Sunday, September 18

Voting Day

Two historic elections today -- one in a country that has never before respected women's rights, the other in a country that's in effect voting for a female leader for the first time in its history.

In Germany, Angela Merkel observed that never before has she been so aware of her gender in politics.

I think, I hope, the polls in Germany are wrong: the election is not as close as predicted. Germans should have enough common sense to elect Merkel's party by enough majority to escape the need for a counterproductive coalition. Otherwise, why not stick with peddling backward under Schröder and his dead-end party?

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, female candidates are just trying to live through the experience of running for office. There is also the problem of how to run for office if you can't leave the house.

In villages and remote areas, often women are simply not allowed to leave their homes, let alone publicly campaign and run for office. Many women candidates are forced to hold campaign meetings in their homes. Limited access to public platforms hampers women's ability to effectively campaign. And women who can appear in public are not allowed to appear in all public places.

There is also the problem of bringing the wrath of Allah down on one's head. Along with garden variety intimidation -- beatings, death threats -- faced by female candidates, they have to contend with warnings that prayers won't be recognized if people vote for female candidates.

“This is a serious threat against women in the society,” one female candidate observed with understatement.

When Osama bin Laden settled into Afghanistan, he bought the minor chieftains for as little as 300 rupees apiece; the big cheeses he bought for ten thousand bucks each.

Foolish men. It takes two types of outlook to survive if you can't keep capturing slaves to do your thinking for you.

Well, they have to elect at least some females to office. Afghan electoral law requires that at least 68 of the 249 seats in the general assembly are reserved for women.

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