Young Afghans form artistic outlets

Young Afghans, cynical after a decade of US presence in the country, have turned to music, film, and art to express themselves. 

• A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.

 It was PechaKucha Night, a worldwide urban phenomenon with roots in Tokyo that invites emerging creatives to showcase their ideas, art, and music. Only this time it was in an unpredictable location – Kabul, a city more synonymous with blasts, gun battles, and suicide bombers. As young Afghans exhibited their talents – ranging from contemporary graphics to photo montages to Gothic art – their enthusiasm ran in contrast to the increasingly dismal predictions surrounding the 10th anniversary of the arrival of American troops.

Throughout the city a generation of young Afghans is facing the difficulties of their country with fresh honesty. 

“I cannot paint pretty pictures,” says rock musician and Gothic artist Qasem Foushanji. “My job is ... to make you see the dark realities you are ignoring.” Mr. Foushanji had just emerged from the city’s first collaborative rock festival involving both international and Afghan musicians. 

Farther downtown, Diana Saqeb, a young Afghan filmmaker, had her hands full organizing the country’s first human rights film festival. “We cannot say to people you can forget about your rights; we will get back to you after the war is over,” she says. “It is not clear what will happen in the future. But this is my way. I have to keep expressing my concerns.”

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