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My Forbidden Face

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My name is Latifa, my family and I now reside in Paris, after we fled from Afghanistan in 2001 to avoid

the rule of Taliban. I was like any typical teenager; I went to parties and movies with friends. I didn’t

know how soon my life would change.

        In the year of 1996 I was sitting listening to the radio and an announcement came on stating the

the Prime Minister had issued a statement. According to the statement me and my country will be

ruled by Islamic System. Along with the statement came a list of things that I could do and could not do

as a girl/women.  As I went down the list I felt as though everything had been taken from me, they were

killing all girls and women stealthily, in silence.  I could no longer go to school, I no longer had

health care, I could not wear make-up and I had to wear a chadri. As I go to room to prepare to pack all

of my personal items that was now forbidden all I could do is cry because I felt crushed and I felt as if my

teenage years was gone. I felt at that moment that my life had changed. But my father assured me that

the Islamic ruling would not last.

        Months after my country had been taken over by Islamic ruling, I ventured outside for the

second time. I and my brother accompany our sister Soraya to the office of Aryana Airlines. Even though

women are forbidden to work, the Taliban has promised to pay to salaries for a few months. I am

dressed according to the dress code that was given  in the new Islamic ruling and my sister is also, so the

Taliban would have no reason to be suspicious of us. As I am standing in line with my sister, other

women who have come to get money owed to them begin to protest. They are questioning why they  

are relegated . The leader of protest who is my sister’s best friend and co-worker was dragged away by

Taliban. We took off our chadri and refused to leave until they returned her. I was so afraid for

Narguesse, and wondering what punishment she’s suffering. At last she returns wearing her chadri. The

Taliban screams at us “get out”.

        As we left the office Narguesse explains to us what happened and the conversation that was



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