The Phuket News Premier League predictions The Phuket News Kata Rocks The Phuket News Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort
The Phuket News World News
The Phuket News Phuket | Thailand | World | Business | Q&A | Weird World XML, RSS, Feed
The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News

Condoms, bribery, warlords: Afghans find truth in comedy

AFGHANISTAN: They are a thorn in the side of abusive Afghan warlords, corrupt policemen and double-dealing politicians, skewering them on television – with laughter.

culture, politics, military, police, violence,


AFP

Sunday 2 July 2017, 10:00AM


The skits on ‘Shabak-e-Khanda’ call out wrongdoing and incompetence with tongue-in-cheek nonchalance and have garnered an avid following since the series first launched on Tolo Television. Photo: Wakil Kohsar/AFP
The skits on ‘Shabak-e-Khanda’ call out wrongdoing and incompetence with tongue-in-cheek nonchalance and have garnered an avid following since the series first launched on Tolo Television. Photo: Wakil Kohsar/AFP

Comedy can be a dangerous business in Afghanistan, but the stars of TV show “Shabak-e-Khanda” – or Laughter Network – are unabashed even in the face of threats of violence.

Their skits calling out wrongdoing and incompetence with tongue-in-cheek nonchalance have garnered an avid following since the series first launched on Tolo Television.

A recent episode took a swipe at a senior minister who had a reputation for drifting off to sleep in official meetings.

“Wazir sahib, when should I wake you up to defend the country?” the anchor crooned to a broken harmonium, reflecting public frustration over growing insecurity in Afghanistan.

“You were sleeping when suicide bombers came to attack us,” he joked.

Another episode parodied a military commander who bet – and lost – a government Humvee in a gambling spree.

And another lampooned a policeman who was dismissed for “bacha bazi”, the entrenched practice of sexual slavery and abuse of boys.

“Through comedy we show the reality of life in Afghanistan,” said the show’s 27-year-old producer Rafi Tabee.

“Comedy is funnier when there is truth to it. In a country full of tragedies, we make people laugh.”

The show is a rare uncensored voice that has built a reputation for poking the bear in the eye and speaking truth to power.

And it appears to be getting more daring with each episode.

A popular target is a formidable former warlord known for his drunken misdemeanours: portrayed on the show as wearing a bandoleer belt filled not with bullets but alcohol bottles.

Another audience favourite was a skit showing Afghanistan’s president trying to coax another former warlord over the phone not to engage in celebratory shellfire after signing a government peace accord.

“No celebratory fire is like making Kabuli pilaf without rice,” reasons the stubborn warlord, flanked by a rocket launcher.

The line between satire and reality blurred to the point of vanishing when the show parodied a powerful MP whose electricity was cut off for not paying his utility bills.

“If you don’t switch it back on, I will switch you off,” the MP is shown threatening a power company official. In reality, the lawmaker got away with not paying, the way influential strongmen in Afghanistan usually do.

But sometimes the humour cuts too close to the bone. In Afghanistan’s hyper-masculine society, being laughed at is the cultural equivalent of being emasculated, the ultimate humiliation that can easily devolve into violence.

“Two armed men came to my house and said ‘You make fun of our leaders? This should be the last time’,” said Siar Matin, one of the show’s comedians.

Supporters of President Ashraf Ghani also warned another star of the show, Ibrahim Abed, against mocking him. He has gained popularity for near-perfect mimicry of the mercurial leader’s sudden finger-jabbing outbursts.

“Doing comedy is as dangerous as killing a cow in India,” where the animals are worshipped, joked comedian Nabi Roashan.

But such is the power of outraged mockery that ordinary Afghans have started courting Shabake Khanda’s crew to expose wrongdoings and shame inept officials.

“People come to us instead of going to MPs with their problems,” said Siar.

Humour is also a source of solace and escapism in a country where hope is fast receding, amid a worsening conflict, rising unemployment and political dysfunction.

“In Afghanistan they say laughing is a sin,” said Roashan. “But people tell us ‘you are doing the best job by making people laugh’.”

The program’s rising popularity mirrors the evolution of the media in post-Taliban Afghanistan into a feisty watchdog despite funding pressures and the ever-growing threat of violence.

Most episodes feature impromptu performances without proper scripts, including a recent segment that poked fun at Afghans too coy to directly ask for condoms from a chemist.

“We laugh and perform. We perform and laugh,” said Tabee, the producer.

