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'Afghanistan's Charlie Chaplin' Aims to Make People of Kabul Smile

'Afghanistan's Charlie Chaplin' Aims to Make People of Kabul Smile

Friday, 14 September, 2018 - 10:15
Afghanistan's Charlie Chaplin, Karim Asir, 25, exercises during his rehearsals in Kabul, Afghanistan August 29, 2018. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail
London - Asharq Al-Awsat
Karim Asir is a stand-up comedian who performs across the capital Kabul in Chaplin’s trademark oversized shoes, baggy pants, cane and black bowler hat.

“It is very simple, I want to give Afghans a reason to smile,” he said.

He says he has witnessed suicide attacks, explosions and threats from extremist militant groups, but is determined to fulfill the primary goal of his life, Reuters reported.

Asir, 25, said Chaplin impersonators are found all over the world helping people ignore grief and making them laugh, and he does the same.

Asir’s early years were in Iran, where his family fled after the hardline Taliban took control of Afghanistan in 1996. There he saw performances of Chaplin on Iranian TV.

After the family returned home, Asir started wearing make-up and recreating Chaplin’s characters in his performances, despite his parent’s apprehensions.

His live performances provide respite in a city that routinely gets attacked by Taliban insurgents and suicide bombers, according to Reuters.

Afghanistan’s traditional culture includes music and performance arts. However, under the Taliban’s rule from 1996 to 2001, most cultural activities were banned.

“I want to give my people a chance to forget their problems such as war, conflicts and insecurity in Afghanistan,” he stated“I am afraid of getting attacked by a suicide bomber or an explosion but these issues cannot stop me from being Charlie Chaplin,” he added.

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