News: Dr. Anne Cubilie presents human rights and gender issues in Afghanistan


BY SULLIVAN CARTER, Staff Reporter

Spreading awareness of Afghani war crime survivors, specifically women, Dr. Anne Cubilie’s spoke Tuesday afternoon in the Milo Smith Tower Theatre. Cubilie talked about her time spent collecting testimonies as a consultant for the United Nations in Badakhshan, Afghanistan.

In front of the 30 to 40 people attending the presentation, Cubilie shared that she began her work in Badakhshan in 2000 and it lasted until August of 2001. Her job was to collect the testimonies of 100 internationally displaced persons, referred to as IPD’s. With these testimonies, Cubilie wrote a report on human rights and gender issues and later used them in the last chapter of her book, “Women Witnessing Terror: Testimony and the Cultural Politics of Human Rights.”

Cubilie discussed what she learned from these testimonies and how difficult the process was to get them, saying that they averaged about 5 testimonies a day.

“We would sometimes have to hike into places of extreme poverty,” Cubilie said.

During her time in Afghanistan, Cubilie ran into many serious problems such as lack of resources, including no transportation and only one, inexperienced translator. Talking about Badakhshan, she said, “It’s almost entirely rural, and most people are illiterate.”

Even with all of these problems, Cubilie explained that the most amazing and surprising part of her trip was that these women still understood that they were apart of a global community and often wondered why the rest of the world was abandoning them.

When asked how difficult the transition from living in Afghanistan to living back in the United States, Cubilie explained that she was unable to contact any of the people she received testimonies from even though she developed such strong relationships.

“It was a very upsetting transition,” Cubilie said.

Cubilie is a former professor at Georgetown University and has been working with the UN for the last 13 years. She is currently a program officer for the UN but is making her way around the nation to spread awareness of the issue over seas.

Central freshman Beatrice Wambui shared her feelings on the presentation and her reasons for attending.

“I appreciate her attempt to educate people on the matter,” Wambui said.

Wambui explained that it saddened her to think there are few steps being taken to help the situation and that Cubilie’s speech might have an impact on what major she chooses. Wambui attended the speech to learn more about the problem in Afghanistan.

To help with the current problem in Afghanistan, visit www.womenforwomen.org.

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