hazara girl

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A look at the Kung Fu women of Kabul, chipping away at gender norms!

These women and girls are fighting to become Afghanistan’s Shaolin martial art ambassadors!

Kung fu is empowering a group of 10 powerful Hazara women and girls. They are practising “wushu” kung fu on a hilltop in the west of Kabul. They are preparing for the day that Afghanistan can send its women’s wushu team to an international tournament.


© Mohammad Ismail/Reuters

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What do these females have in common?

They’re all Pakistani.

This is why there is no such thing as someone “looking” Pakistani.

“Pakistani” is a nationality, not a race or an ethnicity.

It is similar to someone being American or Canadian…yes, there are dominant races & groups of people that exist in larger numbers and hold more socioeconomic power than other ones…yes, there are indigenous Pakistanis & migrants…but to hold certain groups of people as the “ideal” Pakistanis is wrong. It denies the existence of marginalized minorities who are still getting persecuted. It overlooks their struggles. It helps the dominant groups of people in power stay in power.

Just because the Pakistanis in your country or on TV look similar does not mean everyone in Pakistan does. To assume this is similar to assuming all Americans are white. 

So instead of telling your friends they do/don’t look Pakistani, how about you raise awareness about what’s happening to actual Pakistanis who don’t “look Pakistani”? Start off by discussing the Hazara genocide, maybe?

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Happy early book birthday to the heap of books coming out this week!

Bone, Fog, Ash & Star: The Last Days of Tian Di Book 3 by Catherine Egan

Now a formidable Sorceress, Eliza Tok at sixteen is a world away from the unknowing child she once was. But unlike the previous Shang Sorceresses, Eliza will always act out of love, for those she loves, above all else. Above even the greater good of the worlds Tian Di and Tian Xia? The Mancers, and her enemy the Xia Sorceress, think so. And Eliza, when she unhesitatingly uses her tremendous abilities to save her best friend Charlie from a terrible attack, is inclined to agree. As Eliza, Charlie, Nell and the ever-loyal Mancer teacher Foss embark on a quest to protect Charlie’s life from an unrelenting enemy, Eliza is brought to the very edge of what she can withstand, both as a Sorceress and as a human girl. Forced to trust her enemies, face up to devastating truths and gather the greatest and most ancient power her world has ever known, she must confront and question her most profoundly held beliefs. Is Eliza powerful enough to shape her destiny, or will she let it shape her?

Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes

Anatomy of a Misfit is Mean Girls meets The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Anika’s hilariously deadpan delivery will appeal to readers for its honesty and depth. The so-sad-it’s-funny high school setting will pull readers in, but when the story’s dark foreboding gradually takes over, the devastating penultimate tragedy hits like a punch to the gut. Readers will ride the highs and lows alongside funny, flawed Anika—from laughter to tears, and everything in between.

Secret Sky by Atia Abawi

Fatima is a Hazara girl, raised to be obedient and dutiful. Samiullah is a Pashtun boy raised to defend the traditions of his tribe. They were not meant to fall in love. But they do. And the story that follows shows both the beauty and the violence in current-day Afghanistan as Fatima and Samiullah fight their families, their cultures and the Taliban to stay together. Based on the people Atia Abawi met and the events she covered during her nearly five years in Afghanistan, this stunning novel is a must-read for anyone who has lived during America’s War in Afghanistan. [Cover image and summary via Indiebound]

The Memory Keepers by Natasha Ngan

Seven is a thief with a difference – he steals downloadable memories from banks and memoriums to sell onto London’s black market, trading secrets and hidden pasts for a chance at a future of his own. He makes sure he keeps some special stuff back to ‘surf’ himself though – it’s the only real form of entertainment he can afford. But one night, as Seven is breaking into a private memorium in a wealthy part of London, he is caught in the act by one of its residents; Alba, the teenage daughter of London’s most famous criminal prosecutor. Instead of giving him away, Alba promises to keep Seven’s secret – as long as he allows her to go memory-surfing herself. In doing so, they discover a hidden memory about Seven’s past, revealing a shocking secret about Seven’s childhood, the government and a mysterious experiment known as The Memory Keepers…