When I was in Kabul, I came across www.rawa.org, which I found to be very insightful and trustworthy. RAWA stands for
In 1982, Afghan Government (that was USSR) declared that it would arrest Meena at the first opportunity. It was impossible for Meena to work in Afghanistan. So she crossed border and went to Pakistan where thousands of Afghan migrants were somehow managing to be alive. Many times Meena and her colleagues took risk and crossed the Afghan-Pak border. RAWA colleagues and women stitched clothes to earn livelihood, the provided home and education to orphans, the conducted literacy classes for migrants, the established Malalai hospital and served many sick people.
Even though Meena’s movements were kept secret, on 4 February 1987, Meena disappeared from Quetta (Pakistan). Later RAWA realized that Meena was assassinated. It was a tremendous shock to RAWA, but they continued Meena’s work with a greater determination; realizing that it was their obligation to realize Meena’s dream of Democratic and Peaceful Afghanistan. Unfortunately even at the end of 2015, Afghan women still have a long way to go.
We need to know that Afghan women never had an option of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ government; for decades they have to choose between “worse” and “worst”. It is true that Mujahidin fought against Taliban, but when it comes to women, both Mujahidin and Taliban were equally cruel with women. Even after the New Era of 2001, when Afghan women saw Warlords as part of the existing governance, they knew that their plight and fight was not yet over.
It was necessary for Meena and RAWA to keep a low profile. They had to destroy papers on many occasions fearing police raid. They had to be careful about not keeping any proof about their movement and activities. Whosoever was ruling Afghanistan, they certainly were against Meena and against RAWA, simply because Meena and RAWA fought for Women’s Rights. This is the reason why we had hardly any information about Meena.
After the attack of United States of America on Afghanistan in 2001, Melody Chavias visited Pakistan and Afghanistan; interacted with many colleagues of Meena and then she wrote this book. Generally when we read a biography, we get an almost complete and consistent picture of the life of the heroine/hero of the book. Due to the circumstances in Afghanistan, this book cannot give us the complete picture. However, the glimpses of Meena’s life and work clearly tell us the plight of Afghan women and their courage.
Meena’s life and work and the way RAWA is carrying the torch is very inspiring.
The book is available on Amazon: