the land of afghanistan

james armstrong james36armstrong at
Tue Sep 1 18:45:32 BST 2009

 An Afghan's story.from a friend.
This is the story of an Afghan who I met at an antiques fair and expect to meet again when I return to-morrow .
 Two days earlier our reading group had finished 'A thousand splendid suns' by Khaled. 
When we discussed  the book we focussed on 'wearing the burka.' 
For me, I revel in the freedom to wear what I like and put on make-up, or not, and make the best of my self.
To trade well, its best to get to know the dealers.
'Where are you from?' I asked him.
Guess? he said.

"Southern Italy?"
"No. Afghanistan."
"Oh! What do you think of the burka?"  I asked.
"Well..The burka is just headline stuff."
"What do you mean, "headline stuff"? 
"It s the underlying stuff that's a disaster. A whole generation has been brought up in the war. Just five per cent of the population can read.  
There's always been tribal trouble, but because they have no education. There, its just as its been for the last thousand years. They don't know that the world has moved on. They have no way of knowing the truth. No access to information. So if the Taliban say something, they have no way of knowing its not true.
I just come here to earn enough money to keep my family alive.
There are no jobs, no schools and bad poverty.
Its not only the women who wear the burka. Sometimes men wear the burka too. Its  a way of hiding from life. Its real life that's hidden away."

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