A belated Eid Mubarak – I’ll post my Eid post later but for now, I’m ecstatic about the turnout at Farhad Darya’s concert in Helmand.
I was talking to my family on skype last night, my back was toward the TV. H was flicking through the channels and he stopped at one. I could hear Karzai speaking and addressing the public in Pashto. Mum asked me what that was on TV. I told her it was Karzai. H was like ‘noooo, it’s Farhad Darya’. He’s not a fan of Farhad Darya, but I am. And I think deep down, he is too. He was really liking the concert.
Anyhow, mum immediately switched on RTA on the internet and she watched it on her computer.
The turnout was ginormous!!! It was HUGE! I’m talking about at least a million people (all men, of course). But it was a huge success!
For those who don’t know, Helmand is known as ‘Taliban’ zone. It’s right next to Kandahar. It’s Pashtun dominated and it’s extremely conservative.
But Farhad Darya, of Tajik ethnicity, blew out the Pashtun crowd with his performance and genuinity of his love for his people. I was so amazed. I didn’t even know it was possible. It was good to see a different side of Helmand, a happy side of people cheering and clapping and just being happy, not what you see on TV of extremism and unhappiness. Hopefully, the next big event will also have women’s presence, perhaps a women only event will strike a huge turnout.
Anyhow, I’m still so excited about it, so let me just say a few things more. Towards the end, Darya was so into it, he was running around barefoot on stage. The crowd loved him. Occassionally the event coordinator would take on the stage telling eveyrone ‘kshena kshena’ (sit, sit). But that was only for a few minutes. A song later, they were all on their feet again, waving their arms.
The best part of it all was that it was live, no lipsynching was done. Almost all Afghan singers lipsynch. This is one reason why this made the event so genuine. He really had everyone going.
I may be getting way over my head when I say this, but maybe Farhad Darya is the answer to Afghanistans fragmented ethnic division. He unites everyone, he sings for all, he sings in all languages. I grew up listening to his music, I didn’t know what he was singing. I just liked the tune.
Today, I have a deeper appreciation of his music. He’s not just a singer. He’s an ambassador of peace, of unity, of development. He is a darya.
Okay, just a correction: Farhad Darya is not of Tajik ethnicity. His father was a Pashtun of the Nasher tribe among the Pashtuns. His grandfather was a very powerful Pashtun by the name of Sher Khan. (thanks to TemorKhan for noting this)
Also, I forgot to add that the international media did not report this. I am so disappointed. I wanted the world to see a different side of Helmand, a happier side. They’re always so quick to report the negative and not the positive. I guess that’s what makes headlines.