I believe in sisterhood, which is called ‘Khorwali’ in Pashto

By Claudia Shute

In a country where women are often publicly referred to by the names of their male relatives, the campaign Where Is My Name? aims to help Afghan women reclaim their identities. Launched on social media by a group of young Afghan women, and supported by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s (RFE/RL) Afghan Service, the initiative that brings Afghan women’s rights to the forefront of media attention has gone global.
The campaign consists mainly of thousands of men and women who are making the seemingly small, but in reality, profound decision to share the names of their mothers, sisters, and wives on Twitter and Facebook using the #WhereIsMyName (#ناممـکجاست). RFE/RL’s Afghan Service, known locally as Radio Azadi, has supported the movement by sharing responses and information on social media in English, Pashto, and Dari.
Famous singers and actresses have also joined the campaign, including Farhad Darya, a musician who was named Radio Azadi’s Person of the Year in 2011.
Radio Azadi dedicated a call-in radio show to the campaign, during which male participants reversed a traditional practice, and introduced themselves as the son, father, or husband of a woman. These statements, Radio Azadi reporter Malali Bashir tells RFE/RL Pressroom, were remarkable for putting the woman’s name first.
Reporters for Radio Azadi’s Kabul bureau also went to the streets to see if ordinary people were prepared to share the names of their female relatives -- and many did.
The campaign relies on networks inside Afghan communities to spread the message that women’s rights matter. Says Bashir, “I believe in sisterhood, which is called ‘Khorwali’ in Pashto, but I also believe that men can be important allies in this fight for women’s rights.”
“It is simply about giving women an identity. Her name is the first thing that should come to mind if you accept a woman’s existence,” she says.
The impact of the movement is difficult to measure, but Bashir has received indications that its message is being heard. She has personally received photos of wedding invitations altered to include the bride’s name; the name of a bride who was killed on her wedding day recently appeared on the announcement of her funeral, Bashir says, which is uncommon.
International women’s rights groups have publicized the campaign to raise awareness about gender relations in Afghanistan and the wider region, and its co-founders have been invited to discuss it at a number of public events.
Says Bashir, “People are thinking, which is the first step.”
Not surprisingly, the campaign has also elicited a backlash, which some say is further testimony to its impact. In one incident, Tahmineh Rashiq, one of the campaign’s founders, was subject to online harassment and had her Facebook photos stolen and shared publicly.
Bashir notes that, due to societal pressure, formidable barriers to equality persist online, where many women use fake names to hide their identity, lest they be viewed as “loose women.”
“It is as if they wear a social media burqa -- you do not want to wear it, but you must to protect yourself against sexism and misogyny,” she says.
Bashir mentions the #MeToo (#زمانوم) movement, initiated by an uprising of women in America and Europe against sexual harassment, that is also emboldening Afghan women to speak out for their rights online and offline.
Asked how women’s rights measure up against Afghanistan’s other challenges, including daily atrocities related to poverty, extremism, and violence, says Bashir, “they are one of the first basic steps towards equality.”

This article first appeared on Lady Liberty of RFE/RL: https://pressroom.rferl.org/a/rferls-afghan-service-supports-women-by-name/28905079.html

The Afghan Diplomat Who Hit His Wife

The Afghan Diplomat Who Hit His Wife

This picture circulated in social media in Afghanistan

On July 23 a report said Mohammad Yama Aini, a counselor to the Afghan Mission in UN, beat his wife so severely that she ended up in hospital in Flushing New York. Report said Mr. Aini was not charged because of his diplomatic immunity.  

The news spread all over social media in Afghanistan and became a hot topic among Afghans on internet. While women rights activists condemned this act, many refrained from discussing the issue further because Mr. Aini was said to be linked with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Salahuddin Rabbani who is also a member of Jamiat-e-Islami party. Others chose to say that those who talk about this incident of domestic violence are actually doing it because of Mr. Aini’s political affiliations to Mr. Rabbani. Others tried to shove the issue under a rug by saying: this is their personal matter. 

Amid the conspiracy theories, some Afghans chose to slut-shame Mr. Aini’s wife, Mezhgan Aini. Some women said she spread ruswayi, which means revealing secrets of one’s family.  Others accused her of cheating or marrying Mr. Aini for his money and power because how come she married a person, they wrote, who “…..is not handsome, nor well educated neither well mannered.” 

Many others called this act of Mr. Aini a black spot on the name of Afghanistan. 

Hala On How to Make Earrings Using Beads

This is 8 years old Hala.

Hala shows you some of her bead work and how to make earrings with beads. You can check all her videos in her channel in below link:

Malali Bashir has been voted the most influential Twitter user in Afghanistan.

RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan reporter Malali Bashir has won in the Twitter Power User category at the Afghan Social Media Summit, which celebrates innovative social media use in Afghanistan.
Afghan social media users nominated Bashir, along with eight other candidates, for the award. After a round of public voting online, Bashir was among the four finalists who advanced to the final round, where a panel of judges will evaluate them based on their creativity, best practices in social media use, and impact in Afghanistan. Bashir was announced as the winner during a social media summit in Kabul October 20.
Bashir keeps her 17,300 Twitter followers informed on the Taliban’s takeover of Kunduz, corruption in the Afghan government, and other pressing issues in Afghanistan.
However, Bashir’s engagement with these issues goes beyond tweeting and retweeting. Bashir, who is from Zabul, Aghanistan, has covered a range of topics related to Afghanistan, often with a women’s rights perspective. Since she joined RFE/RL in April 2014, Bashir has interviewed activist Malala Yousafzai and Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani about their advocacy for women and girls.
Along with her work at RFE/RL, Bashir has written for BBCPashto, Foreign Policy, and The Daily Times, and she has edited Afghan magazines. She also runs the blog AfghanWatch. Prior to her journalistic work, Bashir was a Fulbright scholar at Brandeis University, where she earned her MBA in International Business.
--Sasha Peters
Article First published here.

Watch Award Announcement Video here