Sunday, May 11, 2014

My Mother's Day Salute to Afghan Women

On this Mother’s Day, I want to send a message of love to the ones who have given us the gift of life and showered us with unconditional love.

I am empowered and liberated today because of who my mother is and who my grandmother was. Had it not been for King Amanullah’s secular reforms which expanded women’s rights, Queen Soraya’s unveiling and serving as the first and most powerful Muslim woman activist, Mahmud Tarzi’s intellectual fight for social justice, and the passage of the 1964 Constitution which granted women’s suffrage (long before Liechtenstein, Portugal, and Switzerland) then my grandmother, Hashmat Nawabi Miskinyar, would have never become the educated breadwinner who raised eight children and managed a dual professional career; and my mother, Wajiha Miskinyar Sadat, would have never triumphed to create a dignified life in a foreign land, lift our family to the middle class, and raise three children who would grow up to become educated elites.

And if I wasn’t born and raised in a secular Afghan household with middle class values, then there would be no cultural revolution in Afghanistan today. Who else in our nation would have had the audacity, strategy and wherewithal to break the silence and lead in the defense of persecuted Afghan homosexuals and nonbelievers who have been denied justice and rights for over a millennium?

I’m not a Mother but as you’re feminist-gay-humanist uncle, I’m qualified to speak on behalf of gender, sexual, and religious minorities. I want every child (boy, girl, or intersex and regardless if they are gay or straight) to dream big and live in a society that allows them to thrive and reach for the stars. That can only happen if our generation defends the rights of Mothers: allowing women to study and work and pursue careers of the mind. That is the path for entire families and whole nations to prosper and become self-sufficient.

Unfortunately, the enemy of Mothers (and everyone in society) has always been religion. Why are all religions created by men to serve the interests of heterosexual men to control the masses? Why is the spirit of God in every religion referred in the masculine? Why are all the Prophets men?

If religion treats women as equals, then why is their not even a single female Prophet that girls can look up to?

Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, and the religious wars in Europe allowed Christians and Jews to realize that religion was inhumane and not the solution to their survival. Judaism and Christianity learned their lesson and reformed their religion and western nations removed the role of the clergy from government. As the rest of the world became civilized and secular, Afghanistan and much of the Islamic World continue to be trapped in religious upheaval.

So today, I want you to praise your Mother like a Prophet and worship her like a God. After thousands of years of enduring chauvinism and patriarchy, Mothers in many parts of the world have come a long way to gain their freedom. They deserve to be treated as divine.

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