Posts tagged Afghanistan

Photo Essay: Mentally Disabled People in Afghanistan
Many people are suffering from psychological disorders in Afghanistan, a country blighted by decades of war. The mentally disabled face discrimination here, leaving their loved ones to bear much of the burden. Insights by Waslat Hasrat-Nazimi

Photo Essay: Mentally Disabled People in Afghanistan

Many people are suffering from psychological disorders in Afghanistan, a country blighted by decades of war. The mentally disabled face discrimination here, leaving their loved ones to bear much of the burden. Insights by Waslat Hasrat-Nazimi

THE SURGE 
IN 1988 THERE WERE 350,000 CASES OF POLIO WORLDWIDE. LAST YEAR THERE WERE 223. BUT GETTING ALL THE WAY TO ZERO WILL MEAN SPENDING BILLIONS OF DOLLARS, PENETRATING THE MOST REMOTE REGIONS OF THE GLOBE, AND FACING DOWN TALIBAN MILITANTS TO GET TO THE LAST UNPROTECTED CHILDREN ON EARTH.

THE SURGE

IN 1988 THERE WERE 350,000 CASES OF POLIO WORLDWIDE. LAST YEAR THERE WERE 223. BUT GETTING ALL THE WAY TO ZERO WILL MEAN SPENDING BILLIONS OF DOLLARS, PENETRATING THE MOST REMOTE REGIONS OF THE GLOBE, AND FACING DOWN TALIBAN MILITANTS TO GET TO THE LAST UNPROTECTED CHILDREN ON EARTH.

Lost Enlightenment: Central Asia’s Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane by S. Frederick Starr 
In this sweeping and richly illustrated history, S. Frederick Starr tells the fascinating but largely unknown story of Central Asia’s medieval enlightenment through the eventful lives and astonishing accomplishments of its greatest minds—remarkable figures who built a bridge to the modern world. Because nearly all of these figures wrote in Arabic, they were long assumed to have been Arabs. In fact, they were from Central Asia—drawn from the Persianate and Turkic peoples of a region that today extends from Kazakhstan southward through Afghanistan, and from the easternmost province of Iran through Xinjiang, China.
Lost Enlightenment recounts how, between the years 800 and 1200, Central Asia led the world in trade and economic development, the size and sophistication of its cities, the refinement of its arts, and, above all, in the advancement of knowledge in many fields. Central Asians achieved signal breakthroughs in astronomy, mathematics, geology, medicine, chemistry, music, social science, philosophy, and theology, among other subjects. They gave algebra its name, calculated the earth’s diameter with unprecedented precision, wrote the books that later defined European medicine, and penned some of the world’s greatest poetry. One scholar, working in Afghanistan, even predicted the existence of North and South America—five centuries before Columbus. Rarely in history has a more impressive group of polymaths appeared at one place and time. No wonder that their writings influenced European culture from the time of St. Thomas Aquinas down to the scientific revolution, and had a similarly deep impact in India and much of Asia.

Lost Enlightenment: Central Asia’s Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane by S. Frederick Starr

In this sweeping and richly illustrated history, S. Frederick Starr tells the fascinating but largely unknown story of Central Asia’s medieval enlightenment through the eventful lives and astonishing accomplishments of its greatest minds—remarkable figures who built a bridge to the modern world. Because nearly all of these figures wrote in Arabic, they were long assumed to have been Arabs. In fact, they were from Central Asia—drawn from the Persianate and Turkic peoples of a region that today extends from Kazakhstan southward through Afghanistan, and from the easternmost province of Iran through Xinjiang, China.

Lost Enlightenment recounts how, between the years 800 and 1200, Central Asia led the world in trade and economic development, the size and sophistication of its cities, the refinement of its arts, and, above all, in the advancement of knowledge in many fields. Central Asians achieved signal breakthroughs in astronomy, mathematics, geology, medicine, chemistry, music, social science, philosophy, and theology, among other subjects. They gave algebra its name, calculated the earth’s diameter with unprecedented precision, wrote the books that later defined European medicine, and penned some of the world’s greatest poetry. One scholar, working in Afghanistan, even predicted the existence of North and South America—five centuries before Columbus. Rarely in history has a more impressive group of polymaths appeared at one place and time. No wonder that their writings influenced European culture from the time of St. Thomas Aquinas down to the scientific revolution, and had a similarly deep impact in India and much of Asia.

The Brookings Essay: A Deadly Triangle: Afghanistan, Pakistan and India by William Dalrymple

A a vivid and insightful report on a contest for power and influence in one of the world’s most dangerous regions. With its publication, we’re inaugurating The Brookings Essay, which will feature commissioned works on major topics of public policy by distinguished authors, including Brookings scholars. This innovation is a reflection of our commitment to help ensure the role of high-quality long-form writing in the digital age.

