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Old 07-11-2006, 05:18 PM   #1
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A Burqa's Eye View

Just thought this was interesting, to experience in a small way what it is like for a woman to wear one


"So, I began eyeing those voluminous blue burqas, still ubiquitous in Kabul. I wondered if I could "hide" underneath one and find a way to work comfortably on the street.

The irony didn't escape me - looking for a measure of freedom in a garment that had come to symbolize the brutal repression of women during the Taliban era.

So I took the burqa with me in a bag everywhere I went, looking for moments when my driver would let me wear it. At the Mughal garden I clumsily threw the burqa over my head - there's a trick to writhing through yards of fabric to find the three-inch-wide spot for your eyes.When I stood up in it from the back of our SUV, my long-suffering driver looked at me and smiled and said, "You look nice."

I nearly fell over - both from the disorienting tiny mesh screen and amazement at what I'd just heard. "But, Abdullah," I countered. "You can't see me. How can you possibly say I look nice?"

He smiled and turned away.

The last day I wore my burqa, I'd been out in the neighborhood with one of the security guards, an educated young man who'd told me a lot about his life, including the fact that he had many girlfriends and no plans to marry. When I took the deep-blue burqa off for the last time, I turned to see the young man smiling. "You look good in a burqa," he said, much to my astonishment. "You put that on again, and I just might pop the question."

cellphone camera photos from inside the burqa

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