What do you think of when you think of Afghanistan…

friendly people in a market in Bamyan

friendly people in a market in Bamyan

What do you think of when you think of Afghanistan?
War, Taleban, jihad, deserted mountains, insurgency, war, freedom against oppression, America’s war, Pashtun people, war, war and more war?
First of all, Afghanistan is a country, populated by 32 million people. Yes there are horrible people there, just as there are disgusting human beings in western societies. The lack of a unified justice system and corruption in governments allow them more freedom out there it is true, but I would bet we have just as many dishonest and revolting people in the West as they have. Our society is just better at identifying them and cracking down on them
My point is people are just people, wherever you may go.
What Afghanistan is not, contrary to what media outlets try to make you believe, is a country full of people ready to slit your throat to steal the 10 dollars you have in your wallet, ready to kidnap you because of what your skin colour represents, ready to wage holy war and kill every western or Christian person they see indiscriminately.
This article, http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/07/25/under-americas-surveillance-dome/ ) a truly well written account of the “rule of law” in USA, shows the bias western media has when commenting on international polemics. I urge you to read it in order for your mind to have that 10 minutes of balance when reacting to news we receive through our little screens on our desks or in our hands.
I cannot write as well as the author of the article above, Rev William E. Alberts, but I echo his sentiments completely. We in the UK are relatively lucky to possess a media that still has an element of freedom to it (although this is being chipped away at gradually), contrary to state and corporate owned media in the US. I am not going to start becoming holier-than-thou in this blog, as this is probably not why you’ve clicked on it in the first place, but I guess my message would be: please please please make an effort to read news that is balanced and not written for political ends. Research all points of views before simply basing your own opinion on what you see in one article or bulletin. The world is not just black, or just white. Every person sees the world and its history in a different way, and the more you speak and understand others’ point of view, the more learned you will become.
Just a thought on a sunny Friday morning…
For your information, when I see Afghanistan, I see kebabs and fruits, old men smoking hashish in the parks, green tea being brewed on street corners, battered old cars that still carry on, black hair and green eyes. Most of them, just like you and me, revere family, love their friends, respect their wives as their culture dictates, play football or cricket in the park on weekends, drink tea and whose first instinct is to be helpful and smiling if someone approaches them.

And although I feel tense when walking around, I wonder how much of this is created in my head to what is actually happening out there…

Advertisements

Photo: a kid in the markets of Bamyan, Afghanistan

Afghan girl in market of Bamyan

I was strolling along the market main avenue, and I spotted a kid, amidst the cool temperatures of the morning, wrapped in a massive blanket in order to keep warm. The contrast between the colourful blanket, the slightly apprehensive yet curious face, and the crate dump in the background give this picture a really nice feel!

Post: My talk on Afghanistan

Hi all,

If you have 20 minutes, you can view my talk on how to build a successful partnership model in Afghanistan.

Since 2011, I have been working with various partners, including the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock, and the Aga Khan Foundation. We work in various provinces and the nature of the country’s social problems makes it hard to build a sustainable enterprise.

Nevertheless, we are well on the way, with 10 clinics being developed and running regularly in 2 provinces! We have plans for more this year, which means a greater number of farmers will have access to crop pest and disease information! Plantwise is in full swing!

The talks gives you a bit of background on Afghanistan, finding the right partners, training the staff, running clinics, and supporting the trained plant doctors with tools! As a bonus, you also get to see how cringe worthy I appear whilst talking to a (worldwide) audience!

This is the link to my video. Hope you like it! The password for watching the video is CABIJULIEN if watching directly from the vimeo website

If you are interested in learning more about CABI and Plantwise, have a look at the website:

http://www.plantwise.org

Photo: a bit of art in the fruit market of Kabul

These two guys were listening in to my interview of a farmer in Kabul fruit market. I was asking the farmer whether the information on the disease factsheet was accurate in relation to his crop. He was just talking about the improvements we can make to the factsheet when these two came round and started giving thier opinions. The more the better, and the factsheet for coddling moth on apple is now finished, and has been distributed to all major Afghan government department in rural areas. Thanks for the input guys!

These two guys were listening in to my interview of a farmer in Kabul fruit market. I was asking the farmer whether the information on the disease factsheet was accurate in relation to his crop. He was just talking about the improvements we can make to the factsheet when these two came round and started giving thier opinions. The more the better, and the factsheet for coddling moth on apple is now finished, and has been distributed to all major Afghan government department in rural areas. Thanks for the input guys!

Photo: when you concentrate, nothing else matters

Mohammad Dawool is an agricultural government worker in the Bamyan Province of Afghanistan, 1 hour west of Kabul. In this picture he is particularly concentrated because he is finishing the final test of our plant doctor training courses. He passed with flying colours, and is now running and assisting other plant clinics in the Province. I hope to see him out there this year!

Mohammad Dawool is an agricultural government worker in the Bamyan Province of Afghanistan, 1 hour west of Kabul. In this picture he is particularly concentrated because he is finishing the final test of our plant doctor training courses. He passed with flying colours, and is now running and assisting other plant clinics in the Province. I hope to see him out there this year!