Return to Civilization

July 4th, 2009    USA

Back in the US for a few weeks already, rocking the free world and not missing a single thing about Afghanistan.  I will not be going back there anytime soon, so the entertaining accounts of American subcultures resume next month.   Sorry, no more first-hand accounts of that charming Afghan culture, but I took advantage of having a high-speed internet connection again, and uploaded three short videos that I put together over the last year there.  My video camera skills are primitive, but I was able to edit them and attach some pretty good photos at the end of each video.

1)  Witness a game of Buzkashi, Afghanistan’s national sport. It is best described as rugby on horseback, using a headless goat or calf instead of a ball.  Full-contact, no rules, great horses and horsemen, and plenty of injuries to both.  (4:00)

2)  The ten-day road trip up in the North was amazing, and included this narrow gravel stretch between a river and a cliff. Badakhshan is the part of the country where it was safe and wild enough for me to hitch-hike, though this was shot from our  unmarked ambulance.  Hopefully youtube will not silence the audio because of copyright issues.  Set to John Lee Hooker’s “Dusty Road”  (3:04)

3)  This is a typical cross-town drive in Kabul, with some commentary.  As for the women begging on the road, some might have a knee-jerk reaction to blame the British, the Russians, the Americans, foreign aid wasted on high salaries for expats, or spending money on building the Afghan army instead of feeding the people.  Remember this:  Afghanistan is mostly fundamentalist Islamic Pashtun. Despite our huge efforts, the men do not allow their women access to education, jobs, health care, contraception, re-marriage for widows, or any other form of independence.  What you see here is the locally created result.  (3:33)

4)  Have some time to kill?  Here are the Afghanistan photo sets.   None are new, this is just a collection of them all.

AFG Summer/Fall 2008, (97 photos):  http://www1.snapfish.com/share/p=270111263264998505/l=4389418017/g=6193089/otsc=SYE/otsi=SALB

AFG Fall/Winter 2009 (68 photos):  http://www1.snapfish.com/share/p=295101263165058977/l=4373993017/g=6193089/otsc=SYE/otsi=SALB

AFG Winter/Spring 2009 (38 photos):  http://www1.snapfish.com/share/p=963101263165084426/l=4373994017/g=6193089/otsc=SYE/otsi=SALB

Big Northern Road Trip 2009, (81 photos):  http://www1.snapfish.com/share/p=889111263265748594/l=4391334017/g=6193089/otsc=SYE/otsi=SALB

Feyzabad 2009, (57 photos):  http://www1.snapfish.com/share/p=145111263265826385/l=4391336017/g=6193089/otsc=SYE/otsi=SALB

Burned Afghan girl transport 2009, (35 photos):  http://www1.snapfish.com/share/p=674111263265801607/l=4391335017/g=6193089/otsc=SYE/otsi=SALB

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