Hello, my name is Afghan artist Sadaf Danish.
In Kunduz, in the north of Afghanistan, I worked hard to get a better education so I could help women get ahead in society.
The childhood and aspirations of Mahtab were destroyed by forced marriage.
Promoting the rights of women intended painted on the city’s walls and promote women’s rights.
The Taliban painted Kabul black, like a painting, on August 15, 2021.
Hello, my name is Afghan artist Sadaf Danish. The destruction of my dreams happened more than a year ago. In Kunduz, in the north of Afghanistan, I worked hard to get a better education so I could help women get ahead in society. When I was only 14 years old, I had a friend named Mahtab, whose name in English means “moon.” This guy served as my initial inspiration. She was a young woman who wanted to go to school and make a difference in the world.
The girl’s father told her: “You should just get married and have children.” You don’t have the right to an education. The childhood and aspirations of Mahtab were destroyed by forced marriage. Mahtab became pregnant at the age of 15 after they wed. Her spouse killed her after torturing her. When I found out my friend was dead, I was both horrified and terrified. But Mahtab’s husband received no discipline. I will never forget that brutality.
I committed to myself that I would carry out Mahtab’s requests. I frequently composed poems about women while I was in school. I have always been interested in art, and I occasionally painted in class, but no one seemed to notice. After I finished school in Kunduz province, I started a group of artists there. Both men and women joined the group.
Promoting the rights of women
I intended to paint on the city’s walls and promote women’s rights. [March 2021] We put on a big show in Kunduz with 300 paintings discussing women’s rights, war, and peace. Our actions were reported on by credible Afghan media and international outlets. At that time, the Taliban were all around Kunduz, but I worked with courage anyway. I had achieved Mahtab’s goal of becoming a valuable member of society. I was a human rights activist, a member of civil society, and the leader of an art organization, and I was even invited to appear on famous Afghan TV shows. I also received more than 50 letters of gratitude. I was overjoyed.
My joy, however, did not last very long. The city of Kunduz, which was engulfed in flames, was captured by the Taliban. Everyone was scurrying away. My family sent me to Iran to preserve my life. The Taliban painted Kabul black, like a painting, on August 15, 2021. I couldn’t fulfill Mehtab’s wishes, but I still want the world to know about them. No girl currently has the right to study in Afghanistan, and I have no idea what will become of the female population there. I also have no idea if I will ever be able to return home. Do I have the right to advance in life or not?
Analysis by: Advocacy Unified Network