[Audio] UWRF13: Reflections of Afghanistan

Ubud Writers and Readers Festival 2013 Reflections of Afghanistan : Ben Quilty, Agustinus Wibowo & Michael Vatikiotis Forgotten wars & forgotten people. Hear from two individuals who have made the journey to Afghanistan to record the lives of the people there through their images. What does it look like through their eyes? Indus, 15 October 2013 Featuring: Ben Quilty Ben Quilty has been widely recognised for his artwork. Quilty’s paintings of his Holden Torana produced a sell-out show in 2002 and since then his work has been seen in many exhibits and art fairs. Some of his work can be seen at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Quilty won the Doug Moran Portrait Prize in 2009 for his painting Jimmy Barnes, ‘There but for the Grace of God Go I, no.2′. In the same year Quilty was named runner up in the Archibald Prize [read more]

December 5, 2013 // 0 Comments

Speak Without Interruption (2013): Give Afghanistan back to the Afghans October 20, 2013 Ubud encounters: Give Afghanistan back to the Afghans Posted by Muhammad Cohen in: Art, Asia, Books, China, Faith, Foreign Affairs, Immigration, Islam, Journalism, Military, Religion, Sociology, Terrorism, Travel, War, Women’s Rights, World Issues Australian painter Ben Quilty and Indonesian writer Agustinus Wibowo told the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in Bali how they each reached Afghanistan by different routes for different reasons. But following their stays, they both also reached the same conclusion: after a dozen years and thousands of casualties, it’s time for Afghanistan to solve its problems without foreign help. Wibowo came to Afghanistan for the first time as a curious and footloose traveler. In Afghanistan as well as Pakistan, Wibowo said that since he came from Indonesia, people assumed he was Muslim. Telling them he was an ethic Chinese [read more]

October 20, 2013 // 1 Comment

Gender Corridor Afghanistan (2008): A New Beginning

Gender Corridor Afghanistan, November 2008 “Gender Corridor Afghanistan” is the publication of Gender Equality Project of UNDP Afghanistan. A NEW BEGINNING Armed men loyal to brutal Afghan warlords set up checkpoints and take what they want – including helpless young girls. Women are often raped before being given or sold to whoever desires a bride. Some who survive and escape can no longer live with their ordeal. They douse themselves in gasoline and set themselves ablaze. “Who can say ‘no’ to a war commander?” asks Naseera Shafi, 26, the Regional Office Coordinator for UNDP’s Afghanistan New Beginnings Programme (ANBP) in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif. “They have guns and power. They do whatever they want. When they see a beautiful girl, they may kidnap her and force her to marry …. It’s not uncommon for a young girl to marry an old man under these conditions,” Naseera says. The ANBP aims to create new opportunities for peace and security in the [read more]

November 5, 2008 // 1 Comment

UNDP Gender Equality Posters (2008)

Photos I took in Badakhshan and some other parts of Afghanistan are used for publication posters of Gender Equality Project of UNDP Afghanistan, October 2008. WOMEN, PEACE AND SECURITY IN AFGHANISTAN   AFGHANS WORKING TOGETHER FOR PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT   COMMUNITIES CAN TAKE ACTION TO STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN   Posters are designed by Inis Thailand.   [read more]

October 25, 2008 // 5 Comments

Kabul – Women Carpenters from Afghanistan

Woman carpenters from Dasht Barchi. Most if not all of them are Hazaras. Most people believe that carpentry is a man’s trade, but for the 60 carpentresses of Kabul’s Dasht-e-Barchi district, it simply isn’t true. “Women are able to do all kinds of work that men do,” they proclaim proudly. Hidden among mud houses which sit idly off of the main road, the center for carpentry is a local shura (council) where women learn about basic carpentry and build various items from cupboards, tables, computer desks, chairs to sandalis (heaters). A middle-aged woman is too happy to take me to the production center, where everything seems to happen all at once, located inside a small hut. “See, we are now able to handle heavy machinery,” she points out to several woodworking equipments that are modern-looking, where two or three women work in tandem to produce wood chops or create nail punctures and screw holes. Nails, chisels, hammers, sawing machines, screwdrivers are as familiar to [read more]

April 3, 2008 // 3 Comments

Kabul – Give Us Women

For every victim, they want seven women as compensation. A journalist friend of mine just returned back from Taliban stronghold southeastern province of Paktika. He recounted to me his amazing experience in the surreal region. Mud-houses disappear in the capital, Sharana, because of the constructions of new modern buildings. Mud houses in the districts also disappeared, due to another reason. In this area security is just an empty talk. For security reason in Taliban controlled district, one at least should be Pashtun, bearded, and dress in turbans. But that’s not everything. Being non-local anyhow is dangerous. And my friend was just lucky to be able to drag a local to rent a car and bring him to the districts near Pakistan border. It was a near-to-death journey. The police were surprised to see this Kabuli Pashtun came to this off-limit region. He was so anxious because Taliban was still everywhere. Anybody here can be Taliban, because everybody looks the same – bearded, [read more]

