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Top Afghan woman’s rights activist fights back, refuses to wear the burqa

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Fariha Easer is one of the bravest souls you could ever meet.

For her entire adult life, the 35-year-old activist has fought tirelessly for the rights of women in her homeland of Afghanistan. She has stood in the face of death and destruction to take the hand of battered women, to push for patriarchal expectations to be tossed aside, to let her countrywomen know that their lives – and their voices – matter.

“My heart is broken because the truth is nobody cares about us – the world, the United Nations. I am so mad and crazy about our so-called leaders, those who fled and left us with no one to secure the people,” Fariha told me last week from Kabul while I was stranded 300 miles north in the Taliban-controlled city of Mazar-e-Sharif. “We worked for democracy, and yet we have been given over to a terrorist group. Shame on them, shame on all the leaders. Why say that they value human rights?”

I wanted to tell her that the world still cared; only my words felt hollow and meaningless. But, over and over, her faded by fierce voice gained momentum as she spoke in dismay of the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who quietly fled abroad with his top aides and a convoy of cash before the Taliban broke through the gates.

It all happened with the blinking of an eye, she laments. One moment, she and her three sisters were together pushing for a better future, continuing to expand on the many U.S.-funded programs implemented over the past 20 years to empower Afghan women.

“What is left of these efforts now? Genocide is happening in my country,” Fariha says breathlessly, as if struggling to wrap her head around how quickly her whole world was shattered.

She tells me the burqa is a “symbol of oppression.” Under no circumstances will she buy or ever wear one, despite the mandate from the Taliban leadership.

I first met Fariha in Kabul four-and-half years ago, her gentle face always sheathed by different silk scarves reflecting the colors of the ocean. She was pouring over painful case files, seeking justice for a woman tucked inside a remote village in Baghlan province who had been set on fire by her angry husband. In another case at the time, she was fighting for a fellow Afghan who was murdered and dismembered by her husband in Helmand province, yet the perpetrator was yet to be held to account in the eyes of the law.

Fariha describes the burqa as a symbol of oppression.
Fariha describes the burqa as a symbol of oppression.
AFP via Getty Images

For Fariha, it was the kind of job that would never be over. And even back then, she braved insults and threats to continue what she believed to be right, coordinating with various government departments, including the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the Ministry of Interior Affairs, to push for prosecution.

“Now we are suffering, in pain; we are now under a flag of a terrorist group,” Fariha says.

The tenacious activists speaks in long, poetic sentences about how far they have come, and how quickly, it all fell apart. Still, she will not cry. She will not cower to the Taliban’s harsh rule and stringent interpretation of Shariah Law, which summons women to their dank basements and forbade them to leave their homes unless fully covered in a burqa and escorted by a male relative.

At 35, Fariha is old enough to remember her early teen years under such a terrifying rule – bereft of education, treated as lower than property.

“I was just remembering the dark days. I was studying for my midterms exams and remember I heard on the radio that the Taliban had taken over Kabul,” she recalls. “It took six years of silence, of being unable to do anything because I was female. I was not even allowed to go outside to play.”

Fariha believes the Taliban have not changed nor will they despite the group saying otherwise.
Fariha believes the Taliban have not changed nor will they despite the group saying otherwise.
AP

The Taliban top brass has been quick to purport that they have changed, that they are not the same brutal insurgency that butchered and blasted their way to power 25 years ago.

Yet Fariha is under no illusion that anything will be different. And she will not simply stand by and allow her hard work to slip behind the mesh veil of oblivion.

“Nothing has changed. The Taliban is trying to say they changed their behavior just to smooth over their take over,” she persists, her tiny voice gaining momentum. “They have not changed nor will they change; they are defined by their violence, their killing, their violations of human rights.”

On Thursday, Fariha and a small contingency of other activists took to the streets in courageous protest – shaking their fists right in the face of the Taliban members, refusing to cover their faces, marching alongside other male supporters and waving the national flag in vehement dissent.

In many ways, Fariha acknowledges, the true brunt of her work may just be getting started. Friends abroad – fearing for her safety – are begging her to leave. Yet, so far, she will not go.

“Afghanistan is my home. It may take us one hundred years to get back to having our rights, the rights we still had a week ago,” Fariha adds. “But I will not accept this.”

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What Time Will ‘Riverdale’ Season 6 Be on Netflix?

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The season finale of Riverdale aired in late July on The CW. Notice we said season finale? Thankfully, the beloved series will return for a seventh season, but, unfortunately, Season 7 will be the final installment of Riverdale.

If you already streamed the current season, make sure to read Alex Zalben’s interview with Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa on Decider. If you’re waiting to binge Season 6 on Netflix, well, you better clear your calendar because all 22 episodes are about to drop on the streamer. What time will the sixth season of Riverdale debut on Netflix? What time does Netflix release shows? Here’s everything you need to know.

WHEN IS THE RIVERDALE SEASON 6 NETFLIX RELEASE DATE?

Riverdale Season 6 premieres Sunday, August 7 on Netflix.

