Nargis Rezai Afghan blogger
In 2013 I was awarded the global best blog Persian by “Deutsche welle”. Beside blogging I got involved into the community and start social activities in Kabul. Every thing start by blogging, a simple daily report of the world around me! Still I write because I believe in change.
I start blogging in 2009 and was on of the first afghan women who had blog in a society a very small percent of youths (mostly men) used Internet. For long time my blog had no viewer but now readers from all over the world check it. By blogging not only I connected to other blogs but also their thoughts, dreams and information.
I remember when I start using Internet; US Embassy donated five computer systems to national library of Herat city. After hours waiting we could use half an hour 128 kb/s Internet for searching about an article in Google or open the yahoo mail or chat by yahoo messenger.
I had a high passion to change my life and people around me; also I was very happy that I could show a real feature of Afghan women life to my readers who mostly were not living in Afghanistan.
I am happy that nowadays Life gets very easier, smart phones come to the bazar and made the world connected. New platforms like Facebook, instagram, LinkedIn, and twitter made us more social, aware and open-minded. Internet is also very cheaper because many different companies provide Internet service. Girls can easily use the social media everywhere they are living.
After a while blogging was my weapon to fight, the best tool to amplify my voice from inside of Afghanistan and point the reality of our society on basic rights of Afghan women and children, injustice against minorities and corruption inside the government system.
However the Stoning, murdering, number of wives, marriage under the age of 18, forced marriage and being deprived of right of education is what we often hear about Afghan women life situation in media but in other hand we have women who are the symbols of resistance and fighting for better life based on human standards.
Below read my chat with three famous Afghan woman social activists that briefly answer my four questions, 1-How social media changed your life? 2-What are the challenges toward social change through social media for women in AFG? 3-What is the weakness of Afghan society from your perspective to accept/ judge/ evaluates your willing/goals/ideas? 4-How effective you feel your activities are in social media?
Masooma Ibrahimi, one of the first Afghan woman blogger who is studying MBA in Arkon university of Ohio in America, started social life from Blogging says; “social media helped me to find new friends, keeping in touch with old friends. To communicate and have dialogue with large group of people about different issues. Beside that social media is a platform to get and expand the information and ideas. The most challenging part is protecting your identity and your privacy and to write under the own names. It also happened that other people start a fake account under your name. Afghan society is traditional and religions society, they react hard when they traditions and their religious is denied or challenged. This reaction is getting worse when women disobey them. My life is totally changed by my blog and I learned a lot”
Kobra Rezaie a Socio-political activist who worked as director of gender in the ministry of Urban and Development Affairs and now I doing master degree in Japan says:
“Nowadays social media is a significant tool towards democracy. Talking about social media without considering freedom of speech is impossible. Sustainable democratic process needs strong social media tic activities and support freedom on social media activities.
Particularly in Afghanistan, role of traditional and social media is really remarkable. During all conflicts which have had happened in last 12 years in Afghanistan one of most vulnerable group which have had suffered from challenges are women.
Politician women have used mass media and social media to introduce themselves to the society even out of Afghanistan. Because Afghanistan is a traditional country and women were hidden from public environments. Mass media and social media has been opened worlds’ windows towards Afghan women capability and ambitious.
Base on my own experience, I had participated as youngest candidate during provincial election in Heart city in 2009. I was too young and honestly I did not know about ethnics, religious and regions well because I have risen out of Afghanistan. During political campaign I have understood that in my country multi-ethnicity, multi-cultureless and regions function as a fragmented features not as unity. Social media helped me to introduce plans, ideas and future programs that I have, very fast and easy.
Farkhonda Akbar Tufaan who studied International Relation works with United Nation in New York says: “Social media has connected me to my homeland and to the world. Therefore, I am involved in social issues happening back in Afghanistan and participate in campaigns, particularly related to Afghan woman issues and human rights. As a result of social media, I have become more active and more aware. An Afghan woman face a lot of challenges on social media, as a precedent has not been set before on how Afghan woman is ‘expected’ to present or appear on social media. Thus brings a lot of challenge to the Afghan women on practicing the culture of social media – such as ‘selfies’, personal statuses, photo sharing. Afghan women on social media cannot be part of it to a certain extend as the taboos and restriction that physically exist in the society is dragged on social m
edia by the Afghan themselves. Afghan society is practicing its ultimate freedom on social media and in their democracy – both concepts are new and therefore are raw in the context of Afghanistan. My activities are certainly effective enough for the audience I am targeting. My activity is effective as long as like-minded people support it, repeat it and joins it. Once an activity is shared on social media, it becomes popular, just for the fact how many people you can influence.”
I believe the correct news and the contents in social media are the weapon of the democracy because it power comes from people thoughts. But unfortunately, the literacy rate is low in Afghanistan. Most of people are living in rural areas. Economic growth is very slow and development projects have not adequate speed. Government is struggling with insurgents and armed group. Taliban as most strict Muslim group is big threat for citizens inside the country. Therefor state could not pay enough attention to women issues and support women’s rights as much as internal and international expectation.