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Afghanistan, telly, women and the Clash of Civilisations

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Joined: 16 Jan 2004
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Location: Europe

Post Post subject: Afghanistan, telly, women and the Clash of Civilisations Reply with quote

A Western style constitution, declaring equal gender rights, falls foul of the local mentality. I suppose the real question is whether there is such a thing as universal rights, or whether the West's 'enlightenment' was culture specific. If the latter, then surely the continuing efforts to impose Western cultural and political values, including the concepts of democracy and human rights, are simply another form of imperialism.

16/01/2004 09:25

Kabul - After breaking a decade-long ban and airing images of a woman singing on Afghanistan's state-run television earlier in the week, Kabul TV has decided to stop showing female singers for the time being, an executive said Friday.

The decision to stop showing images of women singing follows strong protests from the Afghan Supreme Court, which favours the imposition of Islamic sharia laws in the war-torn country.

The court is dominated by the conservative former mujahedin or anti-Soviet fighters.

"No official decision has been taken, however, we feel the current circumstances are not suitable to air women singing," Azizullah Aryanfar, programming chief of Kabul TV told reporters.

He said the television station had not received a letter from the High Court preventing it from airing such programmes but confirmed that Kabul TV has decided to stop showing females singing "at least for the time being."

"We knew this kind of move might be too early, and is not acceptable in the many conservative circles which have strong influence in the country," Aryanfar said, referring to the former mujahedin leaders which form the backbone of President Hamid Karzai's US-backed government.

Simple head scarf

On Monday night, Kabul TV featured old footage of Salma, a star from the 1970s, singing a ballad about being a refugee. Instead of being totally covered up, she was wore a simple head scarf.

Her five minute appearance on the small screen came just days after Afghanistan's loya jirga or grand assembly approved a new constitution which states that men and women have equal rights and duties under law.

But the Supreme Court wrote in protest to the Ministry of Information and Culture ordering the moderate minister Sayed Makhdoom Raheen to stop airing this type of show.

Deputy Chief Justice Fazal Ahamd Manawi said on Thursday that the High Court had sent a letter to the ministry of information and Kabul TV asking them to stop broadcasting women singing and dancing on the national broadcaster.

The ban on women singing and dancing had been imposed for more than a decade since the mujahedin took power in Kabul following the toppling of a communist government in 1992.

The harsh Taliban regime, even more extremist in their beliefs, which took power in 1996, banned all television broadcasting as part of its strict imposition of Islamic sharia law.

Sat Jan 17, 2004 12:36 pm
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