Prague hosts benefit concert in support of Afghan women

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On Tuesday Prague's Klub Vagon hosted a benefit concert for the women of Afghanistan. Organised by RAWA - the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan - the concert featured such performers as Ridina Ahmedova, Zuzana Dumkova and Vidiny, a female rock band. Radio Prague's Nicole Klement went along, and brings back this report...

Ridina Ahmedova, giving a soulful performance at Tuesday's benefit concert in Prague. The concert was organised by the women's organisation RAWA - the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan. I spoke to Bernie Higgins, a member of the RAWA benefit group here in Prague.

"We've called ourselves the RAWA benefit group. We felt we'd like to do something practical in this current horrible and uncertain world situation. We heard about RAWA and we found out more information through their very informative website and we thought it would be good to just try and do something relatively small to help to promote information about the work that they do."

RAWA was founded in the Afghan capital Kabul in 1977 as an independent organisation of women fighting for human rights and social justice in Afghanistan. Today the organisation is devoted to documenting all human rights violations under fundamentalist regimes. Their website is an archive of photos, short films and articles that document public executions, beatings and war crimes perpetrated in Afghanistan over the last three decades.

"RAWA started in 1977 and over the years it has managed to keep going and surviving in many difficult circumstances, including the assassination of the founder who was a fantastic young woman and poet who was assassinated at the age of thirty - called Meena. She serves as an inspiration for the women in the group and what they have tried to do since 1977 is to work to support education for girls and women, health provision for women and they are particularly keen to support economic development for women and particularly the many widows who have been left because of the many years of conflict."

But how do Czechs fit into the picture? The evening was certainly a success, and every single Czech crown from Tuesday's event will go directly to the RAWA organisation. Judging by the turnout at Klub Vagon, Czech organisations and also the general public have been very supportive.

"Well, I must say that I am the only non-Czech member of the group. Of course we've had a lot of support from Czech women. One Eye Open which is a cultural magazine for women is sponsoring the event in that they are paying for the sound and some practical things, like posters. Pro femme and the Gender Studies centre have also helped a lot to promote the benefit. I think particularly young people are very much more active nowadays being optimistic that it is worthwhile doing something like this because we have managed to arrange it for virtually no money."

The voice of Ridina Ahmedova, ending that report by Nicole Klement on Tuesday's benefit concert for the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan.

Author: Nicole Klement
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