“Transforming Tears to Energy” Theater and Transitional Justice in Afghanistan: Podcast with Hadi Marifat


In the past three decades, Afghanistan’s people have endured the devastating impact of violence through foreign invasion, civil war, and insurgency. Though the volatile political situation in the country is a hot-button issue of international prominence, victims of the conflict have largely been excluded from the war discourse.

In this podcast, ICTJ speaks with Hadi Marifat, founder of the Afghanistan Human Rights and Democracy Organization (AHRDO). ICTJ, AHRDO and local Afghan organizations are working together on an innovative arts-based approach to discussing Afghanistan’s conflict and transitional justice issues at the grassroots level. Community theater provides a space for victims of war to connect with one another and share their experiences.

Feedback from victims shows the powerful impact of the project. Marifat describes one particularly compelling testimonial from a woman who had lost five family members during the war. “Hadi, I’m not going to cry any more. I stopped crying. And I’m going to change my tears into energy.” This inspiring quote later became the theme of a theater project, entitled “Tears to Energy.”

Though the political context of this approach is unique to Afghanistan, Mairfat believes that using theater can be a viable technique to reach victims in other societies emerging from conflict.

“A lot of people thought it wouldn’t work because the idea is foreign. But given the history of oral expressions that we have in the country, people really took to theater, and they really liked it. I hope that this experience could be also transformed and used in other post-conflict situations in any other countries.”

Listen to the Podcast

[Download](/sites/default/files/Marifat_ICTJ_Podcast_11022011.mp3) | Duration: 7:58mins | File size: 4KB

Attend the Event

AHRDO is currently on tour in the United States, performing a piece entitled “Infinite Incompleteness” in Washington DC on November 5 and in New York on November 8.

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