Police Action Ends Afghan MP’s Hunger Strike

The 12-day hunger strike of Afghan parliament member Simin Barakzai ended yesterday when Afghan police reportedly dismantled her encampment outside the presidential building in Kabul. Barakzai began a fast-to-the-death to protest her unseating from the Afghan parliament.

According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Barakzai’s supporters,

claimed police, disguised as doctors, dismantled their tents, handcuffed and beat them, and took them to a local police station where they were held overnight and released this morning.

Baraksai was taken to Daud Khan Hospital; her current condition has not yet been reported.

On Wednesday, several people, including another Afghan MP, had joined Barakzai in her tent, and women’s rights activists organized a march to offer her support. Nilofar Ibrahimi, the MP who has taken up Barakzai’s cause, announced that

I want to show the people and the world that Simin’s move is not for power or position. It’s rather for restoration of justice. If it was for power, I would not have joined her.

On the fourth day of her strike, Barakzai issued this plea:

My request for the women of America is to ask their government why this happened. … I want women of America to see my situation. This is my life. This is the life of a member of parliament in Afghanistan. … Nobody has come to ask me that what my demand is. There is an American embassy in Afghanistan, yet nobody has come from American embassy to ask me, What is your name and what is your pain? Where are those women who claim that they are fighting for rights of women in Afghanistan? I request that the women of America ask their ambassador, If not this, what you are doing there in Afghanistan?

This disturbing video purports to show Barakzai being forcibly removed from her encampment and placed in a van, and then the large force of Afghan police dismantling the site of her hunger strike:

You can still show support for Barakzai and help her demand justice: Please sign this Change.org petition, or contact the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan.

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Photo of Simin Barakzai after four days of fasting, by Zareen Taj


Hey y’all! My name is Mimi Seldner, and I’m a 22 year old Ms. Magazine intern, writer, activist, artist, and English major at the University of Florida. My concentration is in Queer Theory, and this, as well as feminist theory and politics, human rights, and social justice issues inform my entire life, from my politics, to my art, to my writing (the three of which are usually interrelated). These issues, and my stubborn, assertive, and feet-dug-in, oil-striking stand on them also govern the ways in which I live my life. I’m wordy, witty, and willful, to say the least (a habit that I am not in, accordingly). I recently relocated from one sunshine state to the other (Florida to California), in order to pursue this amazing opportunity to intern at the feminist-force-to-be-reckoned-with, Ms. Magazine, in all her glory, and I am looking forward to inspired collaborations, and to creating many things imperatively worth creating. Also, there are free sticky notes.