Initial euphoria at the fall of the Taliban has passed and beneath the lingering veil of war comes the sound of singing.
Despite divided leadership and ethnic enmity, music has enabled many Afghans to celebrate a unified national identity. “Whether from Bamiyan or Kandahar,” they sing, “we are brothers.”
For the sake of peace, Afghanistan's musicians have endured exile, imprisonment and continued threats upon their lives. They are determined to revive and ennoble the country’s war-weary soul.
“It is difficult to change people by weapons, by money, by all of these things,” renowned singer Abdullah Maqurai said to me. “But through music, I can influence the minds of the people and encourage them to live in peace.”
Abdullah Maqurai is the nom de plume. “If they catch me, they will kill me,” he laughed. “But as long as I am alive, I will do this.”
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