STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

I want to live in my country and not be stoned for loving a man: Afghan queer rights activist Nemat Sadat

On the day that the Taliban took over, Ahmadullah, a young gay Afghan, risked meeting his boyfriend. Later that day, his boyfriend was beheaded, Nemat narrates. 

Published: 08th September 2021 10:41 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th September 2021 10:41 AM   |  A+A-

Afghan queer rights activist Nemat Sadat.

Afghan queer rights activist Nemat Sadat.

Express News Service

HYDERABAD:  The first time I spoke to Nemat Sadat was in August 2019, in a pre-pandemic world, where we sat across each other and discussed the future of the queer community in Afghanistan. He seemed hopeful after receiving positive reactions for his book, The Carpet Weaver, which talks about the forbidden same-sex love story of two men. “One day I want to live in my country and not be stoned for loving a man,” the gay rights activist had said.

As visuals of Kabul falling to the mercy of the Taliban filled television sets, a death sentence was signed for the LGBTQ+ community in the war-torn nation. “Taliban will eliminate the gays, just like the Nazis did,” says Nemat, as he deals with the task of trying to evacuate 350 queer persons from Afghanistan. In the last week of August, 175 people of the queer community tried to flee, but none could make it. Soon after, the ISIS blast happened, which made it tougher for Nemat to ensure the safety of his family and friends. Declared a ‘national threat’ by the Afghan government for being gay, Nemat was forced to flee his country and seek asylum.

Speaking on the relationship between him and Afghanistan, he says, “It’s bringing old wounds to the surface. My relationship with the country is very complex; I was made to feel that I didn’t belong there long before the Taliban came to power again. But, things have worsened again and it has devastated me, like most Afghans around the world.”

“I have been campaigning for queer rights in Afghanistan for more than a decade now and believe me, things were still better earlier. The community was criminalised, had been killed, and made a bait, but we created a space for ourselves despite all this. All this effort will be futile now, as the Taliban’s hardline interpretation of Sharia justifies the killing of gay men by either stoning or toppling them off of 10-15-foot walls,” he shares.

Last weekend, two queer persons were killed after the Taliban barged into their homes, covered their head and face with plastic bags, and dragged them away for execution. The landlord was given an ultimatum: “You house this filth and you will suffer the same fate as them.” This is just one of the many cases, Nemat reveals, where the Taliban have been conducting house raids, snatching phones, and checking messages, chats, and social media to hunt down members of the LGBTQ+ community.

On the day that the Taliban took over, Ahmadullah, a young gay Afghan, risked meeting his boyfriend. Later that day, his boyfriend was beheaded, Nemat narrates. Worried for his life, Ahmadullah crossed over the barbed fence and approached a US Marine. He was beaten and warned by them to never come back or else he would be shot — a gamble he would willingly take again.



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

edexworks
flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp