Education has always been looked at as the cornerstone of a child’s future. Most countries have the support to give children the education they need to succeed in the world. So imagine if your education was being sabotaged by radicals due to beliefs that girls should not be educated?
In the northern province of Takhar, Afghanistan, 150 schoolgirls have been afflicted due to poisoned water. The cause? Conservative radicals were blamed as sabotaging the water tank as way to keep girls from being educated. Historically, the Taliban was the foremost opponent of educating girls because it was believed that what they learned was un-Islamic. Even after the Taliban was toppled in 2001, there have been incidents by Islamist radicals targeting women and girls by throwing acid on their faces on their way to school.
What prompted health officials to believe that the incident was deliberate was due to the fact that a larger tank that was used to fill the water jugs was found to be contaminated. Some of the girls who drank the water developed headaches and vomiting, and other girls wound up in critical conditions. If not for the severity and the number of girls that were grisly harmed by this incident, it would not have attracted the attention of health officials or the media.
While these horrific scenes were part of what women had to endure as part of their existence, the recent incident took the level of radicalism to another level. The incident in Takhar was an ugly reminder that even though there are some groups that support the education of girls, there are still those who will do anything to make sure that girls and women remain second-class citizens, worse yet, treated like possessions.
Incidents like this make me furious that women still have to fight, sometimes at the expense of their own lives, to get an education, to empower themselves. Will there always be impediments that women have to plow through in order to create better lives for themselves and for their families as well as their communities? Unfortunately, I fear that is the case while there are radicals that still believe that women are worth less than nothing. But I do hope that by sharing this story, it will bring awareness to other societies that atrocities like this should not be tolerated, that women deserve to be treated as human beings, who have so much to contribute now and to the future of their families and communities at large. That’s my take on this, what’s yours?
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