Posts tagged Afghanistan

pulitzerfieldnotes:

Postcards at the PX; greetings from Afghanistan. 

Image and caption by Meghan Dhaliwal, via Instagram. Afghanistan, 2014. 

Pulitzer staff Meghan Dhaliwal and grantee Meg Jones reporting from Afghanistan: Packing Up the War. 

pulitzerfieldnotes:

Postcards at the PX; greetings from Afghanistan. 

Image and caption by Meghan Dhaliwal, via Instagram. Afghanistan, 2014. 

Pulitzer staff Meghan Dhaliwal and grantee Meg Jones reporting from Afghanistan: Packing Up the War

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Ahhhh, it’s almost a full week later, and I’ve neglected to post VIVA photos!

This man in the blue shirt is Dr Johnson, who on 8 April 2014 received no corrections to his PhD thesis. This is nothing short of an amazing feat, and Dr Johnson is definitely to be admired for his work on violence towards women in the case of Afghanistan. Hence, why he has a literal (American) chip on his shoulder. I can’t help it; the British and puns - squee!

There’s definitely an intelligent discussion going on here… Mostly likely about cats, cartoons, or glistening eggs, thousands of them.

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fotojournalismus:

In Memoriam: Anja Niedringhaus

Anja Niedringhaus, a courageous and immensely talented Associated Press photographer, was killed while covering elections in Afghanistan on April 4, 2014.

An Afghan police officer opened fire on Anja Niedringhaus and Kathy Gannon from the Associated Press in a police headquarters in Khost province, after the women arrived with a convoy of election materials on Friday.

Niedringhaus died almost immediately from wounds to her head, a health official said, and Gannon was taken to hospital with less serious injuries after being shot twice. She later underwent surgery and was described as being in stable condition and talking to medical personnel. Both were veteran correspondents with long experience covering Afghanistan.

Afghanistan, once a relatively safe place to work, has become increasingly deadly for journalists in the run up to the elections. Just last month Swedish-British radio reporter Nils Horner was shot dead in downtown Kabul. Days later Sardar Ahmad of the Agence France Press was gunned down, along with his wife and two children, in an attack on a luxury hotel in Kabul. His youngest son, two-year-old Abuzar, survived several gunshot wounds.

Niedringhaus has long been recognized for her expertise in gaining a subject’s trust and photographing them with a style that is immediately recognizable. Her attention to detail, composition and light come together to not only tell insightful stories but also to create works of art. 

She worked for the European Press Photo Agency before joining the AP in 2002, based in Geneva. She had published two books. She was the only woman on a team of 11 AP photographers awarded the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography.

fotojournalismus has some amazing posts up honouring Niedringhaus. Just incredible - and sombre - photos.

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fotojournalismus:

These images were selected from Canadian photojournalist Lana Slezic’s book, “Forsaken,” which were shot over her two years in Afghanistan. In a documentary for tvo (seen here), Lana says she always gravitates towards photographing women, describing an unspoken language - a universal body language - which she feels exists between the women she photographs and herself regardless of locale or barriers in spoken language.

Lana became quite close with Malalai Kakar, the first and only female police officer in Kandahar, who can be seen in the last photo. A mother of six, Malalai became a police officer prior to the Taliban’s rise, and, once they were ousted, began working as the head of the city’s department for crimes against women. In September 2008, Malalai was assissanted in front of her children at their home by the Taliban. 

Says Lana, “She was killed so unjustly and why? Because she was a woman with power, because she was helping other women.” That photo now hangs above her home computer. “My work represent a very emotional journey that has given me an insight into the lives of Afghan women, which is largely horrific. I hope that [this] collection of photographs will  communicate, influence and inspire others to learn more about the plight of Afghan women,” she says.

Many of these women are better described as girls, like eleven year old Gulsuma, seen in the third photo, who was found by Lana in an orphanage. Gulsuma was married off for 60 dollars when she was four, and was physically tortured for seven years before eventually running away. Sixteen year old Lida, seen hiding behind a door with her nails done in the eighth photo, was recently married off, and now no longer attends school (such as the one seen in the fourth photo, made from an abandoned, war torn building) or is permitted to see her own family.

