Recently we were sent a video from the Afghanistan Human Rights and Democracy Organization (AHRDO). The video shows footage of a public event in Kabul organized in commemoration of National Victims Day. During the event, two different artistic, victims-led processes merged in order to acknowledge the untold suffering of countless Afghan men and women who have lost members of their family during the past, almost 40 years of uninterrupted conflict: Memory Boxes and Infinite Incompleteness. Memory Boxes are physical installations that tell the stories of individual victims of war through a combination of personal objects and artistic artefacts created through a process that is based on Augusto Boal’s Aesthetics of the Oppressed. Infinite Incompleteness is a documentary theatre play that tells the stories of ten Afghan women and men that were collected and creatively processed through Playback Theatre. The video is a powerful testimony to the role that Theatre of the Oppressed and Playback Theatre can play in working with victims of war around the issues of memory and justice. During the event, some of the visitors spontaneously started telling their own stories of loss and demanded for Afghanistan’s culture of impunity to be broken in order for a more just, democratic and beautiful Afghanistan to be a possibility in the future. The recent car bomb explosion in Kabul on April 18, however, is once again a tragic reminder that AHRDO’s work is more needed than ever.
Picture by AHRDO