On August 15, 2021, the Taliban seize power in Kabul, Afghanistan. 20 years after their defeat, they triumph and the West is shocked. This film was produced in 2019. Six Afghan women share their hopes and memories that connect them to their country.
Afghanistan has been in a state of emergency for four decades. Women in particular suffer as a result, becoming pawns in ideological conflicts. This film depicts their suffering – but also their courage, and determination to control their fate.
The documentary begins in the 1960s, in the peaceful Kingdom of Afghanistan. When communists take power, a war begins that will change the face of the country. Women become pawns in ideological battles. After September 11, 2001, Afghan women hope peace may return. They want to determine their own fate. But the spiral of violence continues to this day.
In a first, this film is told exclusively from the point of view of Afghan women, who talk about how their lives have changed. Six women, including the former “Miss Afghanistan 1972” and the current minister for human rights, take the audience on a journey through the splendor and misery of the country. They show the tangible effects of endless war, and how women in particular have become victims of violent politics. But they also show how much courage Afghan women have. Using mostly unseen archival footage, the film shows how girls grew up, went to school and were socially engaged in the vibrant Kabul of the 1960s. But this “golden age” ended when the monarchy was overthrown and ideological battlelines were drawn between communists and Islamists. Even the Soviet Union could not maintain control, its mighty army falling to Islamist forces, who eventually took control of Kabul. Thus began a downward spiral that darkened the lives of Afghan women. 20 years ago, the fall of the Taliban seemed to open a path to a more promising future. For two decades, women and girls in Afghanistan were able to envisage and live a life in which they could decide their fate, in a country that provided ample choices and chances for them. They wanted their country back, the country they once knew. With the Taliban’s swift coup to seize power in just a few weeks, the women’s dreams seem more unattainable than ever.
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