Shakeela Abrahimkhil – Transforming Media, Transforming Women

Shakeela Abrahimkhil – Transforming Media, Transforming Women

I feel extremely fortunate, ladies and gentlemen to find myself among individuals who stand up for humanity and human rights all over the world. I feel honored i know when you hear the name of Afghanistan, you envisage a country that has always been in a state of war, and has always suffered from violence, maybe that is the picture you have in your mind. But Afghanistan has not always been like that. There are individuals in Afghanistan who are always fighting for change. I’ve come from a country which is insecure every day. A child becomes an orphan. A mother loses her children, and it’s become a chessboard for foreign powers. In these disputes, we the victims are always women, children, and innocent civilians. For me, freedom of expression is when I have the right to say what is in my heart, when i can determine my own fate and stand up to any act of oppression in the world, and any brutality. Alas, Afghan women don’t have the right to determine their own fate and make decisions. They’ve always been victims of various forms of violence. They’ve been unable to make sure that the world hears their voice. Our only hope has been the media, who nevertheless fight to make sure our voices are heard despite the threats that we have. In the 21st century, in Afghanistan, women and girls are even being sold in markets. This situation in this century and in this day and age continues. And nevertheless despite all these challenges, despite all these problems, we are continuing to fight. Sometimes we feel it is a fight that has been in vain, but what choice do we have? We have to continue to make sure people attain justice. When i leave the house, when Afghan women leave the house, We don’t know if we will return to our homes safely. We don’t know what to expect, as it is so unpredictable. I have lost my husband, he was killed in the war. I have three children that I have to raise on my own. But despite all the challenges that I have faced, I have always made sure that I give priority to Afghan women, to ensure that their voices have been heard. We have experienced three decades of war. We are hungry for peace. even our children are praying for peace. In the past thirty years, we have not experienced a single day where we felt safe. All of the pledges made by politicians have been on paper, and they have never been realized. We want change. We want our women, we want our girls, to go to school. We want them to study. We want our girls and women to have a life which has peace and stability. We want them to be able to make decisions. But to do that, we need to change the mentality of men. because in the patriarchal culture in Afghanistan, women are seen as second class citizens. I am going to show you a small clip from a report I did recently. That was part of a report I did based on a women’s safe house, women who are being sheltered from violence. They have many problems. We have faced so many problems in the past 30 years and I really empathize with what the previous speakers have said because we have experienced the same thing. We have rapes that continue to take place every day. We see women that are being oppressed on a daily basis We see warlords that continue to oppress people with impunity, and people are in fear of standing up to them and putting them on trial. We’ve had many journalists in our country who have attempted to defend human rights, but their lives have always been under threat. I can name a few of them; Ajman Naksmanbeeswan, Samad Rohani is another one, Shimon Rashani is another one. These are journalists who have lost their lives on this path, but no one has managed to arrest their murderers. Even the press law means nothing in our country. We have the law, but it is not realized. We have poverty, the oppressors continue to rule in the form of warlords. We as journalists, when we make an investigation, when we report on something, we are in fear that when we actually broadcast that report, something could happen to us. We have no one protecting us, we need your help. We need human rights organizations to help us. We need your help, I urge you people who defend civil society to assist us. We want our country to improve, we want our country to develop. We are constantly highlighting our problems, yet sometimes we feel that no one is listening to us. We are constantly feeling threatened, and there has been administrative corruption in our country that continues to be rife. Yet all the aid seems to be going to the wrong people, instead of being distributed amongst people who really need it, the poor and needy in our country. This continues to be repeated again and again, the aid finds its way into the pockets of the corrupt, who become richer and richer. We want to change that trend; it has to change. We don’t want anyone to stifle our voices. We are going to continue to fight. We want to fight for freedom of expression and we want to change the mentality of Afghani men. This patriarchal culture has to end. As long as our men and our women don’t change this mentality, as long as our education system in Afghanistan doesn’t change, as long as our children do not have a right to go to school, as long as people do not accept that there should be gender equality we feel it’s a losing battle. We want to make sure that our rights have been realized. I repeat, we have been fighting thirty years. That is a lifetime. Again, I urge each and every one of you to please help us, help us have freedom of expression, help us to obtain human rights, help us stamp out the corruption that has become rife in our country. We have tried as journalists to expose all this corruption. We have tried to expose those criminals, but nevertheless none of them have been tried in a court. It’s time that these people, these high-ranking people, were put on trial. The law is not being enforced in the country. As I mentioned, what is the point of having a press law when the law is being ignored by our government? I have always believed where there is a will, there is way. But we need you to be committed to Afghanistan We need international bodies to be committed to Afghanistan, and to the problem of innocent civilians. Everyday we have to face challenges, everyday we are facing new problems, yet we have to continue. We want coordination from the international community. We want warlords to come to trial. We don’t want the voice of freedom to be stifled. My network has given me an open hand to expose the corruption in my country and to fight against oppression, to make sure that I speak about them, to make sure that I report about them. For years I have been trying to do that. I have been very active in that field, trying to highlight the problems of our girls and our women. And it has taken us a long time to gain the confidence of women who didn’t want to speak to journalists. But we have succeeded; our network has gained the confidence of these women. Ten years ago Afghanistan was in a worse position than it is today, nevertheless we have a long road ahead of us. Our politicians talk about peace talks with the Taliban. They always say: “Yes, we have to bring the Taliban to the peace talks.” Yes we agree with peace talks, but we also want rights of women to be mentioned in these peace talks. We don’t want Taliban to curb these rights. Please make sure that women are not forgotten in these peace talks I detest repression and shall continue to fight any action that stifles the voice of freedom. And to that end, please, I urge you to help us. Thank you.


3 thoughts on “Shakeela Abrahimkhil – Transforming Media, Transforming Women”

  • به امید روزی که همه ما از صلح سراسری بهرمند شویم و در جهان از خوبی هایمان بگویم. با وجود تان افتخار میکنیم خانم شکیلا ابراهم خیل، به امید موفقیت های بیشتر همه ما انسانها!

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