“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.”
Martin Luther King, Jr, April 3, 1968
One thing I’ve learned about myself is that I will speak up when it counts. I am usually not looking to be the leader or to make waves; it just happens. I think it stems from my belief that all authority can be questioned.
I hated when friends would grumble about things but reject options and solutions I offered them or chicken out when I took a stand.
Likewise, it always unnerved me when friends from other nations ridiculed America, expressing their own patriotism, but opted to remain in and enjoy the fruit of America rather than to return and make a difference in their homelands. That may sting but there is truth at the heart of it.
Women in Afghanistan
Change and reform are necessary in our world and relationships; and it’s due to the condition of the human heart. We would like to believe in the goodness of everyone, but too often people betray their own capability for doing right.
A problem arises when we think that changing people is something easy to do, like setting a broken bone or leveling and rebuilding a part of the city. It’s never that simple. Humans are intricately caught up in the weave of good and evil.
Unfortunately, our penchant leans toward immorality.
I was watching television and heard something that really surprised me. A gentleman explained that not long ago women in Afghanistan bore far more rights than they exercise today and were more educated, being doctors, professors, and scientists.
Afghanistan? I thought.
I performed but a small research and discovered a generous women’s rights history in Afghanistan during the 19th and 20th centuries. It all screeched to a halt, however, in the late 1970s and 80s with the influx of communism and war—and the rise of the Taliban, which ultimately ended the forward progress and returned Afghan society back to the strong patriarchalism it once knew.
Although there has been some improvement in the condition of women and children over the last 15 years, post-Taliban Afghanistan, its women and children, remains badly disenfranchised and dehumanized.
Listen, change, like the change needed in Afghanistan, costs something. And it costs someone something. It’s necessarily personal—no way around it. I can only loathe those who expect to sit back and let others bear the consequences for their ease without understanding the price for that ease.
Change is never pleasant; it is uncomfortable at the least. And those who never see the problem and see it as their problem usually do when it finally spins their direction tearing things to shreds. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
For me to have discovered the details about Afghan women and reacted with a self-centered I’m-glad-that’s-not-me attitude, in my opinion, would be to approach grievous immorality in my heart and become part of the problem. It is to participate in the evil, if only by nonchalance.
Hopefully, something in our personal and social constitution—and certainly in our Christian faith—teaches us that our individual well-being finds haven and security in the well-being of the cluster. It’s a collectivist approach that can teach us much. (Psst!—Jesus lived in that type of society.) It would do us well to grasp that we all become better as we hurt, fight, heal, and finally rise together.
Two excellent links on Afghan women and education:
- “The Long, Long Struggle for Women’s Rights in Afghanistan” (Origins)
- “Terrorising Children: Education in Afghanistan” (The Typewriter)