Thirty-Five Years of Revolution: An Analysis of the Infrapolitical Tactics of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan
AbstractMuch of the literature on Afghan women examines their victimization under repressive cultural and political practices. The stereotypical view of an Afghan woman is a fully veiled, demure creature who has been battered by the men and regimes that govern her country and life. Yet, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) has been struggling for a revolution for 35 years. My examination of RAWA seeks to shatter this myopic stereotype, and to recognize these women for more than the token quality of their gender, but for their endurance and prowess as resistance activists. I argue that RAWA’s ability to not only survive, but also to thrive, is due to their astute use of infrapolitics. That is, RAWA has adapted their political tactics to counteract the particular oppression of each regime they have encountered from 1977 up to today. Such adaptability includes shifting from highly visible political action such as protests to clandestine political action embedded in humanitarian work. RAWA’s revolution is one that will be satisfied by the changing of regimes—they have survived countless—but a revolution that will be realized when ideologies change and democracy, secularism, social justice, and women’s rights are realized in Afghanistan.
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