As a free woman living in America there were many thoughts that came to me when I saw this picture that Major Fraser emailed me from Afghanistan. The instant I opened the file I was taken to another place by the story that this picture told, first by the beauty of the child sleeping so peacefully on her mothers shoulder, the bright ruby red dress bringing out the rosy red healthiness in her cheeks. As you looked at the picture further it was hard to ignore the story behind the photo though, these women who had been suppressed all of there lives by the Taliban were standing in line to vote for the very first time. The war that had raged on around them for months had changed the whole way they were going to live out their lives. So here they stood voting for the new leader of their country, they finally had a choice which was something they had never been given before.
Another thing that made me take pause were the burka's. I believe we as Americans had a vision in our heads that the instant the Taliban were taken out of power these woman would throw down their burkas and would be walking around in jeans and tee shirts. Soon we would see woman in smart business suits standing in line to vote, smiling and chatting, or looking at their watches because maybe they were late for a meeting, or a lunch date, yet here they were free from the rule of the Taliban and still hidden beneath cover of the burka, held to their traditions and religious belief's which is something that most of us will never understand.
I also saw hope though, there on the right hand side of the picture was a woman looking defiantly back at the camera as the picture was taken. That was the woman that was in my own mind, that if I had been there and I had stood on a chair or box and shouted "throw down your burka's and show the world who the woman of Afghanistan are, we as Americans stand with you" she would have been the one to toss her burka to the floor and show the world the strong vibrant woman who would help change their country just by going and casting their vote.
Then right in the center, the focal point of all... hope, the child who will grow up in a free Afghanistan and someday stand in line to vote in her smart business suit and check her watch because she was late for a lunch date............. with her mom.
Photo - copyright to Joint Task Force Pheonix - V