#eye #eye

Ke marge bekhabar dara judaye (when I'm no longer here) / 12:30 / performance

Dr. Ahmad Qais Munhazim is an Afghan scholar, writer and agitator, born and raised in Kabul, Afghanistan, currently exiled in Philadelphia. Qais’s work engages with the everyday lived experiences of political violence and migration with a particular focus on queer displacements. Prior to moving to Philadelphia, Qais lived in Minnesota where they co-founded Minnesota Caravan of Love, a queer and trans led community organizing group in the Twin Cities that situates the philosophy and practice of radical love central to social justice work. Their work has been published in the Journal of Narrative Politics, Antipode: Radical Journal of Geography and Queer Voices: Poetry, Prose and Pride anthology.

Wazina Zondon is an Afghan raised in New York City, Wazina's storycollecting and storytelling work centers culture, collective memories and tradition. As an informal and undisciplined performer, Wazina is the co-writer and co-performer of Coming Out Muslim: Radical Acts of Love, a personal storytelling performance capturing the experience of being queer and Muslim alongside her creative counterpart and sister in spirituality, Terna Tilley-Gyado.

Wazina is a sexuality educator & trainer who focuses on intersectional identities, often speaking to issues related to Islam & sexuality. She's included in Reebok's 2020 #AllTypesofLove Pride Campaign, Advocate Magazine's 2019 Champions of Pride, featured in HBO's OutList, HuffPost, VICE/Broadly, them., Season 2 of The Secret Life of Muslims and The Muslims of Brooklyn Oral History Project. Currently, she is working on Faith: in Love/faith in love, a collective work.

Motivation in our own words: 


The first time madar got sight of my tattoos she said to me:

What will they say when they wash your body when you die? Your secret will be visible to everyone to see. What value does it have to create a  life that spends all its energies hiding - I can’t imagine how exhausted you are.

It’s true, I am exhausted. And I am not the only one hiding more than tattoos, covering, performing, waiting for something significantly better to happen and we all are exhausted, even you, madar jaan. I can’t even begin to imagine the relief that can come when I don’t have to.

When I rejected a suitor for marriage madar jaan pleaded with me: Wazina, who is going to bury you?

I wonder how often she thinks about this for herself. Does she wonder if I am capable of executing her wishes with the time comes. If I refuse the tradition of being tethered to a husband, will I be able to fulfill our burial rites?

When my grandmothers and grandfather-equivalent passed away, all four had their funeral bag already packed: filled with what was needed for a Muslim burial and extra touches they had selected. It was clear that these were not created in times of sickness: they were steadily and carefully curated way before.

I cannot shake the questions I’ll never have answers to on what it took:

were you stoic in preparation or did you shake and cry placing them in the suitcase?

when did you know to tell someone where it was tucked away?

how often did you revisit the contents?

And most of all, did this give you peace of mind and heart?

I haven’t stopped thinking about my death since I heard my dad wishing I were never alive when my aunt asked him what did they do wrong with me that I turned so feminine. I was 21 years old and full of life. That moment was death. Since then I consider myself undead – I have had my funeral in my head over and over – there are days that I imagine my funeral as big as an Afghan wedding for I never had or will never have. I want my lovers to be there. I want those who rejected me to be there. I want men who desired me behind closed doors to be there. I want my aunt and dad to be there.

I have gotten very close to death a few times in my life. When I was laying in bed in the hospital in Minneapolis after a heart attack in 2013, I called my mom but I couldn’t tell her I just came out of death and my lover was sitting by my bedside. She heard my shaky voice and asked me when I would be home next – I didn’t have the answer to her and I still don’t have that answer to her. I was undocumented back then and too far deep in my queerness now – will she even recognize me?

Death was always around me growing up in Afghanistan in the midst of war. Death was in my father’s wishes for me. Death is in my nightmares. Death was in my desires every time I bedded stranger men.Will they have a funeral for me like they did for my cousin whose head was blown away during a suicide attack? Will they bury me in our family graveyard in Shamali,  next to my aunt who agreed with my dad’s wish that I were never alive? Now I tell my lover to ship my body to Afghanistan where I  first fell in love, where I first wished for death. Tell them my secrets but not all of them. Will my siblings come to visit my grave every Eid? Will my relatives stop gossiping about my sexuality after my death?


This new work is dedicated to those of us, queer, displaced, marginalized, third culture, hiding, surviving, striving and deeply desiring the traditions and rituals that give us peace of heart, but knowing they aren’t always guaranteed to us or reflect us in our true forms. May engaging in this performance begin to relieve us of our exhaustions.