Mary Christopher

Meena Me I
18.5 x 12.5 x 12.5 in.

Meena was the founder of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, RAWA. She founded what became a series of underground schools for the education of girls that functioned before and during the Taliban government. Women began bringing sons to these schools as well.

It was a male graduate of a RAWA school who volunteered to act as a relative and escort for the woman who hid her camera under her burqa and documented Taliban brutality against women. Those were the images that aroused outrage in the United States and helped precipitate our intervention in that government.

As much as we Western women abhor the image of a woman in a burqa we nevertheless wear our own style of burqa. Our government demands we put it on and we collaborate by putting it on. As Rosa Parks advised, we need to take our seat on the bus. We need to make sure that our constitution explicitly extends equal rights to women.

As to “Meena Me” specifically: The veil covering the mouth symbolizes being silenced, being marginalized. It is a symbol of feeling impotent as well as of doing nothing. Her femininity is apparent to indicate women’s source of strength and power no matter what equal rights our government denies to us. The eyes are determined.

© Mary Christopher