At a gala event sponsored by the Feminist Majority Foundation and Glamour Magazine, over 300 celebrities joined with human rights advocates Monday at the Forrest Ballroom of New York city’s W Hotel to speak out against the terrible abuses women are suffering under Taliban military rule in Afghanistan.
Twenty-one year-old Maryam Shams, a refugee, recounted her own violent encounters with the Taliban militia as she and her friends tried to defy their edicts by maintaining an underground library of banned books, and gathering in public spaces. Hawa Ghaus, FMF’s Afghanistan project associate, shared horrific stories from a recent survey expedition. Afghan refugees in Pakistan described to her massacres, executions, beatings, detentions, suicides, ethnic cleansing, religious and sectarian violence, rapes and gender abuse.
Joan Osborne, Melissa Etheridge and Jessica Tivens dedicated songs to Afghan women. Speakers Meryl Streep, Jane Meadows, Steve Allen, Marlo Thomas, Al Franken, Laura Dern, Glamour’s Bonnie Fuller, and others voiced their support for the restoration of Afghan women’s rights.