out the Light Party
in with Green Peace
Years from Now"
by Chris Toussaint
Dennis Kucinich is President. Most of the American people can
correctly pronounce his last name. Former US President George
Bush was last reported being seen in a castle in England outside
London but his current whereabouts is still shrouded in mystery.
Some believe he was whisked away to the former country of Kuwait
but the Islamic Revolutionary government now ruling Greater
Arabia denies this. No nation on Earth wants to admit they have
provided him with asylum. continued
Toussaint is a film and video producer...see also his website:
Who among us really knew Afghanistan beyond the
media images we saw in the 1990s? Who understands it any better
Several major cultural works are currently shedding
light on an Afghanistan we rarely glimpse in our media. The increase
of Afghan-themed books, film, music and even some toys point to
a rising curiosity about the Afghan people and their rich culture.
(see links, below)
The studio premiere of “The Kite Runner”
-- the big screen version of the best-selling novel of the same
name by Khaled Hosseini -- took place in November followed by
a gala event featuring the exotic music of Omar Akram, who performed
pieces from his new album “Secret Journey” (Real Music).
The film rolls out across the country this week, sure to attract
audiences throughout the holiday season who are both familiar
and unfamiliar with the book. The physical hardships and moral
dilemnas raised in the film are sure to cause some viewers discomfort,
but, if the film is true to the book, then universal themes of
redemption and forgiveness will shine above all other emotions.
The media and military focus on strife in modern-day
Afghanistan has overshadowed this country’s fascinating
culture and people. Hosseini followed “The Kite Runner”
with a book about women’s lives in Afghanistan over the
last thirty years in “A Thousand Splendid Suns.” It
is in this novel that one gets the best sense of the tremendous
spirit of the Afghan people, especially the women, in their desperate
determination to preserve their families and to improve their
lives in the face of grave danger.
What really shines through in both of Hosseini’s
tales is the Afghan people’s hopeful spirit, their deep
love of the land and the rich ancient culture that existed long
before warfare and politics riddled the roadsides with the landmines
there today. A large part of their spirit is exhibited in their
will to return home from neighboring countries, and to rebuild
their communities. Already, since 2002, 4 million of the 6 million
refugees who previously fled across the borders have returned
to resettle their homes, a testimony to their resilience and hope
for the future, according to the UNHCR. Tireless organizations
like UNHCR are credited with helping Afghans return and rebuild,
but there is still much to be done to restore homes and families.
Certainly, the release of “The Kite Runner” film will
spread greater awareness of Afghanistan’s rich cultural
tapestry, and perhaps, inspire greater assistance and understanding.
Interest is already building, as shown by Omar Akram’s latest
CD release “Secret Journey,” which is currently climbing
the music charts. It is a masterfully-composed New Age/world tribute
from a modern American citizen of Afghan heritage, blending influences
from places he has lived around the world.
One can also find traditional Afghan music more easily today,
as well as books on Afghan cuisine, the custom of kite fighting,
ancient poetry and fine art. While many of Afghanistan’s
great sculptures have been destroyed by recent warfare, they are
worth remembering in books and pictures. Poetry has always played
a large role in Afghan children’s education, and there is
evidence that Mawlana Rumi – perhaps the region’s
most famous poet, commonly referred to as “Rumi” –
was born and educated in the ancient Balkh region before moving
to Turkey as a young man in the Fifteenth Century. And in the
Tenth Century, Balkh was also home to Rabi’a Balkhi, the
first poetess in the History of Persian Poetry.
Ironically – in “modern” days -- there were
several periods over the past thirty years during which classic
poetry was the only education allowed for girls and women. Perhaps
someday we’ll see a film based on “The Golden Needle
Sewing School” which – during Taliban rule -- women
attended several times weekly pretending to sew, while they were
actually hearing lectures and studying world literature.
More and more journalistic-style books emerge
everyday, telling tales of travel, perseverance and homesickness
for a land torn by war…and every single one of them attests
to the indomitable spirit of the Afghan people. For the sake of
Afghanistan and its children – many of them orphaned –
we must believe, as does one of Hosseini’s most noble characters,
that “We can all be good again.”
For a concise overview of Afghanistan’s history, politics
and culture, also visit the WikipediaWikipedia page on Afghanistan.
October 2000 SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR COUNCIL ACTION TO ENSURE
WOMEN ARE INVOLVED IN PEACE AND SECURITY DECISIONS 2000
is the text of the remarks made by Secretary-General Kofi Annan
to the Security Council meeting on women and peace and security:
"Let me thank and congratulate the presidency of the Security
Council for its initiative in holding this meeting on women and
you have chosen is crucial, for it brings together two vital parts
of the United Nations mission. The Charter tells us that the Organization
was created to save succeeding generations from the scourge of