afghan men

International Women’s Day 2015: Afghan men wear burqas to campaign for women’s rights 

“A small group of Afghan men wearing sky-blue burqas marched through Kabul earlier today to draw attention to women’s rights in the country.

The group of roughly 20 men walked through the capital of Afghanistan to draw attention to the rights of women ahead of international Women’s Day on 8 March.

With muddy trainers just visible beneath the burqas, an item of clothing that became synonymous with oppressive Taliban rule in the 1990s, the march drew some attention from onlookers.

“What is the point of this?” Asked traffic policeman Javed Haidari, 24. “All of the women in my family wear burqas. I wouldn’t let them go out without one.”

But 29-year-old activist Basir, who goes by one name, claims the march – organised by a group called Afghan Peace Volunteers – takes women’s rights “to the streets.”

“One of the best ways to understand how women feel is to walk around and wear a burqa,” he claimed.

Other men on the march said that wearing the item of clothing, which covers individuals from head-to-foot with a small mesh ‘window’ over the face, felt “like a prison”.

They carried signs reading: “equality” and “Don’t tell women what to wear, you should cover your eyes,” a Reuters correspondent reported.

Human Rights Watch claim that many opponents of female rights are using waning international interest in the country to undo much of the progress made following the fall of the Taliban.“

Read the full piece here

Nice work Afghan Peace Volunteers !

Powerful bomb kills dozens in Kabul, Afghanistan

A powerful bomb hidden in a sewage tanker exploded in the morning rush hour in the center of the Afghan capital on Wednesday, May 31, police said, killing at least 80 people, wounding hundreds and damaging embassy buildings.

The victims appeared mainly to have been Afghan civilians.

The bomb, one of the deadliest in Kabul and coming at the start of the holy month of Ramadan, exploded close to the fortified entrance to the German embassy, wounding some staff, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said. Pictures showed the embassy building with its windows ripped out.

One Afghan security guard was killed and others were likely among the dead, Gabriel said. A spokeswoman for the German foreign ministry said the bomber’s target was unknown.

“Such attacks do not change our resolve in continuing to support the Afghan government in the stabilization of the country,” Gabriel said.

Basir Mujahid, a spokesman for city police, said the explosives were hidden in a sewage truck. He also suggested that the German embassy might not have been the target of the blast, which sent towering clouds of black smoke into the sky near the presidential palace.

“There are several other important compounds and offices near there too,” he told Reuters.

The blast, which shattered windows and blew doors off their hinges in houses hundreds of meters away, was unusually strong.

No group had claimed responsibility by late Wednesday afternoon. (Reuters)

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Afghan officials inspect outside the German embassy after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan, May 31, 2017. (Mohammad Ismail/Reuters)

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Security forces stand next to a crater created by massive explosion in front of the German Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

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Afghan volunteers carry victims at the site of a car bomb attack in Kabul on May 31, 2017. (Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images)

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Security forces inspect near the site of a suicide attack where the German Embassy is located in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. (AP Photos/Rahmat Gul)

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Security forces inspect the site of a suicide attack where the German Embassy is located in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. (AP Photos/Rahmat Gul)

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A wounded man looks out a window near the site of a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. (AP Photos/Massoud Hossaini)

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Afghan policemen inspect at the site of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan, May 31, 2017. (Mohammad Ismail/Reuters)

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Afghan officials inspect at the site of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan, May 31, 2017. (Mohammad Ismail/Reuters)

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Relatives of victims listen to hospital officials after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017.(Mohammad Ismail/Reuters)

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Afghan Municipality workers sweep a road in front of the German Embassy after a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. (AP Photos/Rahmat Gul)

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Security forces stand near the site of a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. (AP Photos/Massoud Hossaini)

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An Afghan resident wounded in a car bomb attack receives treatment at a hospital in Kabul on May 31, 2017.
(Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images)

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An Afghan man drives his damaged car after a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. (AP Photos/Rahmat Gul)

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Wounded men lie on their beds in Wazir Akbar Khan Hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. (AP Photos/Massoud Hossaini)

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A dog is seen running at the site of a car bomb attack in Kabul on May 31, 2017. (Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images)

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An Afghan man reacts at the site of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. (Omar Sobhani/Reuters)

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Roshan mobile company employees leave the site of a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. (AP Photos/Massoud Hossaini)

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People carry an injured man after a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

