A big thank you to everyone who participated in the conversation on Afghanistan this past Sunday. For folks who couldn’t be there I spoke about the power of images (both negative and positive) to shape reality. We interrupted the negative monologue on Afghanistan and moved closer to other human beings through seeing the artists’ faces and hearing their stories. The audience created new images of solidarity and love to send overseas. HERE IS THE VIDEO OF THOSE GREETINGS!!!
Some video from the working class neighborhood that I drove through every day. You see people walking, working, living life. You’ll hear the car radio in the background. Sorry for the glare, I had to take this with the window up – didn’t want to hang out of the car with a camera! You may have to watch this a couple of times to see some of the details.
So, today I am really missing my friends and colleagues in Kabul after two aggravating incidents. Yesterday an entitled and aggressive man sat next to me on the subway and expected/demanded I move over so his companion could sit where I was sitting. I was confused and wanted to move away from him, so I moved. Then today, I am walking down the street and another man rams into me and shoves me over with his shoulder. (This is in Queens, too!)
What’s it like to be a theater artist living in Afghanistan? Over the last 3 days the group shared personal experiences of what it is like to make theater in their provinces. We used their stories and created a “problem tree” – a tool used in popular education to analyze a present problem, what supports this problem, all the way down to the root causes. The problems they presented are somewhat familiar to me: no respect, no resources, and no support. These become the leaves, or fruit of the tree.
I am off to Kabul in 2 hours!! YIKES and YAY!! Right now I’m in an internet cafe in a fabulous Middle Eastern area of London. I am staring at all the women trying to figure out how they manage to make their head scarves look so elegant and stylish. I’ve practiced wrapping myself but only manage to look like a granny! Why didn’t I think of this back in NY where all my beautiful sisters could have given me pointers?!
I am now in Wales, about to start my “hostile environments” training course before I head off to Kabul on the 10th. I’ve spent the last 3 days in London getting to know the BBC Afghan team, seeing friends, and combatting a cold. I’ve posted a video update. It’s been quite a mental rollercoaster. One day I am feeling upbeat, looking forward to my trip, the next day I am thinking of all the awful violent images I see on the news, imagining myself in the center of such things. I was seriously questioning myself, my decision, and my impulse to continually and adamantly unveil hope and goodness from those settings and places our society has placed at the bottom of the heap. My fear was strong, my strength wavered.