The Many Faces of Afghanistan
There are 6 faces looking through this school's muddied window. Each girl's face shows a very different emotion. If we were to put a name to each emotion, it might look like this...From Left to Right we have Shock, Hope, then Fear, below her we see Curiosity, then Anger, then finally Despair. This one candid photo could almost represent the entire nation of people in their struggle to survive in such turbulent times and in such extreme weather and conditions. Daily summer temperatures have exceeded 140F, Water is a rare commodity and what is available is often terribly contaminated. Sanitation is almost an unknown and the average life expectancy here is 42. Yet their ability to survive in this environment is remarkable. There are crops growing where water is unseen. They are able to fix broken machines without a hardware store for fifty miles.
One can only wonder what the future may bring for these people and these girls. They are trying to get an education when for years, the Taliban forbade it. Even today, girls and their schools are victimized by random acts of violence for no other reason than their wanting to go to school. Recently girls walking to school had acid thrown upon them by Taliban members. The Taliban have ordered busses to remove radios and electronic equipment and towers that service cellular phones and internet, vowing they will send in suicide bombers to deal with the "violators". What future will these girls have? Most women still are not allowed to work. They are often treated more like property than equal members of society. They are often forced to walk behind the men, even male children. They are required to give up their seat in a vehicle for a male and often they are found to be sitting on vehicle rooftops or in the open trunk. I have even seen them have to give up their seat to goats. What will their future bring? The women often still wear the Burqa, some by choice, some out of fear of reprisal if they don't.
These people should be respected for their fortitude and ability to not only survive, but flourish. It is often easy to assume, that their high illiteracy rates and lack of formal education mean they are somehow inferior to the rest of the world. I have met them, eaten with them and spent time with them. Most I have found, speak a multitude of languages, including Dari, Pashto, Farsi, Arabic, English, and Russian, among others. They have been at war in defense of their land for thousands of years. For some reason, other countries continually over time have attempted to invade this land and all have failed to conquer it. Maybe this time we can help the Afghan people to improve their ability to recover from the era of the Russians and Taliban, so that they can rebuild their country and their culture.
All images taken by Mike Mosack are copyrighted. Please contact me for licensing terms or to purchase a print. Thank you!