Unfinished Dreams of Sayed Aref: What Was the Story of His Murder?

Sayed Mohammad Raqib Fayyaz

Bayan News – Sayed Aref Takwin, a filmmaker and theater actor, was murdered by his roommate in the city of Florence, Italy, on September 7th of this year, which has become the talk of social media networks and headlines in international media.

Bayan News reporter has pursued this murder and its circumstances, which have raised many questions, and has approached Mr. Takwin’s acquaintances to reflect the facts accurately and impartially.

Different stories have been told about this incident, but most of the accounts suggest that Aref was murdered by his roommate named Farhad Pazhwak.

It is said that Aref and Pazhwak had a difference of opinion. During these discussions, both engaged in a dispute, and ultimately, Pazhwak attacked Aref with a cold weapon (a knife) and killed him. However, Bayan News cannot confirm this account with precision.

Before delving into the main subject, it is necessary to know who Mr. Takwin was and what achievements he had in the field of art.

Sayed Aref started his artistic activities from the time he entered the university. He graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Kabul University in 2012. In addition, Sayed Aref received his first artistic award in 2014 from the Venice International Festival in Italy, and after that, he won the German Development Organization (GIZ) Photography Award in Afghanistan in 2018.

Alongside these accomplishments, he also received the Best Short Film Award from the United Nations in 2019.

However, Hossein Rezaei, a close friend and roommate of Sayed Aref Takwin, tells Bayan News that they met in Italy when Kabul fell and vulnerable Afghans were being evacuated to Italy. “I got to know Sayed Aref after the collapse of the previous Afghan government in Italy. We spent the first two weeks in a hotel in Rome in quarantine. After two weeks, when the Italian police transferred the newcomers from Afghanistan to various cities, they transferred me, Sayed Aref, and others to the city of Perugia in central Italy.”

Hossein Rezaei says that Sayed Aref was murdered on Friday afternoon (September 7th) by a person named Farhad Pazhwak in a refugee camp in the city of Florence, and the murderer then committed suicide.

According to Rezaei, initial reports on this murder point to various motives and reasons: a verbal altercation that later led to the murder of Sayed Aref, but whatever the case, it cannot justify the act of murder.

He added that the police investigation is still ongoing, and they (Italian authorities) will share the findings of the investigation with the camp officials.

Unfinished Dreams

Hossein Rezaei says, “Sayed Aref and I waited for ten months for interviews and other initial steps of the asylum process. Since Italian was new to all of us and Aref didn’t speak English either, he asked me several times to talk to the camp officials so that we could get to know each other better.”

Rezaei continues to recount the nights they spent together, where Sayed Aref always showcased his artistic achievements. “He would tell me about his work in Bamiyan and show me his photos. He mentioned that he had also made a few short films. One night, we watched one of his films together. It was titled ‘Virgin Minarets.’ During our time in Perugia, our acquaintance grew every day. He always talked about film, art, photography, and theater.”

According to Rezaei, after Italian institutions became aware of Sayed Aref’s artistic activities, they printed a collection of his artistic photos and displayed them on the walls of their office. Some exhibitions also featured his artwork.

The Film “Virgin Minarets”

Sayed Aref Takwin’s most important cinematic work is the film “Virgin Minarets,” which premiered on September 13, 2018, and was made available to the audience.

The premiere of this film attracted a large number of Sayed Aref’s audience, and in addition, it garnered thousands of views on social media platforms such as YouTube.

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