Showing posts with label interview. Show all posts
Showing posts with label interview. Show all posts

Jan 6, 2009

My Interview with the Rai News 24

It is a bit funny to see myself in this clip. It just made me to laugh, I can't believe what I was telling to Mario Forenza, the Interviewer.

By the way, i am trying to do video podcasting but I still challenge with myself how to overcome on my shyness.
By the way, you can also download the movie from here.

Nov 1, 2008

Blogging for Afghanistan

From The Guardianweekly

Despite decades of civil war, marauding Taliban and deadly military air strikes, Afghans have experienced some changes for the better over recent years. Health facilities, schools and roads have improved, and a fledgling media industry is finding its feet. Bloggers are off to a fast start, with Nasim Fekrat, also known as Afghan Lord, leading the way. This 25-year-old ethnic Hazara knows all too well the dangers of self-expression, but believes freedom of speech is vital if Afghanistan is to leave its bloody past behind.

Friday October 17th 2008

Lead article photo

Signs of change are visible across Afghanistan. Photograph: John Moore/Getty Images

When I was 11 years old my father pushed me to pray and I would not pray. One night my father raised his hands to the sky and said: "Please god, take Nasim. Kill him, take him back – I don't want him." He did this in front of me and my siblings and nobody said anything. That evening I couldn't sleep. I was thinking death would come right at that moment. I was so scared, thinking god would come to take me soon, that I kept moving my hands and legs to make sure I wasn't dead.

My mother was kind to me. After my father kicked me out of our house she gave me blankets and told me: "I can't help you, your father is very stubborn, but go to the roof and sleep there." Eventually I left and went to Kabul where a local family took me in. All I did after that was read books.

When I created my first blog I used a pseudonym – I wanted to escape my identity and to be neutral. I told people I was born in Afghanistan but that was it. I didn't want to be seen as one type of person or another. Now in my writing it's no secret: people know I'm Hazara.

In Afghanistan, when you write your opinion in the public sphere, you are labelled a racist. I've been receiving a lot of threats. Someone by the name of Coffin posted on my blog, saying "Soon I will find you", and I also received an email that said "Your days are numbered". People approach me from aid organisations that don't exist. But I've been dealing with this since 2004 when the police shut down the satirical magazine I had started, so these sorts of things are very normal for me now.

Our life, or our society, is completely different from in the west. I told my friends that as long as you have bread to eat here in Afghanistan, don't go to Europe; in Europe we are not treated as human beings. Our looks are different, our ways different. It takes a long time to match with them, to understand. When I went to Hamburg I asked two German people for directions and they completely ignored me; they turned and walked away. So I tell my friends, if you want to go to Europe, fine, just visit for a little while and come back.

Newspaper media is very new in our society. There were just one or two newspapers up until the Soviet era, which were only propaganda for political parties. At that time freedom of speech had little meaning. Now, with people coming back from Iran and other countries, Afghans are more educated, they are more interested in news and in reading. We now have more than 20 daily papers and 100 weeklies.

I don't read Afghan newspapers; most of them are not independent. They are biased towards a specific political party or organisation, or whichever donor is giving them money. We don't have a situation here in which very few people earn enough money to publish a newspaper.

All that I write is with a view to making an Afghan thinktank. I want to bring independent thinkers together who can talk about Afghanistan in a different way. I don't want a repeat of our history of massacres and tragedy. This has become my mission.

One thing I still don't know is how to deal with the past. Afghan history is full of genocide and bloodletting – and we still have warlords wielding power. So writing about the past, dealing with it, is kind of taboo in this society. It doesn't matter who you are – if you are Pashtun, Uzbek, Hazara, Tajik – whatever you write, somebody will attack you. People think we should just forget the past.

Nowadays when I see my father I kiss his hands, but he is not happy with me. He regrets what he asked god for, to take me. I can read that in his eyes. But I forgive him. Because at that moment I decided I wanted to be a man for myself, not for my father. It made me very strong and able to take care of myself. In my life, whatever I wished for, I reached out and grabbed it.

• Nasim Fekrat was speaking to David Lepeska.

Aug 19, 2008

My interview with Liberazione


Here is an interview with me in Liberazione newspaper for the communist party in Italy. The interview is translated from English to Italian Language, you can find in this link.

Also you can read it in Mauro Biani's blog, he is an Italian famous cartoonist.

You can also find information about this newspaper here which is translated by google

I appreciate Mauro who worked on this interview to be published in Liberazione.

Jul 4, 2008

Meet Afghanistan's Most Fearless Blogger

Minutes into Afghan President Hamid Karzai's speech before the Afghanistan Donor Conference in Paris, he congratulated his country on its "independent media," which, having "grown exponentially" since the ouster of the Taliban, is a harbinger of Afghanistan's imminent rise to respectable statehood. With a fresh infusion of development dollars, no doubt, Karzai could build on the thriving infrastructure, cultivate a legitimate civil society, educate girls, smoke out the extremists, and generally rid the world of its turbaned bogeymen.

