Kamala Harris’ Rise Sends a Message of Hope to Young Girls of Color ”. It was just one of many tributes paid by the US media to the US First Vice President of Black and Asian Heritage. The report in question spoke of Harris “often stooping down to meet [children of colour] up to their eyes and asking for their aspirations without breaking eye contact ”during his campaign.
The Indian She went even further. “Young girls around the world have seen a part of themselves in ‘Harris’, with the hope that one day it might be them.” One might wonder why Indian girls aspiring to high office would need to seek inspiration halfway around the world when their own country elected its first female prime minister in 1966 – when Harris was two – but we are there.
There is a certain irony in the media which would be among the first to point out and condemn any sign of Western imperialism in other contexts that seem to have little difficulty in erasing the achievements of non-white women politicians around the world in order to ‘amplify the importance of vice president’s success.
As fate would have it, the catastrophe of the departure of the United States and its allies from Afghanistan came under the watchful eye of Harris’ running mate, Joe Biden. Afghan women and girls are among the most vulnerable human beings in the world today, a group in dire need of a politically powerful voice.
But Harris – despite her platform and all the accolades she’s received for winning it – clearly failed to provide that voice.
I grew up on the same continent as Afghanistan, and my own country was not a utopia for girls or women. But whatever the plight of the Bangladeshi girls is, it simply does not compare to the horrors inflicted on the Afghan female population under the Taliban. The terrifying stories coming from Afghanistan when I was younger made me feel like something was coming out of the history books, but of course girls my age lived through that.
As pointless and utterly hopeless as the West’s operation in Afghanistan may now seem, by all accounts the women and girls of that country have experienced a real change in their lives over the past two decades. followed since 2001. It has been reported that girls were denied the right to go to school under the Taliban growing up to be writers and activists as children after the fall of the theocratic regime. There are now Afghan women who are doctors, politicians and journalists – or at least they were until last month. Zarifa Ghafari became the youngest mayor of Afghanistan in 2019. After the fall of Kabul, the 29-year-old had to flee her country hiding in a car.
There is a whole generation of girls who have never had to endure the harms of Taliban oppression, but who are already seeing their rights threatened by their newly reinstated leaders. In accordance with the ideology of the Taliban, women are disappearing from public life.
What could Kamala Harris have done about it, one might ask. That would be a better question for Harris’ cheerleaders, who hailed her electoral success as a victory for disadvantaged and underrepresented girls around the world. It is the fact that her election was celebrated as something far greater than a personal accomplishment that makes her almost completely invisible during a time of crisis of this magnitude for the female population of Afghanistan so completely unfathomable.
There are Afghan women and men who heroically hold their own, vying to continue fighting for women’s rights in the face of one of the most barbaric regimes in the world. Outside that country, members of the Afghan diaspora continue to make their voices heard, highlighting the horrors of the Taliban regime and refusing to let the world’s attention shift from Afghanistan.
But none of these people are likely to be called heroes by sycophantic journalists or magazines, though each of them deserves it far more than Harris, who has been elected to one of the most powerful positions. in the world, doesn’t seem to have a clue what to do with it.
A bit like his boss, of course. But even the most obsequious sections of the American media had failed to elevate Biden to the status accorded to Harris.
As we get used to the United States hanging up its boots as the world’s policeman, we also need to learn not to look only to the West for saviors. All too often, Western politicians have been hailed as heroes – even winning the Nobel Peace Prize – simply because they won an election.
It is time that we judge our politicians on what they actually accomplish with the power they wield. Evaluating them on the basis of anything less leaves us looking for heroes in the wrong places.