Monday, July 6, 2009

Latif Nangarharay: Call Afghanistan your holy land

I have long been interested in the literature, the music, that emerges from countries in transition. Throughout my academic studies, I was fortunate enough to study a number of writers whose works reflected their societies as new regimes emerged. Today, as societies in places like Iran, China, Iraq, etc etc undergo intense battles, voices previously silenced by brutal repression are raised who represent the new reality, as they reject the historical warfare of their birth lands.

Latif Nangarharay is one such voice. While Latif lives and works in London, his heart is very much with Afghanistan - the land of his birth. I came across an interesting article about him today.

Moonlighting as Afghanistan's musical hope

By Bilal Sarawary,
BBC News, Kabul

Latif Nangarharay works eight hours a day as a quality service controller for the London Underground.

His job is to make sure that trains run on time, stations are kept clean and passengers have a hassle-free journey.

For thousands of London commuters he's just one of the many staff managing their daily commute.

Latif Nangarharay earns his wage working for London Underground

But Mr Nangarharay is no ordinary worker - in fact he's a singing sensation in his home country, Afghanistan.

His lyrics inspire many Afghans. His words - his fans say - offer hope to a country destroyed by 30 years of war. His music encourages fellow Afghans not to lose faith. And his message is a personal one.

Mr Nangarharay fled the Taliban 10 years ago and settled in London.

The 28-year-old says that he too is a child of war and understands exactly how his countrymen feel.

He says that his country's history is what inspires his songs.

"Like everyone else, I left my country and lost family members, so I sing the song. I hate anyone who destroys or kills Afghans, so I urge those who are misled and carry out suicide attacks and kill school children, that this is not the time to pull the trigger," he said...

"I ask those who blow up schools, kill people and carry out attacks to not let people misled them. Don't kill, don't kill your brothers," the singer says....

Music was a key part of Afghan cultural identity and played a crucial role in keeping the ethnically diverse country together until the Taliban took control in the 1990s and banned all forms of it....(BBC here)

This really is an interesting snippet of an insight into Afghanistan. Follow the Beeb link to read more.

You will know, me being me, I had to go find the video.

For the lyrics - in English - go here

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