On the left is Katie Harmon, Miss America, wearing the swimsuit she chose for the competition. On the right is a typical Afghan girl, wearing the heavy smothering burqua as required by the oppressive Taliban regime. Miss America is a junior at Portland State University, hoping to eventually get a Master's degree in Bioethics. Miss Afghanistan is forbidden from receiving any education at all, and cannot read or write. Miss America has worked as a lab assistant at both the Oregon Health Sciences University and the University of Puget Sound. Miss Afghanistan is forbidden from working. Miss America's father is an engineer. Her mother is a teacher. Miss Afghanistan's father was shot by a gang of Taliban militants. Her mother begs for bread scraps since she cannot work or remarry. Miss America wowed the judges by singing a Puccini aria, "O Mio Babbino Caro". Miss Afghanistan is forbidden from singing or even listening to music of any kind. Miss America will be traveling the nation nonstop during her reign. Miss Afghanistan cannot leave her house without a male family member, cannot drive, and cannot be out after dark. Miss America is an advocate for breast cancer research. Miss Afghanistan cannot be treated by a male doctor, and for all practical purposes has no access to medical treatment of any kind. Miss America can date, marry, or divorce anyone she chooses. Miss Afghanistan will be stoned to death if caught in the company of a male outside of her family. She is likely to be sold into an arranged marriage to a man who already has two wives. Miss America wears sunscreen on the beach to keep from burning. Miss Afghanistan cannot live in a house with windows unless they are painted black. Since she must wear a burqua outside, her pale translucent skin has not seen a ray of sunlight in years. Miss America could have been disqualified if her swimsuit did not meet pageant standards. Miss Afghanistan can be flogged if the holes in the mesh covering her face are too large. Miss America will decide how many children, if any, she wants to have.Miss Afghanistan will be pregnant 3-4 times more often than Miss America. Unfortunately, her babies are 25 times more likely to die in the first year. One out of four will not see their 5th birthday. Miss America is majoring in speech communications at PSU. Miss Afghanistan is forbidden from speaking in public. Miss America is 21. Since the U.S. life expectancy for women is 80, she's still a very young woman. Miss Afghanistan is also 21. But since the life expectancy for an Afghan woman is 43, next year she will be "over-the-hill". (Besides having a shockingly short life expectancy overall, Afghanistan is one of the only countries in the world in which women have a shorter life expectancy than men) Miss America is a beautiful, intelligent woman and everyone knows it. Miss Afghanistan could be a beautiful, intelligent woman, ... but nobody will ever know it. God Bless Miss America God Help Miss Afghanistan, ....
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