 22 years. Lou Chibbaro Jr. reports in the newspaper Washington Blade of the international Muslim group of gays "aluminium Fatiha", which observes among other things the improvement of the gay rights in Afghanistan. After information of this group there is no gay organization in Afghanistan. The group deplores that Burhanuddin Rabbani, which is responsible within the north alliance for many violations of human rights will play a far large role in Afghanistan. Rabbani is Islamic fundamentalist. He becomes possibly a boss of the new highest Court of Justice of Afghanistan.

Also the lady journalist Maura Reynolds reports in the Los Angeles Times of 4 April 2002 of the common Homosexualitaet the male population Kandahars, which covers 50% of the male population according to statements of a physician practicing there. Some men explain however, them there gladly a woman would marry, if the bride price were not so high. Therefore they would have to take Vorlieb with young men. It is however no indication of Homosexualitaet, if men embraced themselves, went or kissed hand in hand. Also Kajal around the eyes and henna on the fingernails is not necessarily an indication of Homosexualitaet. Nevertheless Kandahar and the conservative ethnical group of the Pashtunen are admit for male Homosexualitaet say Reynolds. Already in 16. Century described king Baber, founder of the Moguli dynasty, in its memoirs its infinite love for the son of a Bazarhaendlers.

Are there no lesbians in Afghanistan? Or why is it so difficult to experience from them to? Also with AfghanInnen in the German exile the topic is unknown. Is the question about lesbians in Afghanistan a wrong question? Or now is the wrong time to place it? Perhaps the invisibility of lesbians points itself with the unsuccessful search for lesbians to Afghanistan, from which they suffer also in western countries. But in Afghanistan concrete fear of death is added. Because gays for their sexualitaet and women for the smallest offenses were killed still few months ago by the Afghan state.

That is the reason for the fact that the woman Mrs. RAWA in Afghanistan in the underground works. And this hidden work maintains RAWA until today. Because even if women are not any longer executed after the fall of the Taliban, their situation is still dangerous. The north alliance, which is now in power, had terriblly prevailed before the Taliban from 1992 to 1996 in Afghanistan. Murder, rape, physical force, humiliating and plunderings belonged to their everyday business. Were the fundamentalists of the north alliance, which 1992 the veil introduced. The veil became from the Taliban then the complete body veil, which perfects "Burka". Today still very many Afghan Mrs. Burkas carry, since they distrust to the north alliance. RAWA women tried to clear the public up over this bad exchange.

Some women from Afghanistan travel now without Burka, but with other camouflage by western countries. They are spokeswomen of RAWA, carry wrong names and cannot not be filmed or photographed. Their journeys - the route is specified at short notice and is not located not in the InterNet - serves the spreading of information about its country and the situation of the women there. The wrong name serves the protection, because were already murdered some the 2,000 RAWA Aktivistinnen. Among other things the foundress Meena in Pakistan was killed. Their picture is on the professionally arranged homepage from RAWA to to see (

Shahla Asad is one the traveler RAWA spokeswomen (their name is thus also another). It is 27 years old, small and narrow. Their clothes are black, western and dezent. If it reports in lectures on the situation in Afghanistan, it shows few emotions. Clearly and scarcely it tells with an easily metallically sounding voice of the work RA which in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In Pakistan live about three million refugees from Afghanistan in camps the close border. Shahla has a child and lives, if she is not for RAWA on the way, in Pakistan and informs Afghan girls and boys in the refugee camps. "I would have made gladly teacher training, but more than the education could not make RAWA for me possible." Nevertheless Shahla informs the first two classes in RAWA schools.

Here a few background informations for the work of the woman Mrs. RAWA. So some mark was criticized the word "in a revolutionary manner" in the name by RAWA. Was guessed/advised to the women to omit this Woertchen then they were gotten rather financial support. But the 1977 developed organization keeps its name. The women know that it is actually not very radical, to demand women's rights. "however the existence of an independent woman organization in the man-controlled Afghanistan", so a RAWA Aktivistin, "is already revolutionary to and for itself." Basic idea of this organization is that women must have without reservation entrance to education, work, food and to political posts. Is important to the RAWA women to demonstrate democratic with one another. They come from all ethnical groups of Afghanistan.

