“We work for the future, because the past is lost.”

“We work for the future, because the past is lost.”

Female boxers in Afghanistan, Credit: Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times

As Girlboxing readers know, I just can’t get enough of the Afghan Women’s Boxing Team. The Los Angeles Times has obliged with an in-depth feature piece by Molly Hennessy-Fiske.  The haunting money quote by the team’s coach, Mohammad Sabir Sharifi truly resonated with me: “We work for the future, because the past is lost.”

Sharifi and some of the young women he trains have a received threats, and yet they persevere.  As if to punctuate the pluckiness of these brave young women, two members of the team traveled unaccompanied all the way to Turkey by train and competed in the early rounds of the ongoing AIBA Women’s and Youth Junior World Boxing Championships in Antalya, Turkey.

These young women who train in the face of continuing threats of violence due to nothing more than their gender are emblematic of how much further we all have to come.  I applaud their bravery and as the mother of an 11-year-old girl, feel particularly humbled by the love and support these young women receive from their families and their coach as they pursue their Olympic dreams.

Way to go!!!

The full LA Times article link is here.

4 thoughts on ““We work for the future, because the past is lost.”

  1. Margaret Reyes Dempsey

    It must be horrible to live under such conditions, always looking over your shoulder. I wish them well. It’s only when the lowest of the low step up and say “I’m not gonna take it anymore” that true change can happen.

    1. girlboxing Post author

      I truly can’t imagine it. Afghanistan was at one time a vibrant cosmopolitan culture (in the cities) — wherein women were well educated, secular and held important positions as doctors, lawyers, teachers and so on. To see the lives that women have lived for the past 15 + years is to weep at the shame of it. And even with the end of the official Taliban rule the plight of women is still circumspect at best. I guess that’s why I feel so proud of these young women and the people who support them.

  2. Lisa Creech Bledsoe

    The cultural inclination to suppress comes through strongly in the article. A promising boxer marries, she quits the sport. Another says that if she does marry, she will only continue if her husband wants her to.

    Then again, I think of my own life, and how I never did anything for myself during all those years of marriage and having children. And how much conflict I felt when I first started boxing and felt the subtle resistance from my family over taking time away from them.

    How much smarter these Afghan women seem to me, as I reconsider. I never experienced threat to my life like they do on a daily basis.

    1. girlboxing Post author

      I picked up on that too — leaving boxing after marriage, and the question of whether it would affect one of the other young women.

      To your point, it is a compromise many of us make — male and female — and a continual struggle. I’m not sure what the answer is other than to respect our partners and our family members while also “walking the walking” so to speak, by taking care of ourselves as a model to our kids. It’s a hard one!


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