Comedian, writer and playwright Shabana Rehman walks barefoot on the lawn.
– I wanted to feel the land. It is very nice. Why haven’t I done this more in my life?
NRK meets her at the farm in Aurskog-Høland, where she lives with her partner Petter Simonsen.
The disease has taken its toll on her body, she is faster than we are used to seeing her and she needs help getting enough nutrition.
In April, Rehman was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that had spread and it was known that he did not have long to live.
– It may sound unbelievable, but in many ways it’s been a good journey because I’m living in a much deeper way than I was before, says Rehman.
– It is hard to realize that you have almost received a death sentence. But we all may suffer disease, only I will travel, we all will travel in one day. That’s why I think it’s funny that everyone freaks out. “Oh my god, are you going to die?”
– We are all going to die,” laughed Rahman.
A brave voice: get an award
Rehman is currently undergoing treatment in Germany.
She and her partner have a cautious faith.
– People with the diagnosis are told there is nothing doctors can do. I have seen many people give up. I don’t think they deserve it. Having faith is a deep, human thing. A human right indeed. And I have hope. I can’t run from it. It’s there. That’s why she decided to be open about the disease, she says.
The interview should not be long because it consumes energy.
It was only a day before he learned that he had been awarded Norsk PEN’s Ossitzky Prize for 2022 for using freedom of expression in a “creative and sensational way” for decades.
– Shabana Rehman has been a courageous voice against religious oppression and respectability culture in Norway for almost a generation, and has paved the way for greater transparency on difficult issues over the past 25 years, according to a press release from Norsk PEN.
This year’s prize will be awarded on 15 November at Litteraturhuset in Oslo.
– This particular award means something special. Because it’s connected to something I’ve been involved in my whole life. Rehman says the word can be used freely.
– How important is it to you to have something to look forward to?
– This is actually very important. What I found when I got the news from the doctors was that the future, the visions of the future had disappeared. Calendars suddenly don’t mean anything anymore, and I realize how driven we are to plan for the future.
Rahman says he worked to regain images of the future. Her boyfriend, whom she met when she was ill, gave her hope for the future again.
– Love gave me this back after I met Peter. Then little by little it started to reappear. “Right after I got the diagnosis, I couldn’t plan weeks ahead,” she says.
Rehman started as a columnist in VG in 1996 and made his debut as a comedian three years later. He was a columnist for Dagbladet for seven years from 2000, then for Optenposten and Netavisen.
Rahman made a name for himself when he appeared in Dagbladet in 2000, wearing only body paint with the Norwegian flag. In 2004, it caused a stir when Mullah lifted a Greek during an event in Oslo.
The Ossietzky Prize is awarded annually to an individual or organization that has, over time, or in connection with a specific case or event, made a special effort for freedom of expression.
Shabana Rahman has inspired many in Pakistani society and beyond.
– I am Please don’t view my journey in public as particularly provocative. This is unusual. I’ve had my creative options and I’ve been defending and defending what I believe in. Rehman says he was completely dependent on freedom of expression to do that.
– If you could highlight one thing you did that was particularly noteworthy, what would it be?
– I think the most important thing for me is to stand in it. No matter what. As long as one follows one’s conscience.
– Do you have something to regret?
– And what do you know, it doesn’t. Something could have been done differently, but it wouldn’t have been my unique journey. I see everything as an experience, experiences you don’t regret. Experiences become part of the person you become, what you learn, and how you handle things.
Rehman says she is looking forward to the awards in November.
– There will be another picture of the future to look forward to, she smiles and adds:
– You should try walking barefoot because it tastes so good. Just do it!
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