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Kabul Residents Greeted With ‘Peace Balloons’ After Violence

APTOPIX Afghanistan Daily Life

KABUL – Volunteers handed out 10,000 neon-pink “peace” balloons to Kabul residents in a bid to bring smile on their faces on Saturday, a day after they were deeply shocked by a coordinated Taliban attack marked by explosions and gunfire. Ten people, including six attackers, were killed and 14 others were wounded in the attack that targeted a hospital, foreign aid workers and a police force headquarters in Shahr-i-Naw located in the heart of Kabul on Friday.

Bursts of gunfire and grenade blasts heard across the city late into the evening as security forces hunted down the attackers for several hours. As residents woke up on Saturday morning, they were greeted by artists, filmmakers, painters, musicians, photographers and crafters as part of the largest ever public art installation taking place in Afghanistan. Around 10,000 citizens were handed out pink balloons.

Yazmany Arboleda, the New York based Colombian-American artist, who arranged the event, has previously created this orchestration in India, Japan, and Kenya to strives to constructively engage with the local social challenges, using art as a way to bring about change.  “I see this project as a platform that transforms the single story of catastrophe that the world sees in Afghanistan into multiple narratives that highlight our shared humanity,” he said of the work.

One of the many young female volunteers, Nargis Azaryun, said “we hope that by giving away 10,000 pink balloons we will give this city 10,000 ideas of life beyond war; 10,000 opportunities to imagine the future; 10,000 opportunities to believe in peace, gender equality, and education.  She said each balloon could open up conversations about the way the Afghans lived and how they could improve their lives through creativity. (PAN)

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