(from the letter by the editor for Issue I published December 2018)
Survival creates circumstances that feel like the antithesis of home, but survival also builds a house.
Without wanting to romanticize the experience, this house inhabits creativity and the power of storytelling. I wanted to open the doors, walk through the staircase and light up the house.
When I sent out the call for submission, I felt like I was sitting in a dark house. I knew what was inside, but I felt unable to walk through it alone anymore. People constantly asked me "what is your aim?". This is a fair question in times like these. Because one thing is clear: the Afghan story sells. More specifically, the "Afghan story" serves social transaction. It sells itself well if it is packaged in a way that will allow the consumer to gain some emotional and sentimental cash-out. Our stories, our bodies and our existence are often instrumentalized as another tool to maintain a global economy. Within this context, I know that telling my story is not free and far from liberating.
My aim is to have a space for our intersectional realities, a space in which people tell their stories without exploitation and consumption. I want to light up this house that is multi-dimensional, complex, heterogeneous, and beautiful.
The themes that have been submitted to this first issue connect home, longing, relationship to ourselves, relationship to family, "our country", sexuality, policing of bodies. racism and classisms. All of it marked with that messy, complex, heavy house built by survival.
Thank you to Rhianna Ilube for her support. Thank you to all the brilliant contributors and their powerful minds. I hope you will enjoy this first edition.
This is to freedom and liberation - against all odds.