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The end of the black night is white, says an ancient Afghan proverb.
Am I afraid? Of course, killing is nothing for the Taliban.
On the Afghanistan’s Independence Day, August 19, that commemorates the 1919 treaty that ended British rule, Crystal Bayat took to the streets in Kabul, with 6 other courageous women, to demonstrate against the Taliban guerrillas:
«I saw them shoot at us!»
She is 24 years old: almost as long as the military occupation of her country by Western troops lasted.
She marched through the streets of Kabul with the flag that the Taliban had uselessly ordered her to throw away. In fact, now that the Taliban control the country, raising the Afghan flag has become an act of resistance.
Along with other 6 young women, joined by men, she walked the streets of Kabul to cry out her love for the Afghan Republic and to demand that women’s rights be respected.
The young woman defied the Taliban in the middle of the street, holding the Afghan flag green, black and red over her head.
Crystal: «Our flag is our identity!
They told me: you are a woman, you have to stay at home.
Because a good woman stays at home and doesn’t go out.
So I told them that we have the right to come out and take part in all spheres of the society. They said: you’re in the wrong way.
I replied that my mother left the house to go to work every day… A man came to my defense.
They pointed a gun at his shoulder and pushed him away.
They took his phone and broke it.
It was terrible for me… I lost all hope.
And I got like a shock.
I realized that the Taliban had not changed.
They still do not believe in the freedom and demands of the citizens. No one can hold them accountable.
That they were the same as those of 1996.
Every Talib was saying us that
for only 20 days you guys are free, after the negotiation is complete and the Emirate is in power, we’ll impose what we want!
So I just wanted to use these 20 days and raise my voice!
So, I didn’t bow to them and continued and we came on the streets with flags of Afghanistan.»
Crystal has bravely decided to stay among her peers, with her parents, grandparents in her land, she doesn’t want to be forced to run away.
She returned to Afghanistan last year after studying abroad, full of hope for the future.
I haven’t seen Taliban in my whole life. It was my first time that I faced with a Talib.
«I had just opened my logistics box and hoped that we would never give up and never allow the Taliban to return unless they changed.
In one day, all the dreams of women, men and women, died.
Women’s life now is like a caged bird.
They are in prison now.
It is the worst thing for the Afghan women.
They never thought it could happen.
Afghanistan is in a terrible situation!
The world must hear and act on the voices of Afghan women and youths. No one knows what will happen tomorrow.
My mother told me many painful stories about the time when the Taliban ruled the country, when I was still very young. The pain was the same that people are facing today.
My mother is a doctor, she is a gynecologist and she helped women a lot during the Taliban era.
I have grown up with the changes and developments post-2001.
I went to school and I went to university.
I earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the Daulat Ram College in Delhi University and also hold a master’s degree from United Nations Institute in Delhi.
I am now studying for a doctorate.»
I do political, social, civil activity for human rights and I write.
I have tried to give a voice to my people, to the new generation and especially to women.
While understanding the fear of those who flee, even at the cost of clinging to the planes that take off and then abandon themselves into the void and die, Crystal thought she could and should stay.
Not only to witness what is happening but also to defend what she was taught and allowed to accomplish in her young life. Instead of running away, she preferred to continue cultivating what good and just was sown in his country after 2001.
So she helped organize this small (about 200 people) and courageous demonstration in Kabul and revealed his real name (despite the risks).
When the Taliban entered Kabul, I decided to take a stand against their rules and their cruelty.
Are the Taliban driving women away from jobs in the media and other sectors?
Yes, They don’t allow women to go to work.
Crystal quickly became the face of women’s protests against the Taliban in war-torn Afghanistan.
It is encouraging Afghan women to mobilize, to reclaim their democratic rights.
«I have been studying for the last 19 years and striving to achieve my goals.
But today, unfortunately, all my dreams died.
The last 20 years we have seen a lot of changes in our society and they are taking back all that from us.»
Defending the democratic rights of Crystal and of all Afghan women is now the test of every democracy, because, as Gino Strada would say:
I am not a pacifist. I am against the war.
If one of us, any one of us human beings, is suffering like a dog right now, is sick or hungry, it affects us all.
It must concern us all, because ignoring a human being’s suffering is always an act of violence, and one of the most cowardly.
Currently in Afghanistan, Crystal Bayat was on the way to Kabul airport on Saturday morning. «I don’t feel safe if I am on a video call».
She is scared to attend calls as her phone is under control. On Monday morning, she said that she and her family are looking for a safe place. She doesn’t have access to the Internet for more than a few hours daily.
The 24-year-old is trying to leave Kabul along with her family to a safe place and has said that she doesn’t feel safe there anymore. Living in fear and with limited Internet access daily and most of all, without basic human rights.
We need a free and courageous voice to tell what is happening in Afghanistan, so our editorial team asked Crystal Bayat to have her own daily column on Just Baked.
And she accepted.
A great joy and a great honor for us.