In the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the country has an oppressive hold on its female population. Silenced by a society that would rather the women be submissive and quiet, a young woman has taken a bold step to find expression via music and in turn, becomes the first female Hip-Hop artist of her homeland. Sosan Firooz, 23, has released a rap song speaking not only of the injustice women face in Afghanistan but also speaks of Afghani pride as well. The Associated Press obtained an interview with Firooz and it appears her message has intentions far beyond simple rap fame.
The song, “Our Neighbors,” speaks directly to Firooz’s experience as a small refugee child in Iran, fleeing Afghanistan during the country’s civil war in the 1990s and where the Taliban terrorist regime began to take hold. “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 in an interview. Her family has a history of being refugees, just having returned home after living in Pakistan seven years prior.
“They will miss their homeland,” raps Firooz, translated to English from the native language Dari. “They will want to kiss the dust of their homeland. What is the result of Afghans being refugees in Iran and Pakistan? Half of them are addicts and the other half are terrorists!”
Although the track has only been released on YouTube, the budding rap star is causing quite a stir among those who find her to be too outspoken. She defies many traditions, taking photos without her hair wrapped, wearing bandanas and other fashion not usually seen amongst Afghan women. A budding actress as well, some of Firooz’s family has cut ties with her because she’s breaking the old rules. Violence against women who don’t follow the traditional ways is not uncommon, and young rapper’s life could be in danger.
Firooz’s father, Abdul Ghafar Firooz, has stepped up in a major way to protect his daughter from harm. “I am her secretary, answering her phones. I am her bodyguard, protecting her. When she’s out, I must be with her,” he said. “Every parent must support their daughters and sons to help them progress.”
Coming from a poor family of meager means, Firooz’s main outlet has been rap music and while she lacks the polish of the more established acts of her country, she is no less devoted to continuing to chase her dream.
“When war started in our country, there were bullets, artillery, rockets. All our trees were burned down. The war forced us to leave our country,” she says on her song. “We are hopeful for the future in our country. And we request that our neighboring countries leave us alone.”
Peep “Our Neighbors” below:
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