The model took to Instagram and posted a picture of herself wearing a blue burka on the weekend, with the caption: “Let’s embrace diversity on every level: biodiversity; cultural diversity; diversity of thinking; diversity of voices; diversity of ideas.”
As Cole was parading in a burka, the Taliban had claimed victory as they took Kabul and said they would impose a new regime in Afghanistan. The last time they held power, they imposed strict rules on women including forcing them to cover themselves at all times in public.
Women were also not allowed to work or attend schools and not allowed to leave their homes unless accompanied by a male relative. Fearing a return to a regime like this, thousands of Afghans are now attempting to flee the country.
Cole is currently promoting her new book Who Care Wins: Reasons For Optimism in Our Changing World, and the post has now been deleted but not before people had a chance to criticise her.
Lily Cole & the vacuity of modern hashtag-feminism. Putting Instagram posturing before universal human rights. I be… https://t.co/rLCLzrq1mi
Cole had initially defended the pictures, saying she was not referring to “forcing people to wear or do something” and: “To my mind, diversity = choice” in response to a comment which explained the Taliban would force women to wear the veil.
However, she later deleted the post and issued an apology.
On her Instagram stories she posted: “This week I posted an old photo of me wearing a burqa loaned to me by a friend, as she pointed out I was undermining its original purpose by wearing it with my face exposed, but I understand why the image has upset people and want to sincerely apologise for any offence caused.
“I hadn’t read the news at the time I posted so it was incredibly ill timed (thank you for pointing that out to me).
“My heart breaks reading about what is happening in Afghanistan at the moment, and in looking for organisations helping women on the ground I can support, I thought I would share some I found/ donated to.”
She then shared articles on how people can help in Afghanistan, and fundraisers for organisations.