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Afghanistan’s military helicopter flies over the site of a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. (AP Photos/Massoud Hossaini)

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Afghan men assist a wounded man at the site of a car bomb attack in Kabul on May 31, 2017. (Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images)

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Men move an injured man to a hospital after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. (Mohammad Ismail/Reuters)

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A medic runs to the site of a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. (AP Photos/Massoud Hossaini)

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A wounded man lies on the ground at the site of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. (Omar Sobhani/Reuters)

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An injured man arrives at a hospital after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. (Mohammad Ismail/Reuters)

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Damaged cars are seen at the site of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. (Omar Sobhani/Reuters)

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An Injured Afghan man walks on the street near a hospital after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. (Omar Sobhani/Reuters)

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A woman sits outside a hospital after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. (Mohammad Ismail/Reuters)

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Damaged cars are seen after a blast at the site of the incident in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. (Omar Sobhani/Reuters)

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Injured Afghan men arrive at a hospital after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017.(Mohammad Ismail/Reuters)

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Damaged cars are seen after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. (Omar Sobhani/Reuters)

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Relatives of Afghan victims mourn outside a hospital after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. (Omar Sobhani/Reuters)

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An injured man arrives to a hospital after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. (Mohammad Ismail/Reuters)

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Smoke rises from the site of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. (Hamid Sayedi/Reuters)

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Map showing location of blast in Kabul on May 31, 2017. (Reuters)

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anonymous asked:

How do I convince someone that american sniper is a horrible movie?

Ask them to question the integrity of Chris Kyle himself. The film took many artistic liberties with Kyle, displaying him as someone with regret about his actions in the war. Though Kyle did actually struggle with PTSD, he repeatedly stated that he “had fun” doing his job and called Muslims savages.

Understanding that the film goes deeper is an important part of understanding its importance as a bad film. People have to know to look behind what you see on the screen and into the person it is based off of. If the film is based on a person with no regrets about the lives he stole, then his character feeling remorse for his actions means nothing.

Actual quotes from Chris Kyle:

“Honestly, I don’t know what will really happen on Judgment Day. But what I lean toward is that you know all of your sins, and God knows them all, and shame comes over you at the reality that He knows. I believe the fact that I’ve accepted Jesus as my savior will be my salvation. But in that backroom or whatever it is when God confronts me with my sins, I do not believe any of the kills I had during the war will be among them. Everyone I shot was evil. I had good cause on every shot. They all deserved to die.
Chris Kyle, American Sniper

“But I wondered, how would I feel about killing someone? Now I know. It’s no big deal.
Chris Kyle, American Sniper: Memorial Edition

“Savage, despicable evil. That’s what we were fighting in Iraq. That’s why a lot of people, myself included, called the enemy “savages.” There really was no other way to describe what we encountered there. People ask me all the time, “How many people have you killed?” My standard response is, “Does the answer make me less, or more, of a man?” The number is not important to me. I only wish I had killed more. Not for bragging rights, but because I believe the world is a better place without savages out there taking American lives. Everyone I shot in Iraq was trying to harm Americans or Iraqis loyal to the new government.
Chris Kyle, American Sniper

This is a man that had no reaction to killing men, women, and children, assuredly many of them civilians.

The film also paints quite a pretty picture of Chris Kyle as it glosses over many important things that happened to him post-Iraq. He made various false claims like killing car jackers or punching Jesse Ventura. If this was attributed to his PTSD, I don’t know. But, still, they cherry-picked. And there is no law to say you can’t cherry-pick in film based on something real in order to condense it and make it concise. However, they cherry-picked in such a way as to avoid all things that would not paint him as a hero. They even glossed over his death, not making it loud and clear that he was shot by a fellow soldier with PTSD after his tours in Iraq. This could have left many people thinking he died while serving, making him the ultimate, all sacrificing hero.

When a film erases a certain part of a person’s history, especially one that is indicative of a person’s character, then the film itself is a fraud.

What people also should realize is that the whole film is a dehumanization of Muslim people. The film is constantly black and white, good vs. evil. The Americans are good and the Muslims are evil, exactly as Chris Kyle saw the world. He saw each and every person in Iraq as the enemy, evil people to be taken out for the sake of the American people. In the film, Muslims are either actively evil or nameless collateral damage.

