BATUL MORADI

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, 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.

As a painter, she joined other popular magazines for children and teenagers back then and soon became a permanent member.

She moved to Kabul in 2003 and continued her career as a journalist in Afghanistan.

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 him, 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 he forced to her.

In 2005 when her first child was two months she applied for divorce but the request was rejected by court.

Despite his controversy, Batul participated in an educational program and the result was the documentary film called Laila, directed by Batul.

In 2008 she managed to apply for divorce again. Fortunately this time, the request was accepted.

After separation, her ex-husband 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 he 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.

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.

In the same year, Batul started her second documentary film called Carpet Weavers.In 2012, after nearly five years of battling the corrupt, unjust, and discriminatory justice system in Afghanistan 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 the children.

In the spring 2013 ,eventually Batul succeeded in sentencing her ex-husband in two year’s imprisonment for slander of adultery. Although he had already left the country.

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.

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