Peace is now the central theme of Pashto-language literature and poetry among the 50 million Pashtuns in “AfPak.” While the world largely sees them through the lens of the media, which often reinforces their image as a warlike people who embrace extremism, many Pashtuns want that image to change and want the world to know that they are the worst victims of violence in their homeland.
In particular, young Pashtun poets and writers want the world to feel the pain of their people. They want the world to see how millions of Pashtuns have been killed, maimed, and displaced by the various rounds of conflicts in their homeland, which were often initiated and sustained by outsiders pursuing their own interests.
In recent years, the Pashto language has developed tremendously with the spread of TV and radio stations. The Internet in particular has helped disseminate the work of writers and poets to regions otherwise unfamiliar with them.
Musicians are also playing a central part in this broad but unorganized movement.
Peace is a central theme in the music of internationally acclaimed Afghan musician Farhad Daraya, who wants Pashtun youth to bid a grand farewell to arms.
-- Abubakar Siddique