Most Muslims are not even given a name. Each American soldier has a name, a backstory, a wife, a family, children, mothers, friends, dogs, whatever. They make every effort to make the American soldiers as sweetly sympathetic as possible, while not even bothering to give any Muslims names.

One man in the film, Mustafa, is Kyle’s enemy. He is a Syrian sniper and that’s all we know. He, unlike Chris Kyle, is given no backstory, no family, no reason for doing what he is doing. They had the opportunity to make the antagonist a complex character and instead he is flat and one-dimensional. They push the idea that Muslims are cold, uncaring people with Mustafa. He does what Chris Kyle does. He is a sniper and he kills American soldiers as Kyle kills Iraqis. Kyle is shown as a hero for doing the same thing Mustafa does because he is given a reason, a family, a sense of purpose for protecting his country. Mustafa is painted an anonymous sniper who kills for sport only.

This ties into the sheep, sheepdogs, and wolves scene in American Sniper. His father tells them there are three types of people in the world.

From the movie:
“Now, some people prefer to believe that evil doesn’t exist in the world … those are the sheep. And then you got predators who use violence to prey on the weak. They’re the wolves. And then there are those who have been blessed with the gift of aggression, and the overpowering need to protect the flock. These men are the rare breed that live to confront the wolf. They are the sheepdog.”

Chris Kyle is America’s patriot, the sheepdog. He protects his flock because he is a rare breed. He sacrifices because he is better than the rest.

Muslims are the wolves. The evil, lying, deceitful wolves. They prey on the weak and take what they want. They must be eliminated.

This is what the film is telling us. Maybe not directly, but this is what seeps into people’s subconscious when they watch this film. It can fuel Islamophobia immensely and perpetrate great damage.

The American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee says threats against Muslims in the U.S. has increased since its release.

Abed Ayoub, the national legal and policy director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), told the Guardian that complaints from his organisation have skyrocketed the movie’s wide release – and $90m box-office take, an all-time high for the month of January.

“Great fucking movie and now I really want to kill some fucking ragheads,” read one tweet. […] “American sniper makes me wanna go shoot some fuckin Arabs,” read another.

One tweet read: “Nice to see a movie where the Arabs are portrayed for who they really are - vermin scum intent on destroying us.”
http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/jan/24/american-sniper-anti-muslim-threats-skyrocket

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee has even sent letters to “American Sniper” star Bradley Cooper and director Clint Eastwood, imploring them “to help reduce the hateful rhetoric,” according to USA Today. The group wrote that it has seen “hundreds of violent messages targeting Arabs and Muslims from moviegoers of the film.”
http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/6537950

Media has a huge impact on the world. These threats are not to be taken lightly. These are real people capable of committing atrocities against Muslims and their mindset has been influenced by the film American Sniper. That is a fact and it’s not a joke. Understanding the effects of media on society is just as important as understanding that Chris Kyle took no remorse in shooting people.

Provide them with the startling facts about the casualties of war.

In Iraq, over 70 percent of those who died of direct war violence have been civilians. Iraq Body Count conservatively estimates that at least 133,000 civilians have been killed in direct violence due to war between the invasion and early May 2014.
http://costsofwar.org/article/civilians-killed-and-wounded

The war in Afghanistan continues taking and destroying lives, both due to the direct consequences of violence and the war-induced breakdown of public health, security, and infrastructure. Civilians have been killed by crossfire, improvised explosive devices, assassination, bombing, and night raids into houses of suspected insurgents. Unexploded ordnance from previous wars and from US cluster bombs continue to kill even in the absence of fighting.

Hospitals in Afghanistan are treating large numbers of war wounded, including amputees and burn victims. The war has also inflicted invisible wounds. In 2009, the Afghan Ministry of Public Health said fully two-thirds of Afghans suffer mental health problems.

At least 20,000 civilians killed in Afghanistan.
http://costsofwar.org/article/afghan-civilians

Clearly, the U.S. has caused many, many casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq since the wars started and have disregarded the people they have inadvertently affected by displacement, health care breakdowns, and more.

There’s very good article written by Joshua Brollier in The Palestine Chronicle that you could read called “No More Truthless Heroes: Glorifying the Chris Kyle Story”.

Mr. Kyle was a man who professed “no regret” for killing 160 people during his four tours in Iraq.

