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Sun, Feb 10th - 9:48AM

February 10th 2008 - The Sunday Edition
Letter from the Editor

We take a lot of things for granted in our western culture. Freedom of speech for example.

You may think nothing of your ability to read things on the internet, but in some countries (depending on what you are reading) you can be sentenced to death.

That is what has happened to Sayed Pervez Kambaksh, a journalist from Afghanistan who downloaded a feminist report about women's rights. He's been sentenced to death for supporting women's rights, which the Afghan government claims is a form of blasphemy.

I'd like to know where it is written that women's rights is somehow blasphemous, but it does remind me of how low our own culture can sink sometimes. The Anti-Feminist movement (mostly made up of deadbeat dads who don't want to pay spousal/child support) who want to take away a woman's right to get a divorce, get child support or even make decisions like when or if to have an abortion.

Imagine for a moment if the father had the right to decide if his sexual partner should have an abortion? To essentially force her into it.

I am sure it happens already, wherein boyfriends force their girlfriends to have abortions, but what if she refused and somehow the man got the legal right to force it? That would be, essentially, slavery.

And that is the problem some countries still face. Women's rights in Afghanistan is like emancipation from slavery, and trying to help free slaves or even reading about it, punishable by death.

People think or say that feminism and women's rights are over, that we've won, but frankly we haven't even scratched the surface of the globe. We may have women's rights guaranteed by our western governments, but the global fight has only barely begun.

And don't think for an instant that we ourselves have had much success either. How many female heads of state have we had in western culture? Kim Campbell of Canada was Prime Minister for a mere 6 months and Margaret Thatcher of Great Britain was Prime Minister for 11 years. That is it.

Pretty pathetic when you think about it.

Margaret Thatcher did prove however that women could be very successful as leaders.

Suzanne MacNevin
Editor of the Lilith eZine

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The Afghan who dared to read about women's rights - And was sentenced to death.

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