‘Rangoona’ festival showcases harmony between communities
ISLAMABAD (17 August, 2017): The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) organised a night of entertainment and culture show the cohesion and harmony between Pakistani and Afghan refugee communities.
The cultural festival ‘Rangoona’ (unity in diversity) brought together people from different backgrounds including diplomats, government officials, artists, musicians, a poet and the media.
Singers and musicians inspired the audience with their music from Afghanistan and Pakistan. Pakistanis and Afghan refugees took part in a Capoeira show – a Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, music, acrobatics, fighting and self-defence.
Afghan refugee, Pakistani models and members of the international community participated in a fashion show featuring Afghan refugee clothes, products and accessories.
An art exhibition displayed paintings by Afghan and Pakistani artists from Quetta and Islamabad. The paintings – employing techniques including pyrography – depicted the lives of refugees. An artist used canvas with oil paints, acrylics and charcoal. The craft exhibition displayed embroidered items and other products.
Speaking at the occasion, UNHCR Representative in Pakistan, Indrika Ratwatte said the main purpose of this event was to promote peace, love and harmony. “Today, in a world where we see people closing doors, outsiders, migrants, refugees becoming problems, where inclusion is becoming rare – I celebrate Rangoona, we all celebrate Rangoona,” he said and added “What we see in Pakistan is continued hospitality.”
Arshad Mirza, Secretary Ministry of States and Frontier Region (SAFRON) said that Pakistan has always stood by its brotherly neighbour Afghanistan in all hard times. “One thing that has been bringing us all together for centuries is shared faith, culture, art, language and values,” he said.
Mirza said thousands of Afghan refugee children were getting an education in Pakistan which was playing a vital role in the development of Afghanistan. He said Pakistan was also providing skilled labour training to the youth of Afghanistan.
Musical group Khumaryan, Pashto singers Zeek Afridi, Shaukat Mehmood, Khalid Malik and Alamdar Khan performed and expressed solidarity with Afghan refugees through their music.
Dr. Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal, Afghanistan’s Ambassador, Neil Buhne, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Jean-Pierre Bianchi, First Secretary of the Embassy of Brazil, Angela Kearney, UNICEF Representative, Saleem Khan, Commissioner Afghan Refugees, Marc P. George, Swiss Ambassador among others attended the festival.