The Human Rights Commission in Kandahar claims that 86% of women in Afghanistan are clinically depressed. Many who don’t run away instead attempt suicide by self immolation, like nineteen year old Zaha seen in the fifth photo. As Lana says, “Most Afghan women and girls understand all too well the concept of fear and subservience.”

She adds, “As human beings it is our responsibility to not only see and hear, but to listen and act.” For more on Afghan women, see these posts.

(via awkwardsituationist)

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His right leg was severed. I watched him bleed out from his femoral artery. It was shocking. It’s pixelated, and it doesn’t really look real. But it was real.You’re still in the war zone and regardless of whether you’re physically there or not. America wants an antiseptic war… The reality is that nothing is clean. There’s a level of intimacy that goes with every action in war. It’s completely psychological. You hear the hum of a computer. You don’t feel the missile coming off the rail; you watch it. All the drone operators, they get a bad rap. It’s not a video game… It is real life, and these people need just as much help.

Ex-drone operator Brandon Bryant shares with CNN his experience of being ordered to conduct a drone attack for the U.S. (via shortformblog)

More of this: we need so much more of this. Not perverted for our pleasure at experiencing the gruesome from a first-hand account, but expressions of humanity, morality, and justice/injustice; like Kosovo, Rwanda, South Africa, Germany, every where there has been a culture severed by the harrowing divide of war, these individuals need healing. This in no way vindicates what they’ve been asked to do - and the lines of morality and the normative get fuzzy here - and, in no way does it excuse the very necessary conversation that is happening between Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and UN, amongst others; but we need more of this - more healing, more communication, more exposure on, what we can only hope becomes illegal conduct during war: drones, drone warfare, ‘robotic’ war, and ‘othering’ away these wrongful deaths and the individuals who ‘push the button’. 

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…a situation of this nature does not need an individual, it needs an organization like the United Nations to mediate. We must understand the seriousness of this situation.

The United States has made serious mistakes in the conduct of its foreign affairs, which have had unfortunate repercussions long after the decisions were taken. Unqualified support of the Shah of Iran led directly to the Islamic revolution of 1979. Then the United States chose to arm and finance the [Islamic] mujahedin in Afghanistan instead of supporting and encouraging the moderate wing of the government of Afghanistan. That is what led to the Taliban in Afghanistan.

But the most catastrophic action of the United States was to sabotage the decision that was painstakingly stitched together by the United Nations regarding the withdrawal of the Soviet Union from Afghanistan. If you look at those matters, you will come to the conclusion that the attitude of the United States of America is a threat to world peace.

Because what [America] is saying is that if you are afraid of a veto in the Security Council, you can go outside and take action and violate the sovereignty of other countries. That is the message they are sending to the world. That must be condemned in the strongest terms. And you will notice that France, Germany Russia, China are against this decision. It is clearly a decision that is motivated by George W. Bush’s desire to please the arms and oil industries in the United States of America. If you look at those factors, you’ll see that an individual like myself, a man who has lost power and influence, can never be a suitable mediator.

Nelson Mandela: The U.S.A. Is A Threat To World Peace

84-year-old Madiba in a 2009 Newsweek interview speaking on Bush, Iraq and U.S. foreign policy.

(via dynamicafrica)

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Protesters carry placards as they protest against the visit of U.S. President Barack Obama in Pretoria, June 28, 2013. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
Can we just talk about how awesome this is? And that by signing the petition against UJ’s decision to award Obama an honouray doctorate I was automatically updated and informed about this protest, despite being in rainy Britain?

Protesters carry placards as they protest against the visit of U.S. President Barack Obama in Pretoria, June 28, 2013. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Can we just talk about how awesome this is? And that by signing the petition against UJ’s decision to award Obama an honouray doctorate I was automatically updated and informed about this protest, despite being in rainy Britain?

