Hands Off Afghanistan: The Soft Power Of Theatre?

Titled “HANDS OFF AFGHANISTAN: THE SOFT POWER OF THEATRE?”, my presentation raises the issues around the politics of theatre-making. This was the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition founded by the University of Queensland. Here, my presentation offers a succinct anecdote and summary of my research in a non-technical, jargon-free way.

You can watch the video on the Final of the competition held at the University of Manchester on 23 March 2015 here: Continue reading

Afghan Men Protesting For Women’s Rights: A Step In The Right Direction

Ed Chow:

[This is an article not written by me, but I’ve decided to re-post it here]

Originally posted on SesapZai - Mom. Artist. Academic. And a little bit of everything else.:

The blog was originally published on the Express Tribune Blogs here.

afghan men buraYesterday, March 8th marked the 104th anniversary of International Women’s Day as people all over the world found unique and creative ways to raise awareness about the rights, or lack thereof, of women, calling for gender equality and celebrating the achievements of women worldwide. These were done through social media, local and international events, educational seminars, political functions, etcetera. When it comes to commemorating global events like International Women’s Day, the sky is the limit.

However, the event that stood out the most for me, and even made headlines last week, was that of a group of 20 Afghan men, fully clad in blue shuttlecock burqas, marching down the streets of Kabul, raising awareness and protesting for women’s rights. The demonstration was specifically organised to commemorate International Women’s Day by a group called Afghan Peace…

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Heating and Eating in Afghanistan

Completely irrelevant to performance or education matters, this excerpt taken from Helen Saberi’s “Noshe Djan: Afghan Food and Cookery” (1986/2000), published by Prospect Books in London, has an illustration which I want to capture as part of an ongoing archive of Afghan cultures. Food – and how we sit around the table – I guess, is one of the best ways to learn about the customary practices of any society or community. Learning new vocabulary items will also help too.

Afghan Food Spread

Afghan Food Spread (Source: link)

Continue reading

Performing Molière in Afghanistan in the 1970s

Mohammad Ali Raonaq is the first translator of Molière’s plays from French to Dari. Having had his education in France, Ali Raonaq returned to Afghanistan in the 1950s.

Ali Raonaq (screenshot from film archive)

Ali Raonaq (screenshot from film archive)

From then on, the translated works became popular among the actors of that time. Continue reading

Kabul National Theatre (Kabul Nandari) in the 1970s

The Kabul National Theatre, or Kabul Nandari (in Dari), was destroyed after the arrival of the Mujahideens, presumably in the late 1980s. But before that, during the Communist regime under the administration of Dr Mohammad Najibullah (or Dr Najib, for short), the theatre was deemed to be a cultural mecca, according to the stage managers at Kabul Nandari in the French documentary by Alexandra Paraboschi, “Afghanistan: Reconstructing Through Theatre” (see link). Even foreign artists came to Kabul to perform in a sophisticated performance space that had mechanical capabilities Continue reading

Black Crows: Saudi’s Veil over Education in Afghanistan

In the 19 December 2014 broadcast of a special series titled “The Girls of the Taliban” (watch the full documentary here), Najibullah Quraishi and Jamie Doran from Al Jazeera raise an alarming concern that the new wave of religious teaching across Kunduz, Afghanistan, will put women’s rights groups under threat. According to Al Jazeera (see link), there are 1,300 unregistered madrasas — servicing more than 4,000 students under eleven years of age — that enforce an arguably stricter code than the Taliban, hence their controversial and, perhaps, misleading title. Continue reading