With the U.S. and its allies planning to scale down their military efforts significantly in Afghanistan in 2014, a dangerous neighborhood—filled with nuclear weapons, disputed borders, as well as ethnic and tribal divisions—has the potential to become even more threatening. Dalrymple examines one ominous scenario, which could be disastrous for both the region and the world: the contest between India and Pakistan in Afghanistan becoming even more deadly. Originally from Scotland, Dalrymple has lived in New Delhi for a quarter century and is the author of eight books on the history and culture of the region, including his latest book, Return of a King, which chronicles Britain’s disastrous 1839-1842 campaign on the plains and hills of Afghanistan.

Dalrymple’s new essay combines a historian’s keen perspective, insights gleaned from senior officials in the region, narrative verve and multimedia content to bring a deadly story to life.

Shabana Basij-Rasikh: Dare to educate Afghan girls

Imagine a country where girls must sneak out to go to school, with deadly consequences if they get caught learning. This was Afghanistan under the Taliban, and traces of that danger remain today. 22-year-old Shabana Basij-Rasikh runs a school for girls in Afghanistan. She celebrates the power of a family’s decision to believe in their daughters — and tells the story of one brave father who stood up to local threats. (Filmed at TEDxWomen)

warkadang:

Shamsia Hassani - An Afghan Street Artist

“If you have an exhibition, most uneducated people won’t even know about it. But if you have art like graffiti in the street, everyone can see that … If we can do graffiti all over the city, there will be nobody who doesn’t know about art.”

Afghan street artist Shamsia, 24, paints on the street walls in Kabul, Afghanistan. The young artist says she hopes her public art can have a positive effect in Afghanistan. A contemporary art painter, she took to graffiti easily despite the restrictions imposed by her gender. 

Inside Out - Here in Kabul, Afghanistan, to show joy and laughter of the people
"I wish for you to stand up for what you care about by participating in a global art project, and together we’ll turn the world…INSIDE OUT." – JR 
INSIDE OUT is a large-scale participatory art project that transforms messages of personal identity into pieces of artistic work.
Everyone is challenged to use black and white photographic portraits to discover, reveal and share the untold stories and images of people around the world. These digitally uploaded images will be made into posters and sent back to the project’s co-creators for them to exhibit in their own communities. People can participate as an individual or in a group; posters can be placed anywhere, from a solitary image in an office window to a wall of portraits on an abandoned building or a full stadium. These exhibitions will be documented, archived and viewable virtually.

Inside Out - Here in Kabul, Afghanistan, to show joy and laughter of the people

"I wish for you to stand up for what you care about by participating in a global art project, and together we’ll turn the world…INSIDE OUT." – JR

INSIDE OUT is a large-scale participatory art project that transforms messages of personal identity into pieces of artistic work.

Everyone is challenged to use black and white photographic portraits to discover, reveal and share the untold stories and images of people around the world. These digitally uploaded images will be made into posters and sent back to the project’s co-creators for them to exhibit in their own communities. People can participate as an individual or in a group; posters can be placed anywhere, from a solitary image in an office window to a wall of portraits on an abandoned building or a full stadium. These exhibitions will be documented, archived and viewable virtually.

Afghanistan’s Transition in the Making - Perceptions and Policy Strategies of Women Parliamentarians

Afghanistan’s Transition in the Making - Perceptions and Policy Strategies of Women Parliamentarians

Muftah launched in May 2010 to provide incisive analysis on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) that eschewed Western obsessions with terrorism, oil, and Islamism and, instead, highlighted issues and concerns that mattered to the region’s people.
While we believe this work is crucial to improving foreign policy toward MENA, we also aim to move beyond the policymaking community to reach a broader audience in the MENA region and English-speaking world interested in understanding, supporting, or participating in the indigenous, grassroots efforts currently underway to transform regional countries. Our analytical focus also extends to Afghanistan and Pakistan, countries facing similar dynamics in the midst of rapid political and social change.

Muftah launched in May 2010 to provide incisive analysis on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) that eschewed Western obsessions with terrorism, oil, and Islamism and, instead, highlighted issues and concerns that mattered to the region’s people.

While we believe this work is crucial to improving foreign policy toward MENA, we also aim to move beyond the policymaking community to reach a broader audience in the MENA region and English-speaking world interested in understanding, supporting, or participating in the indigenous, grassroots efforts currently underway to transform regional countries. Our analytical focus also extends to Afghanistan and Pakistan, countries facing similar dynamics in the midst of rapid political and social change.

Over 10 years in Afghanistan and US forces have still learned nothing

ISAF personnel at Bagram Air Base improperly disposed of a large number of Islamic religious materials which included Korans… When we learned of these actions, we immediately intervened and stopped them. The materials recovered will be properly handled by appropriate religious authorities. (General Allen, ISAF)

(Photo Credit: Shah Marai/Agence France-Presse - Getty Images)

Over 10 years in Afghanistan and US forces have still learned nothing

ISAF personnel at Bagram Air Base improperly disposed of a large number of Islamic religious materials which included Korans… When we learned of these actions, we immediately intervened and stopped them. The materials recovered will be properly handled by appropriate religious authorities. (General Allen, ISAF)

(Photo Credit: Shah Marai/Agence France-Presse - Getty Images)

Does the Afghan War Need A CEO?

