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Anna Badkhen On The Heart Of Afghanistan, In The Work Of Women

Anna Badkhen testifies to extreme poverty in Oqa, Afghanistan in her book 'The World Is A Carpet.'

Years after covering conflict in Afghanistan, Anna Badkhen returned to the country in 2011, traveling through a roadless desert to a poor village called Oqa. Tonight, Badkhen speaks at The Wild Detectives bookstore in Oak Cliff. 

Badkhen will talk about how she got to know the women who weave famous carpets there, for less than a dollar a day.

“Because the woman knows that she will be doing this for her entire life, she takes breaks. You know, she goes out to stretch and gossip with her neighbors," Badhken told KERA Think host Krys Boyd last year. "She disappears for two weeks at a wedding of her sister in a different village. Life happens around that carpet and that also was what attracted to me to the process of production because the carpet really becomes a diary of a woman’s season at the loom."

So Badkhen stayed in Oqa for the year it took the women to complete their work, which can sell for up to $20,000 abroad. She told the story of bonding with one of the families in her book ‘The World Is A Carpet.’

Badkhen said women in Afghanistan are often known as victims of domestic violence and harsh social rules. The women she spent time with, though, were matriarchs who led rich lives around their work, even while enduring a lack of access to clean water and food.

“Somebody may ask, ‘Why shouldn’t they just pull themselves up by their bootstraps?' And I guess my answer would be, it is our responsibility because we have contributed to the destruction of the last 12 years simply by waging a war in that land and preventing infrastructure from developing.”

Badkhen reads at The Wild Detectives bookstore in Oak Cliff at 7 p.m. Hear her full conversation with Krys:

Lyndsay Knecht is assistant producer for Think.