Statement of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Beijing, 2 September 2016 Shanghai

Category: Sep 5, 11:43 AM

In the name of God, the most compassionate, the most merciful. Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

As-salam-o-alaikom, good evening and ne hao. On behalf of H.E. Janan Mosazai, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to China and on my own behalf, I would like to express sincere thanks and appreciation to the organizers of the Inaugural Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition for inviting the Embassy of Afghanistan. I would like to wish the organizers of this competition all the very best in the years ahead, which will no doubt grow with each passing year. So please accept our heartfelt congratulations and felicitations on imagining this wonderful competition and awards series. Above all, thank you very much for recognizing the achievements of Ms. Negin Khpalwak, a talented and skilled young Afghan musician by bestowing upon her this inaugural Award. Negin herself couldn’t be present here today to receive the award but if she were, she would say how overjoyed she is to have been honoured with this prestigious award.

She would have offered warm greetings to all the other contestants and extended her personal felicitations to Yo-Yo Ma for his award, and her thanks to the award jury for giving her this prestigious award. I would also like to join Negin and all of you here in offering congratulations and felicitations to Yo-Yo Ma for his award. I hope that he and Negin can one day soon perform together and further strengthen the age-old cultural bonds between our two countries.

The revival of music in Afghanistan has paralleled our national efforts for peace, reconstruction and development. Afghanistan over the past fifteen years has come out of the darkness of the 1990s and the rejuvenation of the country’s rich heritage of music has been a part of that journey. Since the fall of the Taliban regime, which banned music, in 2001, music has brought joy to the lives of millions of Afghans. And our young musicians have performed around the world and won high praise. Negin Khpalwak personifies this profound transformation of Afghan society over the past decade and a half. Negin and her peers are also symbols of the rise of a younger generation of Afghans determined not only to bring joy to their people but also to rebuild Afghanistan into a beautiful, peaceful and prosperous country.  I must add here that we are giving huge sacrifices in our efforts towards these noble goals on an almost daily basis, such as the brutal murder of young students and scholars in a cowardly terrorist attack against the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul last week. During that attack, among the many innocent, talented and bright stars of the new Afghanistan, we also lost Sami Sarwari, a friend and colleague of Negin who was mercilessly gunned down by the merciless terrorists. However, despite these losses and sacrifices, we Afghans as a nation and society are determined and confident that we will succeed in our collective struggle for peace and development sooner or later. Sami Sarwari to whose memory I pay tribute today gave his life in this struggle, but Negin Khpalwak is still there standing tall and proud, and continuing with her brave efforts through her Zohra Orchestra, which she leads, to spread music and its essence: the nourishment of the Human Spirit through spreading peace, joy, friendship, love. Negin recently gave an interview in which she said, "I will never accept defeat. I will continue to play music. I do not feel safe, but when people see me and say, 'That is Negin Khpalwak', that gives me energy.” Thank you for giving Negin Khpalwak this wonderful recognition and injecting more energy into her noble, humane endeavour.

Thank you.