Women's Day in Kabul
March 8, 2007

Today, we had an office-wide celebration for International Women's Day (and what did YOU do?!). Most of the people I work with are Afghani, and most are men. I went into the meeting room and there were all of the men on one side of the meeting room, and all of the women on the other. And then there was me, wearing a bright red sweater, sitting right next to a man (the officer in charge). I was right there on the border, as usual.

All of the Afghani women were presented with a wrapped box -- I hope it was full of great things, not just perfume or something. That includes the cleaning women, who sat there looking uncomfortable. The non Afghani women -- an Iranian colleague, a Kenyan, a German and myself -- were presented with lovely Spring floral arrangements. Each woman had been asked to do something, anything, to honor the day. About half had agreed (and I was pleased, since talking in public is not something Afghan women are known for). They read poems or prose in Dari that somehow emphasized the power or plight of women. It didn't matter that I didn't understand a word -- I understood it all. And for any man that stood up and talked about how or why this day was important, the Iranian woman in charge of gender-related activities at the ministry, and this event, threw him a Twix bar.

So, what did I do? Well, the temptation was to stand on top of the table and sing "Earl", but I thought that *might* not go over so well. So, instead, I read the lyrics to "I Am Woman" (the Iranian woman LOVED it), and at the last line, "Until I make my brother understand," I gestured broadly to my left, to all that side of the room. I got some appreciative "Ahhhhs."

I took some photos and video -- the photos are available on my Flickr site. It was much more fun than a previous IWD I spent in Bonn.

The history of the song is noted on Wikipedia, and I adapted this, as well as the lyrics, and shared them via a flyer with the group.


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Comments are welcomed, and motivate me to keep writing --
without comments, I start to think I'm talking to cyberair.

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