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Arash Barez

Afghanistan
Blue Band burst into the consciousness of young men and women with the impact other rock-and-roll bands can only dream of. But it was hardly by choice.

A cleric had suddenly called off the Herat concert of a popular singer who sang patriotic songs. Frustrated by this, Blue Band lead singer Arash Barez decided to launch an impromptu concert to protest against fundamentalists curtailing civil rights and freedom. Publicized through Facebook, the concert drew throngs of young people, becoming the perfect statement for the new generation’s expectations of Afghanistan.

But with a band slogan like “We Want Peace”, one can be sure that the band would have done this sooner or later, with or without a cause. Barez started the band in 2012 to let music be the expression of his desire for peace, freedom and gender equality in Afghanistan. He even carefully selected the band name and colour to mirror the official colour of the United Nations. He has led the band in many concerts playing songs about equality, peace and to protest against corruption.

The band’s popularity is visible on the walls lining the streets of Kabul where its name has been sprayed in graffiti.

The band has also been partnering other Afghan civil society organizations that work for peace and equality, including holding joint programs with Young Women for Change.
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