An Afghan filmmaker’s appeal to save art and people

Sahraa Karimi records a video message soliciting support from people and film communities around the world.

Sahraa Karimi records a video message soliciting support from people and film communities around the world.

Afghan film director and chairperson of the Afghan Film organization, Sahraa Karimi issued an impassioned plea on her Twitter handle, addressed to film communities in the world, soliciting their help and solidarity in protecting her people and fellow filmmakers from the hands of the Taliban.

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Karimi is the first and only woman in Afghanistan who holds a Ph.D in cinema and filmmaking. The filmmaker’s appeal comes at a time when the Taliban, within the span of only a few weeks, have seized control of Kabul and most of the country. The overthrow of the government has prompted hundreds of Afghans to flee their homeland.


Karimi also wrote that ‘they kidnapped many children’, ‘sold girls as child brides to their men’, ‘tortured and murdered one of our beloved comedians’. The comedian being referred to is the famous Nazar Mohammad from Kandahar, popularly known as Khasha Zwan. A video of the comedian being taken hostage by the Taliban took social media by storm only a few weeks back. Mohammad, who was also a member of the Afghanistan police, was dragged out of his home and executed on July 29.


Further, she mentioned the murder of a historian poet Abdullah Atifi and the death of the government’s head of culture and media, Dawa Khan Menapal, at the hands of the militants.

Karimi claimed that hundreds and thousands of Afghan families have been summarily displaced. Some families have sought shelter in camps and tents and are living in unsanitary conditions.

In another video posted by the filmmaker on Instagram, she is seen walking down the streets of Kabul shortly after the Taliban entered the city.


In Karimi’s latest video posted on Twitter, she said that she had been to the bank to get some money but it was closed and was being evacuated. In the video she appealed to the people of the ‘big world’ to not be silent as ‘they are coming to kill us.’ “I and other filmmakers could be next on their hitlist.”

Karimi said she feared that the Taliban regime with their oppressive religious anchoring will have no commitment towards women’s rights. According to the appeal issued by the filmmaker, in the last few weeks the militants have ravaged many schools which have forced 2 million girls to drop out of school.

Filmmakers across the world have solicited their support for Ms. Karimi. Indian filmmaker Leena Manimekalai, Hindi directors Anurag Kashyap and Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri, and Northern Irish director Mark Cousins have expressed support.

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Printable version | May 16, 2022 1:32:29 am |