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IOS Minaret Vol-1, No.1 (March 2007)
Vol. 9    Issue 7   16-31 August 2014

Professor A. R. Momin

Erdogan Wins Turkey’s Presidential Election

In Turkey’s first direct and closely contested presidential election held on August 10, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan emerged victorious with 52% of the vote. His rivals, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, an academic and diplomat and former Secretary-General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, secured 38% while Selahattin Demirtas, a Kurdish politician and co-chairman of the Democratic People’s Party, secured 10% of the vote.

Erdogan casts his vote in Istanbul (Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Erogan described his victory as the harbinger of a new era for Turkey and added, in a conciliatory tone, “I will not be the president of only those who voted for me. I will be the president of 77 million Turks. Those who didn’t vote for me won as much as those who did, and those who don’t like me won as much as those who do.” Until now, the post of president in Turkey has been a largely ceremonial one, but Erdogan has repeatedly said that he would use the full extent of his constitutional powers and that he would like to be an “active president.”

Erdogan’s supporters in a campaign rally in Mersin, a port city on the Mediterranean coast
(Photo: Samuel Aranda/The New York Times)

Apart from Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, no other politician in Turkey has been as influential as Erdogan. In the course of over a decade, he has ushered in wide-ranging changes in Turkish polity, economy and society. He has successfully clipped the wings of the military, which has dominated the political scenario for half a century and has repeatedly meddled in political affairs. He has brought political stability to the country. His economic policies have turned Turkey into one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, made the country a regional power and have transformed the lives of millions of people. Social welfare, education and health care services have greatly improved during the past decade. The decade-long rule of the Justice and Development Party has provided a model to Muslim countries, particularly those in the Middle East. There has been a marked improvement in infrastructure, including new roads, metro lines and high-speed rail links. Erdogan has promised to build a third airport in Istanbul that would be three times as large as Germany’s Frankfurt airport, a third bridge over the Bosporus and a canal between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea.

Erdogan with his wife Emine Erdogan

The Kemalist model of secularism, which was essentially derived from the French laicite, was used as an instrument for the control and manipulation of religion by the state and the removal of religious symbols from the public domain. This elitist and totalitarian model of secularism caused a great deal of resentment and anger among a large majority of Turks. Erdogan and the ruling AK Party have sought to redefine and adapt the principle of secularism in the context of changing circumstances and the perceptions and aspirations of the Turkish people. According to Erdogan, who is a practicing Muslim, there is no inherent or necessary contradiction between secularism as a matter of state policy and religion, which is matter of democratic freedom and which is protected by the constitution. During his visit to Egypt in September 2011, Erdogan described himself as a Muslim prime minister of a secular state. He called on Egyptians to adopt a secular constitution, emphasizing that secularism did not mean renouncing religion. Drawing a distinction between secularism as a personal ideology and as state policy, he added, “As Recep Tayyip Erdogan I am a Muslim, not secular. But I am a prime minister of a secular country. People should have the freedom to choose whether or not to be religious in a secular state. Turkey defines secularism as the principle that the state is equidistant from all religions. Secularism is not atheism.” Erdogan and the ruling Justice and Development Party have rectified the excesses committed by Turkey’s over-zealous and ultra-secularist Kemalist elite. This is particularly reflected in the restoration of the freedom to wear the headscarf on university campuses and in Parliament.

Erdogan’s reconceptualisation of the principle of secularism in the context of Turkey provides a much-needed corrective to the contested discourse on secularism, which mirrors two extreme views: an omnibus, totalitarian model (represented by the French laicite and the Turkish laiklik), and a flexible, accommodative perspective (as reflected in the views of Erdogan and Rachid Ghannouchi). There need not be a universal, omnibus model of secularism. Rather, there can be “multiple secularisms,” which reflect the political, social and cultural contexts and specificities of different nations. In other words, the metanarrative of a universal model of secularism needs to be replaced by a context-specific and pluralistic vision of secularism. Erdogan will take oath as Turkey’s first directly-elected president on August 28, following which a new prime minister will be elected by the AK Party. One hopes that the new prime minister will be elected unanimously and that the new president and the new prime minister will work in harmony and unison.

