Mark This one Too

{Photo: By, Lone Primate}

The first video I watched was extremely insightful and saddening. Despite the fact that I understand some cultures are completely different then the one I am accustomed to here in Canada. It is still upsetting to learn that some of them are less accepting of woman as fully integrated members, than other cultures. That makes me appreciate all the freedom we, here in Canada are so privileged to have and yet some of us take for granted. The land of opportunity indeed.

After the viewing of the second video, you can see that these women from Kandahar have a lot to say about their current state of affairs and are prohibited to do so because they are still living in a highly male dominated society and they live in fear. In fear of losing their lives and the lives of their families. They are taking a risk in even agreeing to participate in an interview. They could be seen as plausible spies and traitors of their country and its people and could be slaughtered ruthlessly.

The third video offers some optimism, however slightly. In comparison to the first two videos Suhaila is confident and does not fear exposure to the media, or at least minimally, with no veil covering her face. It could be because she has more stability in her family, a little bit more freedom than Homaira, and Shahzia, with no prevention to work, from her in-laws (as they seem to have the control over the spouses' work life) She has actually found a sufficient job working with the government in The Ministry of Women's Affairs (third video: Suhaila, 4:51), holding a minor position of power, comparatively to the other ladies who don't even hold any employmental position. Making Suhaila more knowledgeable, useful, valuable and educated within the Kandahar society. Her husband too, has an education and works as a teacher. They have dual incomes coming into the family and appear to have a significantly better life then the women previously interviewed.

If you take away the fear, the patriarchy, the corruption, the insecurity and the lack of safety, you are left with nothing but a society free of inequalities and restrictions. A society of balance and stability, one that everyone can make the adjustment to live in, comfortably. Although there must be rules in place, for societies to create and maintain their order, they don't have to be as strict as what they are now, especially in these circumstances. Unfortunately due to poor management of the law and the poor state that it is in, it is difficult for any realization to be found, to bring that security and freedom so crucial for this society to have. The law that was passed permitting women to only agree and comply with what their husbands demand of them, is one way that the legal system has forced these women to stay within the confinements of their commands, making social change far from possible. It is unacceptable and revolting to have such an expectation passed on these women. Unbelievable and something that is beyond my comprehension.

The presence of the NATO and the ISAF is what is causing so much societal tension. If they were not in Kandahar, many of the problems would be alleviated. The NATO and the ISAF are there to offer protection to Kandahar's citizens and they do the exact opposite. They don't know how to differentiate between the enemy and the civilian, causing severe unnecessary problems, like the fear these women have in walking outside and getting shot for accidentally be mistaken for someone else. Thats no way to live and in having the NATO and the ISAF a part of the Kandahar society makes it extremely difficult to have that sense of security reached, which this community requires to gain progress, and to develop as a more functional place to live for all members.

Something that is prominent in the Kandahar womens' behavior is the cover-up of their face. Most of the clip viewings that I have seen, show that these women are scared to even communicate their points of views to the media (as amazing that it is that they have chosen to be an interviewee), and although them wearing veils is seen as a form of cultural preference and cultural normalcy; protecting themselves within their culture, especially with consideration to their status and positions within society, I can't help but wonder that it can also be seen as a way of improper conversational etiquette, a form of distancing yourself from the interviewer (no disrespect, whatsoever intended) and a way of shutting yourself off to feedback and response, understanding that the nature of an interview is not to offer reaction but merely just to listen and to gain knowledge and understanding from the discloser of information. Therefore it is definitely a good thing that the interviewer understands and respects the difference in culture.

Another noticeable point that recently came to mind on the type of communication presented and expressed in the videos, that I have seen, is, the translator....... Now this is supposed to bridge the gap of the language barrier, and make it able for people from multiple backgrounds, having different languages as their fluency, to communicate with one another. Unfortunately there is a flaw, because the translator may or may not be conveying the types of questions, in the forms that you want, to the interviewee, and they in return may be responding differently from what you originally anticipated and thus giving squewed versions of the answers you are looking for. There is also the possibility that their (the translator's) interpretation of the answers could be different from the way that you would otherwise interpret them., and can then be telling you things indirectly and unintentionally incorrect.

I am not saying that these types of things are happening here with the Kandahar women, I am simply speculating and analyzing, the open variety of possibilities with respect to communication. I know I have not covered all of them, not even a smidgen.

One final point I must mention, is the very introduction Jessica Leader does in the video outlining her topic of interest and report. Her wording is impeccable and mind capturing. A journalist that I could full well see myself looking up to.

Jayson Taylor and Jessica Leeder, An Intimate Journey into the Lives of Kandahar's Women (videography) Behind the Veil , September 2009. Globe and Mail, Kandahar, Afghanistan.
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