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In Afghanistan, The Bravery To Be A Waitress

An Afghan woman works as a waitress at a wedding hall in Kabul.
An Afghan woman works as a waitress at a wedding hall in Kabul.
Ghayor Waziri

KABUL — It took me eight days to convince 37-year-old Gul Rukh to let me conduct this interview.

The Afghanistan woman living in Kabul feared talking openly about her waitress job at the Mumtaz Mahal Wedding Hall.

"I earn $200 a month at the hotel," she says. "I am very happy doing my job, but I am treated very badly by society, my relatives and neighbors for doing it. They scoff at me and believe working as a hotel waitress is not a good job for a woman. But when my husband became disabled, I had to find work to pay for my children's education. This job is the best option."

She says taking orders and serving people their food is much easier than working on a farm or in a factory.

The Mumtaz Mahal Wedding Hall is one of the most popular entertainment and hotel venues among the rich and even some middle-class families in Kabul.

Rukhshana, a mother of five children, also works here. "I have washed clothes before and worked with livestock, but this is the best job. I came to Kabul so that my children can get a good education, and working at this hotel is a good job.”

Mumtaz Mahal manager Obaid Allah Nayab says that having female waitresses — there are 11 at the banquet hall and hotel — is good for business because the venue also hosts women-only parties in addition to weddings in which the clients don't want male staff.

"I am very happy having waitresses working in our hotel," he says. "The only problem is conservative groups in our society. Otherwise, there is no problem with women working.”

Laila Haidery, manager of the restaurant and party site Taj Begum, also employs women as waitresses. In fact, she has been attacked twice by unknown men.

"There are people who are against women working, especially when they see successful women like me," she says. "I have nearly been killed twice. The first time was when I was getting into a taxi and two men tried to choke me. I fought back, but they beat me a lot. The second time, some men came to my home and tried to kill me, but I fired at them and they escaped."

Despite the dangers, she is commited to her work and is making good money.

Akram Yawari, who recently returned to Kabul after studying in India, says he is happy to see Afghan women working in what are traditionally male jobs in this country.

"I think these women working in hotels can inspire others," Yawari says. "This is my first time in this hotel, but I think it's good for families and for women who want to eat outside the house."

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Should Christians Be Scared Of Horror Movies?

Horror films have a complicated and rich history with christian themes and influences, but how healthy is it for audiences watching?

Should Christians Be Scared Of Horror Movies?

"The Nun II" was released on Sept. 2023.

Joseph Holmes

“The Nun II” has little to show for itself except for its repetitive jump scares — but could it also be a danger to your soul?

Christians have a complicated relationship with the horror genre. On the one hand, horror movies are one of the few types of Hollywood films that unapologetically treat Christianity (particularly Catholicism) as good.

“The Exorcist” remains one of the most successful and acclaimed movies of all time. More recently, “The Conjuring” franchise — about a wholesome husband and wife duo who fight demons for the Catholic Church in the 1970s and related spinoffs about the monsters they’ve fought — has more reverent references to Jesus than almost any movie I can think of in recent memory (even more than many faith-based films).

The Catholic film critic Deacon Steven Greydanus once mentioned that one of the few places where you can find substantial positive Catholic representation was inhorror films.

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