The director, who has visited Madrid, is preparing a film about her flight from the country with the title ‘Fly from Kabul’
The Afghan filmmaker Sahraa Karimi left Kabul on August 15, 2021 after the Taliban government took power and now lives in shelter in Kiev (Ukraine). “I believe that the women who are still in Afghanistan are strong, they must continue fighting for their lives. As an artist, I continue to share their struggle and pray for their safety,” she stressed in an interview with Europa Press on the occasion of her visit to the Spanish Film Academy.
Karimi acknowledges in Madrid that since her departure she is more desolate every day. “My friends don’t believe that I am a calm person now. I haven’t called anyone in a long time, there is something inside me that is broken. I can’t explain what it is, but I know that I am not the same person since August 15 “, he confesses.
When the Taliban entered Kabul, the director, the first woman to head the state-owned film agency Afghan Films in 2019, had a few hours to decide whether to stay in the country or leave. Finally, on August 17, he informed his followers that he had left the capital. Now the filmmaker is a teacher and working on her new film ‘Fly from Kabul’, which is about her own departure from Afghanistan.
“The painful thing about leaving everything is losing the concept of home forever, because many times in my life I have been a refugee, but when I decided to return to Afghanistan in 2012 I wanted to live there forever. I accepted all the difficulties, all the behaviors against the woman, because I felt emotionally safe in Afghanistan, but with the return of the Taliban, I was forced to leave my home,” she says.
“THEY DO NOT DESERVE TO BE RECOGNIZED”
And, although he claims not to be afraid of the Taliban, he warns that one must be afraid of “stupidity”. “Stupid people do stupid things and can’t understand that stupidity can destroy a nation,” she laments, stressing that the Taliban are a “terrorist group,” a barbaric group that values no human rights, no women’s rights, no believe in any democratic value and do not deserve to be recognized”.
Director of different documentaries and films, her film ‘Hava, Mayam, Ayesha’ (2019), filmed in Afghanistan and produced in Iran, premiered at the Venice Festival and was nominated for the Orizzonti Award. In her work she often deals with the suffering of Afghan women but also with their resistance.
Thus, she warns that, “unfortunately”, in Afghanistan, with or without the Taliban, “most people are anti-women, they do not tolerate strong women.” It is very difficult to be an independent, empowered and educated woman in Afghanistan. When you have skills and you want to develop them, you know what you want, you fight for your rights, your identity, it’s very difficult,” he stresses.
In fact, she stresses that being a filmmaker in her country “is not well seen, just like being a woman, and when you put them together, it’s a combination that society doesn’t support.” “I have a doctorate, many years of experience, but since I am a filmmaker they look at me as if I was wasting my time, with contempt,” he clarified to add that “it is more difficult to be an actress because they associate it with prostitution.”
In any case, Karimi is proud to have been the first female director of Afghan Films. “I have made history. For the first time a woman is the director of this organization,” she underlines while telling how one of the first things that changed was to introduce gender equality in the organization. “Until I arrived, there were only women working in cleaning. I opened professional opportunities for women in the cinema,” she highlights.
This position was full of opportunities and gave him energy and strength, even though he had to face different challenges. “I am happy because in these years I have done the best I could. Working in an anti-women, patriarchal, war zone society, if they had not forced me to leave, I would still be fighting there,” he concludes.