01. 08. 2016
Dancing in your own language
Farid Drokhshan is a confident performer, and he knows how to engage an audience. I’ve seen him performing twice in Bordertown now, playing seated on the floor beside his eight-year old son who accompanies him on the tabla. I’ve enjoyed Farid’s music, but what I’ve enjoyed most from these events is seeing the response of Afghan men in the audience when Farid speaks to them in their own language, and then seeing the pleasure on the faces of the same me when they’re up and dancing. The Afghan men at these events sit and listen ever so politely to all of the English language speeches, but I think it must be such sweet relief to hear a stranger joking with them in a language that is comfortably their own.
In Australian culture of course it’s more often women who are first on to the dance floor, while men characteristically stand with their arms crossed at the back of the room. By contrast, these Afghan men are up dancing and twirling with their hands in the air. One or two of them are most enthusiastic, and then they drag others up to dance too. And then, yesterday, some girls joined in as well.
I think that many of these Afghan men are living a half-life here in Bordertown, They’re here alone, really just in the early stages of their journey to establish a new life, while their families remain in far off refugee camps or in countries torn by war. I see these men sometimes sitting outside the library in the evening too, where Tatiara Council thoughtfully provides free WiFi, talking to their families via Skype or some other on-line medium. I don’t hear them complaining, but I know that their lives are constrained and difficult. Which is why it’s so great to see them dance.