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The women of Afghanistan need sisters, not saviors.


Thursday 30 September 2021, by siawi3


The women of Afghanistan need sisters, not saviors.

Posted on August 30, 2021

by Noorjahan Akbar

VIDEO here 4:03 - Speech at a protest on August 29, 2021 in Washington, D.C.

My name is Noorjahan. I am an activist from Afghanistan. My family was just able to escape on Tuesday after being tear gassed by American soldiers, after being trampled, after being harassed and harmed at the airport.

What I want to tell you today is this is not about saving Afghan women. This is about holding your government accountable. Afghan women never asked you to come bomb our country. Afghan women never asked you to come fight the Taliban. You started this war 20 years ago. You started this war in 1979 by arming Mujahideen to defeat the soviets.

Please do not come here from a place of saviorship. We do not need saviors. We need sisters. We need men in solidarity. I have lots of respect for the people who came today but as an Afghan woman who has fought for her own dignity, for her people, for the women of her country, hearing the slogan “save Afghan women” felt like a betrayal.

The women of my country are brave. They are resilient. They have been fighting Taliban for more than some of you have existed. We don’t need saving. We need you to hold your governments accountable. We need you to hold your decision-makers, your policy makers, accountable to stop never ending wars, to stop attacking our countries, to stop creating refugees.

I also want to say that I am very proud of the Afghan women who are here today. Many of us, we were worried about families’ lives, about our sisters getting raped, up until yesterday. Some of us still have family in Afghanistan. We are scared for them, but we are here to protest because we believe in the power of our voices. We are not victims. We don’t need saving. We need solidarity. I also want to add that people are saying that the Taliban are of the Afghan people (this is not true) and that our country is our responsibility. That is true. We are responsible for our country. But American wars are American responsibility. American bombs are American responsibility. American soldiers throwing Afghan women into the ditches near the airport are American responsibility. So please, if you come at me as an Afghan woman, come as a sister, come as someone in solidarity because the Taliban that plague us today, will plague you tomorrow. I promise. Terrorism is not specific to Afghanistan. It will never stay specific to Afghanistan.

Come to help us because you’re helping yourselves. Come to save us because you’re saving your selves. Not because you are saviors. Thank you.

And a message to my Afghan sisters and brothers who are here. I hope you’ll forgive me. I’ve yelled a lot.

“Flowers will bloom, a spring of freedom
I will sing, again and again freedom. “

This is not the end of us. We’ve been fighting for 5,000 years. We’ve been fighting since Rabia, we’ve been fighting since Gawharshad, we’ve been fighting since Shereen (the Hazara woman who stood to fascism). This is not the end. We will fight. We will never give up on our people, on our women. Thank you.

Noorjahan Akbar is the founder of Free Women Writers.