Bamiyan Panorama

Bamiyan Panorama

Thursday, July 26, 2012

International Boxing Association revoves Sadaf Rahimi's invitation to Olympics

For a Female Boxer from Afghanistan, An Olympic Journey Ends

Nobody expected Sadaf Rahimi, the female boxer originally selected to represent Afghanistan at the Olympic Games this week, to do well in the ring. The mere fact that she would be representing her country was triumph enough. To get to the selection stage, she had to fend off social opprobrium, religious condemnation and even the disapproval of some of her own coaches who believed that women’s boxing shouldn’t go any further than the hobby stage. Rahimi won every one of those battles. Her path to London was but the latest leg of an extraordinary journey for Afghanistan’s women, who, little more than a decade ago, were forced to stay at home, denied the right to obtain an education, to work — and to play sports. She might have won over her countrymen, but in the end, she couldn’t make it past the International Boxing Association (AIBA), who decided on July 18 that she could not compete, citing concerns that boxing against opponents of much higher standards might threaten her safety in the ring. Not only is this a disappointment for Rahimi, her family and the aspirations of female Afghan athletes, it strikes a blow to the International Olympic Committee’s goal to have female athletes represent every country, just a week after Saudi Arabia, the last holdout, reluctantly agreed to send two female athletes.

Rahimi had been preparing for the Olympics since February, when she was first notified that she would receive what is known as a wild-card invitation — a special berth granted to nations that would not otherwise be able to qualify an appropriately skilled athlete. Later that month she traveled to the U.K. to train in a special AIBA boxing camp, where she had her first taste of Olympic-caliber boxing. At first, she told TIME, she was getting knocked down “two to three times a day.” But by the end of the two-week program, she was starting to hold her own in the ring. Still, she was sanguine about her chances in London. “I am sure I will be punched like a bag. Like I am a pillow being pummeled,” she told TIME in April. “Whether I win a medal or not, I will be a symbol of courage as soon as I step into the ring.”

It is unclear why the AIBA waited until just over a week before the Olympics to revoke Rahimi’s invitation. In May, when Rahimi attended the women’s world boxing championships in China, her fight was stopped short, after a minute and 20 seconds, because she was doing so poorly. Her coach, as well as the Afghan National Olympic Committee, felt that her performance in China was an aberration, saying she had performed well in other international competitions. Rahimi, say close friends in Kabul, is disappointed. But she is looking forward to competing in other international events and still holds out hope that with a few more years to train, her chances in Rio 2016 will be even better. And back at home, in the ramshackle studio Rahimi shares with Afghanistan’s other boxers, she has already started winning some converts to her side. As the women’s club trickled out of the gym to make way for the men’s boxing team a few months ago, I stopped to ask one of the men’s coaches what he thought about the idea of women boxing. “At the beginning it was strange,” admitted Sayed Haroon. “Everything new is strange at first, but you can get used to anything if you see it enough times.” Rahimi may not be boxing in London this year, but she will continue the fight back home in Afghanistan.

Daily life in Afghanistan - photo collection


An Afghan National Army soldier shows his ripped army-issued boots at a firing range at the 203 Thunder Corps base in Gardez, Paktia province, on May 15. Col. Abdul Haleem Noori observed, "It's only two months old and it is falling apart, and we are told it is supposed to last one year." The footwear was made by a manufacturer under contract to the Afghan Ministry of Defense. (Anja Niedringhaus / AP)

European Union ambassador Vygaudas Usackas attempts a putt at the Kabul golf course on May 11. The air at Afghanistan's only golf course is certainly easier to breathe than the dust and pollution of the chaotic capital, but golfers accustomed to the soothing sight of immaculate lawns would be in for a shock. (Bay Ismoyo / AFP - Getty Images)

A girl holds a lamb on the outskirts of Herat on April 10. (Aref Karimi / AFP - Getty Images)

A man carries a bundle of wood in Nahr-i Sufi in the province of Kunduz on March 30. The Afghan economy has always been based on agriculture, despite the fact that only 13% of its total land is arable and just 8% is currently cultivated. (Johannes Eisele / AFP - Getty Images)

