Two separate developments show Afghan women taking charge of their own futures, apart from the usual (and unfortunately real) representations of violence and victimization we usually see.
Yesterday, two dozen Afghan women took to the streets with signs reading, "This street also belongs to me" and "We won't stand insults anymore."
Said the organizer, nineteen-year-old Noor Jahan Akbar of the belief that Afghan women should stay at home and out of the streets, "We want to fight that mentality because we believe that these streets belong to us as much as they belong to the men of this country." Though she studies at a U.S. university, opening her to accusations of Western meddling — the protest sounds like Hollaback with a dose of Slutwalk — she insisted to Reuters, "Women's safety is not a western idea, even in the time of Prophet Mohammad, women were safe, they could do trade, they could go out, and that's what we deserve."
Last week, four Afghan women in their twenties arrived in San Antonio for training and English language instructions, on their way to being the first-ever female military pilots in Afghanistan, and likely regional pioneers too. They could be full-fledged pilots in about a year.
Said Lt. Sourya Saleh, one of the four, in an interview with the Air Force News Service, "We should show the world that the women of Afghanistan are strong."