Not everyone buys that. Though the telecom infrastructure in Afghanistan is growing at a pace that exposes confounding contrasts—kids download videos on mobile phones while their houses lack electricity for much of the day—the mainstream press hasn't grown up as fast. Given expanding access to eyes and minds, the national press isn't as sophisticated as it could be.

"Fekrat's facial features are distinctly Mongoloid, in accordance with his Hazara heritage. His skin is rough and his look rugged, powerful in a primitive way; a rack of oversize teeth is arranged in what might best be described as a rebellious manner. He's fiercely independent, even irreverent, but then he's never had a reason to believe in the benevolence of a higher authority. Fekrat's father wanted him dead by the time he was 12 because Nasim didn't care for Allah and couldn't remember to pray, so he spent his adolescence fending for himself. He taught himself English, photography, journalism, the anatomy of the Internet, and he put it all together by posting his thoughts and photographs online. Then he started encouraging others to do the same and raising money on his Web sites so he could go into the provinces and spread the gospel".

Click the complete article here

or open this link

Feb 26, 2008

The more I learn, the more I realize I know nothing

This photostory was already published in NATO website and you can see this text alongside with the fowling text there.

When I was very young I used to write a bit about the world – my world and the world around me. Then, with access to new technology and the Internet, I started to learn about many new things.
Soon, I remember hearing the word ‘blog’ being used in my English class. I found the first Farsi blog service. And an old friend of mine showed me his blog. It made a big impression on me. By 2004, I was running my own satire and cartoon magazine. But it was shut down by fundamentalist Islamiists. I couldn't write using my real name anymore. For a few months, I was in trouble and had to keep moving around.
But I couldn’t stay silent. I started blogging again. During the first few weeks I received great feedback from people outside Afghanistan reading my blog. They liked it because it was difficult to find independent news from Afghanistan. I was writing in both Farsi and English, and soon many readers were visiting both my blogs. In 2005, I was the ‘Reporters Without Borders’ prize winner for the freedom of expression blog.

I started encouraging young Afghans to blog. I founded and organized the Afghan Association BlogWriters at (Farsi) and (English) to promote blogging in Afghanistan. Afghan Penlog is now a network of Afghan bloggers. I am organizing a first teaching blog workshop in Kabul for students and journalists shortly. The aim is to develop the Afghan digital media through blogging. We don't have a completely free media; I think we can fill this gap through blogs. Through these, we can practice free speech and build the way to democracy.

I started not only blogging but writing in several newspapers and magazines, both in Afghanistan and abroad. I have written about discrimination, inequality and injustice suffered by me and millions of people here. The land where I was born was made a land of pain and injustice by warlords for decades.

Blogging hasn’t always been easy. First I took notes. Then, when there was power, I typed them up. After that I saved them to a memory disk. And finally, I went to an internet café in the city upload it on my blog. It was time consuming, but it was important to tell the world that Afghani youths have suffered from war, and how they need help. And it was important to publish news that had no connection to political groups and parties – something rare in my country.

I love blogging - I think I am addicted. When I have regular access to electricity I sometimes post three times a day. I have travelled all around Afghanistan, writing about and taking pictures of every corner of my country. Many of my readers ask what the benefit of blogging is, and why spend so much time and energy on it. I answer that I wanted to learn more about my country and show people what my country looks like and how different is life in each area. I want to show the real face of my people and homeland to the rest of the world.

I also want to document this for future generations, so they don’t experience what I have suffered. I want to picture the beauty, love, hate, smile, anger, interest and peace in the face of my people. I want to show yesterday, and how much it will differ from tomorrow. I tried to highlight some of the suffering of my people. For example, the Afghan women who suffer every day from domestic violence. I pictured children, the next generation, who wander the streets. I still watch them now, begging.

For me, to blog is not only about my daily diaries, but also a window to the world. Through writing and publishing articles about children and their rights on my blog I was able to raise funds for Afghan children. For example, in autumn 2007 I received lots of childrens shoes from the USA. I distributed them among those children who were terrified of the harsh coming winter.
In the meantime, I have tried to teach myself, and today I am very happy. I have found and met lots of great people through my blogs. I often imagine seeing all of them one day. I can't describe how much blogging changed my life. I always share this experience with my friends and encourage them to start blogging.

One of the main reasons I started blogging: to share knowledge and to learn from my readers. They have taught me many things. In the country which spent more than two decades fighting, which has lacked a competent media and started from scratch, the only way is self-education. And I believe blogging is one of the most effective ways of doing this. I have learned a lot of things from my readers during the past four years. But as I wrote on my Farsi blog: "The more I learn, the more I realize I know nothing".

