Afghan women have been experienced different kinds of oppression by Taliban during the last 16 years. Women here barely have civil rights or freedom; they can’t talk with men and they have to cover their body and face all the time. What’s the worst, women in Afghan women are not allowed to get education and work positions.
The Dressmaker of Khair Khana, by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, tells the story of a young woman named Kamila Sidiqi, as she accepts those challenges and difficulties given by Taliban and the whole Afghan society, she finally become the soul of the family and support her family to live better and better while her father and brother were forced to escape from the city in order to keep Kamila and her family in a safe and scure condition. There’s no doubt that she is really good at transforming negative situations into positive outcomes.
Kamila Sidiqi, experiences oppression by the Taliban; however, by the end, she successfully overcomes oppression by using autonomy, mastery and purpose elements from Motivation 3. 0. “Human rights are not a Western concept,” says Sima Samar, chair of the Afghan human-rights commission, “but universal, and necessary for all human beings”(Goodman 17). In areas they controlled the Taliban issued edicts which forbade women from being educated, girls were forced to leave schools and colleges.
Those who wished to leave their home to go shopping had to be accompanied by a male relative, and were required to wear the burqa, a traditional dress covering the entire body except for a small screen to see out of. Those who appeared to disobey were publicly beaten. There’s no doubt that many women in Afghan are suffering from the oppression and they can do nothing about it. There’s no such thing as human rights, and at this time, they really need a good role model or a spiritual leader to tell them what to do, or fight back to those oppression and unequal rules made by Taliban regime.
Kamila’s story, which opened her own business and finally protect her family without any help of the men or male relatives, is one of the most inspiring story happened in Taliban’s brutal lands. The civil war happened in Afghan changed the women’s living style there. Kamila can not continue her career as a teacher because the Taliban government established several rules and laws especially for women, the most important one is women can no longer get education. What’s more, they were not allowed to go out without being escorted by a male chaperone, and could not work or start a business outside.
The only place that they can work is at home, because Taliban is considering that “good women stay home, bad women expose their faces and mingle with men in pubic” (Memmott 12). Offenders will be beaten up, taken into custody or even worse than that. In this case, since Kamila’s father gone away, she have to find a solution that can start all over again, so that she can have the ability to support her five younger siblings. As a result, Kamila have to quit school and think other ways instead of dreaming being a teacher.
In the article, this kind of oppression is called “moral exclusion,” which means, ” groups and individuals have been treated inhumanly by other humans: natives by colonialists, blacks by whites, political dissidents by political authorities, and ethnic or religious group by another ” (Deutsch 7). There is no doubt that life in Afghan is getting harder and harder, but Kamila still refuse to say no to the oppression. Lemmon, in her book The Dress Maker of Khair Khana, mentioned that ”the market for clothing remained strong.
Even with the Taliban in power and the economy collapsing, women would still need simple dresses” (52). Kamila and her elder sister, Malika, have found this chance or market that can make them survive. It was Malika’s dream which is opening a dressmaker shop, but she never let it become true since Kamila shows up. They can do sewing at home rather than taking the risk going outside, looking for a job. Although they don’t have the experince before, they still looking forward to it, because it’s the best way to support her family. What’s more, the market of the dressmaker is really big in Afghan.
What Kamila do is belong to Motivation 3. 0 Type 1 which is seeking for mastery and purpose. It is the law that limits her freedom, but she have to feed her family and that is one of the most important purpose. As Pink said “Type 1 behaviour is self directed. It is devoted to becoming better and better at something that matters. And it connect that quest for excellent to a larger purpose”(79). What it means is that Kamila is self directed to open a dressmaker shop, and as the orders become more and more, she welcomed all her neighbors women to join her instead of being oppressed outside.
Not long, she grouped her community as a team to start sewing and bring her business to a whole new level. Although life changed badly since Taliban took over the city of Kabul in Afghan, people especially women did not just accept the oppression. They need role models, great examples which can successfully get the final success for the family. Now Kamila did. She did not only made her family survive by opening her own dressmaker shop, but also saved women in her community. Although their body is limited , their mind will never stop and being limited.
The spirit of Kamila: never give up and turn negative situation into positive outcomes will always worthy for us to study. Afghan women are now trying to become strong survivors, they will never accept or fear the oppression again. Kamila have let Afghan women saw hope, and that is the power of hope.
Deutsch, Morton. “Oppression and Conflict: Introduction. ” Beyond Intractability. Ed. Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess. 2005. Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA. Goodman Ellen / Syndicated columnist. “Afghanistan’s women again face Taliban oppression” Originally published April 9, 2009 at 4:25 PM | Page modified April 10, 2009 at 11:15 AM 2009, Washington Post Writers Group / The Seattle times Memmott Carol,. “Women tell own stories of Taliban oppression’’ USA TODAY 03/20/2002 – Updated 09:17 PM ET Nosheen Khan Relationship of the Taliban and Afghan Women Tue, 03/16/2010 – 18:55 NEW COMM AVE Pink, Daniel H. , Drive The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. New York: Riverhead Books, 2011.
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