Dances of freedom: “The Taliban will kill you if they don’t like you”

Dances of freedom: “The Taliban will kill you if they don’t like you”
Dances of freedom: “The Taliban will kill you if they don’t like you”

Dancing, Manizha Talash has seen two bombs explode. They both wanted to end her life and that of the rest of their group, Superiors Crew. There were deaths, but they were saved. They tried again with a suicide attack, but he stopped in time. “The Taliban don’t listen. The Taliban do not warn. “The Taliban don’t like girls doing things,” emphasizes the Afghan b-girl., who took refuge in Huesca two years ago. Now, he resides in Madrid. His recently learned, simple Spanish makes her messages even more direct. “It is a life in which you leave home and think that it may be the last day. The Taliban don’t care if you are a child, young or old. If they don’t like you, they’re going to kill you.”he says at 21 years old.

“I mean that girls can’t study, they can’t leave the house, they can’t dance…”

Manizha, on the situation in Afghanistan

In just over a month, Manizha will be at the Paris Olympic Games, “a dream.” She will do so as a member of the Refugee Olympic Team of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which represents the more than 100 million people who, today, for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a certain social group or political opinion, cannot live (or cannot do so safely) in their home country. Manizha’s ‘sin’ is dancing, something that, in Afghanistan, has been illegal since the Taliban regained power in 2021. “I am happy to be able to go compete, but I also want to say that the girls cannot study, they cannot leave the house, they can’t dance… I’m here to tell the world how the girls in Afghanistan are doing. If they kill me, let it be doing what I want. “I don’t like just talking, I want to do something for them,” claims the b-girl, who will share an Olympic team with 36 other athletes who, “no matter what happens,” are going to win.

Manizha discovered breaking, which will debut as an Olympic sport in Paris, where she will dance for freedom, thanks to a video on Facebook. She was 17 years old and freaked out. “He was spinning on his head and thinking it wasn’t real,” he recalls. In the fragment, he saw Jawad, the first of the members of his group who would later manage to reach Spain (to this day, they have all achieved it). She contacted him and started training at his gym in Kabul. “There were 55 kids and I was alone. Later, six more girls joined. With the Taliban, none of them train anymore,” she completes. With the change of regime and after the multiple attacks he suffered, he began his journey to Europe.

Manizha Talash poses for AS on top of the Olympic rings. JUAN AGUADODiarioAS

The road to Spain

First, Manizha crossed the border to reach Pakistan, her only option since her Afghan passport had been revoked. After a year there, where he lived in a room with 22 other people and took care of his 12-year-old little brother, he took refuge in Huesca. In this process, multiple associations were key, such as the NGO Afghan Women On The Run o The Breaking Club Unit, from Parla, and its media exposure. “Manizha is also in a rap group (AK13) with millions of views. That allowed them to contact production companies or festivals and start spreading the word about their situation,” says David Vento, one of his coaches in Madrid. where they have been working since March, when the IOC contacted the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) and Manizha, as a refugee, received an Olympic Solidarity Scholarship.

“When it was announced that he would participate in the Games, his family began to be in danger”

Isabel Guarco, fundamental in the process

Vento, who is in charge of perfecting the b-girl technique, was in charge of carrying out the assessment for the ‘ok’ of the help; David Moronta, for his part, polishes him on a physical level. “He performs a lot in training. She is a girl who, even though she says she has pain and soreness, she gives everything she can and more. She sprains her finger, bandages it and continues. “She doesn’t plan on missing any day of rehearsal.”, they emphasize a Manizha who likes Spain. In the capital, where he trains six days a week riding the CAR, the Juan de Dios Román Sports Center and the Las Trece Rosas Auditorium, in Vallecas, and with the resources of the Spanish Sports Dance Federation, lives with Isabel Guarco, from New Yorka fundamental piece so that the athlete’s family is also residing in Spain.

“When it was announced that he would participate in the Games, his family began to be in danger. I have contacts at the UN and Avant Garde Lawyers (Parisian group of lawyers dedicated to artists in dangerous situations). Thanks to them and Alejandro Blanco (COE president)we got them visas,” Guarco reveals about a complicated and vital process. Manizha even changed her last name (Talash is not the real one) to keep his loved ones away from danger, but to no avail. “They received visits and papers (with threats) of the Taliban,” he says. “With everything he has experienced, he is no longer afraid. For them, bombs were normality,” Isabel dedicates to Manizha, about whom she is preparing a documentary. “Her story surpasses science fiction,” she says, but it is a moving reality.

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