Afghan writers criticize disregard of children’s literature in Iran, Afghanistan

July 7, 2019 - 19:4

TEHRAN – A number of Iran-based Afghan writers have criticized official negligence in children’s literature in Iran and Afghanistan. 

They made the remarks in a meeting titled “Sympathy and Compassion” held in Tehran on Saturday at the Iranian Association of Writers for Children and Youth.

Afghan writer and poet Mohammad-Kazem Kazemi said, “Poetry and stories have always been at the service of the adults, and children’s literature has rarely been seen in works by writers and poets.”

“We did not even have any children’s writers and poets over the past 20 years, and children’s books and magazines were hard to find. Of course, children’s books and magazines were sent to Afghanistan from Iran in very limited quantities in those years, and we used to know some of the Iranian children’s literary figures from older times,” he added.

Kazemi has authored many books on Persian literature and Afghan poetry. His book “Window” published in Iran is considered to be a famous poetry anthology.

Writer Mohammad-Sarvar Rajai who is also the deputy director of the Afghanistan Literature House in Tehran praised the meeting for providing an opportunity for Iranian and Afghan writers to exchange views.

“I launched the magazine ‘Bagh’ for children in 2012 and I have always said that the magazine is my childhood regret. I didn’t want Afghan children in Iran to feel sorry over why there is no magazine for them in their native language,” he said.

“We have been living in Iran for the past 40 years, but media haven’t paid due attention to Afghan children’s literature. We have 400,000 Afghan students in Iran but no Iranian writer or poet has written a story or poetry about them. Not even a five-minute cultural program has been made about these students. Of course, some programs have been made which rather add more to our pains,” he noted.

Rajai is the author of “From Leili Desert to Majnun Island”, a book carrying the memories of the Afghans who volunteered to fight for Iran during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.

The book has been published by the Study Center of the Islamic Revolution Cultural Front.

Rajai had spent 10 years collecting the volunteers’ memories of the war.

He is also the author of “In the Arms of Hearts”, the memoirs of a number of Afghan people about Imam Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic.

A number of Iranian writers, including Farhad Hassanzadeh and Mehdi Hejvani, were also in attendance at the meeting.

Photo: Afghan writer Mohammad-Kazem Kazemi speaks during a meeting at the Iranian Association of Writers for Children and Youth in Tehran on July 6, 2019. (ISNA) 


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