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Clicktavism versus activism

August 2021 began with South Africa celebrating the victories of the 2021 Olympics and reflections on the success of our athletes. By 15th August 2021, the euphoria of the Olympics had been overshadowed by the shocking reality of the state of politics in Afghanistan. The Taliban has taken over the rule of Afghanistan. I delivered a webinar recently where sentiments were expressed that South Africa has their own race and economic problems and that we need to sort out our own back yard first before seeking to assist others.

My response to this is, life is not a shopping list. You do not simply compartmentalize your list of social evils and attempt them one at a time.

We need to have a holistic approach to dealing with injustices as global citizens. The Taliban has taken control of Afghanistan, plunging the nation into a humanitarian crisis that is particularly dangerous for the country’s 14 million women and girls. Let’s not forget that whilst South Africa was plunged into darkness during Apartheid, many countries expressed the sentiment that we were not their problem however, through sanctions and political interventions, South Africa found its place at the global table as a celebrated rainbow nation.

Since the Taliban was ousted in 2001, activists have been fighting for women’s educational, reproductive and political rights in the country. Though gender equality never became a flagship priority for the Afghani government, some progress had been made over the decades. For example, women became judges, ministers and police officers. And in 2020, Afghanistan's parliament had a higher percentage of women than the U.S. Congress, a fact that is not popularised. U.S. troops began withdrawing from Afghanistan in May 2021. Since then, there has been a sharp rise in civilian casualties, with women and children comprising 46 percent of deaths. Chaos erupted at the Kabul airport on Monday, 16 August 2021, as thousands tried to flee the country. Seven people were killed in the fray. With the advent of social media and the use of the internet, the world is a global platform. I am urging you to stop being an arm chair activist.

Simply clicking “like” on civil rights campaigns, using emojis on news pages etc. This does not make you an activist, it makes you a clicktavist. Rise up, lead, and do not let this injustice go by unnoticed by simply retweeting. Take action!

Groups like the Global Fund for Women and Women for Women International are raising emergency funds for grassroots groups on the ground in Afghanistan. From 1996 through 2001, the Taliban reigned over Afghanistan and notoriously brutalized women and girls, barring them from working, attending school or going outside without male accompaniment or face covers. Female Afghanis routinely endured public beatings and humiliations. Many believe that the same reign of terror has already re-emerged 20 years later. As of Monday 16 August 2021, girls have had to stop attending school, stores with advertisements depicting women with their faces uncovered have been painted over, and men are growing beards, all these measures are being taken so as to comply with the Taliban’s rules. Millions of people did not have the means to flee Afghanistan and are now living under the new reign of terror.

As a global citizen you need to put pressure on your community organisations, leaders, faith-based organisations, funding organisations etc. to put a stop to the Taliban rule and protect the people of Afghanistan.

Individuals are encouraged to donate to:

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