A conversation with Mr Abbas Mohammadi, a documentary maker from East Khorasan (Afghanistan), a former roommate of our Iranians and a neighbour of our land.

In the series of interviews with artists, we talked to Mr Abbas Mohammadi. He graciously agreed to talk with me. What you are reading is an abstract of the conversation that will be published in the near future.

Mr Abbas Mohammadi, Hello.

Thank you for accepting the interview offer.

1- If you want to introduce yourself, how would you introduce yourself according to your artistic background?

I am Abbas Mohammadi, born in Afghanistan and raised in Iran. Like many Afghans who immigrated due to the entry of the former Soviet army, I also immigrated. We went to Iran with my family. My childhood was spent in the city of Kashan. After receiving a diploma, I started working in cinema. I started working in cinema at the Iranian Cinema Youth Association after completing filmmaking training courses by experimentally making short films. After making several commissioned films, the professors I had went to Tehran to continue working in cinema and to enter professional cinema. In Tehran, I entered the world of documentaries by taking professional documentary training courses. After making two documentary films that were screened in festivals such as Tehran Short Film, Busan South, UCL, America, and the Cannes Film Market, I participated in the national entrance exam and entered the cinema school. I completed my bachelor’s degree in three and a half years and received a degree in cinema directing. After that, I entered the university without interruption. I moved to Tehran and received a master’s degree in filmmaking from Tehran University’s Faculty of Fine Arts. After that, I returned to Afghanistan and taught at the university. During this time, I have been engaged in filmmaking along with teaching. After the Taliban entered Kabul, I had to emigrate from the country and now I live in France.

Here I want to enter into a conversation about the events related to our field, food security. You were in Kabul during the last days of the previous government, and then that time was not unlike the apocalypse. Many people in the world, including myself, are heartbroken. On the one hand, I believe that human beings are inherently valuable. On the other hand, if that land is not our home, it is not a foreigner’s home. It is the home of our brothers and sisters and is part of the common heritage of all of us. The scenes where people were looking for bread and fire affected the hearts. Due to the conditions of that time, no one thought of artistic work.

2- How can you tell us what you saw?

It is very difficult to recount and describe that day. On the first day of the Taliban’s arrival in Kabul, I was at the university. After learning about this news, I had to go home to get out of Kabul. That day was a difficult day for me. The order of the entire city of Kabul was disturbed because of that vision that was created in the minds of the people. The people were terrified and everyone was running to the other side. This confusion took away the decision-making power from the people. By then, all the shops were closed and everyone was trying to find their way. Before reaching home, I bought some food from a store. The prices had not changed much that day because at that moment when I went to the store, many people still did not know exactly about the arrival of the Taliban. That afternoon I went to the French embassy. We were there for several days. Due to the problems that arose, we had to leave the embassy and return home. In the following days, some shops were opened, but some food items became more expensive. We only stayed at home for two days. During this time, I was trying not to leave the house because I was worried about the presence of the Taliban in the city. I was also waiting to make arrangements to go to the airport to go to Europe. It had become expensive and many shops did not sell food. The reason for that was the lack of supply and transportation of goods from other provinces and countries. The situation of food security in Kabul and other parts of Afghanistan had deteriorated significantly. Many people were facing hunger and malnutrition. I don’t know, but the shops were open most of the time. An atmosphere of fear and terror had reigned in the city. It was a very hard and sad time for me and my people.

If you were to show it in a movie, what would be shown? Could those horrible days be made into a documentary film at all?

In my opinion, one of the moments that should be depicted is the moment when the Taliban entered the city of Kabul and the chaos that arose in the city. The moments when people gathered around the Kabul airport and wanted to take advantage of this situation. And of course, we should not forget that not all those who were at the airport were in danger. Many of them just wanted to take advantage of this situation and reach Europe. Of course, many left and many of those whose lives were really in danger stayed. Those moments could not be documented at that time because at that moment no one was thinking of documenting and could not. Because at that moment the important thing was to save lives. But that moment can be turned into a fictional film that can also become an attractive film. Of course, we should not forget that making such films costs a lot.

In your opinion, what is the link between food security and education?

Food security has a direct relationship with education. In the first step, when a society is well-educated, it will never seek conflict and war. Because it knows that war means destruction and misery. If a society is educated, it can properly manage its time of crisis, so that it does not get into trouble during the time of crisis, and on the other hand, during this time, it can plan what foods to use to better feed itself and others.

I believe that education is something like food for health. Although our work is in the field of research, after the days of the fall of the country, some schools or schools in remote areas lost their foreign support. Our friends in the association and philanthropists were able to support one of the rural schools with difficulty in helping our dear children study in a village in Takhar province. The effort of our friends was to say that despite the many problems, we Iranians are with you as much as we can. We will stay. Maybe we will make the children happy. This helped us to better understand the situation and I would like to ask the final question.

How can hunger and the need for food be shouted to the world in today’s crisis-ridden world?

Everyone has the right to express their opinion in the field of science and use their own scientific methods to solve problems. The same applies to the field of providing solutions. I think the best way to convey this message to the world is to visualise and transform it. Hard times can be captured in images and shown to the people of the world. In this way, the people of the world will witness the events themselves instead of us shouting for them. Because when you shout too much, people will gradually get used to the noise and they will not listen to the cries. They will hear all those cries at one moment and forget them all after a few moments. But an image or a film is something that targets the mind of the viewer and the intended audience. The image will stay in their mind and in the following days and months, it will make them question themselves and face mental conflicts and self-identity issues. Sooner or later, this self-awareness will make them think about their fellow humans and look for a solution to their problems. In my opinion, the best way to do this is to make films from those days and those moments. This example is similar to the famous saying “Seeing is believing”. Therefore, if we want to show the crisis to the world, the best way is to depict it.

Mr Abbas Mohammadi, thank you very much for accepting our invitation.

Back to top button
error: Content is protected !!