It is now more than one year since Taliban has come back to power again: a murderous group whose history and political existence is interwoven with violence against Afghanistan people, especially its women* and denying them their right to live. Since the day that, due to international and regional help, Taliban came back to power, until today, women and girls in Afghanistan have experienced extended and various deprivations: they have been denied work and access to public spaces; they have been forced to obligatory hijab, they have been denied the right to study both at schools and universities, and misogynistic and anti-women Shari’a laws are executed much more intensely than before. During the very same days and weeks when international powers, which were once on the frontlines of military occupation of Afghanistan, were trying to whitewash the Taliban’s face through their political and financial lobbies, reselling it to people as a power that has changed and has become more “democratic,” Afghan women were warning about and protesting against Taliban’s violence and dogmatism. After Taliban’s rise to power, it was again these women, and schoolgirls who came to the streets as the first protesters against the Taliban’s despotism, shouted out against it, were arrested, tortured, and killed. Such a power reflects years of breathtaking struggle of women who never bent to repressions and deprivations and, despite all pressures, organized themselves and fought for their right to choose what they wear and the right to study, work and live. This continuous struggle takes place as, for decades, women’s and sexual and gender minorities’ bodies in the Middle East have been the battleground and the subject of invasion by fundamentalist Islamist forces and neoliberal capitalist powers of the Global North. Wherever religious dogmatism has tried to come to power, it has started from women, their bodies, and those of minorities and their rights. This approach demonstrates clearly the great extent to which patriarchy, Islamist fundamentalism, and neoliberal capitalism are interwoven and related.
But we, the women* of the Middle East, will change this history. Now as the “Woman, Life, Freedom” revolution has begun in Iran and has stepped into the battlefield to fight repression, systematic violence against women, sexual and gender minorities, and their bodies; we, a group of activist women, who go by the name Feminists for Jina, announce our solidarity and alliance with our sisters in Afghanistan. We announce our uprising as an uprising against all backward, despotic and dogmatic misogynistic powers and forces of the Middle East, from the Islamic Republic’s fascist forces to Taliban terrorists. Hand in hand with our sisters in Afghanistan, as they chanted “either all, or no one” in a protest against the ban on women’s right to education, we also believe that the victory of the feminist revolution in the Middle East depends on reinforcing regional solidarity and alliances, forming common struggle circles, constant exchange and learning from one another’s struggles and fights. We believe that our liberation is only possible through our unity.