by Afra Nariman
Afghan Dreamers (2022)
Director: David Greenwald
“They are an embodiment of what our present and our future looks like. Their resilience is what we are excited about. They are here representing the dreams of all of Afghanistan.”
Afghan Dreamers tells a story that takes place at the edge of hope and the abyss. When the young women who are the focus of this documentary were born, the Taliban was in control of their country, and women were not allowed to have an education at all. That changed, and although still not a fully just one, they grew up in a country with relatively less restrictions than the one they were born into. One of the girls’ mothers says to them:
“You have a golden opportunity. You can go to school and become someone.”
Today, the Taliban again has control of the country, girls over the age of 12 are banned from going to school, and just weeks ago it was announced that the Taliban has banned all women in Afghanistan from attending university and gaining a college education.
Afghan Dreamers is yet another film that illustrates just how much talent and intellect lies in the minds of people, particularly women, of Middle Eastern countries who are simply not given the opportunity or freedom to express themselves. There has been generations of artistic and intellectual talent that has gone unknown, unappreciated, and that have been simply wasted because of the oppression that these women face in all aspects of daily life. Again, literally TWO WEEKS AGO, we were told that an entire country’s population of women would be prohibited from gaining a college education, and the Western world has already stopped talking about it. The people of Afghanistan, of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Palestine, etc. don’t need our pity; they need our ears to listen to them tell their stories and share their dreams, they need our voices to support their fight for freedom, and they need our hearts to align with theirs. Films like Afghan Dreamers are necessary for these things to happen. For each of the five young women at the center of this film, there are thousands of others whose talents and intellects will never be known or fully realized because of the suppressive societies they are continually limited by.
People are more than their despair that makes the news. This is such a humanizing and poignant documentary that highlights the persistence of humanity, the very real and courageous resistance of women who live under the most suppressive circumstances on the planet, who embody hope, a will for freedom of expression, the right to dream, and who fight for a future that will allow others to realize these things. A better future will come for the women and people of Afghanistan, and other similarly suppressed populations in other countries, because of people like the young women whose stories are told here — who resist suppression and who dare to continue dreaming, even when the walls seem to be closing in around them.
“The previous generation has brought so much destruction to this country, but our generation will try to change that, to build Afghanistan. We’ll always try to change the world’s perception of Afghanistan.”
MY RATING /5:
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