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Afghan Speaks at Coastal

Dr. Mohib Zegham, an Afghan national, spoke before a full house of students, faculty, and community residents in Johnson Auditorium on Monday, 29 October 2012.    Zegham is a former member of the Afghan National Army and now is a practicing physician based in Kabul.  He has also gained international attention as a writer of fiction.  His works include two novels, The Suicide Bomber and The Order of the President, two volumes of short stories, and three children’s books. Zegham spent much of the fall semester 2012 at the prestigious International Writers Program at the University of Iowa, but he returns to Afghanistan in November.  His presentation at Coastal Carolina University, sponsored by the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, was titled “Creativity As a Product of Conflict.” 

Dr. Zegham provided a brief overview of Afghan literary traditions and noted how his own work and that of many contemporary Afghan writers reflect a new direction in Afghan writing. He read for the audience his short story “Mother and the Wolf” and detailed the plot, characters, and theme in his novel The Suicide Bomber.  Each is a story of violence, of individuals who choose violence against the perceived enemies of Islam and Afghanistan but who are ultimately drawn to the path of peace and humanity.  War shapes his writing, the continuous warring that he has witnessed since the Soviet invasion in 1979. For forty-five minutes following the conclusion of his formal presentation, Dr. Zegham fielded questions from the audience on topics ranging from his motivation to author children’s stories to Taliban and al-Qaeda responses to western films and literature that depict negatively the Prophet Mohammad. When asked what is necessary to end the current war in Afghanistan, Zegham’s response was simple:  intelligence, not a force of arms, will bring peace to his country, but he added that there is a shortage of intelligent thought among all of the belligerent forces.

Earlier in the day, Dr. Zegham spoke to students in Dr. James Henderson’s “Introduction to World Politics” class, explaining differences between Afghanistan’s Taliban and the terrorist organization al-Qaeda.