Campaign against Terrorism: Culture - Kabul Enjoys an Entertainment Bonanza as Cinema and Television Return after Five Years
Myre, Greg, The Independent (London, England)
AFTER THE Taliban's five-year ban on films and television, residents of Kabul enjoyed an entertainment bonanza yesterday: a war film packed a cinema, and a petite young woman introduced the evening's television programmes.
In a land where women have not been permitted to show their faces in public since 1996, Mariam Shekeba was live on the air, reading from handwritten scripts before and after taped programmes on state- run television.
She spoke for barely two minutes, mostly to promote various events, and Kabul residents were delighted - though hardly shocked. Women were a common sight on Afghan television before the Taliban imposed their rigid interpretation of Islamic law.
"I was an announcer for children's programs before the Taliban," said Ms Shekeba, her black hair partially covered with a forest green scarf. "For the past five years I've been sitting at home, doing nothing."
Television, which returned on Sunday night, is on the air only from 6pm to 8pm, and it is mostly a collection of children's programmes and tedious shows about public health that television employees ferreted away in their homes during Taliban rule. The main transmitter was destroyed in a US bombing raid and the one in use only reaches the greater Kabul area.
The station's director, Shamsuddin Hamad, nevertheless promises four hours of television a night, including fresh productions, in coming weeks.
Mr Hamad, with several days of stubble on his chin, a tan suede jacket and sunglasses that stay on even in the low light of the control room, looks as if he'd be more at home with a gang of Hollywood producers than the Taliban. "The Taliban left on Tuesday and we came to work the same day," he says. "It took us several days to get all the equipment in order, but we're extremely happy to be broadcasting again."
A few blocks away, at the Bakhtar Theatre, young …
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Publication information: Article title: Campaign against Terrorism: Culture - Kabul Enjoys an Entertainment Bonanza as Cinema and Television Return after Five Years. Contributors: Myre, Greg - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: November 2, 2001. Page number: 2. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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