Dear Friends –
As I prepare to return to Kabul for a short project with the US Institute for Peace, I wanted to take the time to wish everyone a very happy Eid. May it be filled with closeness, kindness and a renewed hope for human liberation. May the best and brightest parts of your spirit shine.
The end of Ramadan (marked by Eid) this year coincides with the Zoroastrian time of prayer and reflection for our dearly departed. The prayers we held at my parent’s home fell one week after the death anniversary of my maternal grandmother. As a girl growing up in India when she did, Dina Arjani was not to be educated past middle school, but her family relented after her insistence.
She never once believed that she was small or that she didn’t matter because she was a girl. She knew from an early age that she had something to contribute to this world and she would not be stopped. After all, each one of us is inherently powerful and creative. We just have to step out of our fear and timidity and do those things that demonstrate our true brilliance.
Dina Arjani became a school teacher as did my mother, Teshtar Irani. I follow in their footsteps by using theater and creative arts for critical thinking and human liberation.
For this next project, I’ll be working with script writers and youth leaders in Afghanistan to build listener engagement and interaction for a radio drama. I’ll also help create a framework for community listening groups where people can listen together and discuss important issues in an informal setting.
When I get back to the US, I’ll lead a training in Little Rock, Arkansas for community leaders who want to create storytelling and listening groups around race and racism. Then, I partner with the Afrooz School to create an online introductory course to participatory theater for school teachers in Iran.
From the very personal seeds my grandmother Dina planted, multiple shoots and roots have grown. By believing in herself, and acting from that reality (not the reality of those around her) she has created the space for countless other acts of beauty and truth. So, what are you waiting for? The fear may not subside, the doubt may never become clear but do it anyway. The future believes in you!
With love and affection,