Shikiba Babori

  • Afghan women. Plaything of politics
  • 9th Literaturherbst Heidelberg
  • Literature

At the end of August 2021, NATO and its allies left Afghanistan – and the country’s women lost all the freedoms they had fought for. Shikiba Babori calls for us to keep looking and to give Afghanistan 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 act as property, a means of exerting pressure or an alibi to justify politics. Shikiba Babori – born in Kabul – shows the role assigned to women in Afghan society. She tells the 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 follow the rules, you quickly run the risk of being killed.”

Babori regularly traveled to Afghanistan to talk to women – in cities such as Kabul or 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 last 20 years and looks back to the 1920s. She describes 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 at the end of the 1970s. She returned to Afghanistan for the first time in 2003. Since then, the journalist and ethnologist has regularly traveled to the homeland of her ancestors and reported on developments there in numerous reports. Since the withdrawal of NATO 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 reporters’ network Kalima-News.

Moderator: Veronika Haas

A cooperation of DAI Heidelberg/LiZ and Literaturherbst Heidelberg

Foto: Sarina Chamatova

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