The CIA plans to use women to market the war.
“Afghan women could serve as ideal messengers in humanizing” the mission for Europe, according to the CIA analysis, posted on WikiLeaks, a whistleblower website. Afghan women could express “their aspirations for the future, and their fears of a Taliban victory”.
Isn’t there a difference between humanising and being humane? True, many of these women have suffered, but how will a war solve their problems, their social status, their gender roles, their subjugation? Who will help them realise their dreams once the war is over and there are many left dead, including their fathers, their husbands, their sons? What if they want a future that includes family?
The analysis, dated March 11, says “outreach initiatives that create media opportunities for Afghan women to share their stories with French, German, and other European women could help to overcome pervasive scepticism among women in Western Europe”.
This is too conniving. You get women under Taliban rule (from where will they get real women or will they be westernised spokespersons?) to talk to women in the west and convince them that a war is essential. This is blackmail that is planned by one set of patriarchy to subvert another. Both kinds of women are being used.
Even if the Taliban loses, we already know the cost of such wars – in economic as well as psychological terms. The woman in the west perhaps understands that besides those being sent off to fight a futile war, the immense tragedy is of bringing back a baggage of guilt.
Those plotting such efforts simply reveal another dimension of machismo. This isn’t much different than keeping women in an intellectual harem and expecting them to send off the men to slay the lions while they wait for them to return, bloodied and victorious.
Neither woman gains anything. The memorandum is subtitled, “Why Counting on Apathy Might Not Be Enough.” The PR exercise is itself apathy, using a tragedy as a soap opera.