A Broken Heart for Afghanistan: A Reading List
The takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban is shocking, and the future facing Afghan women and children, or anyone who assisted or worked for the Western allies during the occupation, is scary. It’s hard not to be reminded of Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, the fifteen-year-old who survived being shot on her school bus by the Taliban, in retaliation for her activist work in protesting the right to education for women and girls.
In light of the overwhelming circumstances currently faced by our sisters and brothers in Afghanistan, the PP whānau wanted to do something, anything that could help, in our own small way.
So, we’ve compiled the following incomplete list of voices to follow, support and listen to on the currently unfolding situation, from Afghan and Middle East perspectives to resources on the experiences of women living under the rule of extremist groups and ways you can directly help right now.
The words and artwork of Shamsia Hassani, the first female graffiti artist of Afghanistan.
“I never understood who you are and why you don’t want us to live in peace.
Talib? Isis? Or…
Let’s make peace. I want my country, my home back.
I want peace and freedom for my people.
An article (paywalled) on the art exhibition Abarzanan – Superwoman, a celebration of the achievements of ancient and modern women from Afghanistan, even amid fears of the Taliban takeover, by David Zucchino.
And a link directly to the exhibition (Abarzanan) with images.
And her podcast episode on The Crimson Coyote.
The photography of visual artist Rada Akbar.
This article on 27-year-old Zarifa Ghafari, also Afghanistan’s first female mayor, on her wait for the Taliban to find her.
And this one on Beheshta Arghand, the first female journalist to interview a Taliban leader after the fall of Kabul, who has now fled to Qatar.
Pakistani author Fatima Bhutto, a panellist in a discussion on what the West should learn from the defeat in Afghanistan.
A critique of Ahmed Rashid’s book Pakistan on the Brink, also by Fatima Bhutto, who questions a study in which power has replaced the people and Western narratives elbow out the real story.
Read Latifa's memoir My Forbidden Face: Growing Up Under the Taliban, a personal account of life under the Taliban regime when they first came into power.
The Instagram of not-for-profit organisation Mothers of Afghanistan, who feed the families of widows in Afghanistan.
Closer to home here in Aotearoa:
Golriz Ghahraman on why there must be no empty seats on New Zealand’s rescue mission to Afghanistan.
Watch this webinar hosted by the Helen Clark Foundation with Zahra Hussaini, Zakaria Hazaranejad, Abbas Nazari, Chris Carter and Helen Clark.
Join the New Zealand Red Cross weekly live stream with translation in Dari.
Listen to the latest episode of Voices by Radio New Zealand. Kadambari Raghukumar talks to Zahra Hussaini and Mahsheed Mahjor on how the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has affected the lives of their family and friends.
If you or anyone you know needs support, New Settlers Family and Community Trust in Aotearoa have launched this telephone service for those affected by the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. Fluent Dari and Pashto speakers are available.
And more broadly, some resources on the devastating experiences of women at risk from extremist groups and authoritarian states:
This letter by Beena Sarwar to Pakistani activist Sabeen Mahmud, who was killed by gunmen.
Young Nigerian girls stolen from a boarding school by Boko Haram share their painful but powerful stories in Stolen Girls.
If you want to take direct action, you can give money to this GoFundMe fundraiser – Afghanistan: A call for urgent help – or to the Mothers of Afghanistan. Both are providing basic necessities for displaced people in Kabul. You can also support the Massoud Foundation to help Afghan refugees who have crossed treacherous mountain passes to reach the safety of the Panjshir Valley.
If you would prefer to support an Aotearoa-based fundraiser the Auckland Refugee Family Trust has set up this Give A Little to keep Afghan women safe and Bilal Nasier has a Give A Little to support Afghan refugees arriving into Aotearoa.
We’d like to keep adding to this list, so if you’ve read something you think should be on here, let our editor know at email@example.com.
Feature image: Pounamu Wharekawa-Farrell