Amnesty International Slams US over Civilian Deaths in Afghanistan

Amnesty International, in a report released on August 11, 2014, has slammed the US security forces over the deaths of hundreds of civilians, including women and children, during military operations in Afghanistan. The report says the US military failed to provide accountability, information and transparency in the vast majority of military operations in the country, resulting in the death and injury to Afghan civilians.

The report, compiled from a database of 70 incidences from 2009 to 2013, investigated 10 cases in which at least 140 civilians, including 50 children, were killed during US military operations across the country. “We found a shocking level of lack of accountability towards civilian casualties in Afghanistan, particularly in cases where US forces were involved,” Horia Mosadiq, a researcher at Amnesty International, said. He added that many Afghans, whose family members were killed or wounded in the course of a military operation had no information as to who did it, why it happened or whether there was any proof that they or any of their family members had links to the Taliban or insurgents.

An Afghan man points to a spot in a house in Kandahar where a family
was shot by a US soldier, Robert Bales (Photo: AFP)

In February 2010, US Special forces raided the home of Haji Sharabuddin, a tribal elder in the Khataba village as he celebrated the birth of his grandson. The botched operation resulted in the killing of five civilians, including two pregnant women. Before leaving the patriarch's home, US troops removed the bullets from the bodies of the victims and those stuck in the walls of the house. "I begged them not to touch the bodies of the women," Sharabuddin told Amnesty, explaining how he watched the soldiers use a metallic instrument to remove the bullets, "but they didn't listen". US senior officials later claimed the women were the victims of honour killings, or had possibly been killed by the Taliban. After two months of issuing false statements and discrediting journalists' reports, NATO finally took responsibility for the deaths. Robert Bales, a US Army Staff Sergeant, after a night of drinking, entered two Afghan villages and wantonly killed 16 villagers in their sleep, mostly women and children. In 2013, Bales was sentenced to life in prison without parole after admitting to murder and assault.

Baroness Warsi Resigns over UK Gaza Policy

Israel’s illegal occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, its repeated and willful defiance of international law, its atrocities on the Palestinian population and the brutal military assault on Gaza in July have added to its international isolation. Ironically, Israeli policies and actions have been brazenly defended by the United States, Israel’s closest ally, and supported by most European governments. Both the US Senate and the House of Representatives unanimously approved resolutions supporting Israeli actions in Gaza.

The UK’s policy in the Middle East and its unremitting support for Israel mirror its strategic and ideological alliance with the US. British Prime Minister David Cameron has defended Israel’s current actions in Gaza saying that it has a right to defend itself. A statement from Downing Street expressed “condolences for the deaths of Israeli troops” but only “concern” about “mounting civilian casualties in Gaza.”

Several Conservative MPs have expressed their reservations about Britain’s highly partisan Israel policy, saying that Israel’s response to rocket attacks by Hamas has been disproportionate. David Cameron has faced criticism from members of his own Conservative Party for not condemning Israel for its excessive use of military force against civilians in Gaza. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said Israel had “overstepped the mark” in the conflict and called for the suspension of arms export licenses.

Incensed and exasperated by the Tory government’s blind defence of Israel’s atrocities in Gaza, Baroness Saeeda Warsi, Foreign Office Minister and the first Muslim woman to serve in a British cabinet, resigned on August 5. Baroness Warsi said she could no longer support government’s policy on Gaza, which is “morally indefensible.”

Baroness Warsi, the daughter of an immigrant mill worker of Pakistani origin, grew up in West Yorkshire and was educated at Leeds University. In 2004 she gave up a lucrative career as a solicitor, with an annual salary of £130,000, to stand for Parliament in her hometown Dewsbury, West Yorkshire. In 2010 she was appointed as Foreign Office Minister in the Conservative government. In 2010 Lady Warsi was named one of the world’s 500 most influential Muslims by the Amman-based Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre. Reacting to Lady Warsi’s resignation, Labour leader Ed Miliband said the government’s position is wrong, and added, “I think Saeeda Warsi’s statement is completely right about this.”

The brutal Israeli assault on Gaza has led to the killing of more than 2000 Palestinians, three-fourths of whom are civilians and one-fifth children. More than 4000 Palestinian homes and Palestine’s only power station have been destroyed. More than a quarter of Gaza’s population has been displaced. Civilian infrastructure in Gaza is in a state of ruin. On the other hand, only 67 Israeli soldiers have been killed.

