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Meena, Heroine of Afghanistan: The Martyr Who Founded Rawa, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistanby Melody Chavis
Reading Group Guide
1. Meenas family was relatively privileged, but she identified strongly with very poor people. Why? Which other leaders can you think of who made similar choices?
2. How is the Sharia legal code similar to or different from the laws of your country? How did Meena hope to change Afghan law, if she could have become a judge?
3. What barriers do women in your country face? Compare womens situation where you live to their conditions in Afghanistan.
4. What are some of the advantages for women of wearing clothing that covers their bodies, in cultures that make womens modesty a high priority?
5. What are some of the advantages to women of segregation of the sexes in school, work and social life? What are the disadvantages?
6. How do you think RAWAs work would have been different if Meena had founded it as an open membership group instead of as a clandestine organization?
7. Meena did not work alone. How did forming an organization help further her goals? Can you think of individuals in history who were effective by their individual actions? Who are some leaders you admire who formed organizations or started movements? What organization would you join? What organization would you like to start? What would be its goals?
8. What roles did the Soviet Union and the United States play in Afghanistan? What do you think is the responsibility of a foreign power to take action in countries where there are terrible human rights violations?
9. Why is literacy so important to RAWA?
10. What do you think of a woman leaving her children with caretakers in order to pursue the goal of changing society for the better? What about a man? Under what circumstances would you do this?
11. Do you think it is wrong for a mother to risk her life for a principle she believes in? Is it more wrong for a mother to do so than for a father?
12. What principles do you believe in that you would risk your life for? When have you taken even a small risk to speak up when only a few people, or no one around you would agree with you? Can you think of an occasion when you did speak up? How about a time when you did not speak up, and you wish you had?
13. What are Meenas qualities that inspire young people today?
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