There is a scene in The Handmaid’s Tale, the television series based on Margaret Attwood’s dystopian novel, where the main character.
Book editor June Osborne, comes to her office one morning only to learn that the country’s new leaders have prohibited to women in the workplace. Her boss gathers all the female staff and tells them to pack her belongings and go home. On August 15, 2021, Maari, a former Afghan army soldier, has an almost identical experience.
At 07:30, he leaves for work in a government ministry, looking forward to a busy day of meetings and conferences. Leaving him, he immediately realizes that the streets are eerily quiet, but he continues on his way, taking the phone from him to check his meeting schedule. You have come to work!” say astonished male colleagues when he walks in.
I don’t think Kabul is going to fall,” he replies. But she has barely left her purse when her boss confronts her. “Go tell all the women to go home,” she says. She does as they tell her, going from room to room telling the employees to leave immediately. But when her boss asks her to go home, she refuses.
As long as my male colleagues stay and work, so do I,” she says. Maari is not just any member of the staff. She is a high-ranking civil servant with an impressive military record, and her boss reluctantly accepts what she says. But as the day passes, reports of the Taliban entering Kabul become impossible to ignore.
Maari’s boss decides to close the doors of the ministry and send everyone home. In another part of town, Khatera, a geography teacher, is starting a new lesson: her 40 students, all teenagers, flick through her books to find the correct page. Before long, other teachers enter the classroom with their phones in hand. There are conflicting reports on Facebook.
some say that the Taliban are in Qargha, a city on the outskirts of Kabul, some that they are in Koht-e Sangi, already within the city. The principal soon stops the lessons and sends everyone home. When Khatera arrives at the bus stop, she sees people running in all directions, carrying luggage and children. The traffic is stopped.
Everyone is Sargardan,” she writes, the Dari word for “lost.” “It’s like Judgment Day.Khatera begins to walk. She’s not worried to begin with, but then she realizes that the Afghan soldiers are heading to the airport with suitcases on their backs, and her sons walk behind her, holding the ends of their mothers’ scarves. Everyone leaves.