Sunday, September 12, 2010

Politics & Afghan Olympian Robina Jalali

From the Washington Post:
Amid the warlords, ex-mujahideen fighters, hard-line clerics and shady businessmen running for a seat in the Afghan parliament, Robina Jalali, a 25-year-old candidate from Kabul, offers a more inspiring biography.

Raised during a Taliban regime that was brutal toward women, Jalali nevertheless trained as a sprinter and, after the Taliban fell, followed her passion to the Olympics. No matter that she finished second-to-last in the 100 meters in Athens in 2004 and last in Beijing in 2008. In Afghanistan, a conservative Muslim nation where many women still wear the identity-shielding burqa, Jalali's story is like a fairy tale.

Now comes the sequel: Jalali is running again - for a seat in the Wolesi Jirga, the lower house of the Afghan parliament. Though interest among women was initially sparse, a recruitment drive from the Independent Election Committee has resulted in a record 406 female candidates standing in the Sept. 18 elections for at least 64 seats reserved for women under the Afghan constitution, which guarantees them 25 percent of the 249 seats. (More than 2,000 men are running.)

No comments: