Tag Archives: Art and Culture

Back in Exile: Afghan Stories of a Near Distant Past

Source: The Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies

In 20 years of American-backed governments Afghanistan has changed immensely – singers, activists, and journalists showed the country that beyond the bloodshed, a world of culture, music, and beauty existed. Many of them were raised outside the country and returned to the homeland left by their parents in the previous wars. They helped rebuilding the nation, and now they are “back in exile,” joined by many other Afghans who managed to escape after the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul in mid-August.

Afghans exiles have been developing various discourses, including recording the memories of their flight, expressing nostalgia of a yearned-for past, and calling for social-political mobilization for the motherland.

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Qatar helps tens of thousands of Afghans flee the Taliban

Source: CBS News

Two months after the Taliban re-took Afghanistan, thousands of Afghans continue to flee the country on evacuation flights organized by the government of Qatar. Young and old, they consider themselves the lucky ones, and carry just a few precious possessions with them as they take a chance at new lives abroad, away from the extremist group.

Nabi Roshan, one of the country’s most popular comedians, is among those fleeing. Before the Taliban takeover, he hosted a nightly TV show where no jokes were off limits, including ones about the group.

Now, after he received death threats, he and his family are on the run.

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Afghan National Music Institute strikes a chord in Qatar

Source: Al Jazeera

Doha, Qatar – In a cramped room in an evacuee compound, a music conductor without a baton instructs students familiarising themselves with instruments that are not their own. The conductor demands silence from spectators bobbing their heads in and out of the room.

The group has not practised together in nearly three months, not since their school’s doors in Kabul were closed when the Taliban overtook the Afghan government. Although their musical careers back home are in limbo, they have a chance to display their talents once again, and plan to put on a show.

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Afghan artists destroy their work fearing Taliban retribution

Source: CNN

Residents of Kabul can read the writing on the wall. “Don’t trust the propaganda of the enemy” says one freshly painted sign.

The message replaced a mural of US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar shaking hands, marking the signing of the 2020 agreement to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan — one of dozens of vibrant public artworks that have been erased since the Taliban took power in August.

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Afghan filmmaker Shahrbanoo Sadat: ‘Cinema is the only thing left for me’

Source: Screen Daily.com

Afghan filmmaker Shahrbanoo Sadat, well known internationally for her Cannes features Wolf & Sheep and The Orphanage, escaped Kabul one month ago with her family to come to Europe.

Speaking at the Zurich Film Festival’s Zurich Summit on Sept 25, she said she hopes to keep her passion for filmmaking going despite the turmoil in her homeland, wanting to show the many “colours” of Afghanistan.

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Social media users delete profiles over fear of attack

Source: BBC

Before the Taliban took power in Afghanistan last month, there were numerous influential social media users in the country who were strong opponents of the group’s policies.

But since 15 August, Afghans have been deleting photos and tweets from their past – and many have turned away from social media altogether for fear of being targeted by Taliban forces.

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Women’s rights activist to leaders at UN: Don’t let Taliban fool you

Source: Reuters

UNITED NATIONS – Afghan rapper and activist, Sonita Alizadeh, fled her homeland with her family when it was last ruled by the Taliban more than two decades ago – when women could not work, had to cover their faces and girls were banned from school.

She urged world leaders on Tuesday to stand up for the rights of women and girls now the Taliban had returned to power.

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