Escaping the Shadow of the Burqa

Merry Christmas world!

It’s been ages since I had the liberty to write on this blog. The Christmas season finally found me both the freedom and time to gather my thoughts and get it on paper.

Speaking of freedom, I stumbled upon this thought provoking documentary about Afghanistan, post Taliban era which reminded me that there are still people who do not enjoy such a privilege even if it has already been given them.

For the longest time, it seems Afghanistan culture fed the belief that women need to be protected to such an extreme that they should not allow their faces to be seen by strangers. Such protectiveness would have been flattering, had it not it been complemented by the tradition of forcing women into marriage, forcing women to submit to the dictates of close minded husbands, and, in the worst case scenario, forcing a woman into a marriage to a man willing to pay the family to own his bride.

The burqa. The cage within a veil that has been the instrument to limit women’s freedom to see and be seen. It’s no longer required, but a lot of Afghan men apparently still strongly believe their wives and sisters should wear it. They invoke the Koran as the basis for their opinion, none having the specific knowledge as to which passage justifies such oppression.

And speaking of oppression, this documentary shows its not just the women who were oppressed. The men continue to be oppressed by a culture that has not adapted to the fall of the Taliban. It looks like the Afghan people in general make fun of men who can’t pressure their female relatives to hide their faces behind the burqa. Absurd? I think so too.

A long established culture and it’s consequences won’t change over night. I hope the Afghan women make the most of their new found freedom, and not allow themselves to be shoved back in to the shadows.

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