Saturday, April 20, 2024

‘Bruce Lee of Afghanistan’ Dreams Visting Hong Kong, Performing in Movies

Immigration News

Nizamuddin Rezahi
Nizamuddin Rezahi
Nizamuddin Rezahi is a journalist and editor for Khaama Press. You may follow him @nizamrezahi on Twitter.

Abbas Alizada known as the “Bruce Lee of Afghanistan” fled the Taliban regime, dreamed of visiting Hong Kong city, and start performing in movies.

Abbas Alizada watched his first Bruce Lee movie in Afghanistan when he was eight years old. Enter the Dragon, the scary movie by Bruce Lee was his favorite action movie of all time.   

His look-alike to Hong Kong-born Bruce Lee and his love for martial arts convinced him to put his energy and time into this sport. He aspired to become the Bruce Lee of Afghanistan and perform in movies in Hollywood and elsewhere.  

In 2014, Alizada shot to social media fame after his photos were circulated on Facebook. His striking resemblance to Lee did not go unnoticed. He then gained popularity as the Afghan Bruce Lee.

Things did change quite rapidly for Alizada. He was displayed and interviewed by TV channels, and then the celebrity tours of the region rolled in. He was offered a role in Hollywood as negotiations are still going on. Alizada practiced hours in a makeshift gym in his home outside the capital Kabul.

However, with the return of the Taliban to power in August 2021, things changed for the worst for movie stars and musicians. He feared for his survival and that of his family. His wife also holds a brown belt in Karate.

Alizada is a member of the Hazara group, one of Afghanistan’s largest ethnic groups that has long faced violence and discrimination under different regimes. Hazaras and Shias are discriminated against simply due to their religious beliefs and different interpretations of the faith.  

Alizada’s resemblance to Bruce Lee brought him popularity and now turned him into a legitimate target for Afghanistan’s de facto authorities. Meanwhile, his wife’s life was also in grave danger as the Taliban have entirely erased women from the public environment.  

“If caught I would have been punished,” said Alizada, now 29, via video call from the British city of Manchester where he lives with his wife and two young boys.

Alizada’s London-based lawyer Mahtab Aziz and a British charity organization helped Alizada and his family flee the war-torn country.

Alizada is being trained by Samuel Kwok, the Hong Kong-born, UK-based martial arts master taught by Ip Chun, the eldest son of Ip Man who taught Bruce Lee. Alizada’s manager, Hongkonger Howard Lee is seeking financial sponsorship to bring Alizada to Hong Kong, the city where Bruce Lee spent most of his life and died there in 1973 aged just 32.

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