The belligerent and misplaced aggression and ensuing chaos after the 2003 Iraq invasion led to hundreds of thousands of casualties (over a million by some calculations) and the largest refugee crisis in the region since the Nakba, with over 4 million Iraqis being displaced from their homes. In addition to the many thousands of Afghan casualties, more than a decade of crushing warfare and billions of dollars per week being spent on the effort, Afghans have been “perishing under one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the world. At least 36% live below the poverty line and 35% of Afghan men do not have work. The UN calls the acute malnutrition of nearly one million children in the Afghan south ‘shocking’. Almost three quarters of all Afghans do not have access to safe drinking water.”

Given these appalling truths, I am not inclined to write off the immense suffering we have caused around the globe as a necessity or reframe it as victory, nor to join in the popular declarations that Mr. Romesha and Mr. Kyle were heroes. I don’t want to demonize them either. They are part of an imperial system to which many in the US are deeply tied and unquestioningly support with tax dollars. Quite possibly Mr. Kyle was a “family man” to his circle and a loyal friend to his comrades. But can we really honor him as such when he was willing to rob Iraqi families of their fathers and sons?

Even as he may have initially been deceived into thinking Sadaam Hussein was responsible for 9/11, how could he extend payback to the entire Iraqi population and return for three additional tours without questioning this logic, which was so full of holes that even the Bush administration gave up on defending it? If you are going to take a life, wouldn’t you want to know with the highest certainty why you were doing so? No, this is not a hero.

http://www.palestinechronicle.com/no-more-truthless-heroes-glorifying-the-chris-kyles-story/

This does a really good job of articulating how incredibly devastating war is. I think a really important part of understanding why American Sniper is a bad film is understanding why these wars are wrong and their horrendous effects. Also, my favorite part of the article is when Joshua Brollier asks how we can honor a man as a family man when he destroyed Iraqi families. He makes a good point about not reframing devastation as a U.S. victory.

They have to understand that this is indeed a propaganda type film. Propaganda, noun: information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.

It explicitly continues the idea that all Muslims are bad and deserve to die. This is a point that Chris Kyle himself made loud and clear. Countless innocent civilians have been murdered in Iraq, and some of them actually by snipers. Kyle is not absolved of guilt because he is a sniper. There is a huge possibility that many of his recorded kills are civilian lives. Note: recorded kills. Not all kills in Iraq and Afghanistan are recorded.

The bottom line is, Chris Kyle is not a hero. He didn’t care about who he killed. He had fun. He had the time of his life stealing lives. There are plenty of soldiers who go and fight because they truly want America to be safe. Just as there are plenty of cops who get up every morning and want to protect people and arrest law breakers. But just as there are bad cops, there are bad soldiers.

Your job is not what makes you a hero. Having a gun strapped on you and firing it doesn’t mean you’re saving lives. Actively participating in something dangerous doesn’t make you brave. It’s what you do with it that makes you a hero. It’s a matter of seeing all lives as valuable and worth protecting, not nationalism and a sense of entitlement.

American Sniper is not a beautiful masterpiece. It is a sad, Islamophobic propaganda film that perpetuates the belief that all Muslims are wolves to be hunted down and killed for the sake of precious American lives.

Some more information:
http://liberalsarecool.com/post/109439660311/chris-hedges-american-sniper-caters-to-a-deep
http://salon.tumblr.com/post/108967851238/7-heinous-lies-american-sniper-is-telling
http://m.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-30923038
http://shitrichcollegekidssay.tumblr.com/post/109053071799/propaganda-works
http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2015/01/23/american_sniper_fact_vs_fiction_how_accurate_is_the_chris_kyle_movie.html
http://croptops.tumblr.com/post/109019126328/whats-wrong-with-american-sniper
http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/rania-khalek/american-sniper-spawns-death-threats-against-arabs-and-muslims
http://americawakiewakie.com/post/109152429273/on-christmas-day-2014-two-films-debuted-with
http://www.vox.com/2015/1/22/7859791/american-sniper-iraq

A new Afghan law would allow men to attack their wives, children and sisters without fear of judicial punishment under a change to Afghanistan’s criminal prosecution code that bans relatives of an accused person from testifying against them. Because most violence against women is within the family, the law, which passed parliament but awaits the signature of President Hamid Karzai, would effectively silence victims and most potential witnesses. 

Read more via The Guardian.

