Afghanistan a land with a history of more than 5000 years, embraces many people from around the world, different religions, different ethnics and different languages. Here are some photos I have taken in addition of photos by journalists Sune Rasmussen and Andrew Quilty, currently based in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan's war has hardened life for the kids the most, while in the cities they are often damaged more, in rural areas, many of them seem unaware to the conflict around them, even if conflict has never left them. War is not the only thing that defines their lives. Rural life is serene, and these children can find joy in the simple moments of life, ignoring all the violence and war around them. Here are a mix of photos I have taken during my stay in Afghanistan and some by journalists (Sune Rasmussen and Andrew Quilty) based in Afghanistan.
It was a sunny day in Kabul, nothing special nothing extraordinary. I went to Kabul University to meet with a friend, he studies In faculty of Journalism and on our way we were talking about the blog Human's of New York. Well, thats how our day ended...
Buzkashi is a Central Asian sport in which horse-mounted players (Pahlawan) attempt to drag a calf carcass toward a goal or circle after making a circling the flag on the opposite side of the goal. Its history dates back to the nomadic Turkic-Mongol peoples of 10th century. It is the national sport of Afghanistan, but for me its far more than a sport. Our family has been traditionally playing this game for generations and my grandfather was a champion player of his time, winning gold medals from the king. The game is brutal, dangerous, and incredibly tough, but its a game of honor, respect, and passion. People play it once to twice a week in winter, but its the irresistible of wedding celebrations which lasts for several days. People gather from many different states, towns or villages, depending on the size of the game which extends to 500 horses in a game.
The only rule that matters is not to intentionally harm a horse or a player, but for professional games rules are strict and detailed. The most important reward for each score is the honorable respect the player gets from people, beside that, the value of reward in money is always set by the organizers of the game. Best part of the game is, when a player scores the last round, he earns the calf but always shares the delightful meat with all the other players.
I was inspired by Human's of New York blog to create it as something similar and different to that blog. HONY has not only inspired millions of people around the world, including me, but also spiralled into an international phenomenon. Two years ago when i read the blog, i decided to do something similar to this in Afghanistan. I knew hundreds of stories exists among people from their struggle throughout the war, so decided to take on my phone and record photos and notes of interesting people. It didn't stop me from doing the same when i was outside Afghanistan.
However, going to random people on the streets and asking to take a photo or wondering about their personal life is not always welcomed unless you know how to do it. So i have prepared a guideline that might be useful in getting your way through with a comfortable interaction.
I dedicated this blog to write about people I have met and places I have been and what each has thought me. I come from a country struggling to survive in the ashes of almost 80 years of never ending war. To be able to see the world and the people has changed my prospective towards life and I wanted to share this with anyone who would want to see the world through the eyes of someone born in a country drown in the flames of war. From the far east Hong Kong, to far west New York, from Asia to Europe, all thought me a life worth of lesson.