A scene of devastation in Gaza (Photo: Alessio Romenzi/Der Spiegel)

There has been a huge worldwide uproar over Israel’s assault on Gaza, which is manifested in massive anti-Israel protests and demonstrations in North America, Europe, Latin America, Australia and South Africa. A growing number of Europeans say that Israel is a racist and apartheid state. A global poll in several countries, conducted for the BBC long before the Israeli attack on Gaza, reported that negative views of Israel’s influence on the world overweighed positive ones by more than two to one. A recent Gallup poll found that a majority of young people under 30 in the US thought Israel’s actions in Gaza unjustified.

Critics of Israel’s hegemonic designs, the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories and its barbaric and inhuman treatment of Palestinians are often charged with anti-Semitism by the well-entrenched Jewish lobby and the supporters of Israel. In reality, the accusation of anti-Semitism is a clever ploy and a bogey to deflect attention from Israel’s wrongdoing and its unjustifiable actions and to discredit the supporters of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.

More than a quarter of Gaza’s population has been displaced (Photo: Reuters)

Anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiments are on the rise in many European nations, including France, Greece, Poland, Hungary and Spain. According to a recent study, 69% of Greeks, 48% of Poles and 53% of Spaniards have anti-Semitic views. In Hungary, the anti-Semitic party Jobbik won a fifth of the vote in the parliamentary elections in April 2014. France’s National Front, which has anti-Semitic leanings, has emerged as the third-largest political force in the country and won almost 25% of the vote and 24 of France’s 74 seats in the 2014 European Parliament elections. In July, a synagogue and several Jewish-owned businesses were attacked in the Parisian suburb of Sarcelles.

In May this year, 16% of the voters in Athens voted for the Golden Dawn candidate
for the mayor’s post. According to a recent study, 69% of Greeks have anti-Semitic views
(Photo: Losmi Chobi/Sipa/Rex)

Dutch Court Orders the Netherlands to Pay Compensation to Relatives of Victims of Srebrenica Massacre

Following the disintegration of Yugoslavia in 1991, the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence on 15 October 1991, and was formally recognized by the European Union and the United States in April 1992. The Bosnian Serbs, however, were extremely unhappy with the Bosnian declaration of independence and were determined to remain with Yugoslavia. In fact their desire was to make Bosnia and Herzegovina a part of Greater Serbia. The declaration of independence was followed by a fierce struggle for territorial control among the three major groups in Bosnia-Herzegovina: the Bosnian Muslims or Bosniaks, who constituted about 43% of the population, the Bosnian Serbs, the followers of Orthodox Christianity who made up about 31% of the population, and the Catholic Croats, who constituted 17% of the population. The Bosnian Serbs, aided and abetted by Serbia and the Yugoslav army, took control of nearly 70% of the territory. By 1993 the Bosnian Muslim government was besieged in the capital Sarajevo.

The civil war that engulfed Bosnia-Herzegovina from 1992 to 1995 involved large-scale killing of Bosnian Muslims, forced deportations, torture in concentration camps and mass rape of Muslim women by Serb soldiers. More than 296 Bosnian Muslim villages were burned down or destroyed by the Serb forces. Civilians were attacked, tortured and killed. The Bosnian Serbs sought to create ethnically pure areas with no presence of Muslims. Systematic ethnic cleansing involved forced expulsion and killing of Muslims and destruction of their homes as well as mosques, cemeteries, madrasas and Sufi hospices. Young Muslim women and girls were kept in detention centres under appalling conditions, where they were humiliated, tortured and repeatedly raped by Serb soldiers.

The estimates of the number of victims during the Bosnian war include around 100,000-110,000 killed and 1.8 million displaced. Most of the victims (66%) were Bosnian Muslims, followed by Serbs (25%) and Croats (8%). More than 83% of civilian victims were Muslim. Some 30% of Muslim civilian victims were women and children. The estimates of Muslim women raped by Serb soldiers range between 20,000 and 50,000. According to the United Nations’ International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia at The Hague, the crimes committed during the Bosnian war of 1992-95 amounted to crimes against humanity. The war crimes, ‘ethnic cleansing’ and genocide that took place in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992-95 had the active support and involvement of the Bosnian Serb Army, paramilitary forces and police. Furthermore, they had the active connivance of the Orthodox Church, media and civil society. Radovan Karadzic was blessed by an Orthodox priest on the eve of the Bosnian war in March 1992. Significantly, Russia secretly provided heavy weapons to the Bosnian Serbs.

A mass grave in which the victims were dumped by the Serb forces

The Srebrenica Massacre

In April 1993 the United Nations declared Srebrenica a ‘safe area’ under UN protection, with a 400-strong contingent of Dutch peacekeepers called Dutchbat. More than 28,000 Bosnian Muslims had taken refuge with the United Nations Dutch peacekeeping force in Potocari, a village in Srebrenica. From 13th to 19th July, units of the Serb Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) under the command of General Ratko Mladic separated the men and boys from the crowd, loaded them onto buses and trucks, took them to deserted spots and shot them in cold blood. In many cases the victims were blindfolded and their hands were tied behind their backs. The dead bodies were dumped in freshly dug graves. According to the Bosnian Federal Commission of Missing Persons, 8,373 Bosnian Muslims, including 500 young boys under 18 years, were killed at Srebrenica. The worst massacre in Europe after World War II took place under the noses of the Dutch peacekeepers. As the Serb army advanced towards Srebrenica, the Dutch peacekeepers, sensing grave danger to the Bosnian refugees, sent repeated requests to the UN officials to allow NATO warplanes to strike at the advancing Serb army, but the requests went unheeded. The Dutch peacekeepers simply watched as General Ratko Mladic’s troops executed more than 8000 Bosnian Muslim men and young boys.

A battalion of Dutch peacekeepers was stationed at Srebrenica in 1995

In a landmark 2004 ruling, Theordor Meron, the American judge who presided over the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia at The Hague, observed: “By seeking to eliminate a part of the Bosnian Muslims, the Bosnian Serb forces committed genocide. They targeted for extinction the 40,000 Bosnian Muslims living in Srebrenica….They stripped all the male Muslim prisoners, military and civilian, elderly and young, of their personal belongings and identification, and deliberately and methodically killed them solely on the basis of their identity.”

Mass burial for the victims of the Srebrenica massacre (Photo: AP)

In November 1999 the United Nations released a highly self-critical report on its performance during the Srebrenica genocide, stating, “Through error, misjudgement and the inability to recognize the scope of evil confronting us, we failed to do our part to save the people of Srebrenica from the Serb campaign of mass murder.” Kofi Annan, the then Secretary General of the United Nations, said that the United Nations’ failure to prevent the massacre of Muslims in Srebrenica was the darkest page in the history of the UN and that it would haunt the UN’s history for ever. The International Court of Justice at The Hague ruled that the Srebrenica massacre was genocide.

So far, the bodies of over 6000 victims of the Srebrenica massacre have been identified through DNA analysis of body parts recovered from mass graves. Of these, 4,524 bodies have been buried at the Potocari cemetery at Srebrenica. Mass graves of the victims of the Bosnian war are still being discovered. In July 2013 a mass funeral of 409 newly-identified victims of the massacre was held in Potocari.

In 1996 the Dutch government commissioned The Netherlands Institute for War Documentation to prepare a report on the role of the Dutch peacekeeping forces in Srebrenica. The institute conducted more than 900 interviews and collected hundreds of testimonies over a period of six years and submitted its report in April 2002. Hans Blom, director of the institute, stated in the report: “The events that occurred cannot be described as an act of vengeance that got out of hand. Although they occurred rapidly and in an improvised way, the scale and course of the murders clearly indicate that they were organized. Places of executions were sought, transport was arranged and troops were ordered to carry our executions.” The report also said that the conduct of Dutchbat was not beyond reproach. On 16 April 2002 the Dutch government resigned en masse, owning moral responsibility for the failure of Dutchbat to prevent the massacre.

