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Afghan Poetry Delights the Nation’s Capitol

Afghan cab drivers may now be the literal embodiment of the remark “perception is not always reality” as they band together to form poetry societies in Washington, DC. Currently, two groups have emerged to maintain the spirit of poetry and art within Afghan culture. "An Evening with the Dervishes," one of the poetry groups, engages in the scholarly pursuit of poetry. They focus on renowned Sufi poets, such as Abdul Qadair-e Baidel. The group often convenes top poets and scholars for a weekly recitation. On the other hand, "An Evening of Sufism" focuses on a broader scope of Afghan poetry. The groups were initiated by Maroof Popal, who immigrated to the US in 1978, and established weekly poetry meetings with other Afghan cab drivers. The groups have helped draw attention away from disheartening political debates to uplifting philosophical discussions. The groups meet inside the Masonic lodge in Springfield, Virginia, on different Friday nights each month.

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