Cultural activists have opposed the government’s decision to destroy an ancient and once famous cinema hall in downtown Kabul, calling it an act against the culture.
The Kabul Municipality on Sunday started the destruction of the Park cinema hall in Shah-e-Naw area in Kabul by assigning a six-member team of workers.
The decision was made in a meeting of First Vice President Amrullah Saleh with security officials last week.
The municipality has vowed a replacement for Park Cinema Hall, but its spokesperson Samira Rasa said a plan in this regard has not been finalized so far.
She said the reconstruction of the movie theatre was not possible.
She reiterated that the idea is to change the place into a cultural center, but added that the suggestion on this should be made by the people.
The cinema hall was built in 1950s. It was a famous place during King Zahir Shah’s reign and later in 1980s.
The move was also opposed by Afghan Film chairperson Sahraa Karimi who called it an “improper” attempt, but the municipality continued to implement the decision.
“It is shameful,” Karimi said in a tweet.
Social media users started the hashtag of don’t destroy the Park Cinema and criticized the government for the move.
“There isn’t any justifiable reason for the destruction of Park Cinema,” said Sediq Barmak, a filmmaker.
“The destruction of cinema and any cultural building is an act against the culture,” said Nasir Sarmast, head of the National Institute of Music.
The cinema hall was active until last week and had eight employees.
“We displayed three to four movies a week and we installed their posters outside the hall. People were visiting the hall but the number of visitors was less,” said Taimur Shah Bahawi, the acting head of the Park Cinema.