Thursday, June 26, 2008

Lost Paradise or The Last Survivor?!



A short documentary about the world's tiniest minority; the last Jew in Afghanistan


Zaki Merzaie a young Afghan filmmaker has newly made a short documentary film and screened it in Kabul.

This documentary film is about the life of “Zebulon Simanto”, the last and the only Afghan Jew living in Afghanistan.

This Afghan Jew, the only survivor of a religion in a country that makes the tiniest minority in the world who can be recorded in Guinness World Record book lives in an old synagogue in Kabul.

Zaki Merzaie the director of this film

Lost Paradise is the title of this documentary and it depicts Afghanistan a lost paradise for the religious and ethnic minorities who have been under pressure or have been eliminated and are now extinct in this country while the foreign (Pakistani Pashtoons) suicide bombers look for their paradise in Afghanistan and kill the people of this land along with themselves in suicide attacks.
The religious and ethnic minorities have always been abased and kept under pressure by the ruling governments in Afghanistan especially when the Islamic fundamentalism is mixed with tribal customs and makes it easy to misuse the religion against the non-Muslim religious minorities then they have no more their homes that is their paradise in which they have lived for centuries.
This film could be titled The Last Survivor too, as it is about the last Jew in a country.

The director in this film, along with showing Zebulon Simanto’s loneliness and his not so good situation as the last survivor of the Jews in Afghanistan, talks on the history of the Jews in Afghanistan, their living places, the number of population, the number of synagogues they had, how they have been exterminated from Afghanistan by immigrating to Israel and other western countries.

This short documentary in addition to talk on history of Jewry and Buddhism in Afghanistan of before Islam, narrates on how religious and ethnic discriminations, tribal and ethnic incursions have purged the ethnic and religious minorities in the country; religion have been misused as a tool for the genocide and population extinction and compulsory migration of minorities and for decades ethnicity was a mark for distinction and excellence for the major ethnic.


The Jews of Afghanistan, who mostly lived in Herat, have a long history in this land, but after the establishment Israel in 1948, most of them have moved there. Some of them have left Afghanistan during the Russian invasion in 1979 and the last groups of jew families left the country after overthrown of communist government and empowerment of Mujahedeen (Islamist warlords) in early 1990 the rest were forced to leave the country; as a result “Zebulon Simanto” and Yitzhak Levy were the two last remaining Jews in Afghanistan whose family have already moved to Israel years ago.

Until Yitzhak Levy died in 2005 they were the only Afghan Jews, living in Afghanistan who have remained there in all time and were many times imprisoned and tortured by the Taliban, but then now “Zebulon Simanto” is the only Afghan Jew who still lives in an old synagogue in Kabul.

Zaki Merzaie sends his documentary film to international film festivals to introduce the tiniest minority of the world.

As said by Merzaie, because of lack of a proper sales and distribution system for films in Afghanistan, the filmmakers have no choice than selling the distribution rights of their films below the budget they spend on them for the distributors of CDs and DVDs, so Zaki Merzai has done the same as others do.

It is to add that the Afghan Hindus and the Sikhs are also one of the religious minorities who live for more than two centuries in Afghanistan and have often been discriminated, especially during the Taliban they were under badly pressures and with compulsory displacements and imprisonment for their religion.
Afghan Sikhs running their businesses in Kabul

Lost Paradise is made while Hassan Nazeri, another Afghan filmmaker and professor in fine Arts faculty of Kabul University, have started filming of his documentary about the Afghan Sikhs and Hindus who are a religious and ethnic minority in Afghanistan.

1 comment:

  1. Through Grace PeaceJune 27, 2008 at 8:59 AM

    Truth Escapes Satans Grip

    I had a dream.
    I saw satan swimming slowly, languorously, smiling,
    wafting down a river of blood.
    More and more as he spread his blood drenched arms
    across each bank, people murdered themselves
    and murdered their neighbors.
    Their blood poured out filling the river deeper and deeper,
    and satan patiently, willfully, joyfully
    screeched a hideous cry of encouragement.
    The unwitting souls on the riverbank, stood
    with their eyes firmly fixed on the heavens
    spoke the name of God,
    then committed self-murder,
    and satans fingers, dripping blood, dragged their souls
    into his hell bound torrent.
    Occasionally a bright beam of truth
    would shine upon one of the souls on the riverbank
    and they would simply walk away.
    And satan thrashed and screamed each time
    as another soul escaped his grip.

    Through Grace Peace

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