There is no dearth of powerful subjects worthy of ridicule.

Massood Sanjer, the head of Tolo TV, explained: “People say ‘don’t do bad things or Shabak-e-Khanda will make a show on you’.”

 

 

The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Comment on this story
* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.
Comments Here:

Comments Left: Characters
Username:
Password:
E-mail: (No Hotmail, Live, MSN and Outlook accepted at this time)
Security:
   => Forget password?

Be the first to comment.

The Phuket News
The Phuket News The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Share this
The Phuket News
Have a news tip-off? Click here
The Phuket News
Related stories
The Phuket News
Phuket community

Recent Comments


Phuket police investigate speedboat explosion that left two crew members injured

Why was the speedboat, after dropping tourists at Chalong Pier, sailing out 200 meters and than intend to return? Where they dropping waste/debris th...(Read More)


Zebra shark, Bull shark alleged to be on menu at Phuket restaurant

And with the change in demographic from Western tourists to Chinese, expect to see much more of this....(Read More)


Police learn how to investigate, in Phuket

But they still will not investigate unless you pay them. ...(Read More)


One dead, one injured in wicked pickup accident

Does idiot high speed ( see outcome of it on the photos) need any further investigation? As a insurance company I would requests a alcohol + drugs te...(Read More)


20 Uighur escapees at large after Songkhla prison break

Just saw the 'escape' on BBC World tv. After breaking out of their cell, they were on a by high wall surrounded compound. Cams showed clearl...(Read More)


Police learn how to investigate, in Phuket

Is this just another attempt of RTP to deviate public attention away from all the Phuket RTP corruption matters? May I laugh to read about Detectiv...(Read More)


Phuket airport ‘Fast Track Service’ companies suspended amid ‘illegal activity’ investigation

If I am reading this correctly it must be illegal, as someone is getting their palms "greased" and leads to corruption by immigration staff ...(Read More)


Phuket airport ‘Fast Track Service’ companies suspended amid ‘illegal activity’ investigation

I many times have experienced fast track service on Phuket airport. Departing and arriving. Any illegal activity is impossible. You 'fast track...(Read More)


Nigerian shooting suspect still denies charges, case file with Phuket prosecutor

So,Thai woman would do everything for money,even such highly immoral things like "Eskimo nose kissing".What a biased shameful comment!Instea...(Read More)


Free ISLA professional lifeguard training gains ground in Phuket

All said about what the Phuket Government has to think, realize and stand for is so very true. Invest in those people, to maintain them, to pay them ...(Read More)

The Phuket News
Bangkok Hospital Phuket
PHUKET NEWS
Phuket
Thailand
World
Business
Q A
Weird World
ARCHIVE
POLL
CURRENCY
WEATHER
PHUKET TIDE TABLE
The Phuket News PHUKET LIFE
Phuket Arts
Phuket Community
Phuket Culture
Phuket Dining
Phuket Education
Phuket Entertainment
Phuket Environment
Phuket Health
Phuket People
Phuket Technology
Phuket Travel
World Entertainment
Photo Galleries
COLOURING BOOK
The Phuket News PHUKET SPORT
Phuket
Thailand
World
SURF REPORT
PREDICTIONS
The Phuket News PHUKET CLASSIFIEDS
Phuket Buy and Sell
Phuket Jobs
Phuket Property
Phuket Cars and Boats
Phuket Community
Phuket Services
SEARCH CLASSIFIEDS
POST CLASSIFIED
The Phuket News The Phuket News PHUKET EVENTS
Phuket Event listings
Phuket Event calendar
Buy Tickets
POST EVENT
The Phuket News PHUKET DIRECTORY
Phuket Bars, pubs and clubs
Phuket Hotels and villas
Phuket Restaurants
Phuket Yellow Pages
POST LISTING
The Phuket News BARGAINS
The Phuket News ABOUT US
The Company
Distribution points
Subscribe
Advertise with us
Pay for advert
Contact us
CONTESTS
Content Google Map
Site map
Australian Visa Services
 
Currency - The Phuket News   Weather Report - The Phuket News   Surf Report - The Phuket News
LinkedIn - The Phuket News   Twitter - The Phuket News   YouTube - The Phuket News   Facebook - The Phuket News
Copyright © 2017 Class Act Media. All rights reserved. | Website usage terms and conditions | Privacy and Confidentiality Statement.