When the Bosnian Serb forces stormed and overran a United Nations compound where the Dutch peacekeeping forces were stationed, Dutch officials ordered three Bosnian Muslim men, who were working for the Dutch forces and were among the thousands of Bosnian Muslims who had taken shelter in the UN compound, to leave the compound. As soon as they left the compound, they were shot down by Serbian troops. In 2011 a Dutch appeals court ruled that the Dutch peacekeeping forces were accountable for the killing of the three Muslim men and that they should not have handed them over to the Serb forces. On September 6, 2013, the Dutch Supreme Court upheld the earlier ruling of the appeals court and said that the Netherlands was indeed liable for the killing of the three Muslim men. Judge Floris Bakels of the Netherlands Supreme Court said it would be "unacceptable" for countries not to be able to hold their peacekeepers to account. The ruling marked an indictment of the Dutch peacekeeping forces as well as the Dutch state and paved the way for compensation to be paid to the families of the victims.

Relatives of victims of the Srebrenica massacre

A group of Bosnian Muslim women called Mothers of Srebrenica, comprising the mothers, widows and other relatives of the victims of the Srebrenica massacre, filed a civil suit against the Dutch government in a Dutch court in April 2014, blaming Dutch peacekeepers for their failure in protecting the victims of Srebrenica and demanding compensation from the Dutch government. A Dutch court on July 16, 2014 absolved the Netherlands from liability in the Srebrenica massacre but ruled that the Dutch state was indeed responsible for the death of 300 victims and ordered the state to pay compensation to their families. Though the order of the Dutch court assuages the pain and grief of the relatives of the victims of the massacre to some extent, it leaves much to be desired. It is well-known that nearly 28,000 Bosnian Muslims had taken refuge with the UN Dutch peacekeeping force in Potocari and that all the victims were taken way by the Serb army under the very nose of the Dutchbat. Dutch peacekeepers did not fire a single shot to scare away the Serb troops. One fails to understand how the Dutch peacekeepers and the Dutch state can be absolved of the responsibility for the massacre of more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslims.

Chinese City Bans Muslims with Headscarves and Beards from Boarding Buses

Karamay, a city in northern Xinjiang in China, has banned women in veils, headscarves or hijabs and men wearing clothing bearing the crescent moon and star (associated with Islam) or with long beards from boarding public buses. The ban, which took effect on august 4, will be in place until the conclusion of a local sports competition to be held n August 20. Chinese authorities consider headscarves and long beards as dangerous signs of Islamic extremism, often associated with Uighur separatism.

Five types of attire and religious symbols have been banned on buses

The ban has been imposed in the context of the growing unrest in Xinjiang and clashes between the security forces and ethnic Han Chinese on the one hand and Uighur Muslims on the other. Relations between Uighur Muslims, who number around 10 million and are largely concentrated in Xinjiang, and ethnic Han Chinese have rapidly deteriorated since 2009, when violent clashes between the two groups in Xinjiang’s capital city Urumqi left around 200 people dead and hundreds of others injured. In June 2014, four Uighur men were shot dead by the security forces when they confronted a Han Chinese official who lifted a Muslim woman’s veil during a house inspection. Security forces killed nine Uighur “terrorists” in the city of Hotan on July 27. In violent clashes between the two groups in the oasis town of Kashghar in the first week of August, 35 Han Chinese were killed and 59 Uighurs were shot dead by the security forces.

There is a heavy deployment of Chinese troops in Kashghar

Although the Chinese constitution grants a substantial measure of autonomy to the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, the reality on the ground is altogether different. The region is tightly controlled by ethnic Han officials who are appointed by the central government. The large-scale migration and settlement of Han Chinese in Xinjiang, their disproportionate share in government jobs and discrimination faced by Uighur Muslims in employment have reinforced feelings of alienation and disaffection in the Muslim minority.

Kashghar’s oldest and largest mosque, the Id Kah Mosque, was built in 1442.
It can accommodate up to 20,000 worshippers
(Photo: Brent Crane/Al Jazeera)

Chinese authorities have launched a campaign for the assimilation of Uighur Muslims, who have retained their distinctive religious and cultural identity, into mainstream Chinese society. Uighurs are encouraged to discard their religious symbols and cultural traditions, particularly the veil and the headscarf. In Xinjiang, Mandarin is favoured and privileged over the Uighur language in schools and in government service. In 2011 Chinese authorities launched Project Beauty to discourage Uighur women from wearing the headscarf. The project urged them to “show your pretty faces and let your beautiful hair fly in the wind.” However, the campaign for the assimilation of Uighur Muslims has backfired. An increasing number of Uighur women now wear the headscarf.

Women buying headscarves in a Uighur neighbourhood of Umruqi
(Photo: Gilles Sabrie/The New York Times)

A Muslim woman selling headscarves on a street in Umruqi
(Photo: Gilles Sabrie/The New York Times)

Uighur women at the Sunday bazaar in Kashghar
(Photo: Gilles Sabrie/The New York Times)

An increasing number of Uighur women now prefer to wear the headscarf in
defiance of the repressive measures of Chinese authorities
(Photo: Gilles Sabrie/The New York Times)

Frustrated and exasperated by the policies of Chinese authorities that have exacerbated their marginalization and exclusion and have undermined their religious freedom and cultural identity, some Uighur men have resorted to violent methods.

Eid prayers at the Id Kah Mosque (Photo: Brent Crane/Al Jazeera)

A Kashghar street under redevelopment (Photo: Gilles Sabrie/The New York Times)

Uighur Muslims prepare to break the fast during Ramadan (Photo: Brent Crane/Al Jazeera)

An Uighur family walks by the Id Kah Mosque in Kashghar
(Photo: Gilles Sabrie/The New York Times)

Remittances in Tajikistan: A Mixed Blessing

Foreign exchange remittances sent by expatriates play a highly significant part in uplifting the economies of the sending countries. In 2013, India received 70 billion dollars by way of foreign exchange remittances (almost three times as large as inward investments made by foreign firms), China 60 billion, the Philippines 25 billion, Mexico 22 billion, Nigeria 21 billion, Egypt 17 billion, Pakistan 15 billion, Bangladesh 14 billion, Vietnam 11 billion and Ukraine 10 billion. In Nepal, remittances from expatriates are nearly double the country’s revenues from exports of goods and services, while they are over 50% in Sri Lanka. An estimated 40% of Somalia’s population depend on remittances. A 2010 World Bank report noted that the vast flow of remittances by migrants – estimated at over $240 billion a year – was more than double the international aid and debt relief given to developing nations. The United Nations Human Development Report 2009, which focused on international migration, pointed out that migrants send back to their native countries not just cash but also technology, ideas and networks.

Tajikistan, which became independent in the wake of the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991, is a mountainous, landlocked country in Central Asia with a population of about 8 million. With no natural resources except aluminum, it is the poorest country in Central Asia. Almost half of the population lives below the poverty line. Soon after independence, Tajikistan was plunged in a prolonged civil war, in which nearly 100,000 people were killed and one-tenth of the population fled the country.

More than three-quarters of Tajikistan’s population live in rural areas. The economy is dependent on aluminum production, cotton growing and foreign remittances. Cotton accounts for nearly 60% of agricultural output and is the main source of livelihood for 75% of the rural population. Almost half of Tajikistan’s working-age men are working abroad, mainly in Russia and Uzbekistan. According to the World Bank, no country in the world is as dependent on remittances as Tajikistan. More than half of Tajikistan’s GDP comes from remittances. In 2013 remittances sent by Tajik men working abroad totaled more than $4 billion, the equivalent of 52% of Tajikistan’s GDP. Remittances have substantially reduced poverty, increased incomes and have contributed to economic growth.

Zumchura village, situated 40km north of Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe.
More than three-quarters of Tajikistan’s population live in rural areas.

The large-scale migration of Tajik men has created a host of problems for Tajik society, particularly for women. Nearly one-third of men who have migrated never return home or fail to support their families, leaving the women, particularly wives, vulnerable to economic hardships, destitution, health problems and depression. Some of the men divorce their wives. Thousands of children in the country are growing up without their fathers. Many mothers, who find it extremely hard to support their children, put them in orphanages. Tajikistan was the breadbasket of the erstwhile Soviet Union. Now, in the absence of men, women are forced to work on farms or to sell fruits and vegetables in the streets to support their families.

A Tajik woman working on a cotton field

Tajik women selling fruits to supplement the family income

Thousands of children in Tajikistan are growing up without their fathers

Tajik women divorced by their husbands who are working abroad

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