September 19, 2005

A HAPPY DAY IN AFGHANISTAN:

What patrolling Canadian soldiers witnessed instead on Sunday was a virtual national holiday. Afghans casually strolled down the streets of their two major cities after all non-essential traffic was ordered off the road, on their way to do something they thought would ensure a brighter future — vote. . . .

At the polling station, the women pulled off their burqas. Most emerged with smiling, lively unlined faces. Those faces had been sheltered for years from the harsh Afghan sun.

It was the age of these women that was most striking. In Afghanistan, the usual age for marriage is 15 to 18. The married women who lounged around the school cross-legged on rugs or pillows seemed more high-schoolish then motherly. They chatted, they giggled and they mugged each other. When they saw a foreign male looking at them, they turned shy and drew scarves across the lower part of their faces but most eyes looked back with unabashed curiosity.

(Via NewsAlert, which observes: “Voting makes some people happy.”)

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