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halftheskymovement:

74 schoolgirls in Afghanistan fell sick after smelling gas and were being examined for possible poisoning, three days after a dozen students fell ill at another girls’ high school in the same city. No one has claimed responsibility for either incident, but mass poisonings are a periodic tactic used by those opposed to girls’ education. Learn more via Reuters 

stay strong, ladies. the forward motion of the Millennium Development Goals will not pass you by.

halftheskymovement:

74 schoolgirls in Afghanistan fell sick after smelling gas and were being examined for possible poisoning, three days after a dozen students fell ill at another girls’ high school in the same city. No one has claimed responsibility for either incident, but mass poisonings are a periodic tactic used by those opposed to girls’ education. 

Learn more via Reuters 

stay strong, ladies. the forward motion of the Millennium Development Goals will not pass you by.

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fotojournalismus:

Afghan villagers look at the bodies of women killed by NATO air strikes in Laghman province September 16, 2012. NATO-led air strikes in southern Laghman province on Saturday night killed eight women, according to a local official.
[Credit : Parwiz/Reuters]

reblog for new institutionalism (yes, again, second wave)

fotojournalismus:

Afghan villagers look at the bodies of women killed by NATO air strikes in Laghman province September 16, 2012. NATO-led air strikes in southern Laghman province on Saturday night killed eight women, according to a local official.

[Credit : Parwiz/Reuters]

reblog for new institutionalism (yes, again, second wave)

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likes.

america-abroad-media:

We recently partnered with two leading television channels in Afghanistan and Pakistan to host the first-ever international town hall connecting Afghans and Pakistanis for direct dialogue.  

This groundbreaking event brought together live studio audiences and government officials in Kabul and Islamabad to discuss the way forward for Afghanistan and Pakistan as the US prepares to withdraw troops in 2014, as well as the role Pakistan should play in the reconciliation process.  

Check out images of Afghans viewing the town hall here

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The original piece is worth a read.

Bullet-point summary (content exclusively by Jonathan Naughton, the Guardian):

  • Once upon a time, aerial warfare consisted of guys climbing into aircraft and flying bombing missions over enemy territory. Now many, if not most, of the lethal missions mounted by the USAF are carried out by unmanned drones flying high over Afghanistan and Pakistan and piloted by uniformed guys sitting in computerised consoles in New Mexico.
  • More interestingly, it turns out that the stress levels for these pilots are unexpectedly high. A Pentagon study has found, for example, that 29% of them suffer from “burnout”. A co-author of the study says that the air force tries to recruit people who are emotionally well-adjusted, “family people” with “good values”. But “when they have to kill someone, or where they are involved in missions and then they either kill them or watch them killed, it does cause them to rethink aspects of their life”.
  • So maybe Heidegger was wrong [when he argues ‘that technology is, in essence, a way of organising the world so that one doesn’t have to experience it’].
  • But there is one new form of warfare where Heidegger’s insight might turn out to be more relevant. It’s called cyberwarfare. The ability to destroy a country’s infrastructure – to bring down its electricity grid or disrupt water supplies by hacking into the computers that run these systems – offers a nation the prospect of waging war without incurring either physical or psychological risks for the aggressor’s citizens: casualty-free war, if you like…

Content analysis:

  1. As many in the comments section have pointed out, Naughton admits he didn’t really ‘get’ this hardcore philosophic work (nor has he the training to analyse), so continuing, prior to a re-read or clarification report, WAS A MASSIVE ERROR.
  2. The subhead and end commentary suggests that drones produce ‘casualty-free’ wars. You don’t need to be a Mr. Chomsky or Mr. Foucault to realise that NO WAR IS CASUALTY-FREE. Even if one side is casualty free - HISTORY MATTERS. If  infrastructure, stability, resources, systems, etc. are (remotely) destroyed, there will be fallout and likely redistributive violence (general reference: Charlie Wilson’s War, ie: Cold War and post-Cold War US ‘intervention’ in Afghanistan).
  3. The Western-centric idea of reducing casualty and psychological effects of war is just, well, lies. There is no war that will be free of adverse effects. The idea of reducing the adverse effects for the West completely negates the existence, the humanity, of the Rest (see Judith Bulter or Hannah Arendt on the concept of ‘the other’)
  4. HOW IS DISRUPTING THE ELECTRICITY GRID/WATER GRID CASUALTY-FREE?!

