‘I too would like to go back to Afghanistan and not be stoned for being gay’

Nemat Sadat, Afghan LGBTQ+ activist, left Afghanistan at the age of five. He was the first openly gay member from the Afghan community. He faced a threat to his life when he first came out while he was working at the American University of Afghanistan. He was promptly fired from his job. In his first book, The Carpet Weaver, he touches upon the different identities one is forced to take up as being part of the LGBTQ+ community. He spoke in detail to Sarahbeth Nimmi George.

The plot of the book is set in three places —Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States of America. His protagonist, Kanishka Nurzada, is a 16 year old who is coming to terms with his identity as someone who is gay in a place where it is considered a crime, punishable by death and is in love with his best friend.

As the story moves forward, the political situation in the country become violent. Kanishka escapes from Afghanistan but is subjected to a life of exploitation as he works as a carpet weaver in a cramped camp in Pakistan. He eventually escapes from the camp and makes it to the US. Strangely even though he is in a place where he is safe and can live his life as he wants, he still feels like he can’t live truthfully as a gay man, thereby countering the notion of America being a land of complete freedom.

The book is especially relatable to its readers because of the many themes it follows as it moves forward. It speaks to those struggling with their identity within the confines of religion and culture, whichever it may be. He even throws light on the intricacies of the concept of home and feeling safe within the so-called confines of the home. Read more via National Herald