4

The First Anglo Afghan War, Part I — The Great Game

Afghanistan has always been the crossroads of mighty empires since Alexander the Great invaded the country in ancient antiquity.  Thus, over the centuries mighty empires have sought to control Afghanistan and Central Asia, a quest which in the 19th century was called “The Great Game”.  In the late 1830’s, both the borders of the British Empire and Russian Empire were closing in on Afghanistan.  After the Crimean War, Russia was not on good terms with the British, and it was feared that the Russians would invade Afghanistan, using it as a stepping stone for a further invasion of British controlled India.  The Brits sent an envoy to form and alliance with Afghanistan’s rulle, Dost Mohammed.  However Mohammed wanted the British to in turn ally with Afghanistan against the Sikhs, who had conquered the former Afghan territory of Peshawar.  This was impossible, since the British had an alliance with the Sikhs. Then the Russians allied with Persia, and laid siege to Afghan territory in the west.  It seemed as though Russia was making its move, so in 1839 Britain decided to invade Afghanistan.

During the spring of 1839 British forces under the command of Sir John Keene crossed the border into Afghanistan from the southern passes.  The 20,500 troops under Keene’s command were not regular British Army, but British East India Company forces.  From the time of the first British colonies in India up until the mid 1850’s, the East India Company ruled and administrated the British Dominion of India.  The East India Company had its own army and navy, and due to the wealth of the company Company forces were actually better equipped and better trained than most regular military forces.  The British East India Army was a collection of Indian soldiers called sepoys, as well as men recruited from Britain, and a number of Afghan allies.  

While traveling through the rugged mountain terrain of the Bolan Pass in southern Pakistan/Afghanistan, the British Army had to leave most of its heavy equipment, large cannon, and pack animals behind.  This was a problem because the main obstacle in between the mountains and Kabul was the city of Kandahar, guarded by the “impregnable” walls of the fortress of Ghazni.  The British reached Kandahar on May 4th, 1839, and immediately it was apparent that the fortress of Ghazni would be a formidable challenge.  With 70 foot high walls, a flooded moat, large hardwood gates which had been sealed with large rocks, and plenty of food and water for a lengthy siege, it seemed that the fortress would be impenetrable without heavy artillery.  Artillery which the British had been forced to leave behind.  However, interrogation of captured Afghan soldiers revealed that the north facing gate was left unsealed in order to allow communication and supplies to and from Kabul.  On July 22nd, under the cover of light artillery fire Indian engineers blew the gate with explosives.  The British immediately stormed the fortress, engaging the Afghans in hand to hand combat.  The fighting lasted all day and all night.  By morning, British forces had reach the city center and had captured Kandahar.  The British claimed losses of 17 dead and 165 wounded.  The Afghans lost around 500 men.  

The fall of Kandahar cleared the way for the final march on the capital of Kabul.  Shortly afterward, the government of Dost Mohammed quickly collapsed, and Mohammed was forced flee to what is now modern Uzbekistan.  Seven days later British forces marched unopposed in Kabul.  There were no victory celebrations or warm greetings offered by the Afghans, just indignant stares and angry glances.  To the British, conquering Afghanistan was easy.  However, as many great empires throughout history have learned, holding Afghanistan is much more difficult.  Little did the British know, but their great victory at Kandahar and Kabul would lead to one of the worst British military disasters of the 19th century.

150,000 Afghan men, women and children killed or missing.
1,500,000 Iraqi men women and children killed or missing.
The Syrian Civil War.
The rise of ISIL.
The life and death struggle of the Kurdish and Yazidi peoples.
Literally countless refugee deaths at sea in the Mediterranean.
Terror attacks in the UK and other European nations.

All of these flow directly from the cold, premeditated, self-serving actions of the twenty-first century Men of Blood: Anthony Charles Lynton Blair, the slavering cross-bench pack of war dogs whom he led, and the bloodied capitalist interests who profited from taking us to two undemocratic, illegal imperialist wars in the Middle East. No Hell will ever come close to their atonement for initiating one of the most monstrous regional bloodbaths in human history.

Afghan women wearing burqa walk down a Kabul street. Many women still choose to veil themselves wearing the traditional blue burqa to cover their bodies while in public. Many Afghan men are usually asking the women to adhere to this conservative dress code. 

Image by Paula Bronstein on assignment in Kabul, Afghanistan, 2015, via Instagram.