Sunday, October 21, 2012

First Female Rapper In Afghanistan

Non-Traditional Music

A young female rap singer seems an improbablity in a nation like Afghanistan, conservative by any standard or measurement of traditional and religious morality. And, yet, a young female singer, is doing just that, an Associated Press article by Rahim Faiez and published in the Toronto Star reports:
“Listen to my story! Listen to my pain and suffering!” Afghanistan’s first female rapper, Sosan Firooz, pleads into her microphone.With her first rap song, the outspoken 23-year-old is making history in a society that frowns on women who take the stage. She is already shunned by some of her relatives. But for Firooz, the best way to express herself is through rap, a musical genre that is just starting to generate a following in Afghanistan.
She sings about repression of women, her hopes for a peaceful Afghanistan and the misery she says she experienced as a small child living in neighbouring Iran. Her family fled there during the Afghan civil war of the 1990s and the hardline Taliban regime’s rise to power in 1996. During her five-year stay there, she said the Iranians disdained Afghan refugees. “I remember while we were in Iran, we were called ‘dirty Afghans’ and told to go to the back of the line at the bakery,” said Firooz, who also spent time as a refugee in Pakistan and returned to Afghanistan with her family seven years ago.
Her song’s message to Afghans: Stay in your homeland. Those who leave, she sings, will only get jobs washing dishes or working at a car wash. “They will miss their homeland,” she raps. “They will want to kiss the dust of their homeland.” 
Firooz is still not yet widely known among Afghans, but she’s breaking traditional rules for women in a very conservative society, where some women don’t go outside without wearing blue burqas that cover them from head to toe. Violence against women is still common in Afghanistan, especially in remote areas. “We want an end to all cruelty against women and children,” she chants.
Her message is both noble and right, and will likely strike a chord among the many women in Afghanistan and elsewhere who reside in similar circumstances. The fact that this is a news story says much about the limited rights and freedoms that women currently have in Afghanistan; the fact that this young women, Sosan Firooz, feels compelled to break conservative societal taboos through a modern form of music common in the West also says much.

Yet, there is hope, since it is precisely women like Sosan Firooz who help introduce and eventually establish new modern norms in a nation unused to them. We hope for much success for this young women.

You can read the rest of the article at [Toronto Star]


  1. Sosan Firooz, the article in The New York Review of Books, and the moderate voice published in the Arab News and the Canadian Jewish News, are all examples of unexpected freedom. Let us hope these examples continue to appear.


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