Batul will not be speaking however we will be reading a personal letter from her for our audience.
About Batul: Batul Moradi, a poet, writer, filmmaker and painter for children’s magazine, an active participant in Afghanistan intellectual life was born in Mashhad, Iran in 1981 to an Afghan immigrant family. In 2000 Batul was introduced to a group of Afghan immigrant writers and poets who used to publish a periodical literary “Dorre Dari”. Not only among the cultural products of refugees, but also in the Persian language geography, Dorre Dari was unique in terms of innovation, thought and literature. Some years later, the magazine was renamed to Khate Sevum.
Batul was the youngest member but soon became the member of the editorial board of the journal. She added a new section to the journal under the name of Sadaf, to provide the young writer the opportunity to publish their writing. With the help of number of students she also published Parastoha, a magazine which soon was received very well by youth.
As a painter, she joined Ghachai and Gulestane publication, a journal for Afghan immigrant children in Iran.
She moved to Kabul in 2003 and started working with a weekly magazine Voice of People and the literary periodical, A THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS.
She met Hazrat Wahriz, a writer in Kabul which ended in marriage. Batul’s activities were stopped and her writings and poems were censored or destroyed by Hazrat Wahriz, a high official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan and a prominent diplomat. She started working less and left jobs because of accusations and the limitations Wahriz forced to her.
In 2005 when her first child was two months she applied for divorce but the request was rejected by court.
Despite Hazrat Wahriz controversy, Batul participated in an educational program and the result was the documentary film called Laila, directed by Batul.
The film narrated the life of 36 women living in the Kabul’s only psychological institute. The film helped Red Cross of Afghanistan to find funds for the construction of new buildings and to get health facilities for these patients.
In 2007, Hazrat Wahriz who was working as the Ministry of Foreign Affair, was assigned to the Afghan Embassy in Korea. Batul moved to Korea and her second child was born there.
The situation did not get better for Batul in Korea. She could not get in contact with her friends and even relatives. She was not allowed to use emails and she was forced to leave writing completely which was a long habit for her.
In 2008 she managed to leave Korea to meet her parents in Iran and there she applied for divorce again. Fortunately this time, with the help of Afghan Ambassador in Korea, the request was accepted.
After separation, Hazrat Wahriz claimed that she had committed adultery, a crime punishable by 15 years in prison, lashing, and even stoning in some parts of Afghanistan. They had two children together. First Wahriz claimed both of them are not his but after some years he claimed that one of them didn’t belong to him. In Afghanistan, this is a dangerous accusation with deep legal and social consequences. Hundreds of women are imprisoned in Afghanistan for “moral crimes” such as this one.
Because of the accusation and the divorce and the stigma around them, Batul had a difficult time finding a job or a place to live. She was isolated even in the literary and artistic circles where once she was an outspoken leader. Her children were also suffering. Wahriz never paid for the costs of the child he accepted, let alone the one he didn’t. In addition, according to Afghanistan’s laws a child’s identity is based of his or her father. Batul’s sons were not able to get a national ID and would have not been able to get a passport to travel outside the country without Wahriz’s approval.
In the pursuit to her legal defense, Batul only had the support of her family, older sister and few friends but Hazrat Wahriz who had connections and influence in the system, could get the support of court, police and most state organisation to harass and put her under pressure.
In 2011 Batul was attacked and beaten in the street and her older son was kidnapped by her ex-husband for 40 days. But the case for kidnapping was closed while three police officers testified as witness.
In 2012, the Attorney General wrote a verdict against Batul to support Hazrat Wahriz. The Attorney General accused Batul of violence against men. The accusation caused lots of problem and abuses to Batul’s family.
In the spring 2012, Batul and her two kids have been taken to Moral Crimes Department by force and violence and she spend a day in custody. In the following days after this incident, she has been taken to the Attorney General office several times for questioning. Every time few employers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where her ex-husband works, were there to oversee the case, ask questions and interfere.
Along in fighting with the corrupted system and being a lonely mother to two kids, Batul was not able to pursue her studies in law. But she tried to continue her cultural and artistic works. She became a member of civil society at the National Radio and Television Commission. A commission that tried to bring the national radio and television out of control and censorship of the government.
In the same year, Batul started her second documentary film called Carpet Weavers that featured the process of weaving a carpet by children age 6 to 10. A lucrative business that brings a very small profit to the pockets of the real creators and owners of these beautiful works.
In 2012, after nearly five years of battling the corrupt, unjust, and discriminatory justice system in Afghanistan and tolerating and fighting humiliation, threats, harassment, and bribe requests, Batul was able to conduct a DNA test on her younger child. The test proved Wahriz’s accusation wrong. This was the first time in Afghanistan that DNA tests were conducted to prove paternity. Despite her win, the DNA test followed by several attacks on her and her family by police and unidentified people and the attempt to kidnap children.
Her case was disappeared two times for several months. After many letters Batul send to president and the presidency of Parliament and continuously follow up, the case was in run again.
In the spring 2013 a book was published by the name of Daughters of Rabia which contained collections of writing and poems of Afghan women. In the same year eventually Batul succeeded in sentencing her ex-husband in two year’s imprisonment for slander of adultery. Although he had already left the country the troubles his connection and network created for Batul and her family did not end.
Batul’s children could not go to school due to the several kidnap attempt and continued their studies at home with their mother and aunts.
In 2014, Due to the numerous threats to Batul and her kids and her family, she has to leave Afghanistan and migrated to Pakistan the same year and applied for asylum.
Batul’s films, stories, poems have always been critical to women’s situation under an Islamic defined roles and regulations.
In 2011 Batul and her older sister Razia, started a facebook page where they interpreted Hadith which limit women, from a woman’s point of view. The action which is not in the interest of the patriarchal system, brought lots of women together to join Batul and her sister in this call. After an attack on Razia, they have hidden the page.
But then she never stops writing and had been an editor and writer for “Free Women Writers” a magazine and website for afghan women writers to work toward afghan women rights through education and advocacy.
Finally Batul was able to publish a memoir of her battle for custody and dignity. Given the insanely unjust custody laws and the rampant sexual harassment and corruption in the judicial sector in Afghanistan, this book is a gem of historical importance. Titled Ghadf (meaning “Slander”), Batul’s book chronicles, in Persian, her life after marriage as she fought for divorce, custody, and against defamation.
In her memoir, Batul has named judges, lawyers, prosecutors and prominent social figures in the corruption and conservative atmosphere of judicial system.