Guardian writers… stop having a laugh on Sundays. Academics are bored and don’t want to work.

well, when I am finished with
[the Guardian], you won’t be able to get a
contract for a prepaid mobile phone!
I will tear you down, brick by
perfidious brick!

'Torvald Utne', UN representative, Archer (2009).

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Part 1 of 2: Breaking down thepoliticalnotebook’s ‘This Week In War’

She just does such a great service for all of us on tumblr.

Some of the links are difficult to click through because the content shakes us, disturbs us, and we’re left unsettled. In my opinion there were at least 3 posts (1 post not part of my series) from her weekly round up that warrant a further breakdown for anyone to disturbed to click through or looking for the ‘meat and veg’ of it.

Part 1:from thepoliticalnotebook

IAVA released its annual survey of members this Monday. Veterans listed as their top concerns in this order: employment, mental health, disability benefits, health care, education, suicide and families.

Here are some of the findings from the report I think are essential to break down:

  • "17 percent said they were unemployed when they took the survey in January, a higher rate than was documented by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which put the veterans’ unemployment rate for January at 9 percent." (Source: NY Times; all quotes below from same source) ...I’ve said this time and time again, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics might as well pull their numbers out of hat. Also, 9% are disabled and unable to work.
  • 'More than one in three respondents, 37 percent, said they knew someone who had committed suicide, down slightly from last year’s result. Asked if the person who committed suicide was serving or had separated from the military, respondents were almost evenly divided: 30 percent said the person had separated when the act occurred; 27 percent said the person was serving but not deployed; 25 percent said the person was serving and deployed. Another 11 percent said the person was in the National Guard and not deployed.'
  • 'Two-thirds said they think troops and veterans are not getting the mental health care they need.'
  • 'Asked about their relationships, nearly 80 percent said they were married or in a long-term relationship during a deployment. Nearly two-thirds said the deployment strained their relationships, and 6 in 10 said readjustment was difficult.'
  • Nearly 9 in 10 of those surveyed were men
  • 6 in 10 were Army veterans
  • More than 8 in 10 had served in Iraq.
  • Almost half, 45 percent, were 36 years or older.
  • Nine in 10 said they were registered to vote.
  • When asked, ‘The President listens enough to service members
    and Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.’ (Source: IAVA), 23% Agree or Strongly Agree; 16% No Opinion, and 61% Disagree or Strongly Disagree
  • When asked, ‘Congress listens enough to service members and
    Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.’ (ibid), 13% Agree or Strongly Agree; 13% No Opinion, and 75% Disagree or Strongly Disagree
  • When asked, ‘Corporate America supports service members and
    Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.’ (ibid), 32% Agree or Strongly Agree; 22% No Opinion, and 46% Disagree or Strongly Disagree (the most variant across the 5 questions asked on public opinion)

These are just some pieces I pulled from the article and corresponding report (available for download at the IAVA link above) that I found interesting/alarming/disturbing.

Thoughts?

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After going through thepoliticalnotebook's Friday links, (especially the one on the US solider(s)’ 17 March killing of Afghan civilians from the first Western journalist to cover the story on the ground) I was left remembering the patches that went around tumblr a few weeks ago. Here were a few others I found while surfing.
…apparently these patches originate with Benjamin Franklin’s 1751 symbolism during the independence of the United States from Great Britain.
Tell me why/if/how these patches affect you?

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aljazeera:

Photographs from the centre of a tragedy | 

For photographer Massoud Hossaini, the personal and professional came to a head while shooting blast at Shia shrine.


Click photo for story

aljazeera:

Photographs from the centre of a tragedy |

For photographer Massoud Hossaini, the personal and professional came to a head while shooting blast at Shia shrine.

Click photo for story

348 notes