Thursday, September 16

That inevitable desire to “save” Afghan women

These days I have not stopped seeing on social networks all kinds of things, each one more insufferable, about the painful situation in Afghanistan. In the midst of everything that is read, there are insistent comments about the urgency of “saving” Afghan women, given the terrible panorama that awaits them with the arrival of the Taliban. Talking also about his clothes, about him hijab and about how tremendously oppressed they live.

This idea of ​​”salvationism” – which I trust is sometimes even raised from good intentions – is harmful, racist and colonial. It does not start from an equality perspective or from a questioning of the effectiveness of human rights. Behind the idea of ​​saving there is only a condition of heroism, of superiority, which nullifies the social and political agency of the one who is trying to save. Come on, we are talking about a higher being (who saves) and an inferior being (who is saved).

Saying this does not suit everyone, just look at the comments to the tweet published in previous days by the jurist expert on international protection issues and president of the Guatemalan Women association, questioning the racism in this idea.

It is impossible to ignore that the situation is urgent and worrying, but the solutions must come from an active listening and accompaniment of the Afghan people in general and women in particular. They are the ones who are living this reality, they know it and they know what they need, how our help is materialized and how the international community should act.

Part of the genuine interest in being useful is to recognize institutional racism and demand political positions other than those that have prevented Afghans in Europe from being granted their right to asylum year after year and as a consequence they have been deported, why not do so – as the interior ministers of Austria, Denmark, Greece, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium stated in a letter to the European Commission – “it sends the wrong signal and is likely to motivate more Afghan citizens to leave their homes for the EU” .

Spain’s systematic refusal to guarantee international protection to those who flee because of the risk they run in their countries and who here continue to be the object of institutional violence and police persecution for being in an irregular condition, is something that we must interpellate. Recognizing that public institutions are generators of violence and discrimination must also be accompanied by demanding changes away from racist practices that impede the full enjoyment of rights.

But it is also that concerns for women and their rights cannot be selective. The racism, colonialism and classism that is behind this desire to “save” those who are far away, is the same that prevents the indignation and collective mobilization by those who suffer here – sometimes as close as caring or cooking at home- : the labor and sexually exploited day laborers, the “Kellys” who have to clean 25 hotel rooms in less than 6 hours for misery wages, those who die drowned in the Mediterranean, those who are crowded with their families in inhuman camps, the domestic workers who work in absolute precariousness and do not have the right to unemployment, those who work internally without the right to rest, or even women victims of gender violence whom their nationals are unable to recognize as such because “that in Spain does not exist “, but they are capable of rejecting it when it occurs in other countries, generally in those that are not their” equals “or in which there are no economic interests (see for example Qatar or Arabia Saudi).

These women are suffering the effects of discrimination and exclusion every day of the year, but they also denounce it and make it visible and there is no collective outrage at what they suffer. It is impossible to make an analysis based on human rights leaving many out, it is impossible to reflect on a feminist key if we do not appeal to an intersectional analysis that includes them all, if we are not able to understand at once that in Afghanistan or here, the issue is one of rights, not of white heroes.

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