My Afghanistan: Life In The Forbidden Zone

Wednesday, March 12 at 6:00pm at the Joel D Valdez Main Library, 101 N Stone Ave, Tucson, AZ 85701

Free Admission


Post Screening discussion with Maggy Zanger and Noorullah Dawari. Maggy Zanger is a professor of practice at the University of Arizona School of Journalism and an affiliated faculty member of the UA Center for Middle Eastern Studies. She is Project Director of a three-year partnership project with Nangarhar University in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, to assist in developing a new journalism department. Her teaching and research focuses on international journalism and the Middle East in particular. Before coming to the UA, she was Iraq country director for the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, taught journalism at the American University in Cairo, Egypt, and worked at Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies.
Noorullah Dawari is a program coordinator and translator with the Kabul-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR). He works with the University of Arizona’s School of Journalism on a partnership with Nangarhar University in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, generating curriculum materials in Pashto. Dawari was born and grew up in Kabul and studied Law and Political Science at a private university. He has worked with the US military and journalists as a linguist, translator, and administrative specialist.

Part of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, made possible by the Arizona Humanities Council with additional funding provided by Ventana Charitable Foundation, The Fund for Civility, Respect and Understanding, University of Arizona School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and The Aurora Foundation of Southern Arizona. Click here to view the films and schedule.


Nagieb Khaja, a Danish journalist of Afghan origin, travels to Lashkar Gah, capital of Helmand province in Afghanistan. Because journalists are not able to move safely outside of the capital, contact with the civilian population in rural areas is almost impossible. But Khaja has a trick up his sleeve. He gives people living in outlying communities mobile phones equipped with cameras and asks them to film their daily lives, providing a rare glimpse into the war-torn existence of ordinary Afghans.

We ride along with Hakl Sahab in his 70-year-old Jeep with no brakes, get hair-styling tips from Jurna Gulm, seek shelter from fire fights with Shukrullah, and watch farmer and widower Abdul Mohammed raise his four children alone. And as the project progresses, it becomes clear how challenging it is to capture the difficult lives of women. Alternating between the participants’ scenes of daily life and Nagieb’s own experiences, My Afghanistan depicts a country where civilians are the greatest victims of the war, and Afghans struggle to live in the constant shadow of violence. (Dir. by Nagieb Khaja, 2012, Denmark, 88 mins., Not Rated)


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