29 September 2008

Malalai Kakar 1967 - 2008

Yesterday morning, Malalai Kakar was assassinated* in front of her home as her son prepared to drive her to work. She was a remarkable woman. The highest ranking woman in a police force in Afghanistan, she headed the Crimes Against Women unit in Kandahar and was mother to six children. She was the the first woman to rejoin the police force after the Taleban were ousted in 2001, she had previously joined the police force in 1981 following the likes of her father and brother.

I read an article about Malalai Kakar sometime last year in Mother Jones magazine. The striking photo above is of her and was initially what drew me into the article. As I read I was struck by her perseverance, humility & strength; she inspired me.

I heard news of her death tonight on the radio as I drove home. I was saddened and immediately thought of the women in Afghanistan, Malalai Kakar's community of Kandahar, her children and their grief for her.

I arrived home and googled her name. The bulk of articles that came up were recounting her assassination, but there were a handful that were written long before and told tales of her advocation for Afghani women illustrating her magnificent character. (This BBC article is my favorite.)

Tonight let us keep her in our thoughts and grieve her and the loss her children and community will endure in the wake of her death.


*Her assassination has been claimed by the Taleban & is part of an alleged campaign to eliminate all women in authoritative & powerful positions in Afghanistan.

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