Maryam Khamosh. The silent voice of Afghan women
According to the Afghan Journalist Center (AFJC). Since 2001, when the Taliban regime collapsed, they have lost their lives in the country, 102 journalists. Of these killings, 95% have been left unpunished. Under these conditions, Maryam Khamosh decided to follow the profession of journalist and photojournalist. “She said that she wanted to be the silent voice of Afghanistan,” said Sayeed Ahmad Sadat. Journalist and collaborator of Humanstories.gr. “At first it was very hard and difficult to work as a photojournalist because even our own media preferred foreign photojournalists from an Afghani woman. Slowly, that have changed” says Maryam Khamosh, and continues:” I love photography and video very much, and that is why I can endure the problems and difficulties that we face in Afghanistan. Photography is my big love. If we want to fly and become better, we need to have an image of our real situation. That is can be done only through photography. And we must not forget, that life of human has its own secret that must be clear or reflected that its outcome would be a message which is empowerment and empower other human to stand on his/her feet and realize what their creation means”.
Maryam was born in 1988 in Kabul in an intellectual family. Journalism was of early interest and eventually managed to find her place and work for national and international Media in Afghanistan. Her first job was as a journalist and she started working in 2005, for the Red Crescent in Afghanistan. Later, in 2008 she started working for Nai Radio and Chiragh Daily. In 2010 she began to work on photography and video at the Art Contemporary Center in Afghanistan. Her photographs have been shown in several exhibitions in Kabul and abroad, including the United States of America, Canada, Norway and Germany.
“It is my commitment and my responsibility as a photographer to share what I have learned with other women and to play my part actively in Afghanistan” she says and continues: “It would help women in my country to become active and exemplified by examples such as my own, to start actively engaging in what is happening in Afghanistan. My country needs the activation of women. So I thought that if I could hold photography workshop, so the others would be able to launch writing, empowerment, skill development workshops for women in my country, it would be great help”.
In 2011, she held her first photography workshop at the Art Contemporary Center of Afghanistan, which trained many students in photography. She worked as freelance with some international news agencies and some artistic and cultural centers. In addition of that, Her other activities since March 8, 2014, were the responsibility of Radio Joosh which was the first Internet radio in Afghanistan. Her greatest interest focuses on the living conditions of women and children in Afghanistan, which she has captured with photos, traveling to most parts of the country. At the same time she has organized photo seminars in other areas beyond Kabul, and she has trained many Media’s staff too. Another part of her photographic work concerns the war zones, accidents and bombings in Afghanistan and that all this reflects on the daily lives of Afghans. Several photographs of her were hosted in a book published in Norway with the collaboration of artists from Afghanistan and Norway who exchanged thoughts and optics. This book was even awarded.
“I have been awarded many times but the most important of all is the spiritual reward. I’m proud of my job. I love my job and I enjoy being the silent voice of my fellow citizens and especially of women. Especially women who have pushed by the life to the edge of society” said Maryam, who recently received the first prize at the Peace Festival held in Afghanistan. She is young, she works hard, and she has a great impact on new generations. That is why she is trying to positively motivate the women of Afghanistan. Along with her work, she is currently studying economics, and since March 2018 she has been working with VOA-Voice of America.
by Sayed Ahmad Sadat