First Lady Laura Bush Delivers the President's Weekly Radio Address

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Table of Contents 
  •  Address begins 
  •  World-wide effort to focus on the brutality against women and children by the Taliban 
  •  Life under the Taliban 
  •  Repression is not legitimate religious practice 
  •  Repression by the Taliban 
  •  Speaking out against brutality towards women and children 
  •  Impact of recent military gains 
  •  Thankful for the blessings of American life; working to secure rights for Afghan women and children 
  •  Good morning. I'm Laura Bush, and I'm delivering this week's radio address to kick off a world-wide effort to focus on the brutality against women and children by the al-Qaida terrorist network and the regime it supports in Afghanistan, the Taliban. 
  •  That regime is now in retreat across much of the country, and the people of Afghanistan -- especially women -- are rejoicing. Afghan women know, through hard experience, what the rest of the world is discovering: The brutal oppression of women is a central goal of the terrorists. 
  •  Long before the current war began, the Taliban and its terrorist allies were making the lives of children and women in Afghanistan miserable. Seventy percent of the Afghan people are malnourished. 
  •  One in every four children won't live past the age of five because health care is not available. Women have been denied access to doctors when they're sick. 
  •  Life under the Taliban is so hard and repressive, even small displays of joy are outlawed -- children aren't allowed to fly kites; their mothers face beatings for laughing out loud. Women cannot work outside the home, or even leave their homes by themselves. 
  •  The severe repression and brutality against women in Afghanistan is not a matter of legitimate religious practice. Muslims around the world have condemned the brutal degradation of women and children by the Taliban regime. 
  •  The poverty, poor health, and illiteracy that the terrorists and the Taliban have imposed on women in Afghanistan do not conform with the treatment of women in most of the Islamic world, where women make important contributions in their societies. 
  •  Only the terrorists and the Taliban forbid education to women. Only the terrorists and the Taliban threaten to pull out women's fingernails for wearing nail polish. 
  •  The plight of women and children in Afghanistan is a matter of deliberate human cruelty, carried out by those who seek to intimidate and control. 
  •  Civilized people throughout the world are speaking out in horror -- not only because our hearts break for the women and children in Afghanistan, but also because in Afghanistan we see the world the terrorists would like to impose on the rest of us. 
  •  All of us have an obligation to speak out. We may come from different backgrounds and faiths -- but parents the world over love their children. We respect our mothers, our sisters and daughters. 
  •  Fighting brutality against women and children is not the expression of a specific culture; it is the acceptance of our common humanity -- a commitment shared by people of good will on every continent. 
  •  Because of our recent military gains in much of Afghanistan, women are no longer imprisoned in their homes. They can listen to music and teach their daughters without fear of punishment. Yet the terrorists who helped rule that country now plot and plan in many countries. 
  •  And they must be stopped. The fight against terrorism is also a fight for the rights and dignity of women. In America, next week brings Thanksgiving. After the events of the last few months, we'll be holding our families even closer. 
  •  And we will be especially thankful for all the blessings of American life. I hope Americans will join our family in working to insure that dignity and opportunity will be secured for all the women and children of Afghanistan. Have a wonderful holiday, and thank you for listening. 
  • 00:00
Photograph: Mrs. Bush is Greeted by Youngsters Outside a Kabul Bakery  
Photograph: Mrs. Bush and Dr. Zenat Karzai, wife of President Hamid Karzai, Talk with Afghan Women about Issues of Women's Rights and Education at the Presidential Residence 
Photograph: Mrs. Bush at the International Conference in Support of Afghanistan with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan 
Artifacts: Traditional Afghan Dress and Scarf 
Documents: Letters from American Youth to the Afghan Children’s Fund 
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TitleFirst Lady Laura Bush Delivers the President's Weekly Radio Address
CreatorGeorge W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum

Location: Crawford, TX
Date: November 17, 2001

ARC Identifier: 6171394, Local Identifier: WHCA-A 767

During the weekly Presidential Radio Address, on November 17, 2001, two months after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, First Lady Laura Bush made history while advocating for a world-wide effort to focus on the brutal treatment of Afghan women and children by the Taliban regime. Other First Ladies, such as Nancy Reagan, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Barbara Bush had participated in Presidential radio addresses previously, but Mrs. Bush was the first First Lady to deliver the address in its entirety.

In her address, Mrs. Bush stated that Afghan girls were not allowed to go to school and women and children were denied access to doctors when sick. Yet, she also emphasized that this oppression was not due to Islamic religious beliefs, but instead because of terrorists’ beliefs. Since giving the presidential radio address, she has championed the rights of women and children in Afghanistan and around the world. Through her continued efforts to raise awareness about the importance of education, health care, and human freedom, Mrs. Bush has worked to “insure that dignity and opportunity will be secured for all the women and children of Afghanistan.”

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All records provided courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. For additional information about the Library and its holdings, please see:

To access metadata or download any of the attached records, please click on the gray "Category: Laura Bush-Afghan Women and Children" link at the top of the page.

This module was created in partnership between the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum and the School of Information at the University of Texas.