We need a sense of space in order to breathe freedom, both inside and outside our bodies. I learnt that from our Melbourne Covid-19 lockdowns. However it’s a totally different mindset to think of a rule of control and violence, and specifically because of whom I am – a woman.
“Nothing has changed yet,” wrote one of my contacts. She replied to my question of whether there were any changes towards women by the Taliban, as I had received a photo from another woman, of her and two other girls not wearing a burqa. I was surprised to see them in nature, dressed in colourful and ‘regular’ dresses.
Taliban restrictions have in fact increased against women. Previously, families were allowed to go to a park with their male family members but now men and women are not allowed to go together. Parks and public gardens have been segregated over the past few months – four days for men only and three for women.
The women in these photos went to a park for a picnic and photographed themselves ‘under the radar’ without their burqas, to record their moments of freedom in the space of nature.
Those were indeed moments to remember.
Soon after, my friend, whose home is near a Taliban checkpoint, went outside with her two year-old daughter. Her toddler was wearing half-length pants and the Taliban guard looked at her strangely.
She thought he was about to come over and beat her.