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“Cinemas and cultural centres have been closed”

Industry Report: Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Samereh Rezaie • Actress and director

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The Afghan artist talks about how important it is for the international community to continue supporting women and human rights in Afghanistan

Samereh Rezaie • Actress and director
(© Hossein Hosseini)

Afghan actress-director Samereh Rezaie talks about how important it is for the international community to continue supporting women and human rights in Afghanistan.

Cineuropa: How do you feel after the Taliban’s return to Afghanistan?
Samereh Rezaie:
I have a very bad feeling about the Taliban coming to Afghanistan. This is a disaster. A country that worked for 20 years for democracy, freedom and women's rights. Now, all those efforts have been wasted, and the country has surrendered overnight to a group of extremist terrorists against humanity. The people of Afghanistan do not want the Taliban. They have been imposed on us.

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What do you think will be the future for women in the country?
Unfortunately, I see a dark future for myself and all Afghan women. The Taliban strongly opposes the presence of women in society. They have stated that men and women in university should be separated. Only female teachers should teach women. Girls from the seventh grade onwards are not allowed to study. In many provinces, women were flogged and abused under Sharia and field courts. They have removed posters and banners of women's faces in Kabul. Their main goal is to remove women from society.

What is the state of cinema in the country, and what should we expect in the future?
Before the arrival of the Taliban, Afghan cinema was doing well. But now they have said that artists should choose another job. They have banned music and closed instrument shops. Most artists have left Kabul for fear of losing their lives. Cinemas and cultural centres have been closed. With the advent of the Taliban, it is expected that no films will be made in Afghanistan in the future.

What should the international community do?
The Taliban have not changed anything. Their nature is extremism in religion. They want everything from the perspective of Islamic law, which is not possible in the modern era. The new generation of Afghans want democracy and freedom, and do not want the Taliban. We expect the international community not to recognise the "Taliban" under any circumstances.

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