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of Afghan women scold the tough Taliban dress code

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Afghan women around the world took part in a social media campaign to protest the new dress code imposed on female students by the Taliban. They shared photos of themselves wearing colorful traditional Afghan dresses using hashtags such as #DoNotTouchMyClothes (Don’t touch my clothes) and #AfghanistanCulture.

Afghan women around the world took part in a social media campaign to protest the new dress code imposed on female students by the Taliban. They shared photos of themselves wearing colorful traditional Afghan dresses using hashtags such as #DoNotTouchMyClothes (Don’t touch my clothes) and #AfghanistanCulture.

The colorful traditional dresses the women displayed contrasted to say the least with the blouse worn from head to toe by the women who gathered on Saturday, September 11 in Kabul, a group presented by the regime as intended to support the policies of the Taliban in terms of gender relations. While the Taliban had so far been content to say that female students should wear the hijab, without giving details, these black outfits have raised concerns that they will reintroduce the compulsory wearing of head-to-toe clothing.

The Observers editorial staff spoke with Bahar Jalali, former professor of history at the American University of Afghanistan, who launched the #DoNotTouchMyClothes campaign, as well as with other Afghan women who joined the mobilization on clothing.

“Taliban takeover is an attack on our national identity”

I posted a photo of myself wearing traditional Afghan clothing and encouraged other Afghans around the world to do the same, because I know the images are very powerful. The movement was quickly followed. A lot of people participated, which I think speaks to the urgency of what is happening in Afghanistan.

The Taliban’s seizure of power is an attack on our national identity. I really worry about what will happen to Afghan culture. So when I saw these women [au rassemblement pro-Taliban] wearing clothes that i had never seen before in afghanistan i thought i didn’t want the world to think this is who we are, that this is our culture, that this represents afghanistan from any way.

Over the past four decades, many educated people have left Afghanistan. All of us, who are outside the country, must therefore take responsibility for informing, educating and combating misinformation about what Afghan culture is. We will continue our campaign to save Afghan culture, but it will not be limited to dresses and will be carried out on a much larger scale.

The various ethnic groups in Afghanistan “have all [leurs] own clothes and traditional outfits “

Each ethnic group and each region of Afghanistan has its own traditional clothing. Despite this diversity, they all have a common theme: lots of colors. Homira Rezai, a rights activist for the persecuted Hazara Shiite minority, fled Afghanistan with her family at the age of 13 and now lives in London.

“Afghanistan is a very diverse country with more than 14 ethnic groups. We all have our own traditional clothes and outfits, and none of them match what the Taliban want women to wear.

The clothes worn by Hazara women are very colorful. Our colors are blue, green, yellow and white. They are sewn by hand and passed down from generation to generation. We usually wear these clothes for special occasions because they take a long time to make. I took part in the campaign to say that these are our traditional clothes and that it is by them that we want to be represented, and not by black clothes.

I hope that women in Afghanistan will oppose foreign clothing introduced by the Taliban. I haven’t seen any of my relatives wearing these black clothes, but I don’t know how long it will last, as we know for a fact that the Taliban will use violence to implement their laws and regulations.

“We are trying to amplify the needs of local women as much as we can”

Most of the women who participated in the online campaign do not live in Afghanistan. Layma Murtaza, an Afghan-American humanitarian aid worker, tells our editorial staff that she is doing her best to defend the rights of local women and amplify their voices, despite the confusion that may reign among the local population about the issue. objective of the campaign:

“Through this campaign, we say: ‘Do not take away our culture that we have had for thousands of years. Its very important. It’s not always easy for the people on the ground to do this.

I am sure that there are criticisms from the inhabitants who wonder what is the point of this action when there is a humanitarian aid situation in progress. But in addition to trying to raise funds and provide aid, we are fighting for the right of women to speak out.

There is nothing wrong with showing the world that we want to keep our unique identity. We don’t need to follow the Deobandi Muslim school of thought that the Taliban follow, because that’s not us. We are out of the country and we are trying to represent local women and amplify their needs as much as we can.

“Women no longer have a choice, that’s the main problem”

Frishta Kargar is a former finance ministry official who fled to Poland on August 20, 2021. She explains that while societal pressure was already forcing women to dress conservatively in Afghanistan before the Taliban took power, they had still the choice, especially in big cities like Kabul or Herat.

We were fighting for women’s rights in Afghanistan before the Taliban took power. We wanted to be free, we didn’t want to cover ourselves, we wanted to talk. We were still fighting. In Kabul there were very modern women. But in the countryside, there were still many women who could not speak and who were not allowed to go out. In an instant, we lost everything, we lost the fight.

The traditional blue burqa, also known as a chadri, has been worn for hundreds of years in the regions and even in Kabul. This is a garment that originated in Pakistan and India. Some women felt protected by this garment, which helped them feel anonymous in the streets. It was either a choice or something that was normalized in their families. But imposing chadri is the main problem, because women no longer have a choice. This is why this campaign, which shows our colors and fights for our choice, is so important.

We Afghans don’t know who these women are [présentes au rassemblement pro-taliban], we do not know where they come from and why they wear these clothes.

On Sunday, September 12, Taliban officials said universities would be separated and dress rules would apply to female students. Higher Education Minister Abdul Baqi Haqqani said that “in accordance with Sharia law, they must observe the veil”, without specifying whether it is a headscarf or a veil covering the face compulsory.


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