Thursday, November 1, 2001
Statue of Osama
Thanks to the courage and bravery of America's military and our allies, hope is being restored to many women and families in much of Afghanistan.
WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness -- That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
US Air Force Lt. Col. Martha McSally, the Air Force's highest ranking female fighter pilot, is suing the Defense Department in federal court over restrictions on servicewomen stationed in Saudi Arabia that require them to wear head-to-toe robes when not on base, and not to leave base without a man. McSally, 35, is used to tough fighting - she's one of the US's first female fighter pilots, and during the Gulf War she became the first woman in US history to fly a fighter jet in combat. Her lawsuit claims that the restrictions in Saudi Arabia discriminate against female military personnel and violate their religious freedom by forcing them to adopt religious customs that are not their own. Furthermore, servicewomen are the only US federal employees in Saudi Arabia who are required to abide by these customs.
The oil industry has fueled the transformation of Saudi Arabia from a pastoral, agricultural, and commercial society to a rapidly urbanizing one, characterized by large-scale infrastructure projects, an extensive social welfare system, and a labor market comprised largely of foreign workers. Oil revenues account for around 55 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and 80 percent of government income.
There are no active women's rights groups. Women legally may not drive motor vehicles and are restricted in their use of public facilities when men are present. Women must enter city buses by separate rear entrances and sit in specially designated sections. Women risk arrest by the Mutawwa'in for riding in a vehicle driven by a male who is not an employee or a close male relative. Women are not admitted to a hospital for medical treatment without the consent of a male relative. By law and custom, women may not undertake domestic or foreign travel alone.
Foreign Taliban fighters have left behind hundreds of women and children inside Afghanistan. Civilians in Afghanistan are entitled to protection under international humanitarian law, regardless of where they are from or what their husbands and fathers may have done.
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