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Blitz Spirit

This article was first published in the April 2017 issue of Standpoint. 

The irony wasn’t lost on any of the 12 high-powered women who had gathered in the House of Lords at 2.30 pm on March 22. The Afghan Women’s Support Forum was holding one of its quarterly meetings to discuss keeping the issue of Afghan women’s rights on the political agenda. All of us had a strong connection to the country.

Not long after we started came a sound like a herd of elephants stomping down the corridor. The meeting continued as normal until the news broke by text: there had been an incident at the palace. “The Arg in Kabul?” we assumed.

Cloistered as we were inside one of the womb-like committee rooms, the drama unfolding outside seemed surreal. A female staff member arrived and asked us to stay in the room as we were now locked down. She told us she would escort us out of the building when we needed to go. As the following meeting couldn’t take place she brought in the chopped egg and cress finger sandwiches that the next group had ordered, saying they shouldn’t go to waste. After a few more minutes, Baroness Hodgson, organiser of our group, proposed that we break, have the sandwiches and watch the news.

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