Director General of Afghan Film, the entity responsible for cinema in Afghanistan, filmmaker Sahraa Karimi wrote an open letter calling for the protection of the country’s artists and women after the Taliban, a group that has become synonymous with fundamentalist Islamic radicalism, overthrew the government on Saturday (14).
Karimi, who in her filmography made two documentaries and a drama about the difficulties faced by women in Afghanistan, forwarded the letter to international media outlets and posted it on their social networks. It was written on the eve of the group’s conquest of the capital, Kabul.
Aimed at “all film communities in the world and those who love cinema and cinema”, the letter begins with Karimi saying he is heartbroken in the hope that people will hear his plea for the protection of Afghan filmmakers. .
“Everything I have worked hard to build as a filmmaker in my country is in danger of coming to an end. If the Taliban take power, they will ban all art. Me and other filmmakers could be next on their hit list. . Women’s rights: we will be pushed into the shadows of our homes and our voices, and our expressions will be stifled in silence, “she wrote.
Last year, Karimi even screened one of her films, “Hava, Maryam, Ayesha”, at the Venice Film Festival. In it, she accompanied three pregnant Afghan women – one who lives with her in-laws and feels lonely, another who is a television journalist on the verge of divorce, and a third who agrees to marry her cousin after her boyfriend left her.
The letter also reports on the plight of women and children amid the chaos that has erupted in Afghanistan, and deplores the persecution suffered by the anti-Taliban.
“They massacred our people, kidnapped many children, sold girls as wives to their men, murdered a woman for her costume, tortured and murdered one of our beloved comedians, murdered one of our poets and historians , assassinated the head of government of culture and media. media, murdered government affiliates, publicly hanged some of our men, displaced hundreds of thousands of families. “
Read the full letter below.
To all the film communities in the world and to those who love films and cinema.
My name is Sahraa Karimi, director and current Managing Director of Afghan Film, the only state-owned film company in Afghanistan, founded in 1968.
I write to you with a broken heart and deep hope that you can join me in protecting my beautiful people, especially the Taliban filmmakers.
In recent weeks, the Taliban have taken control of many provinces. They slaughtered our people, kidnapped many children, sold girls as wives to their men, murdered a woman for her costume, tortured and murdered one of our beloved comedians, murdered one of our poets and historians, assassinated the head of culture and media of the government. communication, murdered people affiliated with the government, publicly hanged some of our men, displaced hundreds of thousands of families.
Families remain camped in Kabul after fleeing these provinces and find themselves in unsanitary conditions. There is looting in the camps and babies are dying because they have no milk. It is a humanitarian crisis, but the world is silent. We have grown used to this silence, but we know it is not fair. We know that this decision to abandon our people is wrong, and that this hasty withdrawal of American troops is a betrayal of our people and everything we did when the Afghans won the Cold War for the West.
Our people have been forgotten. Today, after twenty years of immense gains for our country, especially for our younger generations, all can again be lost in this abandonment.
We need your voice. The world’s media, governments and aid organizations are conveniently silent, as if such a “peace deal” with the Taliban was legitimate. It has never been legitimate. Recognizing this gave them the confidence to return to power. The Taliban brutalized our people throughout the negotiating process. Everything I have worked hard to build as a filmmaker in my country is in danger of ending.
If the Taliban gain the upper hand, they ban all art. Me and other filmmakers could be next on your hit list. They will take away women’s rights: we will be pushed into the shadows of our homes and our voices, and our expressions will be stifled in silence. When the Taliban was in power before, no girl went to school. Since the group left control of the country, more than 9 million Afghan girls have enrolled in school. This is amazing. Herat, the third city that has just been dominated by the Taliban, had almost 50% of women in its university. These are incredible gains that the world barely knows about. In those few weeks, however, the Taliban destroyed many schools and 2 million girls were again forced out of school.
I don’t understand this world. I don’t understand the silence [do mundo]. I will stay and fight for my country, but I cannot do it alone. I need allies like you. Help us make the world care about what happens to us.
Please help us by informing the most important media in your country about what is happening here in Afghanistan. Be our voices outside Afghanistan. If the Taliban take control of Kabul, we may not have access to the internet or any communication tool. Please involve your filmmakers and artists to support us and be our voice. This war is not a civil war. It’s a proxy war, it’s an imposed war. Please share this fact with your media and write about us on your social networks. The world must not turn its back on us.
We need your support and your voice on behalf of Afghan women, children, artists and filmmakers. That support would be the biggest help we need right now.
Please help us to ensure that this world does not leave Afghanistan. Please help us before the Taliban take control of Kabul. We have so little time, maybe days.
Afghan film director