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Veiled Courage Inside the Afghan Women's Resistance
By Cheryl Benard
A woman - or rather, a rumpled bundle of cloth, but we've all seen enough footage of Afghanistan by now to realise that it's a woman - is dumped off the back of a truck and shoved forward...A Taliban soldier steps up and puts the barrel of his gun against her head. She twists to look up at him, then huddles down. At point blank range he shoots her in the head. She collapses. A woman strolls over to the corpse and fusses with the Burqa - better to see the dead woman's blood and brains on the turf than her bare ankles...The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)- a brave grass roots underground organisation - is one bright spot in a dark and desperate situation. Cheryl Benard is not a writer who has "discovered" RAWA, or someone searching for something more to say about Afghanistan. Rather, she has been part of the resistance efforts for more than a decade. Her husband, Zalmay Khalilzad, is himself an Afghan refugee which originally led Cheryl to become involved. Today, Zal is a special advisor to President George W. Bush and is a member of the National Security Council under Condeleeza Rice and is based in the White House. The intimate knowledge Cheryl has of RAWA is simply unparalleled. Originally a salon for Kabul's middle class lady intellectuals, the organisation now has several thousand official members in its struggle against the complete subordination of women in Afghanistan. Veiled Courage describes the inside operations of this extraordinary movement - how ordinary women function in such an extreme environment and how they deal with danger and fear. As the first post-modern resistance group, RAWA uses the same archaic instruments (the veil) and high tech support (the internet, digital video cameras) as its enemies, the Taliban and Al-Qaada.
Paperback, 2002 , 293pages, good condition, crease in cover
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