Frontline: The Dancing boys of Afghanistan on WXXI-TV

Frontline: The Dancing boys of Afghanistan on WXXI-TV

Tue, 04/20/2010 - 9:00pm

Pictured: An illegal "Dancing Boy" party in Takhar, northern Afghanistan. The boy, Abdullah, 13, is "owned" by a local businessman.

Credit: FRONTLINE

FRONTLINE investigates the illegal practice in Afghanistan of trading young boys for sexual favors.

Frontline: The Dancing boys of Afghanistan airs Tuesday, April 20 on WXXI-TV (DT 21.1/ cable 1011 and 11).

In Afghanistan today, in the midst of war and endemic poverty, an ancient tradition — banned when the Taliban were in power — has re-emerged across the country. It’s called Bacha Bazi, translated literally as “boy play.” Hundreds of boys, some as young as 11, street orphans or boys bought from poor families by former warlords and powerful businessmen, are dressed in women’s clothes, taught to sing and dance for the entertainment of male audiences and then sold to the highest bidder or traded among the men for sex. With remarkable access inside a Bacha Bazi ring operating in northern Afghanistan, Afghan journalist Najibullah Quraishi investigates this practice, still illegal under Afghan law, talking with the boys, their families and their masters, exposing the sexual abuse and even murders of the boys, and documenting how Afghan authorities responsible for stopping these crimes are sometimes themselves complicit in the practice.

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Comments

Dancing Boys of Afghanistan Frontline 4/20/10

What a sense of relief to find a program so honest and so informative, sadly, we are finally exposed to the suffering that goes on in this troubled country. Many comments are made feeling a sense of sadness for the women in this country; however, I do not feel that THEY feel what they are exposing their sons to is wrong. There are many cultures that Americans truly do not understand simply because we have no reason to explore their cultures; the western world is, somehow, scorned upon by these people, it is more of a cult than a way of life. When I saw this documentary, I recalled how, back in the early 60's, when I took my children to a dept. store, they were just toddlers, and were fascinated by two women, dressed in unusual clothing. The women had a small child, dressed in a similar fashion. My youngest child, ran to the stroller and pointed to the child. I smiled as, obviously, this was a learning experience for both girls; as my one child reached in to touch this darling child, who was mostly hidden, both women went into hysterics. They ran to my daughter, threw her hand away from the stroller and attempted to strike her, she screamed "I'll kill you, you have touched my baby, you will die, etc. etc." She looked around as if she was looking for another member of the family to add to the screaming, it was a nightmare. I could not explain that this was a learning experience for my children (and obviously) for myself. Her anger was unbelievable. As we RAN out of the store, they were still screaming and speaking in their native tongue. This is an unusual culture, and to them it is, somehow, as if they are sacred and we are low class or dirty. After that, I began to notice that these people really do not like us, if they can attempt to strike a child, other than their own, yet expose their sons to slavery....something is not right. Americans are a kind and generous nation, we have gone through a lot, and we have learned a lot about other cultures and races and our country is now united, why must we send our sons and loved ones to countries that want to keep their culture and actually consider us as "infidels or invaders". I think America should stop interfering in other countries way of life and work on the helpless right here in our own home towns. I feel sadness for the plight of these boys, but it has been around for hundreds of years and it will never change. We must begin to rebuild our own lives as our generosity towards other countries is ruining our own economy. If we are not welcome, except for the millions of dollars we pour in, we should stay out of the middle east.

I am ashamed to call myself

I am ashamed to call myself an Afghan. I am a mother and watching this documentary was more than what I could bare. Shame on Karzai and his stupid weak government - the government is supposed to protect the children of Afghanistan, but he has done nothing but to fill his own devilish ego and pockets and his equally devilish family. Do these people ever fear that they will die someday? How are they going to face their Creator? May they burn in Hill fire for a million years - Amen!