February 03, 2004

Fundamental Change?


This cartoon was created in December 2001 and is in our book Black & White World. Is it still relevant?

In a follow-up to this story, the BBC recently reported: Afghan press split over singers.

The Dari-language daily Etefaq-e Eslam describes the move [to continuing broadcasting singing women on TV] as a "violation of the constitution" and calls on [Afghanistan] President Hamed Karzai to intervene to uphold Islamic law. It protests not only against women singing on television but at the fact that those shown were not fully veiled.

"Given the fact that respect for Islamic laws is firmly demanded in every article of the constitution, how could Kabul television employees dare to do this, since it completely goes against Islamic principles?" the paper asks. [...] "Those who regard women as a means of satisfying their lust and voluptuousness and as a toy call their singing and dancing art. They call the corruption of women human rights." [...]

But weekly newspaper Tolu-e Afghanistan is delighted by the reappearance of female singers on television.

"Afghan TV has finally broken its dreary silence after a decade," it says, "and the beautiful sound and image of the famous Afghan entertainer, Salma, appeared on TV screens and reached our ears. ... The people of Kabul and the whole of Afghanistan wish to see Salma and all other much-loved artists from abroad appearing again on the stages of the capital and the provinces."

The paper says Afghanistan's reformers and conservatives have been squaring up for battle over the issue of women's rights and that the reformers, backed by the younger generation, are now growing more confident.

And in The Jerusalem Post yesterday, Barry Rubin commented on the issue of women's rights in the Arab world: Arab women and the vote.

In July 1999 the [Kuwaiti] elections saw the victory of more liberals than ever before, holding about 16 of the 50 seats. Supporters of women's suffrage confidently predicted parliament would endorse the ruler's plan. Islamist members, however, passionately opposed the idea, with wide popular support.

"Those women who are calling for political rights have reached menopause and need someone to remind them of God," said one. When the most popular version of the women's voting rights legislation came up for the vote, the elected members rejected it by a 32 to 15 margin.

Posted by Forkum at February 3, 2004 07:40 AM