December 9, 2007 // 0 Comments

Taloqan – The Colorful Mondays

Welcome to Taloqan “First it was the culture, then it mixed with the religion” – Sa’dat The city of Taloqan is the capital of the Takhar province, one of Afghanistan northern provinces. Takhar was part of the Qataghan province which once comprised the nowadays provinces of Kunduz, Takhar and Baghlan. Taloqan is hot in summer although compared to Kunduz, it’s much cooler. The city is dusty, but the smoothly paved road which connected the sleepy provincial capital to Kabul promised its brighter future. The city has somehow a strong link with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Unlike other cities in Afghanistan, the roads in Taloqan has clear name and road signs, and many of the main road signs in the town center are backgrounded with Iranian flag, and signed “Afghanistan and Iran”. Some of the roads have quite Iranian smell, like the “Ayatollah Khomeini” St. Some other main roads are Hafez St., and as in all other cities in Afghanistan, the “Ahmad Shah Massoud” St. [read more]

July 23, 2006 // 0 Comments

Kabul – Understanding Islam from the Eyes of a Pashtun

With enveloping burqa, a woman sees the world through the little holes in front of her eyes “In Islam there is a circle. And we cannot get out the circle” — Amin It was not easy to meet and interview people who praised a lot the Taliban regime in recent day Kabul, at least in my one month here, it was the first time I got the chance. The discussion was not political, instead it was more cultural and religious. Amin, a man of 33 years old from Pashtun ethnic, had spent his 29 years of life in Pakistan. He was a refugee. He speaks very good English, and he expressed his idea very well in the language. He used to live in a tribal area in the NWFP (North West Frontier Province) of Pakistan, the area that the Afghans preferred to refer as Pashtunistan. The tribal areas are the areas of the Pashtuns which are not under the Pakistani law. The tribal area where he lived was Mohmand Agency. His ancestors came from a village called Kandari, both existed in Pakistan and [read more]

July 18, 2006 // 2 Comments

Kabul – The Woman Movements

Being invisible very often is necessary in a warzone “They feel save being invisible” ——— Lam Li The image of Afghan women which laid the strongest impression among Indonesians, and maybe also other nations in the world, is women hiding in blue burqa, the veil covering the whole head, including hairs, necks, face, and even eyes, makes the body under it completely anonymous. A friend of mine described burqa / burka as invisible blanket, just like the fantasies in those Japanese animations. Whoever wears this blanket will be invisible. Nobody will recognize. No recognition, no attention. “They feel save being invisible,” said Lam Li. Lam Li made her impression after staying quite a while in Pakistan and Afghanistan, particularly Peshawar and Kandahar, among the most conservative places of the two countries. In previous occassion I met her in Peshawar, she describes her inability to understand why the woman always lived under fear, hiding under [read more]

July 12, 2006 // 0 Comments

Peshawar – Travelling Alone as a Woman, Travel Experience of Lam Li

April 17, 2006 Purdah “Kenapa mereka selalu hidup dalam ketakutan? Kenapa? Kenapa?” Ini adalah pengalaman dari seorang sahabat lama seorang Malaysia, Lam Li, yang sedang melakukan perjalanan melintasi Asia dan ‘mau tak mau’ singgah di Pakistan. Sebelum masuk Pakistan dia sudah dipenuhi oleh ketakutan tentang betapa ‘seramnya’ laki-laki Paksitan terhadap perempuan. Namun Pakistan memang bukan seperti yang iya bayangkan. Pakistan bukanlah India. Orang-orang Paksitan lebih ramah dan jujur. Dia suka Pakistan, itu tak dapat ia pungkiri. Keramahtamahan Pakistan yang dimulai dari Lahore di mana dia diundang menginap oleh seorang lelaki yang baru saja dia temui di jalan, adalah sebuah sambutan yang ramah dari Pakistan. Dalam waktu lima hari tinggal bersama keluarga Lahore itulah yang mengawali penglihatannya tentang Pakistan. Sebagai perempuan, dia mempunyai akses ke sudut-sudut rumah yang tak bisa saya rengkuh dengan identitas saya sebagai laki-laki. [read more]

April 17, 2006 // 0 Comments

Rawalpindi – Do Nambar

Women are rare on Pakistan streets. But when they are, mostly they are totally covered February 21, 2006 I have written many stories of examples of male to male sexual harrassments in Pakistan (personal experiences) and it’s unfair if I dont write the sexual harassments that happen to women, which are far more common. I was in a crowded bus today, heading to Islamabad. When I entered the bus, the seats next to the drivers (supposed to be seats for ladies, and it is really pronounced as LADIES instead of ‘aurat’ in Urdu) was occupied by some men also. The ticket men allowed me to sit in front seat also, maybe because I was foreigner. Then there were about five seats left for the ‘ladies’. But as there was only one woman passengers, the seats were again occupied by male passengers. Then everytime coming a female passenger, those male passengers have to move away and give the seats to the women so that no women will sit next to unrelative males. Something [read more]

February 21, 2006 // 0 Comments