Radio Netherlands Worldwide

SSO Login

More login possibilities:

  • Facebook
  • Flickr
  • Twitter
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
Monday 22 December  
Shabnam Rahimi

The State We're In - The Fight of Your Life

On air: 4 February 2012 2:00 (Photo: National Film Board of Canada)

More about:

The State We're In, 4 February 2012. A young woman in Kabul boxes to change her life and her country. A philosopher believes virtue can be taught in the boxing ring. And a Kenyan women who was attacked while running for election is determined to run again. Comment on the show.

Listen to 'The Fight of Your Life'

Download as MP3 (right-click and 'save as')

Podcast feed  iTunes  Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter  Add us on Google+

Shabnam Rahimi, with medal won in Tajikistan - second from right, next to her co
Shabnam Rahimi, with medal won in Tajikistan - second from right, next to her coach
Boxing girl of Kabul - listen in new player

Shabnam Rahimi is 18 and lives in Kabul. She’s on the Afghanistan national boxing team and has an international record of one loss, and one win.

Despite the threats to her family, her coaches and teammates, she’s determined to keep fighting: to show her country and the world what she and other young women on the team are made of. View slideshow below.

The Boxing Girls of Kabul is a feature documentary directed by Ariel Nasr.

Gordon Marino
Gordon Marino
Pugilist philosopher - listen in new player

Gordon Marino teaches philosophy at St. Olaf College in the United States. He also teaches boxing.
He tells host Jonathan Groubert how the ring holds as many lessons about virtue, ethics and morality as the classroom.

Office bully - listen in new player

Mike Williams, pictured below, in Illinois tells Jonathan about his tale of oh-so-sweet revenge, involving an unlikely combination of factors: a workplace brute, switching office chairs with the company vice president, and decaf coffee.

Flora Terah
Flora Terah
Flora’s fight - listen in new player

When Flora Terah decided to run for Kenya’s parliament, she had no idea how dangerous it would be.

She was threatened, taken hostage and her son was assassinated.

She decided to flee Kenya, but she tells Jonathan why she plans on returning to Kenya to run again.

  • Shabnam warming up<br>&copy; National Film Board of Canada -
  • Shabam with guard up<br>&copy; National Film Board of Canada -
  • Shabnam and others circling gym<br>&copy; National Film Board of Canada -
  • Shabnam practising her jab<br>&copy; National Film Board of Canada -
  • Shabnam squaring off<br>&copy; National Film Board of Canada -
  • Shabnam wrapping hands<br>&copy; National Film Board of Canada -
  • &copy; National Film Board of Canada -
  • Shabnam in sparring gear<br>&copy; National Film Board of Canada -
  • Mike Williams and his wife Amy<br>&copy; RNW -


Anonymous 7 February 2012 - 12:42am / USA

Having studied martial arts myself, I know that training in martial arts and boxing is empowering for women. I'm sure that training in a gym also gives them a chance to exercise, flex their muscles and blow off steam in a way they probably can't do in the rest of their society, especially in public. These young women will get the strength and support they need to combat sexism in their culture ... more power to them. Incidentally, I hope they are also endeavoring to arm themselves with the best education available to them, even mnore empowering.

user avatar
Greg Kelly 7 February 2012 - 9:58am

Thanks for your comments -- you seem to "get" what they're doing from an insider's point of view. They are indeed hoping to educate themselves, perhaps even abroad, in order to help effect change back home.

JP 6 February 2012 - 10:00pm / USA

Thank you for these stories and insights. However Flora's Fight was so disturbing that your production decisions seemed inappropriate. It is difficult to play appropriate background music while someone tells their story of being raped and horribly abused. This is a difficult story to present and an important one to hear, please consider allowing the words to speak for themselves in the future.

user avatar
Greg Kelly 7 February 2012 - 9:51am / Netherlands

For JP: thanks for your thoughtful comments. The story was indeed disturbing and that's precisely why we put in music: to allow the ear to rest a bit before moving on. I felt it would be too much all at once for her story to roll out in natural time. This is always a judgement call: if/when to put in music and if so, what kind. Clearly my judgement didn't work for you in this case. But I'm heartened to see story still moved you.

Anonymous 5 February 2012 - 2:38pm / USA

I wanted to re-read the story about the Afghani woman who is running for Parliament but can't find her story on your facebook page.

user avatar
The State Were In 5 February 2012 - 7:32pm / Netherlands

did you mean Zarghuna Kakar? You can listen to the TSWI interview here: Fighting for a future: Afghanistan

there's also an article here: Women in Afghan politics: 'do or die'

user avatar
Greg Kelly 5 February 2012 - 7:53am / Netherlands

Thanks for your response. My sense is that they're out to prove something - that they can actuall do something that the hyper-conservative sector of Afghan society says they can't, and shouldn't, do. Boxing's not just a means to expand their worldes. It's a gesture of defiance.

Anonymous 4 February 2012 - 10:32pm / USA

Would not have believed this if I hadn't heard the clip and gone online to see for myself. THIS is what Afghan girls aspire to? What good will it do them in the end in a Muslim society that thinks of women as mere property, as sub-human? On the upside, maybe this is a way these young women will be able to protect themselves from the sexual abuse they're sure to face eventually through forced child-bride marriages. Then she'll be beheaded due to her "disobedience" to a husband bound to be 30-40 years her senior.

Post new comment

Please be reminded all comments must be in English, short and to the point - guideline 250 words. Abusive and inappropriate comments will be removed.

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <p> <br>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

RNW on Facebook

RNW Player

Video highlights

Ladies on the move
RNW is keen on featuring inspiring women in our target countries, women who...
What about men?
In many countries, men don't stick around to raise their children. This is...