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Response to “The Swallows of Kabul”

In the seminar, I particularly enjoyed the works of Yasmine Khadra, as I found that they effectively illuminated the ways in which they depicted the dire effects of the Taliban’s influence, describing it in the sense that it bleached the city of it’s beauty and subjugated its citizens to a lifetime of tyranny and oppression. Khadra’s work, in my opinion, really illuminated not only the extent of this oppression, but also its effects on the mindset and psyche of those living amidst these conditions. In particular, I found Yasmine Khadra’s work The Swallows of Kabul to be highly fascinating due to the way in which he used imagery to convey the circumstances in the city.  Specifically, I was moved by how he characterized Kabul as consisting solely of “battlefields, expanses of sand, and cemeteries”, which effectively contrasted the current state of Kabul with how it previously was by saying that the “dust has stunted their orchards, blinded their eyes, sealed up their hearts […] it seems that the whole world is beginning to decay and that its putrefaction has chosen to spread outwards from here” (Khadra). For this creative response, I wanted to depict the effects of the Taliban’s influence in a way that demonstrated the contrast between the beauty of the society with the bleak emptiness that became prevalent after the effects of the Taliban by depicting each on one side of the paper. To emphasize this contrast, I used color on the side of the page that represented Kabul before the Taliban and drew the other side with charcoal.

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