RAWA Holds Colorful Sports Festival
Nauroz show cheers up Afghans
Dawn, April 3, 2002
PESHAWAR, April 2: It looked something like an extraterrestrial event in a dusty, grassless, mud-made stadium, surrounded by smoke- emitting brick kilns. Even the sports-loving Greeks of the ancient times would have fared better than the Afghan refugees, who recently built this stadium without using any machinery.
Yet the over 10,000 spectators, who thronged the Khewa Sports Stadium, were enjoying every moment of their Nauroz Sports Festival; clapping and whistling and yelling, undeterred by even a faulty sound system and frequent power breakdowns.
The tri-coloured Afghan flag fluttered as clouds hovered above, bringing about a pleasant change in the weather, which, otherwise, would have been quite sultry. The number of spectators was good. Equally good - and surprisingly so - was the number of Afghan women, both young and old, who watched the competitions, as stick-wielding security guards looked on anxiously.
"It took a great deal of persuasion and efforts to convince the organizers to let women participate in the sports festival," Marina of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), said and added that "it was extremely difficult but we succeeded in the end."
One of the three people, who led a march of the participating teams, was a woman and a senior RAWA activist. Minor girls holding placards spearheaded their respective teams. There even was a karate team of girls; enough warning for men to anticipate things in store for them.
The credit of holding the festival goes to RAWA, Amani High School and Shaheed Qubad High School for organizing the event. The fun-starved spectators exulted at every thing they watched, as a band of former Pakistani armymen marched past through the stadium, playing famous Pushto tunes, including the ever popular Da Zamung Zeba Watan (our beautiful homeland).
Pigeons were let loose as a sign of peace, as commentators took turns in Pushto and Dari, while struggling not to give in to frequent power breakdowns.
The organizers had initially planned to hold the festival earlier but they had to put it off owing to Muharram. Also, a musical concert, which was to be held at the same venue, had to be cancelled. RAWA had earlier planned to hold the festival at the Qayyum Stadium, but the authorities refused to grant permission, citing security reasons.
More than 200 players participated in the festival that included boxing, karate, gymnastic, football, volleyball and buzkushi competitions. It was fun watching a team of Turkmen wrestlers winning against a rival team of largely young people.
The Turkmen won and received a trophy from an official of the Commissionerate for Afghan Refugees. One thing was evident from the show; there was no division among the Afghans along ethnic lines. They were all Afghans, sharing their good moments with one another. Only if the Afghan leaders and commanders, who are solely responsible for driving the wedge amongst the Afghans, could learn from their people the lesson of peace.
RAWA arranges colorful event
The News International, April 1, 2002
PESHAWAR: Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) Sunday arranged a colorful ceremony to celebrate first nauroz, Afghanistan's New Year, after collapse of Taliban regime, at Khewa Refugee Camp, some 25 km north-east from here.
Mud-built stadium of the camp was jam-packed as a large number of girl students and women turned up to welcome the "Hijri Shamsi" year 1381. Afghans from different refugee camps and sub-urban areas of Peshawar and Nowshehra were present to attend the New Year festival. Every year the Khewa Camp's administration celebrates Nauroz on March 21 but this year the festival was delayed in due to Muharram.
More than 200 players of twelve sports teams including boxing, gymnastic, karate, Buzkashi and others holding their national tri-colored flags, presented a march past. Sadeeq Askarwal, principal of Amani High School, Dr Osman principal of Shaheed Qubad High School and RAWA representative Tahira led the march past.
Officials of the Afghan Commissionerate and a large number of Pakistanis including leader of Mazdoor Kisan Party, Afzal Khamosh attended the joyous occasion.
Banners inscribed with RAWA political slogans in Pashto, Dari and English were displayed around the sports stadium. "Respected women and men of Afghanistan will not allow despots, religious or non-religious, to rule Afghanistan again," read a huge banner at the entrance of the stadium.
Afghan singers Baryalay Wali and Mahmood Karvan were scheduled to perform on the occasion but the organizing committee postponed a musical concert due to the losses of lives and property in the recent earth-quakes in Afghanistan.
RAWA holds Nauroz games festival
The Statesman, April 1, 2002
PESHAWAR: Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) Sunday arranged a games festival at the Khewa refugee's camp to celebrate Naoroz, 1381 year of the Persian calendar.
More than dozens of schools and clubs of the Afghan refugees based in all the refugee camps and the city participated in the games. The various teams of football, boxing, wrestling, basketball, volleyball, gymnastic, Karate and tug of war.
The colorful ceremony was opened in a jam-packed dusty playground in the remote Khewa refugee camp. Around two thousands persons including a large number of women and children mostly Afghan refugees watched the ceremony.
A large number of pigeons were set free with the hope of bringing lasting peace in Afghanistan after 23 years of war that brought destruction to the Central Asian country.
The ceremony was unique in the sense that no chief guest was invited to show that all of them are equal.
Three girls of a karate team demonstrated the marshal arts received clapping of thousands of spectators while a tug of war competition was their main point of attention.
Afghanistan new year celebrated with fervor
The Nation, April 1, 2002
From our correspondent
PESHAWAR- In order to celebrate the first Afghan New year (Nawroz) with traditional zeal and zest, Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) has arranged a colorful sports event on Sunday at Khewa Afghan Refugee Camp, some 25 km north-east of Peshawar.
The first ever Nawroz function after fall of Taliban was organized by Physical Fitness Committee of RAWA with a collaboration of Amani High School and Shaheed Qubad High School. The mud-built stadium of the camp was jam-packed. Beside a huge number of men, number of girl students and women were also present to welcome the Hijri Shamsi year 1381. Afghans of different ethnic groups from different refugee camps and suburban areas of Peshawar and Nowshera were present to attend the New Year festivities. Every year the Khewa Camps administration celebrates Nawroz March 21 but this year, the event was delayed in respect of Muharram.
The march past and sports events were led by Tahira of RAWA, Mohammad Asif Askarwal, from Amani High School, Dr Usman of Shahid Qbuad High School. More than 200 players, in colorful dresses of twelve sports teams including boxing, gymnastic, karate, wrestling, Buzkashi, badminton, volleyball, football and others holding their national tri-colored flags marched past.
The players participated in the march past were from different clubs, including Afghan United clubs, Tuhid, Arya, Hilal, National Aryan, Kabul, Alnamat, Hindukush as well as from different Afghan schools.
Officials of the Afghan Commissionarate and a large number of Pakistanis including leader of Mazdoor Kisan Party Afzal Khamoosh attended the joyful occasion.
Banners inscribed with Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan's political slogans in Pashto, Dari and English were displayed around the sports stadium. Huge banners inscribed with revolutionary slogans as respected women and men of Afghanistan will not allow despots religious or non-religious, to rule Afghanistan again and democracy without secularism is incomplete at the entrance of the stadium greeted the guests.
Afghan singers Baryalay Wali and Mahmood Karvan were scheduled to perform on the occasion but the organizing committee postponed the musical concert due to loss of lives and property in the recent earthquake in Afghanistan.
Afghan children set free white pigeons with the hope of peace, stability and prosperity in their war-torn country and the Afghan flag attached with balloons was flown in the air to welcome the New Year. Shaheen Pipe Band played which enthralled the gathering with Afghan national songs. Karate students including girls showed their skills. The spectators warmly applauded the Rassa Kashi matches, played on the occasion, where Khuday Berdhi, skipper of Turkmans team, has received a winning trophy. At the end winners of different sports were awarded prizes.
RAWA, a non-governmental organization is famous for holding such cultural and sports events on different national days for promotion of their basic motive of progressive and moderate thoughts.