After the Occupation: Artists Respond to the Crisis in Afghanistan

Join Teesri Duniya Theatre for a panel discussion to bring awareness to the evolving

crisis facing Afghanistan. With the departure and abandonment of US, Canadian and

international presence, Afghanistan is being made to confront a cycle of violent

uprisings and resistance. The illegal occupation of Afghanistan by the international

community during the past 20+ years has failed to bring peace or an end to terrorism in

the region. It has only served to bring a deeper period of instability and corruption while

placing the lives of women, children, and marginalized peoples such as the Hazara

communities at severe risk.

    In light of recent events, it is clear more than ever that Afghanistan’s fight for

sovereignty must be recognized and advocated for. In this period of time, we are once

again seeing a mass exodus of Afghans as a repeated history brought forth by the

impacts of imperialism, colonization, and Taliban rule. This panel will look closely at the

conditions that internally displaced and migrant Afghans face while providing a helpful

guide for the greater public’s support of Afghanistan.

    In the words of Afghan poet Qahar Asi: "Until my hands grasp the sun, I battle with all

things dark and bleak, no shame in saying no and being stubborn, as this is the zenith

of my art and cultural integrity.”


Shaista Latif is a queer Afghan working-class artist, facilitator, and consultant. Her

works and collaborations have been presented by Why Not Theatre, Koffler Centre for

the Arts, Mercer Union, Blackwood Gallery, AGO, and festivals such as SummerWorks,

Progress, and 7A*11D. In 2020, Latif toured her critically acclaimed show The Archivist

(co-produced by Ontario Presents and Why Not Theatre). She is a published playwright

and voiced the character, Soraya, in the Oscar-nominated animated film The

Breadwinner. Her upcoming exhibit How I Learned to Serve Tea will be presented at

the Art Gallery of Guelph in October 2021. Latif’s works explore the politics of inclusion

and class.

Ariel Nasr is an English-Language Producer in the National Film Board’s Quebec

Atlantic Studio. Previous to joining the NFB, Ariel directed and co-produced the

award-winning film, The Forbidden Reel, a feature documentary drawing on thousands

of hours of film archives to trace the second half of the twentieth century through the

lens of Afghan filmmakers (IDFA, Hot Docs). Producer of the Academy

Award-nominated independent short drama Buzkashi Boys (2012), Nasr’s other

directing credits include the Canadian Screen Award-winning, The Boxing Girls of Kabul

(2011) as well as Good Morning Kandahar (2008), the interactive documentary, Kabul

Portraits (2015) and the documentary, La Mosquée, which documents the aftermath of

the Quebec City Mosque Shooting. A citizen of Canada, Afghanistan and the USA, Ariel

lives and works in Montreal.

Rahul Varma is a playwright, activist, and Artistic Director of Teesri Duniya Theatre, a company he co-founded in 1981. In 1998, he

co-founded the journal cultural diversity and the stage. Born in India, Rahul

writes both in Hindi and English, a language he acquired as an adult. His recent plays

include Counter Offence, Bhopal, Truth and Treason, and State of Denial. His

unproduced new works include My Father Would Have Killed Me (2020), Dad’s New

Wife (2019), and (in-progress) Merchant of God. His plays have been translated into

French, Italian, Hindi and Punjabi. He is honored to have worked with India’s

pre-eminent artist, the late Dr. Habib Tanvir.

He has received the Quebec Drama Federation’s Juror’s Award (1986), the Montreal

English Critics Circle award for interculturalism (1999), META’s Equity, Diversity, and

Inclusion award (2018), and a Lifetime Honorary Membership Award (2020) from the

Canadian Association for Theatre Research.

Matt Jones (Moderator) (he/him) is a writer, activist, teacher, and theatre creator. He

has published widely about the politics of war, terrorism, and racism in performance and

is working on a book manuscript based on his dissertation, "The Shock and Awe of the

Real: Political Performance in an Age of War and Terror." He has been involved in

anti-war organizing for twenty years, most notably with the Montreal-based Collectif

Échec à la guerre. He is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto’s

Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies and he teaches at the Creative

School at X University.

Date: Thursday, September 23rd at 6pm via Zoom:

This is an open event; no registration required.


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