Shikiba Babori

  • Afghan women. Pawn of politics
  • 9th Literature Autumn Heidelberg
  • Literature

At the end of August 2021, NATO and its allies will have left Afghanistan – and the country’s women will have lost all the freedoms they fought for. Shikiba Babori calls for looking further ahead and enabling Afghanistan to have a future in which women’s equality is no longer a question of power politics.

The fate of women in Afghanistan has always been closely linked to the political interests of those in power in the country. They function as property, leverage or alibi to justify policies. Shikiba Babori – born in Kabul – shows what role women are assigned in Afghan society. She tells stories of women from different parts of the country and social classes and paints a nuanced picture of what it means to be a woman in Afghanistan: “If you don’t play by the rules, you quickly run the risk of being killed.”

Babori traveled regularly to Afghanistan to speak with women – in cities like Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif as well as in rural areas where 90 percent of women have no access to education. In six chapters, she describes why the West has failed over the past 20 years, looking back to the 1920s. She records the legal situation of women and what it means to be born a girl in Afghanistan. She tells of women who secretly teach other women at the risk of their lives and of others who take their own lives out of desperation.

Shikiba Babori was born in Kabul and came to Germany with her family in the late 1970s. She returned to Afghanistan for the first time in 2003. Since then, the journalist and ethnologist has traveled regularly to the homeland of her ancestors and reported on developments there in numerous reports. Since NATO’s withdrawal in August 2021, she has become the voice of Afghan women in the German media. She trained journalists in Afghanistan and founded the Afghan-German reporter network Kalima-News.

Moderation: Veronika Haas

A cooperation of DAI Heidelberg/LiZ and Literaturherbst Heidelberg

Foto: Frank Rossbach

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