William H.A. Willbond MSM, CD

WERE WE JUST GUARDING THE GROW OP?

Why do our troops continue the freedom fight over in Kandahar?
Is it not partially for woman’s rights that we fought in this war?
Are we not building classrooms and sending little girls to school?
Now Karzai’s new law makes us all look like Canadian fools!

Are we not over there to support and uphold human rights?
Are not young Canadians dying in those Taliban fire fights?
2011 is coming quickly and our role of fighting will then stop!
Were we really just part of guarding War Lord Karzai’s grow op?

Afghan women are now subservient to men for sex and for money!
Canadians all across this great Nation do not think that is funny!
This new law has been seen with great disgust by all Canadian MPs.
Perhaps it is time Canada brought Karzai to his financial knees?

Author’s Note: Inspired by Norma Greenway and Mike Blanchfield CanWest Article, and Raeside Cartoon, both reproduced below.

Raeside Cartoon: April 3, 2009

FEDS FUME OVER ANTI-WOMAN LAW

Ottawa calls Afghan Ambassador to express concern over legislation

NORMA GREENAWAY and MIKE BLANCHFIELD
CanWest News Service

OTTAWA — Amid a rising chorus of outrage, Canada has expressed its “deep concern” directly to the Karzai government over a new law that would make Afghan women financially and sexually subservient to their husbands.

“We understand that the Afghan government intends to continue to review the law and discuss it with civil society,” an official with Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon’s office said. “We have informed the Afghan government of the damaging effect that the law could have and we pointed out that across the country, Canadians are following this issue closely.”

Canadian Embassy officials met with members of President Hamid Karzai’s office in Kabul while the government in Ottawa called in Afghan Ambassador Omar Samad to “reiterate Canada’s deep concern,” the official said.

Karzai has yet to comment on the new law, but sources close to Afghan authorities told CanWest News Service he is expected to address the issue publicly tomorrow.

The developments came as a leading Canadian Muslim women’s activist urged the government to cut off financial aid to Karzai’s government unless it backs off the law that, she says, would trample the “universal human rights” of Afghan women.

Alia Hogben, executive director of the Canadian Council for Muslim Women, said yesterday that vocal opposition to the law expressed so far by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his senior ministers is not good enough and the government should use its financial stick to force the Afghan government to retreat on the law.

“If that doesn’t work” Hogben said, “then we say, ‘sorry, we don’t have the money for you.’”

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney reiterated the government’s deep concern about the law, but he did not raise the spectre of holding back aid money. Instead, he said the government plans to use its “significant influence” with the Karzai government.

“Obviously our men and women [of the Canadian Forces] have been in Afghanistan to defend human rights and that includes women’s rights. And we intend to use it in every way possible to ask that the right of women be protected,” Kenney said.

Afghanistan is Canada’s largest recipient of international development aid, receiving $280 million in 2008-09. The government says it plans to invest a total of $1.9 billion from 2001 through 2011 on Afghan reconstruction. Some of that money has gone to support grassroots civil society groups in Afghanistan that have been promoting the rights of women so the proposed law comes as a blow.

The law has prompted statements of outrage by opposition MPs.