I wanted to run and they hit me on the back; I wanted to think and they hit me on the head; they burned my face in the name of Islam, cut my nose for revenge; poured acid on my hands and body; sold me because I am only a woman, sings Paradise Sorouri, the first female Afghan rapper.
Observers.france24 Paradise and her fiancé are both Afghans born in Iran, but moved back to Herat in Afghanistan in their late teenage years. After singing about love and other rather tame subjects, they moved to Tajikistan in 2010, where they started writing songs about violence against women. Today, they tour in Tajikistan and Afghanistan.
“During the three years that Dairos and I were working in Herat, I realized that there was a lot of violence and discrimination against women. In Afghanistans highly patriarchal society, if a woman has a job, she is looked down upon and will definitely be subjected to vulgar language. So just imagine what it is like for artists. Most people consider female artists as nothing more than prostitutes. All female artists who work in Afghanistan today are risking their lives.”
“When we decided to do a song about women, and the violence against them, called ‘Nalestan,’ we started receiving many threatening messages ordering us to stop our work. Despite Afghan womens efforts to participate in public life, female artists are often threatened by religious radicals. Female politicians face increasing threats, too and are regularly murdered. According to the UN, more than 87 percent of Afghan women have experienced some form of violence.