This question encapsulates a new wave of thinking that has grown in the last 10 to 15 years. It is a question that is indicative of a distinct cultural wave, shaped by Web 2.0, open innovation, the power of networks, and the new-found optimism to build a new civilisation, as a consequence of the post-industrial technological revolution.

Colonel Randy George who led Brigade Combat Team Task Force Mountain Warrior from June 2009 to June 2010, and Dante Paradiso who was the Task Force Mountain Warrior Senior Civilian Representative argue the Case for a Wartime Chief Executive Officer who would command both the military and non-military agencies that work to achieve US political objectives.  

Opensource Development Economics - A Model for Technological Revolution in the Developing World?

In the city of Jalalabad, Afghanistan, a group of Afghan students and tech-wizards from MIT have created a wireless network using materials that have been discarded as rubbish from around the city. 


The project is called FabLab, and it is designed to bring the benefits of technology to the developing world using materials that can be found locally.  

The announcement of Ayman al-Zawahiri as Al-Qaeeda’s new leader was largely expected despite the reports of splits emerging in the leadership. Ayman al-Zawahiri comes from an influential and wealthy family of doctors and scholars. His father was a pharmacology professor and Zawahiri is the grandson of the grand imam of Al Azhar. Zawahiri studied medicine and qualified as a doctor, working with the Red Crescent as a surgeon during the Afghan-Soviet war.
Born in 1951, he grew up during the Nasser period which brutally suppressed peaceful Islamic movements. It is in this environment that a number of Muslim intellectuals began to think that material means were necessary to change the situation in the Muslim world. One of the most significant events was the siege of Mecca in 1979, which is not widely known, but which had a significant influence upon the emergence of al-Qaeeda.
Yaroslav Trofimov has written an account of this siege, the news of which was suppressed for years up until recently. 
Zawahiri commented that the Arab Revolution would be a nightmare for America as it would remove the corrupt “agents of America.” Many now observe that the Arab Revolution has undermined al-Qaeeda, as intellectual and political actions are predominantly forcing change in the region, and it was not al-Qaeeda that mobilised the masses onto the streets. 
Ayman al-Zawahiri’s sister was in Tahrir square demonstrating against the regime.  
ihya

The announcement of Ayman al-Zawahiri as Al-Qaeeda’s new leader was largely expected despite the reports of splits emerging in the leadership. Ayman al-Zawahiri comes from an influential and wealthy family of doctors and scholars. His father was a pharmacology professor and Zawahiri is the grandson of the grand imam of Al Azhar. Zawahiri studied medicine and qualified as a doctor, working with the Red Crescent as a surgeon during the Afghan-Soviet war.

Born in 1951, he grew up during the Nasser period which brutally suppressed peaceful Islamic movements. It is in this environment that a number of Muslim intellectuals began to think that material means were necessary to change the situation in the Muslim world. One of the most significant events was the siege of Mecca in 1979, which is not widely known, but which had a significant influence upon the emergence of al-Qaeeda.

Yaroslav Trofimov has written an account of this siege, the news of which was suppressed for years up until recently. 

Zawahiri commented that the Arab Revolution would be a nightmare for America as it would remove the corrupt “agents of America.” Many now observe that the Arab Revolution has undermined al-Qaeeda, as intellectual and political actions are predominantly forcing change in the region, and it was not al-Qaeeda that mobilised the masses onto the streets. 

Ayman al-Zawahiri’s sister was in Tahrir square demonstrating against the regime.  

ihya

The ‘Liberation’ Technology Movement

The impact of communication technologies in the Arab Revolution has encouraged the Obama administration to heavily invest in developing communication technologies that will enhance the ability of the US to influence public opinion in repressive nations around the world. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said:

We see more and more people around the globe using the Internet, mobile phones and other technologies to make their voices heard as they protest against injustice and seek to realize their aspirations…There is a historic opportunity to effect positive change, change America supports…So we’re focused on helping them do that, on helping them talk to each other, to their communities, to their governments and to the world.

A NEW WAVE IN AFGHANISTAN CINEMA

Jump Cut Productions, a film collective in Kabul, Afghanistan are featured in Qantara. They are an independent group of filmmakers who formed Jump Cut in May 2009. They represent a new generation of filmmakers that are emerging to create art that has impact. 

Instead of cementing old prejudices, Jump Cut aims to break out of the stereotypes so often characterizing the films about Afghanistan shown at film festivals. “Most people in the West think of Afghans as ready to kill each other in the name of Islam at the drop of a hat,” says author and cameraman Ali Husseini, in response to the wide-spread cliché about his country. “Just look at any Hollywood film. We are always portrayed as terrorists with long beards.” By contrast, Jump Cut produces personal films dealing with real-life stories. “It could be a story about a family working and raising a family in Kabul – or about their expectations for the future,” says Husseini.