In a Land Without Music

Secular Pakistan

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by Eqbal Ahmad
from The Selected Writings of Eqbal Ahmad

(Editor’s Note: This first hand narrative of Afghanistan during Taliban regime should be read by those who believe in absurd notions of ‘Good Taliban’ and ‘Bad Taliban’)

I have seen the future as envisioned by contemporary Islamists. It horrifies and does not work – anywhere. Today we look at two towns in Afghanistan.

Qandahar, an old city and monument in many ways tozarmina1 Afghan aesthetics, is a vast architectural ruin; its forbidden soul hides perhaps in the rubble. The town’s physical destruction was caused largely during the war between the communist regime and its Russian patron, and their Mujahideen opponents. After their ‘victory’ the latter have robbed it, as they have most of Afghanistan, of hope and proscribed the pursuit of happiness. Music is banned in historic Qandahar which had once been famous for its bards and story-tellers. Play is…

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