Some online interviews of me:
1) Interview with Globale Voice Online here
2) Interview with Internationalist Magazine here
3) Interview with gair rhydd (Welsh for "free word") is the official student newspaper of Cardiff University, here on page 20th
4) A Dialogue with Roel Verniers Belgiumist writer at Theater of war here
5) My monolog here
6) With Okke Ornstien here

Feb 15, 2008

Blogging for a freer Afghanistan

This was published already in Global Voices Online

Nasim Fekrat in Kabul has been a very active blogger for years. He has an English blog, a Dari/Farsi one, and a photo blog. He has also contributed to several citizen media projects such as Afghan Press and Afghan Penlog. He talks with us about challenges and achievements in Afghanistan's media and new projects.

Q: Please tell us about Afghan Penlog. When did it start, and what are its objectives?

The Afghan Association of Blog Writers (Afghan Penlog) was established in April 2006. The main objective was to build a community to bring Afghan bloggers together from around the world and defend their rights.

We have also published several press releases about journalist detentions in the last few years.

Recently, I have been offering online workshops for new Afghan Bloggers. In 2008, Afghan Penlog plans to teach blogging more widely in Afghanistan. I personally ran several workshops with individuals, but we want to begin teaching bigger groups. The objective of our workshops is to teach students and young journalists to blog, so they can easily start writing on the web.

We don't have free media in Afghanistan, but through blogging, journalists and other people who can't (or don't want to) use their real names in Afghan media can share their ideas.

Q: How many Afghan Penlog bloggers are there? Are there any non-Afghan members?

In total, there are 128 members whose blogs are all listed on the Afghan Penlog website. Afghan Penlog has pages in both English and Farsi/Dari, and we welcome any Farsi bloggers to become members. There are already two bloggers from Iran. The rest of the members are Afghan bloggers throughout the world.

Media under pressure

Q: It seems in recent times that several Afghan journalists have come under a lot of pressure. Why?

Well, honestly we didn't use to have a media as powerful as we have today.

During the rule of the Taliban, all TV channels, radio and newspapers were shut down. There was only Radio Kabul, which used to broadcast religious songs without music, the Quran, and news from the Taliban. In the time of the Mujahideen it was worse.

After the Taliban fell, within a year several magazine and newspapers started publishing. It increased every day but was still non-professional. Many journalists faced problems, and went to jail. Many others had to leave the country. The reason is the Mujahideen warlords are still in power. When journalists want to say something freely, they may be forced and intimidated by a local governor who was previously a fighter and commander.

Meanwhile, the government in the capital is weak and doesn't have the ability to help journalists. The government also took serious steps towards pressuring and censoring those media which were acting independently. New media legislation is still pending.

The fanatic Islamic fundamentalist figures have also influenced. They do not care what the government says, and they do not care about human rights, freedom of speech, women's rights or democracy. They consider everything through Islamic Sharia law.

Q: How you evaluate the Afghan blogosphere?

Well, Afghan blogs are improving and in increasing day by day. As far as my own research shows, blogs are becoming more popular in Afghanistan. It is a new phenomenon for Afghan people, and they are very interested to go for it. I meet people every day that ask me for help making a blog. The fact that we lack free media also encourages people to blog.

Afghan Press, a new citizen media project

Q: You have been involved with Afghan Press too. What is this project about?

Afghan Press was built in order to give accurate local news to people abroad. I am the director.

As you know, we don’t have online media to provide news to the world independently. Every day we hear bad news of explosions, suicide attacks, road bombings, killings, robberies in Afghanistan, but there is no one to provide information on social issues, women's issues, education, music, literature, culture and Afghan traditions.

When I read the news, I feel sorry for myself and wonder why our country and our people are defined as violent and tough people. I want to explain through Afghan Press that we are no different from the rest of the world; that we are forgotten, and you need to remember us today.

A challenge named electricity

Q: Once you wrote that one of the big challenges for Afghan bloggers is the shortage of electricity. Can you explain the daily challenges that an Afghan blogger faces?

That is right. We Afghan bloggers face severe conditions. We always have power outages. That is normal here. Within 24 hours we have 5 hours electricity, but also periodical outages. We need to write our posts on paper and wait until the power comes back.

Whenever we type and save something to a memory stick, we must walk a distance to access the internet. Probably this will take one hour or less, but we have to deal with this every single day.

A second hand computer can help… a lot

Q: How can international organizations help promote blogging in Afghanistan?

Bloggers in Afghanistan are really poor, and I am sure international organizations could help us. I am asking anybody reading these lines, please help us to promote blogs and digital media in Afghanistan. I believe, if we don’t develop modern media, we will not be able to provide information out of Afghanistan. We need international help.

In order to build this country, we need to inform people, teach the people and guide them. We, the Afghan Association of Blog Writers, are asking people to help us promote blogging in Afghanistan. Second-hand computers, laptops, cameras and flash disks would be a big help.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to share with Global Voices audience?

I feel truly lucky to have been giving this chance by Global Voice Online to share my views with its readers. I am very interested in Global Voices and always read the stuff in there, so keep up the hard work. I would like also ask Global Voices to participate and help promote Afghan blogs.