Afghan Girl Pursues Art Despite Death Threats From Taliban
By Tes Solomon Sil... on July 22, 2014
For most children, making art is a hobby or part of playtime, but for a 6 year-old Afghan girl, it's become a path to freedom, even when faced with death threats.
For Shah Bibi Tarakhail, art was not something she was exposed to until she lost her right eye and most of her right arm after mistakenly picking up a grenade in her village in Afghanistan. That horrific tragedy might have been enough to push any adult or child into depression, or prevent them from creating anything, but not Shah Bibi.
Shah Bibi's injuries made her eligible to be fitted with a prosthetic arm from Shriners Children Hospital and it was while she was getting used to her new arm that she began drawing. When Children of War, a non-profit organization that aids children with war injuries, learned of Shah Bibi's interest in art, it was arranged for her to take a painting lesson from abstract expressionist artist, Davyd Whaley. That lesson with Whaley became the stepping stone for Shah Bibi because her art gained her international praise as well as an invitation to visit the Picasso Museum in Spain.
With all of the praise and accolades Shah Bibi received for her art, it was not hard to imagine that she would want to cultivate her art when she returned home, but the opposite reaction was being transmitted by the Taliban. Seen by the Taliban as a threat for adopting Western ways, Shah Bibi and her family have received death threats which prompted her father to send her back to Los Angeles where she would be safe from harm and pursue her dream.
While Shah Bibi's family have gone hiding, this young girl has made it her mission to pursue her art. She refuses to succumb to the Taliban's threats and have her love of creating art suppressed. Shah Bibi's determination to forge ahead with her dream with the use of her prosthetic arm is inspiring, but her family's commitment to ensure that their daughter and her passion stay alive is more powerful than any threat the Taliban can ever impose. That's my view on this, what's yours?
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