|Kabul: 13:50 PM      |
Welcome to Kabul:Reconstructions. You can follow the information below, which has been gathered from a
number of sources by a number of participants (click on the names at left for bios), to reconstruct your
own picture of events in Kabul since this site was launched on March 8th, 2003 and, in a sense, since the
reconstruction of Afghanistan began somewhere in the winter of 2001-02.
Some of this information has been provided in response to specific questions submitted by visitors like you. Please note that this section of the project is now maintained as an archive and has not been updated since 2005. Click here to ASK A QUESTION.
Arian Mouj Sharifi
What can I offer?
I keep dreaming of Afghanistan. Each year, I dream a segment of a longer letter from Afghanistan. It began when I was 21 and I dreamt of watching a narrow street in Kabul from a rooftop from old Kabul. The dream has no action, no message, no movement. It is only me perched on the edge of a rooftop, watching the narrow path. There are no people in this dream. There is only yellow dust and an ancient feeling to it. As if this is dust from which my bones were made from. Growing up in Brooklyn, I had no idea what Afghanistan really looked like. I left when I was a year old. So I never saw the place. A few months after this dream, I saw this narrow street and this rooftop in a postcard at the Afghan Market in Flushing, Queens (New York). This is the age that marked my dedication to do something for Afghanistan. Each year there is another dream that unfolds a message for me. While listening to Ahmad Zahir, an old tape from my father's collection. It was taped at a live concert he had given and my young father had caught all of the beauty and madness about our Ahmad Zahir on this tape. In my dream, he says, "Why do you listen to me so much but never pray for me?" But his voice is not attached to a body. It is a mansion that speaks to me in his voice, a palace covered with yellow dust and forgotten. I stopped listening to that tape after this dream. There are other dreams and if you will indulge me, I will go through all of them like a deck of postcards, each one has been retold over and over to my friends. Each one recalled as vividly as if I had dreamt it the night before. Indulge me to free myself of all these dreams in which Afghanistan's soil calls to me to return and do something constructive. The dreams continue and I imagine it is because I don't feel like I have done enough to honor my place of birth. In another dream, Abraham Lincoln walks away from me in his famous top hat. I follow him up the stairs of an ancient building made of mud. He leads me to a helicopter and I escape the mud-packed walls of this building. I leave reluctantly with my arms stretched out to it as if I have forgotten more people to take with me. The lights dim from all the windows and the towers crumble into themselves. A voice tells me that the farther away I go, the dimmer the lights become. I wake up thinking only of returning and doing something with my hands. But this was 1996 and my father couldn't imagine sending his daughter over to Afghanistan. Only after Kabul was open to the world -- still a surreal idea to Afghans in the diaspora -- I dreamt a voice telling me to throw a rope over to the Pamir from New York and bring the worlds together. My most recent dream of a few nights is that voice again... only architecture appears again in this dream... no people... sometimes children are present around these buildings that speak to me... and once the thirteenth president of the U.S. but usually there are only buildings speaking to me, buildings and earth. In this most recent dream, there is a maze and at the center is a gold-domed palace. The maze walls are all in blue tiles and so is the palace. A voice tells me the walls burn on the sides but the center remains. And so, after such a long letter on dreams... a trivial way to unpack 7 years of a letter my parents believe is a message to return... I ask those of you close to this reconstruction how is Kabul doing? How is Mazar doing? How is Kandahar doing? Since my family was entirely wiped out by the Russians, with a few strangely disturbed members who have isolated themselves after fleeing Afghanistan in Saudi Arabia -- I have no family to ask after in Afghanistan. I can only ask after cities, states and bits and pieces of myths from my father's stories. I have devoted my life to writing and educating about Afghanistan. But I will never feel complete until I have done some physical labor there and then I feel authentic and verified as an Afghan. This is what I wanted to share after so much silence. I am always afraid of writing because I am afraid that I will not be able to face that inner voice which tells me that I must return to do something more productive on a physical level. Nothing academic, or intellectual, or artistic has been able to appease this inner voice. So since all of this reconstruction has begun, I have not been able to write a line of poetry or a sentence in a story. It all seems trivial. Yet, I know that we need to begin reconstructing the fabric of our collective memory as Afghans in order to begin the healing necessary to move on...
Posted By: zohra   May 11th 2003, 2003 2:36 AM
Kabul: Partial Reconstructions is an installation
and public dialogue project that explores the multiple meanings and resonances of
the idea of reconstruction -- as both process and metaphor -- in the context of present-day Kabul.
www.kabul-reconstructions.net is an online discussion forum, information resource, and medium for the communication of questions and answers about the reconstruction between people inside and outside the city of Kabul itself.