Today on the Net: Web users pay tribute to foreign soldiers in Afghanistan; Afghan bloggers mobilise to give a positive image of their country; and an Afghan soldier learning English brings a smile to the blogosphere.
Foreign soldiers in Afghanistan
Tension in Afghanistan is running high as the country takes to the polls for the presidential and regional elections today. Forces stationed in Afghanistan have been battling with rocket attacks, suicide bombers and ramped-up rhetoric from the Taliban. The continuing threat during these vital elections has prompted many net users to pay tribute to the coalition soldiers stationed in the country.
The following film, produced by a photographer who spent a year on the front, describes the living conditions of soldiers in Afghanistan and looks specifically at the work of the medical staff helping wounded soldiers.
Other documentaries in the same vein have been posted on the coalition force’s YouTube channel, the following film focuses on specific missions of soldiers in Afghanistan. Here, GIs take the fingerprints of Afghan citizens to create a biometric database for identification purposes.
And NATO, which has its own web TV channel, have uploaded a film showing foreign soldiers and Afghan troops working together. This film shows Italian soldiers training Afghan troops to be responsible for security on the border with Pakistan.
Several sites, including the Pentagon and American Defence Department sites, also publish many videos and photos to show the daily life of troops based in Afghanistan.
This net user has paid tribute to British soldiers killed while fighting against the Taliban, with a photo-montage. The number of British soldiers who have died in Afghanistan currently stands at more than 200.
However, some net users are worried about the strategy adopted by foreign forces in Afghanistan. This documentary, posted in 5 parts, entitled "Rethinking Afghanistan” puts forth that civilian casualties are still way too high. It states that main priority for coalition soldiers should be to avoid so-called collateral damage in order to win the ‘hearts and minds’ of the Afghan people.
With a low literacy rate and sporadic electricity, the Afghan blogosphere is still in its infancy. But local net users want to give a different image of their country, far from the bloodshed of war and brutal attacks.
Nasim Fekrat, one of the pioneers of the local blogosphere, presents Afghan culture and traditions through his blog. For example, he has recently covered the national sport, “Buzkashi”, which means "the game of catch-goat".
This photographer composes a portrait of Afghan society through images. He looks at the issues of homelessness, female education, and opium addiction, a problem that is ravaging a country that is the world’s largest producer of poppies.
Others make observations about changing Afghan society through music and fashion. Creations from designer Zolaykha Sherzad, who combines traditional fabrics and contemporary designs, has attracted the attention of many bloggers.
Bloggers have united to defend freedom of expression in Afghanistan, and introduce new technologies so that Afghans can look at the wider world and to encourage them to use the Web to show the world their lives.
Afghanistan only has 1.5 million net users, barely 5% of its population, but the Internet has developed rapidly in the country since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. In partnership with NATO, NEDA, a local telecommunications company, has recently launched a major project called the "Silk Highway”. Objective: to connect the country to broadband, especially wireless technologies.
Have you heard of Naweed Forugh? Well, he’s the winner of the latest edition of the very popular music programme, Afghan Star. He has become a pop star and an icon in his country, and his music is available on the show’s website.
Video of the Day
Here’s a video currently creating a buzz online. It depicts a soldier in Afghanistan learning some simple phrases in English with a big smile. Encouraged by an American soldier, the man is trying to say “Nice to see you", “thank you very much” and “thanks for everything”. These images that greatly contrast with the scenes of war are that are habitually filmed in the country.
Date created : 2009-08-20