The Secret Lives of Afghanistan’s Female Poets By Lance Richardson

Gail —  May 16, 2014 — Leave a comment
Mother and son, Dasht-e-Qala, Takhar province, November 2000

Mother and son, Dasht-e-Qala, Takhar province, November 2000

A few years ago, award-winning journalist and poet Eliza Griswold learned the story of Zarmina, a young girl in Afghanistan who had regularly phoned a radio hotline for women who wanted to share poems called “landays.” Landays are couplets expressing laments, jokes, and frustrations; they are forbidden to many Afghan women because they imply dishonor and free will. When Zarmina was discovered writing them, her brothers beat her badly, and she protested by setting herself on fire. She later died in a Kandahar hospital.

Griswold teamed up with war photographer Seamus Murphy and reported the story of Zarmina for the New York Times Magazine in 2012. After the article was published, their work together bloomed into a much larger collaboration about Afghan women, which resulted in a a photographic and poetry compilation called I Am the Beggar of the World: Landays From Contemporary Afghanistan.

Griswold and Murphy recognized that landays were being used as a means of self-expression and education at a time when opportunities for women were rapidly diminishing. “We came up with the idea of using contemporary landays to look at not only Afghan life, but also the impact of the last decade of war on the lives Afghan women, especially at this very delicate moment when the international pullout could leave those voices most vulnerable,” Griswold said.

A man from an internally displaced persons camp outside Kandahar, Kandahar province, August 2004

A man from an internally displaced persons camp outside Kandahar, Kandahar province, August 2004

 

Women shopping for bangles at a bazaar, Kandahar, August 2004

Women shopping for bangles at a bazaar, Kandahar, August 2004

A young girl pouring tea in an IDP camp, Kabul, November 2012

http://www.wikileaksparty.org.au/wp-admin/post-new.php A young girl pouring tea in an IDP camp, Kabul, November 2012

  May God destroy the Taliban and end their wars.
They’ve made Afghan women into widows and whores. Read more…..

Gail

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