Δευτέρα, 23 Δεκεμβρίου 2013

When Afghanistan Had Hopes for the Future

This is how it was in Afganistan 50 years ago , before wars and the today US and NATO occupation drag the country to the stone ages.
Αλλη μία απόδειξη ότι τα πράγματα μπορούν να πισωγυρίσουν. Να πως ήταν το Αφγανιστάν πριν 50 χρόνια , την δεκαετία 1950-60 πριν οι πόλεμοι και σημερινή Αμερικανο-Νατοική κατοχή ρίξουν την χώρα στην λίθινη εποχή. (πηγή: http://izismile.com )

και όμως όλες οι παρακάτω φωτογραφίες είναι από το Αφγανιστάν!!

The physical campus of Kabul University, pictured here, does not look very different today. But the people do. In the 1950s and '60s, students wore Western-style clothing; young men and women interacted relatively freely. Today, women cover their heads and much of their bodies, even in Kabul.

"Biology class, Kabul University."
In the 1950s and '60s, women were able to pursue professional careers in fields such as medicine. Today, schools that educate women are a target for violence, even more so than five or six years ago

"Student nurses at Maternity Hospital, Kabul."
When I was growing up, education was valued and viewed as the great equalizer. If you went to school and achieved good grades, you'd have the chance to enter college,

"Most hospitals give extensive post-natal care to young mothers."
This infant ward in a Kabul hospital in the 1960s 

"A laboratory at the Vaccine Research Center."
Above is a vaccine research center attached to a Kabul hospital in the 1960s. Today, medical care across the country is limited by several factors, including lack of electricity. Less than 20 percent of Afghans have access to electricity; many homes are lit by kerosene lamps, with only fans running to combat the heat.

"Hundreds of Afghan youngsters take active part in Scout programs." with students in elementary and middle schools learning about nature trails, camping, and public safety.

"Park Cinema, like many others, provides the needed entertainment."
You could even see Hollywood movies there.

"Mothers and children at a city playground."
a playground a few hundred yards away from the theater, where mothers used to take their children to play. Now, only men loiter in the city parks; it is unsafe to bring children outside.

"Skilled workers like these press operators are building new standards for themselves and their country." Light and medium industry, like this metal shop in the Kabul suburbs, once held great promise for Afghanistan's economy. But today, how could you run such an operation without ample electricity? Now there are only small shops, people who work at home -- no major industrial centers. Currently, Afghanistan's chief export is opium.

"Sarobi hydro-power plant on Kabul River is one of the country's foremost power stations."

Afghanistan built its first large hydropower station, pictured here, in the early 1950s. At the time, it was state of the art. It is still in operation, but unfortunately, in the last eight years, Afghanistan's government has not been able to build a single large power plant of any kind. The only sizable accomplishment has been the expansion of a transport line to Uzbekistan so that power can be imported from the north.

"Gulbahar Textile Plant is one of the most modern in Asia."

Afghanistan did have medium and light industry, such as the textile factory pictured here. There was a sense then that Afghanistan had a bright future -- its economy was growing, its industry on par with other countries in the region. Back then, most of the cotton processed in a plant like this was grown locally. But three decades of war have destroyed industry and the supply chain.

"Kabul is served by an up-to-date transportation system." Compared with the 1950s and '60s, fewer women work outside the home, and their outfits are much more conservative than what you see here.

"Central control panel at Radio Kabul transmitter. Transmitter can be heard as far distant as South Africa and Indonesia." If you flipped through the radio dial in the 1960s, you would hear broadcasts of world news, local news, music programs, funny skits, political discourse, maybe an art program, a children's show. Radio Kabul, a state-run station whose old offices are pictured here, was launched in the 1930s.

"Recording room pre-records many interviews, special service programs for delayed broadcast." Modern Afghanistan actually has a greater number of private radio stations, as well as broadcast and satellite television shows. This is one bright spot. But access to radio and TV depends on electricity, and so in a practical sense, the audience is therefore limited. Only the most well-to-do families have private generators to ensure uninterrupted electricity to power electrical devices.

"Textile store window display." 
Clothing boutiques like these were a familiar feature in Kabul 

"Phonograph record store."  So, too, were record stores, bringing the rhythm and energy  to Kabul teenagers

"Cabinet in session." The education level of Afghanistan's cabinet today is far less than it was 50 years ago, when this photo was taken. Back then, most high-ranking government officials would have had master's or doctoral degrees.

All fotos below from 
[..In 1967, Dr. William Podlich took a two-year leave of absence from teaching at Arizona State University and began a stint with UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) to teach in the Higher Teachers College in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he served as the “Expert on Principles of Education.” His wife Margaret and two daughters, Peg and Jan, came with him. Then teenagers, the Podlich sisters attended high school at the American International School of Kabul, which catered to the children of American and other foreigners living and working in the country.
Outside of higher education, Dr. Podlich was a prolific amateur photographer and he documented his family’s experience and daily life in Kabul, rendering frame after frame of a serene, idyllic Afghanistan. Only about a decade before the 1979 Soviet invasion, Dr. Podlich and his family experienced a thriving, modernizing country. These images, taken from 1967-68, show a stark contrast to the war torn scenes associated with Afghanistan today.  “When I look at my dad’s photos, I remember Afghanistan as a country with thousands of years of history and culture,” recalls Peg Podlich. “It has been a gut-wrenching experience to watch and hear about the profound suffering, which has occurred in Afghanistan during the battles of war for nearly 40 years. Fierce and proud yet fun loving people have been beaten down by terrible forces.”..]