Characteristics that defines Taliban:
- Extreme hatred of women: Stoning, acid thrown at girls and young women who dare to attend school; whipping of bare ankles; deprivation of any right including the right to self-determination, from a right to speak up, to work and even the right of whom to marry.
- Terrorism and militancy is how they have ruled their citizens. Threats and intense fear is how they kept their power.
- Dogma: A belief system that is authoritative, void of reason or truth which in turn creates an environment where freedom of thought is maligned, scorned and punished.
- Tribal: An allegiance to one’s own tribe at the expense of everyone else.
There is a distinction between the people of Afghanistan and the Taliban who ruled them. The Taliban wasn’t voted into power by the people of Afghanistan but rather, gained power by force. In turn the people of Afghanistan have suffered greatly at the hands of the Taliban.
Now a movement has grown in America. And it looks glaringly familiar. But it does not define itself as Muslim. It does not live in Afghanistan. It does not speak Arabic or Farsi. Its followers do not wear turbans or burkas but the message is similar in many ways to the Taliban - same flavor, fewer calories, still junk.
It is the movement of the Taliban-lite. They wear suits, ties and even skirts. The Taliban-lite smiles while passing legislation against the interests of American citizens.
Looking at some of the latest headlines in the U.S. in recent memory it is easy to conclude that there are plenty of Taliban-lites in America, voted in by American citizens themselves.
The obvious characteristic that bonds the Taliban and the Taliban-lites is their hatred of women. Unlike in Afghanistan where a woman is publicly executed for some false accusation, in America the execution is a sophisticated slow choke. It flows throughout the American society like a harmless wave gently splashing against the shores, but with every ebbing wave it sucks out life. Wave after wave, American women’s rights is subtly taken away.
Let’s visit some of the latest issues facing American women.
Got pregnant as a result of the rape? Tough luck, say the Taliban-lite, no abortion should be available for you, since it likely was a “forcible rape.” (See H.R. 3: No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act).
You want laws to combat violence against women? Sorry, say Taliban-lite, we can’t pass laws against that, especially if you are Native American, lesbian, gay, transgender, or an illegal immigrant! Yes, they are deemed unworthy and this language had to be removed for the bill against them to pass the House. (See H.R. 4970: Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2012).
Women don’t get equal pay? Too bad, say Taliban-lite, a woman can never be equal to a man! (See S. 181 (111th): Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act)
Defund Planned Parenthood! God forbid, say the Taliban-lite that we help the poor and those uninsured.
Why? Because the Taliban-lite does not care about those in our society who exist outside of the rich bands of elite.
So folks, there really isn’t that much sunlight between one religious right winger and another. They come camouflaged in religion and/or politics but they share the same characteristics of tyranny and oppression. Take away the turbans, the suites, the double speak, they all lead us down the same path - bankrupting dignity, respect; freedom of conscience, the right to self-determination, and they make a mockery of the meaning of justice and equality, two words that are imbedded in the Quran and the American Constitution.
In a few weeks I will be speaking at Honoring Women’s Rights Conference in Salinas, California, in support of women’s issues and against the policies of the Taliban-lites in America. I’d like to know if you’re speaking up and if so, please share them here.
Honoring Women’s Rights: http://www.honoringwomensrights.org/By Aslan Media Columnist, Ani Zonneveld