News: Poetry and peace
PAKTIKA, Afghanistan — For the first time, over 100 poets and writers from all over Paktika and the surrounding provinces of Ghazni and Khowst came together to read, write and share poetry, Nov. 12.
The attending poets gathered within the Shura Hall in the provincial capital of Sharana for a two-day event.
Ten years ago, this sort of event would be unthinkable under the harsh Taliban regime that forbade any sort of artistic expression. Today, under the sponsorship of the Afghan national government, Afghan citizens freely expressed themselves in an open forum.
During the event, original poems were read aloud. Prizes and recognition were given to the best poets.
"It was a cultural poetry seminar to promote peace in Paktika and all over Afghanistan," said Bashir Mohammadi, Paktika's director of Information and Culture and event organizer.
Poetic themes shared varied from writer to writer. Some focused on love and a longing for romantic companionship. Others took a more activist stance, encouraging their fellow Afghans to stop fighting and "live together like brothers in peace."
These poets expressed their desire for a brighter future for their children, who "will not hold guns in their hands but books to learn from in order to better their lives."
The event was funded and supported by Paktika Provincial Reconstruction Team, out of Forward Operating Base Sharana, Afghanistan. Paktika PRT is an integrated team of U.S. military and civilian representatives from the Department of State, Agency for International Development and Department of Agriculture.
The PRT provides Paktika province with the support necessary through infrastructure, governmental, cultural and human capital development projects to enhance self sufficiency and increase the quality of life for the Afghan people.