anna brones

writer + artist + producer

Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan

The Power of the Bicycle: Women Riding in Afghanistan

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What if you were told you couldn’t ride a bicycle?

Would you give up the joy of two wheels or would you accept the risks and pedal anyway?

For women in Afghanistan, riding a bicycle is taboo. But there are women doing it regardless of those taboos and cultural expectations, and their story is inspiring, the topic of the upcoming film Afghan Cycles.

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Written by Anna Brones

August 27, 2014 at 18:10

Afghan Women Challenging Gender Roles with Bikes

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I have found myself constantly inspired in the last year by the story of the Afghan Women’s National Cycling team, pushing the boundaries in a country where cycling is considered taboo.

I recently wrote about them and a new film being made about their story on GOOD:

What if you were told you could not ride a bike because you’re a woman? What if your younger sister wasn’t allowed to ride? What if every single woman in your family was kept away from bicycles simply because riding them was seen as immoral?

While most of us have the luxury of being able to head out on two wheels whenever we want to, for the women of Afghanistan, the world of two wheels is reserved for men. Riding a bicycle is a taboo and a sign of immorality. Something so simple—a means of transportation that so many of us take for granted—is off-limits if you’re a female.

But that is changing.

Despite the cultural taboo of females on bicycles, there is an Afghan Women’s National Cycling Team in Kabul. These women who challenge their country’s gender expectations by riding are the subjects of an upcoming film called Afghan Cycles (Let Media). Earlier this year, co-directors Sarah Menzies and Whitney Connor Clapper travelled with Mountain2Mountain Executive Director Shannon Galpin to Afghanistan with a stash of cameras and more than 350 pounds of bike gear. The goal was to document these amazing, courageous women, but also to provide support for what is hopefully a growing movement.

You can read the full article here.  And to support the team, Mountain2Mountain is currently doing a 100 Bikes by Christmas campaign – to help in the launch of a new women’s mountain biking team in Bamiyan – as well as a bike gear drive. To take part and support these women visit mountain2mountain.org/donation or email info[at]mountain2mountain[dot]org.

Written by Anna Brones

December 18, 2013 at 22:34

Afghan Cycles: A Film About Women’s National Cycling Team of Afghanistan

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Very proud of my friends at Let Media for telling this beautiful story and for the nonprofit Mountain2Mountain for supporting these courageous women.

To learn more about the documentary, check out the Afghan Cycles website. Want to support? Mountain2Mountain is collecting bike donations so that they can launch a women’s mountain biking team in Bamiyan. 

Written by Anna Brones

December 8, 2013 at 00:01

Thoughts from Afghanistan: Afterword in Lewis & Clark Chronicle

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After traveling to Afghanistan last fall, I was asked to write a piece for my college’s alumni magazine. I was honored to contribute to the Lewis & Clark Chronicle, and it was a good chance to dig deeper into a subject that continues to be at the forefront of my mind: women’s rights.

An excerpt:

“Remember that being a woman is different in Afghanistan.”

I was getting yet another opinion on my decision to travel to Afghanistan. The statement was said out of love, in an effort to remind me that I should be aware of my surroundings and behavior. Just because I was a strong, independent woman, I should be sure to remember to respect local culture. But it was also coming from someone who had never traveled to Afghanistan.

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Written by Anna Brones

February 20, 2013 at 08:14

Friday Photo: Colorful Kabul

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The inside of Design Cafe in Kabul, Afghanistan, featuring the work of Rahim Walizada. A stark comparison to the dusty streets of the city outside.

My ten-part series on Afghanistan on Gadling kicks off today – learn more about traveling to Afghanistan here

Written by Anna Brones

November 30, 2012 at 08:23

Friday Photo: Creative Inspiration is Everywhere

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You just have to be looking for it.

From a wall in the Women’s Garden in Kabul, Afghanistan. 

Written by Anna Brones

November 16, 2012 at 12:16

Kabul Bike Commute

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A crisp Friday morning on the road passing Darulaman Palace, southwest of central Kabul. Men cruise by on their way to work, pedaling heavy steel frames, dodging potholes. Many faces are swathed in scarves to protect against the morning chill. A group of men gathers at the road that leads to the palace, crouching low to the ground to drink a glass of tea and exchange the morning news. Even in the midst of conflict there is normalcy.

Written by Anna Brones

November 9, 2012 at 07:42

Women’s Rights: Thoughts from Afghanistan

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Thanks to a project with Mountain2Mountain I had the opportunity to travel to Afghanistan to help produce a series of public art exhibits. Afghanistan certainly isn’t the top pick destination for most people, and before my departure the mention of it would inevitable spur a handful of emotions and comments, somewhere along the lines of “are you sure that’s safe?” One of the common reactions also had to do with women’s rights, reminding me that the state of affairs in the far off country was different than the one I had at home. During the two week trip I had a lot of time to think about women and women’s rights, and I came up with the following essay, reprinted from the Moutain2Mountain blog. Hopefully it spurs some thought.

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“Remember that being a woman is different in Afghanistan.”

I was getting yet another opinion on my decision to travel to Afghanistan. The statement was made out of love, wanting to remind me that I should be aware of my surroundings and behavior, that just because I was a strong, independent woman, I should remember to respect local culture. But it was also coming from someone that had never traveled to Afghanistan.

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Written by Anna Brones

November 8, 2012 at 08:10

Breaking Down Cultural Barriers with Food in Afghanistan

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It should have come as no surprise that my favorite Dari word from nine intro language lessons would have been “lunch.”

The first step to traveling respectfully is to learn how to say “hello” “thank you” and “goodbye” in the local language. The second step is to learn a few things food related, because no matter where you are in the world, you are going to need to eat.

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Written by Anna Brones

October 29, 2012 at 08:03

Why Empowering Women is Necessary

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My biggest hope is that gender equity is no longer a women’s right issue. It’s a human rights issue. -Shannon Galpin, Mountain2Mountain

Love this cause and this interview.

Written by Anna Brones

February 17, 2011 at 16:39