Afghanistan's media mavericks
By Rachel Morarjee, Financial Times FT.com
Published: July 3 2007 19:39
"If you know how to avoid the minefields, you can ski in Afghanistan between December and May, says Emmanuel de Dinechin, one of the three founders of Altai Consulting. The firm's Kabul headquarters is only three hours from skiing country, so many expatriate staff bring snow-shoes and skis to make the best of their time in the country."
(ME: A lot of companies see Afghanistan as an economic opportunity, and many of these companies efforts could benefit Afghans in the long term. This article was a great example of that, as well as a great promotion of this country's incredible, jaw-dropping natural beauty).
Afghan girls traded, sold to settle debt
By ALISA TANG, Associated Press Writer
Mon Jul 9, 4:19 PM ET
JALALABAD, Afghanistan - Unable to scrounge together the $165 he needed to repay a loan to buy sheep, Nazir Ahmad made good on his debt by selling his 16-year-old daughter to marry the lender's son. "He gave me nine sheep," Ahmad said, describing his family's woes since taking the loan. "Because of nine sheep, I gave away my daughter."
(ME: This is an amazing article, and it points out that outside pressure DOES make a difference: "Jan Shinwari, a businessman and provincial council member, said a BBC radio report by a female journalist from the Shinwari tribe, Malalai Shinwari, had exposed the trade of girls and shamed the elders into passing the resolution to end the practice.")
Education in Afghanistan: A harrowing choice
By Barry Bearak
Published: July 9, 2007
QALAI SAYEDAN, Afghanistan: "With their teacher absent, 10 students were allowed to leave school early. These were the girls the gunmen saw first, 10 easy targets walking hand-in-hand through the blue metal gate and on to the winding dirt road. A 13-year-old named Shukria was shot in the arm and the back and teetered into the soft brown of an adjacent wheat field. Zarmina, her 12-year-old sister, ran to her side, listening to the wounded girl's precious breath and trying to help her stand. But Shukria was too heavy to lift and the two gunmen, sitting astride a single motorbike, suddenly sped closer."
(ME: this article does a GREAT job of showing how difficult it is in Afghanistan, in terms of dealing with all of the various sources of hostilities. In most parts of Afghanistan, the Taliban is the least of anyone's problems)
Attacks against Afghan schools continue to disrupt education
UN 30 July 2007 "Security incidents in schools and threats against students and teachers in Afghanistan have spiked in recent months, disrupting education in the country, which this year has seen some of the worst violence since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, according to the United Nations mission there."
(ME: No child on Earth, no teacher on Earth, should be risking his or her life by going to school).
Afghan Weddings Go Platinum
Five Years Afer the fall of the Taliban, Revelry is big Business for Kabul's Marriage Industry
By Kim Barker, Chicago Tribune foreign correspondent Published July 19, 2007
"Driving a limousine through the streets of Kabul is never easy. It's tough to avoid the potholes and the rutted washouts, the carts pulled by donkeys and men, the beggars in burqas. It's almost impossible to negotiate certain dirt roads and roundabouts. But now, in a sign of how Kabul residents can enjoy themselves since the fall of the Taliban in late 2001 and how the wedding business is booming, six white limousines ply the roads of this war-torn country's capital, a surreal scene in a country still without power or running water in most parts. "It was tough driving it at the beginning, because it's very long," said Mohammad Rafi, manager of Shams Limousine, the first limousine company in the city, which has three. "People's reactions were funny. Some of them said, 'Oh, you are driving a plane with no wings.' It's something new here.".
(ME: men and women aren't just "seated" separately at weddings in Afghanistan, as noted in this article; they are in entirely different rooms, sometimes on entirely different floors. There is absolutely NO mixing, and there is usually a man who stands in for the bride in the men's hall. Often, there is someone walking around with a video camera in the men's hall, filming what the men are doing, and this is broadcast in real time to the women's hall. But NOT the other way around...)
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