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The Spirit of Afghanistan

Posted on November 2, 2015

“A landscape might be denuded, a human settlement abandoned or lost,
but always, just beneath the ground lies history of preposterous grandeur. . .
They are everywhere, these individuals of undaunted humankind,
irrepressibly optimistic and proud.
– The Carpet Wars, Christopher Kremmer

KabulBamiyan

“I have the impression that (Afghan) children are
much more excited about going to school than
children in other countries are.  They think of it as a special privilege.
Going to school, being with other children,
getting books and pencils – all of that is like a dream for them.”  
– Dr. Cheryl Benard, Veiled Courage

Kabul

Bamiyan

Herat

Near the Afghan/Pakistan border

Near the Afghan/Pakistan border

Kabul

 

If literacy rates were measured by a nation’s proverbs and poetry,
Afghanistan would be one of the most literate countries on earth.
These two forms of the oral tradition have been embraced for
centuries and reveal the spirit and soul
of the Afghan people.

Jabal os Saraj

Lake at Band i Amir

Kabul

In Afghanistan, the tradition of poetry writing and recitation dates back a thousand years.
To lend credibility to an argument, the preface,
“The poet says…”   denies the listener the opportunity to disagree.

Pul i Khumri

Kabul

Maimana

Bamiyan

Bamiyan

Kabul

Kabul
Every street of Kabul is enthralling to the eye
Through the bazaars, caravans of Egypt pass
One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs
And the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.
– Saeb-e-Tabrizik
Translation by Josephine Davis

Kabul

If my heart trembles
for Kabul,
it’s for the slow step of summer noons,
siestas in my father’s house which,
heavy with mid-day sleep,
still weighs on my ribs…

It’s for the hawker’s cry
of the vegetable seller doing his rounds,
lost in my neighbours’ troubled dreams,
that my heart’s trembling.
– Shakila Azizzda

Bamiyan

Bamiyan

In Afghanistan, you don’t understand yourself solely as an individual.
You understand yourself as a son, a brother, a cousin to somebody,
an uncle to somebody.
You are part of something bigger than yourself.
– Khaled Hosseini

Jalalabad

 Yet even at their most turbulent, the Afghans have tended to impress
travellers with their dignity and hospitality as much as their fierce independence.
– William Dalrymple,  author of Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan 1839–42

Kandahar

Kandahar

Up to their ankles in mud, villages near Kandahar clear accumulated silt
from a karez, or underground channel, an ancient irrigation method.

Chindawal, Kabul


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