Dance in Afghanistan doesn’t have a huge role I don't think. Only really at weddings, and then men and women are separate. Dance just doesn’t have that big a role and it probably couldn’t have a big role. Dance is a universal language, but in Afghanistan, because it has such strict rules in terms of gender, then maybe it’s harder to come together over dance, though I do think that dance is a good way to become closer to people when it does happen, a form of communication.
I think dancing is also tricky because it kind of depends on the type of person. I’m an introvert, so I don’t like to present myself publicly. As a child I really didn’t like dancing. Now, I’ve learned to go about dancing better than then. I feel as though you learn to present yourself with time. I like normal social dancing just as much as Afghan dancing, but I have fewer opportunities to do it. I have more opportunities to do the normal Afghan hand dancing - Qata Ghani. There is a lot of opportunity to do cultural things among family members here.
I think culture is actually being lived out here in Germany and other places in the world where Afghans are, but there in Afghanistan it stopped. You can preserve it here more. Like this one woman said at an Afghan-German seminar a couple of days ago, she went back to Afghanistan and she knew how to dance traditional Afghan dances, but her family there didn’t. So she taught them.
At first I was in Holland in 1994 with my family because we had family that was already there, but because asylum law said that we had to stay in the first country we arrived in, so we had to go back to Germany. My parents and three sisters are here in Germany. I remember very little from my time in Afghanistan. I wasn’t very interested in learning more because I was very busy with studies so I didn’t have the time. Now I’ve had more time to become interested so I’m beginning to learn more and get more involved with Afghanistan. I identify as Afghan-German. People in Germany are very different from those Afghans there in Afghanistan. Many Afghans go back and they feel like their own family is foreign. I don’t have any family in Afghanistan anymore. I’d like to go back to understand my roots and where I come from, to find my identity.
Location: Bielefeld, Germany
STORY ID: 00037