HOW MANY EPISODES ARE IN RIVERDALE SEASON 6?

The sixth season of Riverdale consists of 22 episodes.

WHAT TIME DOES NETFLIX RELEASE NEW SHOWS?

Netflix releases new episodes at 3:00 a.m. ET/12:00 a.m. PT.

WHAT TIME WILL RIVERDALE SEASON 6 BE ON NETFLIX?

Netflix is based out of California, so Riverdale Season 6 will be available to stream at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (3:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) beginning Sunday, August 7. If the clock strikes 12:00 (or 3:00 a.m. for folks on the East Coast) and you don’t see the new episodes, give it a moment, hit refresh, and then enjoy the show!

WILL THERE BE A SEASON 7 OF RIVERDALE?

Yes! Decider recently covered that very topic.

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Actress Anne Heche Suffers Severe Burns After Crashing Car Into Los Angeles Home

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Actress Anne Heche, known for her roles in such films as Donnie Brasco, Volcano and I Know What You Did Last Summer, was involved in a fiery car crash in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles on Friday.

According to TMZ, Heche was driving a blue Mini Cooper and had first crashed into the garage of an apartment complex. Residents of the apartment complex tried to get her out of the vehicle but she backed up and sped off.

Footage of Heche speeding down the streets of her neighborhood had been obtained by TMZ as well as her initial encounter at the apartment complex.

In the first clip, you can hear her car crash towards the end. It has been reported that the actress crashed into someone’s home, causing her vehicle and the house to erupt into flames. Heche suffered severe burns and was resisting being taken away in a stretcher. You can also view footage of this via the TMZ article.

It has not been confirmed whether alcohol has been involved in the incident since her condition prevents doctors from performing any tests to determine if she was driving under the influence. She is currently intubated in the hospital but expected to live.

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These are the vulgar license-plate requests the DMV has rejected

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Stay CL4SSY, New York!

The state Department of Motor Vehicles nixed 3,752 requests for vanity license plates in the last three years because it deemed them too raunchy, radical or simply ridiculous.

New York’s personalized plates go for $60 initially, and then $31.25 annually for renewal. You can get any plate as long as no one else has it and it’s not offensive.

Odds are a request for a plate that marks a wedding anniversary or shows your allegiance to a team — like METS86 — will pass muster with the DMV gatekeepers.

Vulgarity won’t get you to first base.

So plates with the phrase LFGM — the acronym for Pete Alonso’s “Let’s F–king Go Mets” rallying cry — did not make the cut.

And you won’t see anyone driving around with the custom plates MILFDAD, AS5M4N and WLHUNG.

Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
New York DMV
NYC123
New York state Department of Motor Vehicles denied more than 3.5 thousand requests for license plates deemed inappropriate.
New York DMV
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
New York DMV

The DMV also put NICEBUNS, FATFANNY, GOTAPOOP and BENDOVER in the rear-view mirror.

One player unsuccessfully tried to score the plate YESDADDY, to no avail.

The DMV also shot down such dark requests as DEADGIRL, GENOC1DE, S8TAN, DETONATE and MURDERM3.

“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
New York DMV
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
New York DMV
BOOBIE is prohibited.
BOOBIE is prohibited.
New York DMV

Getting political is a dead end too — FJOEBIDN, FDTRUMP and CNNLIES were nixed.

LUDEDUDE, NARCO, GOT METH and BLUNT also went up in smoke.

Staten Island attorney Bill Dertinger said his blue 1995 Jaguar SJS was tagged with ESQLTD after his company and his 2014 Porsche had the plate GHOSTGTS because the sleek sportscar was white.

“The plates can make you stand out — which can be a curse or a blessing,” the 54-year-old Dertinger said. “Make sure you don’t cut anybody off.”

A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
New York DMV
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
New York DMV
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
New York DMV

There must be a New York Jets fan playing referee at the DMV because a request for the seemingly innocent plate GASE was sidelined. Ex-Jets head coach Adam Gase had an offensive 9-23 win-loss record during his forgettable two-year tenure.

The DMV would not reveal who gives the final yea or nay.

“The DMV reviews all custom license plate requests and works hard to ensure that any combinations that may be considered objectionable are rejected,” said agency spokesman Tim O’Brien.

“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
New York DMV
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
New York DMV

He said guidelines on what plate combinations are restricted can be found on the DMV website: https://dmv.ny.gov/learn-about-personalized-plates. Approximately 50,000 personalized and custom plates are sold per year, O’Brien said.

Bagged Tags

The state DMV has rejected 3,752 requests for custom license plates in the last three years because it deemed them potentially offensive. Here are some:

YESDADDY

FJOEBIDN

FDTRUMP

GLOCKS

FLYMOFO

BOOBIE

AS5M4N

BUDLIGHT

DEADGIRL

SUM8ITCH

GENOC1DE

S8TAN

CNNLIES

DETONATE

MURDERM3

MILFDAD

WLHUNG

Source: NYS DMV

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