VOA's broadcasts to Afghanistan started 20 years ago, during the Soviet occupation. In later years, the VOA Afghan services responded to the challenges of civil war and then the Taleban. On March 29, 1999, VOA's Dari Service broadcast a meeting of a group of prominent Americans who had gathered in Los Angeles to speak up for the oppressed women of Afghanistan.
"My name is Anna Eleanor and these are my daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret. We are the granddaughter and great-granddaughters of Eleanor Roosevelt," Anna Eleanor said.
Eleanor Roosevelt was the wife of U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt. In later years, she served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and she played a key role in the development of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
"She saw, and confronted, her share of world-class bullies. …To her, they all represented the same things the tyranny of one group over the freedom, dignity and sometimes even the very right to life, of another," Anna Eleanor said.
Her daugther said, "it was exactly because of groups like the Taleban that my great-grandmother fought so hard to establish the Universal Declaration of Human Rights."
"And to the women of Afghanistan who may be listening tonight on Voice of America, we would like to say something to you on behalf of Eleanor Roosevelt. When she wrote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I believe she was thinking of her granddaughters and of all the granddaughters in all the world. So from her granddaughters by blood to you, her granddaughters in spirit 'Ma Ba shooma Hastaym,'" Anna Eleanor said.
The granddaughter and great granddaughters of Eleanor Roosevelt were speaking in Dari on VOA, telling Afghan women: "We are with you."
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