Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

‘Star Afghan’ and the Desire for Change | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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An interesting news article discussed the launch of the ‘Star Afghan’ television show similar to the popular international entertainment program, ‘Fame Academy’. The show is attracting a wide audience especially amongst the Afghan youth.

According to the article, one of the show’s producers articulated that wars had caused a vacuum in the country over the past 15 years, asserting that the show had gained unprecedented audience ratings.

The show was launched after the fall of the Taliban regime, which had completely prohibited music and television in afghan society.

Regardless of the ethical values behind the show, or the concept of cultural invasion, or even the American war on the Taliban regime, far from all of this, the show is a mere representation of the Afghan desire for a necessary change against repression. The issue focuses on the Afghan search for a lifestyle that connects them to the world and allows them to communicate with it.

“Life is mortal. There is no need for suppression. If submission is a condition of survival, then I do not want this life of slavery.” The previous statement featured in the opening of the novel by the young Afghan writer, Latifa, entitled “The stolen face,” which focuses on the way of life to which Afghan women were subjected.

Latifa, a young woman in her twenties, is a model for the level of awareness amongst the Afghan youth. To perceive the Afghan youth from one perspective only is unfair. Stripping the Afghan youth of their willpower and considering them merely products of American brainwashing is an atrocious judgment imposed upon a society that has escaped suppression, survived wars and given birth to a creative youth.

The image is quite the opposite in neighboring Iran. Last week, press agencies informed us that Iranian security forces had arrested two young boys who listened to American “pop” music or had been selling CD’s and tapes that feature this type of music.

It is confounding to see the picture of 400 Iranian women of the revolutionary guard forces training in a military base in support of Iran’s right to develop its nuclear program and in support of the Palestinian cause.

The youth of a number of Islamic countries are prisoners of the way that state governments label them as “the Nation’s ordnance, the Nation’s army and the Nation’s spirit.” Such a perception sacrifices the youth for political rhetoric, revolutions and even nuclear programs.

There is an entitled danger in controlling the youth and occupying their minds with ideological instigations. I believe that examples of the dangers of such a practice are abundant and clear. The youth pay the price for policies to which they have never agreed and whoever has had the opportunity to reject and divest them, did so.

Which situation is more peaceful? That of Afghans filling Kabul’s cinemas with laughter as they watch ‘Star Afghan’ despite their poverty and illiteracy, or the image of 400 young Iranian women dressed in black clothes and green scarves practicing military training and carrying weapons?