Afghan artists react to Taliban takeover | Cultural | Reports on the arts, music and lifestyle in Germany | DW

“The world powers think they can handle everything with force, arms and money, but before doing anything you have to familiarize yourself with the traditions and history of the country,” said Laila Noor. , Afghan activist and fashion designer based in Germany, said DW.

“You have to be sensitive and ask yourself what is important to the people of this country? These barbarians have nothing to do with arts and culture, but others in Afghanistan do. These are the people who need support and security and who should not simply be handed over to those who have no respect for the arts, culture or women, ”she added.

In an interview with CNN, former US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, who served under President Barack Obama from 2013 to 2015, came to a similar conclusion: “The history of Afghanistan, we have not at all understood, ”he said. “We never understood culture. We never understood religion. We never understood tribalism.”

“Deep disappointment”

Afghan artists and cultural figures around the world are asking tough questions, especially in holding the United States and Western countries accountable for the impact of their actions in the country.

Khaled Hosseini, bestselling novelist The kite runner and A thousand splendid suns, is among prominent Afghans commenting on the situation on Twitter.

In a written statement to DW, the Kabul-born author expressed his sadness as he followed developments in Kabul, saying he was “deeply disappointed and gravely concerned for the country”. Hosseini mentioned the positive results achieved by peacemaking efforts over the past 20 years, but stressed that the progress made was now under threat.

“The United States and the international community as a whole must take action to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. They must pressure the Taliban to respect the basic human rights of Afghans, especially women and girls, and to refrain from resorting to violence against Afghan citizens. , said the novelist.

Afghan artists destroy their works – or resist

DW contacted various artists and filmmakers in Afghanistan who said they were in hiding and were trying to take their work off the internet and preferred to avoid interviews.

Afghan designer Shamayel Pawthkhameh Shalizi, who lives in Berlin, shared on August 16 from DW Arts and culture program the testimonies of friends and families who could not leave Afghanistan.

“I hear a lot of panic, fear, resurgence of PTSD in people who already lived through the Taliban era,” she said. It is seen by Afghans as “a regression to a time they never thought they would return,” she added.

“Even though they say they are ‘different’ now,” Shalizi said, drawing on the example of the Taliban regime 25 years ago. “It’s not a safe place to be an artist right now, both if you continue to create art as well as if you create art these 20 years without the Taliban. These are very vulnerable communities. , artists in particular and especially artists who come from even more marginalized communities ”, such as women and religious minorities.

Shalizi heard from his musician friends in Afghanistan that they are now destroying their studios and hiding everything. But she has also been in contact with other artists who continue their art as a form of resistance, making music or graffiti in Kabul as the Taliban take over the city, “like a swan song”, the last thing they do before they go underground.

Artists who portray the Taliban regime negatively face an even greater threat, Shalizi said, but art in general is seen as a threat by the Taliban.

Filmmaker Sahraa Karimi said in an open letter widely circulated on social media: “If the Taliban get the upper hand, they will ban all art. Me and other filmmakers could be next on their hit list.

The director managed to flee Afghanistan, she wrote in a tweet.

“It’s the same Taliban”

The crackdown has already started, said Noor, whose organization Afghanistan Women’s Network operates several schools in disadvantaged areas of Afghanistan. Educational institutions have been closed and women and girls remain indoors. Everyone is afraid.

Noor believes that, as under their previous regime, the Taliban government will remain silent for the first six months, when they need international aid, and then begin to stifle their rights.

“Twenty years ago, the Taliban closed all schools, girls were not allowed to go to school, women could not go to work, they were whipped, stoned, raped. The world continued to watch. she said.

“I don’t know what kind of people they are. They kill women and they were brought into the world by a woman. They have no respect for their sisters, their mothers, and art and culture are everywhere. way a sin. Twenty years ago they destroyed our world heritage in Bamiyan, ”Noor said.

The international community arrived in Afghanistan two decades ago, she said. Governments should have found an international solution to the problem, she added, and not run away to leave people behind. “Please understand the disappointment, the pain and the anger the Afghans carry with them,” she said.

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