Imagine a person who fears for his safety or his life, because one day he was learning to play a musical instrument. According to a report published by the site web of the BBC. This is exactly the situation that ANIM students and staff are facing after the Taliban announced they would ban music after their takeover of the country.
The doors of the Afghan National Conservatory of Music have already been closed and its founder and director, Dr. Ahmed Sarmast said: “All the students are scared and worried. They clearly understand that if they go back to school, they may face consequences or be punished for what they did.” He said some students had already delivered their musical instruments to the school when the Taliban took control of the city.
Dr Sarmast explained that what the students did was because they considered it safer than keeping her at home, where she could be found by Taliban fighters.
The conservatory of music in the capital, Kabul, has thrived under Dr. Sarmast for more than a decade and has been praised for bringing back music in class after the brutal Taliban rule of 1996-2001.
Students of both sexes studied in the same room – a rarity in Afghanistan – and practiced Afghan and Western classical music. Orphans and street children were encouraged to participate, and many graduates were the first in their families to receive formal education.
The institute was also home to the Zohra Orchestra, Afghanistan’s first female-only orchestra, which performed to a large audience nationally and internationally and which quickly became a symbol of Afghanistan’s new identity, with equality and education. for everyone.
It is time to destroy dreams and hope
But history repeats itself again now that Afghanistan is back under Taliban control and the future of the institute and its musicians is uncertain.
“It is time to destroy our dreams, hope and inspiration for the future,” said Dr. Sarmast, speaking from Melbourne, in Australia, where he has been visiting his family since mid-July.
He added that when Kabul was captured, Dr. Sarmast learned that his staff and students could be targeted by militants and ordered everyone to go home.
Dr Sarmast said: “Students are very afraid for their future, not just their future.” [مواصلة] Learn [الموسيقي], but also their life. They don’t feel safe in Afghanistan “.
The Taliban invade the music institute
Dr Sarmast explained that some employees were remotely monitoring the institute’s headquarters and told him that Taliban fighters invaded the institute building, but it was not damaged. It later emerged that the photos shared on the social media which showed that the machines were being destroyed were false.
The Taliban were looking for Dr. Sarmast, internationally recognized and globally respected for his educational work in Afghanistan. The staff of the institute told him that Taliban gunmen are in the headquarters of the institute and are questioning the staff about his whereabouts, and that they have gone to his home in Kabul three times. The Taliban fighters also tried to pressure his staff to come to the institute and hand over the keys. But Dr. Sarmast insists he will negotiate and communicate only with high-level Taliban leaders.
How severe is the ban?
The severity or breadth of the music ban has yet to be established, but there are fears that the country could go back to 1996, when the Taliban banned most of the music. Anyone caught playing or listening to music was severely punished, instruments were destroyed, musicians hid and cassettes hung from trees.
The Taliban said their new government this time would be more modern and less extreme, promising freedom for women and the safety of civil servants. But its leaders have not explained what it means in practice, and there have been a number of cases in that these messages were inconsistent with the behavior of the Taliban fighters on the ground.
“It sounds naive, but I still hope the Taliban learn from the past,” said Dr Sarmast. “But hope is shaken when I see what is happening on the pitch in Kabul.”
Exile, detonation and temporary planning
Dr. Sarmast had previously fled Afghanistan during the war in the 1990s and lived in Moscow for 10 years and then in Australia, where he became the first Afghan to complete a PhD in music.
Got back in Afghanistan after many years of exile, he was determined to help rebuild its age-old musical traditions. A suicide bombing in 2014 that left him badly injured and temporarily deafened made him even more determined. He believes the Taliban’s five years in power were long enough to lose some of this musical legacy, especially among the younger generations.
Impossible return clause
Now, having rebuilt those skills and knowledge in a new generation, Afghanistan’s musical legacy is in danger of being lost once again.
“I will only return if I am allowed to do what I have been doing for the past 13 years and put my knowledge, skills and abilities at the service of children and young people. in Afghanistan, “explained Dr Sarmast.
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