From the Bagram Bazaar
November 15, 2004
Sometimes the mailbox provides a total surprise. A bit of Afghanistan showed up the other day, from our now nonvirtual friend Tish whom we met in the flesh at the New York sew-up.
These scarves (she sent two) were sent to her by her sister Jenny, who as you recall is a member of the armed forces stationed in Afghanistan. Here’s what Tish tells us:
“These are the size headscarves normally worn by men, but with the ouster of the Taliban more and more women are getting out from under the burka and wearing these scarves for modesty.
“My son brought me a burka when he was home recently on two weeks R&R, and believe me, those things are enough to keep any woman ‘under control.’ The burka is full length around the sides and down the back, while the front extends to just below the waist–presumably so the hands are free to carry children, packages, etc. The top is heavily pleated so that it fits very firmly around the head, and there is a small section over the eyes that is made up of tiny embroidered eyelets so that you can see out (front only, you have no peripheral vision), but no one can really see the woman’s eyes.
“My very modern, 21-year-old college daughter summed it up best: ‘This is what the Taliban made women wear. I’m glad they’re in caves now, living on rats and bugs. it’s just barely what they deserve.’ ”
I’m looking at this scarf, which is airy and shiny and doesn’t weigh a thing.
Thanks so much to Tish for sharing this tangible piece of life in that faraway place.