Atiq Rahimi

In 2013 the Afghan-­born writer and filmmaker Atiq Rahimi—who in 1984 fled to France to escape the Soviet coup in his home country—gave an address in Edinburgh about whether literature should be political. “I remember that when Soviets were in Afghanistan, a brilliant saying from Poland was used by intellectuals,” said Rahimi. “It went: ‘If you want to survive, don’t think. If you think, don’t talk. If you talk, don’t write. If you write, don’t sign it. If you sign it, don’t be surprised!’” In 2008 his Syngué sabour was awarded France’s Prix Goncourt.

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