A Young Woman From Afghanistan Is Using Her Raps To Fight Oppression (Video)
The Middle East has been one of the most volatile regions of the world in recent history, particularly if one spends much time with American news media. For those who have not visited the area, images of war, terrorism, religious turmoil, and other variants of oppression can become overwhelming, but it is hugely important to acknowledge the presence of those very real aspects of life for millions of men and women who call countries like Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and others home. And, equally important, is the acknowledgment of the human spirit and its endless quench for freedom and self-expression. It is at this crux of the oppressed and the outspoken where we find 18-year-old Sonita Alizadeh, an Afghani rapper whose bravery and creativity is poised to help millions of women.
As reported by CNN, Alizadeh is a refugee who escaped forced marriage, a millennia-old tradition that many call “arranged marriage.” For many, many women (and men), an arranged marriage is better described as being involuntary, as those involved are often under age and are certainly not marrying for love but rather for financial and cultural reasons. Now living in Utah where she attends university, Alizadeh has spent the last year outside of the shadows of her own forced marriage (she was sold to a man at only 16) in addition to the ever-present threat of violence from factions of the Taliban, who were very prevalent in her hometown of Herat. In addition to her courses in math, English, history – all the trimmings of a “normal” education – Alizadeh spits in the booth, and her lyrics are driven by the very same aspects of life that forced her to abandon her native country.
Her own harrowing experience resonates with countless people, not just in the Middle East but also elsewhere, where women are often kidnapped, sold, and enslaved in the name of matrimony. That inspired Alizadeh’s song “Brides for Sale,” which has already amassed more than 80-thousand views on YouTube. The video provides the Anglosphere with English subtitles, and the lyrics are both deeply saddening but also a wellspring for hope. Sonita, as she is referred to, stars in the video and is adorned with a bar code stamped on her forehead, a very literal translation for a very real human-rights issue. Watch her powerful statement below and stay tuned for more, as she has voiced her desire to move back to Afghanistan to become a female rapper in support of women’s rights.
To learn more about her remarkable personal journey, read “Afghan teen uses rap to escape forced marriage” on CNN.