"toolism has so many meanings", says Shahla Asad "it gives also Islamic tool NIST inside." RAWA distinguishes itself from these, because the organization pleads for saekulare policy. Nevertheless RAWA is toolistic. "we work politically separately from men," describe Shahla, because want to remain politically independent the organization and by men not dominate. "we strive for a better society. We want that women know that they have rights, because many do not know at all, what their rights are." Also young it would have to only learn that equal to girls are. "the recent generation did not learn in Afghanistan."

In Afghanistan prevails for 23 years war/civil war. The war of the USA against Afghanistan drove the Taliban out and terminated their misogynic rule. But the new ruling powers in Afghanistan are like already mention the men of the north alliance (and other fundamentalist "being lords so mentioned", master princes). They place the majority in the interim government under Minister Karzai. And they determine now the Loya Dschirga, the traditional master meeting, that is to select a democratic government for the first time after 23 years. Also RAWA had hoped for the influence of the former king Zahir Shah in the Loya Dschirga. It seems however that it does not have enough power against the being lords. With the democracy it is in Afghanistan not yet far ago, determined observer inside the Loya of Djirga process. A television report in the "world mirror" showed recently, how a woman was out-pushed in a quarter of Kabul despite her majority of votes toward buying of votes from the Loya Dschirga. Perhaps it had thereby luck in the misfortune, because at least eight of the 1,451 representative of the people inside the large meeting of the council were already murdered. 160 women participate in the large meeting of the council.

Gudrun Fischer

Note: I referred the presseinformationen of amnesty internationally

Interview with Shahla of RAWA by email

In an attempt, further information too gotten sent Gudrun Fischer Shahla Asad of RAWA to email. Here the questions and Shahlas are answers:
Is Homosexualitaet forbidden in Afghanistan? If, which expresses law and you can send the legal text to me?

Homosexualitaet is strictly forbidden. It is considered as somewhat unreligioeses and "immoral". The law concerned of the momentary fundamentalist government did not appear yet.

Do the people or the government make differences between lesbians and gays and if, who?

The difference between lesbians and gays depends on the law and we will see whether they differentiate between the two (lesbians and gays). But are so far humans concerned, seem them not much about Lesbianismus to worry. While and the Taliban rule, have we (RAWA) of no woman heard 1992-96, who was condemned because of Homosexualitaet. Perhaps they want to do in such a way, as if it would not give in Afghanistan, exactly the same as AIDS. Because there are lesbians and many cases of AIDS.

If a woman discovers her lesbian feelings, can she live it? Can it tell of it its family or different one? Can she find a friend, does give it to clubs or meeting places?

Exactly the same as a man, a woman with its lesbian feelings in a difficult and painful situation would be, what the religion, which concerns social and moral values. It can be that it never dares, about their feelings with their family to speak or at all with possibly someone. I think, would want to live no homosexuals without its PartnerIn, but it would be as simple as in the west and in many other countries. No, there was never a group or a club in Afghanistan.

If there are lesbians in RAWA, can they be open? Are there other open lesbians in Afghanistan? Does RAWA make politics for lesbians? What is RA which position to lesbians and gays?

Although RAWA would never take the liberty to intervene in the bedrooms of their members no lesbian may be open with RAWA. At least I do not know an open lesbian. But while the time of Zahir Shah (the former king, who governed until 1973, note G.F.) there was a minister, who admits as a lesbian was.

Were there famous lesbians (or women, who lived with women) or gays in Afghanistan from earlier times?

I do not know a famous lesbian, but we had many politicians and artists and different, who schwul were.

Are there to publications or literature over lesbians or gays in Afghanistan, which could recommend you to me?

I never saw such publications.

How is the situation in Pakistan?

Although also in Pakistan Homosexualitaet is forbidden, they have obviously better conditions as Afghanistan. Sometimes over it references in the press of Pakistan are to be found. Perhaps they have even their groups and clubs, about which I do not know however much.

P.S.: Unfortunately Shahla Asad did not answer to the demands by email yet. There she was asked for a contact to the former lesbian minister mentioned by it. Perhaps is a too dangerous question?

Gudrun Fischer

1 comment:

Marie Joy said...

Hi, I was wondering if you have found any further information on this topic? I am doing research for a screenplay and would appreciate your input. Thanks,