MAHMUD-I-RAQI, Afghanistan — Women's precarious rights in Afghanistan have begun seeping away. Girls' schools are closing; working women are threatened; advocates are attacked; and terrified families are increasingly confining their daughters to home.
For women, instability, as much as the Taliban, is the enemy. Women are casualties of the fighting, not only in the conservative and embattled Pashtun south and east but also in districts in the north and center of the country where other armed groups have sprung up.
On the other side of the world, in California, students at the California State University and University of California systems are faced with furloughs leading to the week-long absence or firing of professors, shortening of classes and a virtual rationing of education as the state is strained with the spreading of limited resources. California's deficit is $19 billion, while the California State University faces a $584 million budget deficit.
With $59 billion being spent in an emergency bill on Afghanistan, it's not hard to imagine that money going to closing the budget hole in California. The regression of Afghan women is not something we want to be ambivalent towards. I have Muslim female friends who have managed to come to the United States and grab the opportunity of education, but this is certainly a gift that a minority attain. Both American and Afghan students are equal citizens of the world with equal dreams, yet the advancement of both almost seems at odds with one another. I obviously don't have the solution to this conundrum. Does anyone? Do you?