Security forces escort captured Taliban militants disguised in female dress to be presented to the media in Mehterlam, Laghman province, on March 28. Afghan intelligence forces said they had arrested seven Taliban militants. (Rahmat Gul / AP)

Girls play sitars at the Kabul Music Academy on Jan. 7. (Omar Sobhani / Reuters)


A young woman lifts weights during a practice session inside a boxing club in Kabul on Dec. 28. Many in this conservative society still consider fighting taboo for women, and the country's first team of female boxers deal with serious threats. (Ahmad Masood / Reuters

Livestock merchant Mohammed Sher, 55, displays his sheep for sale for the upcoming Eid-al-Adha festival in an open market in Kabul on Nov. 4. (Muhammed Muheisen / AP)

Meena Rahmani, 26, owner of The Strikers, the country's first bowling center, is pictured on Oct. 28. Located just down the street from Kabul's glitziest mall, Meena Rahmani opened Afghanistan's first bowling alley, offering a place where men, women and families can gather, relax and bowl a few games. (Muhammed Muheisen / AP)

The Qala Iktyaruddin Citadel in Herat on Oct. 17. An ancient citadel in Herat that dates back to Alexander the Great has been restored, a bright sign of progress in a country destroyed by war. The citadel, a fortress that resembles a sand castle overlooking the city, and a new museum of artifacts at the site was completed by hundreds of local craftsmen. (Houshang Hashimi / AP)

An Afghan rock musician performs in front of a cheering crowd during Sound Central, a one-day "stealth festival" in Kabul, on Oct. 1. The festival is a daring venture in a country where music was banned for years under the austere Taliban regime. (Ahmad Masood / Reuters)

A freed Afghan woman prisoner along with her son leave the Nangarhar prison in the city of Jalalabad, the provincial capital of Nangarhar province, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug. 27. Around 38 Afghan prisoners were released from captivity based on the decree of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, honoring the 92th Afghan independence day. (Rahmat Gul / AP)

Rubeena, center, a street girl, sits on the floor in a classroom at the Ashiana center in Kabul on July 26. An Afghan aid agency, Ashiana, and the World Food Program have been involved in a joint venture to assist the families of thousands of street children, who go there for food and education in the afternoons. The children go there after a morning spent as carpenters, mechanics, or cigarette sellers. (Dar Yasin / AP)

An Afghan shepherd with a herd of sheep passes a U.S. Marines armored vehicle of the Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines outside the Camp Gorgak in Helmand province, July 5. (Shamil Zhumatov / Reuters)

A young patient exercises with her artificial leg at one of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) hospitals for war victims and the disabled in Kabul on June 27. The ICRC orthopedic project started in 1988 in Kabul, and now consists of 7 centers in different provinces. (Massoud Hossaini / AFP - Getty Images)

Students skateboard along a street on the third annual "Go Skateboarding Day" organized by the Skateistan School in Kabul, Afghanistan, on June 21. Skateistan is Afghanistan's first co-educational skateboarding school. The school tries to provide urban and internally displaced youth in Afghanistan with new opportunities in cross-cultural interaction, education and personal empowerment. (S. Sabawoon / EPA)

A boy jumps into a public swimming pool in Kabul on June 10, with temperatures in the city over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. (Omar Sobhani / Reuters)

Shepherd boy Asadullah Daad Mohammad, 12, listens to his father, Daad Mohammad Pir Mohammad, before he stands up on his artificial legs for the first time on May 15. Asadullah was brought to the International Committee of the Red Cross Orthopedic Center in Kabul about ten days earlier. Asadullah lost his two legs, left eye and a finger most likely after he stepped on a land mine while he was out with his goats and sheep in Paktya province, south of Kabul, about five months ago. (Kamran Jebreili / AP)

Afghan children take part in a performance to celebrate the second "World Circus Day" on April 16, in Kabul. (Majid Saeedi / Getty Images)

The bustling streets of Kabul on March 31. Urban planners, investors and government officials are working to develop 'New Kabul City,' a modern urban area about a 30-minute drive north of the capital. (Musadeq Sadeq / AP)

Afghan army officers listen to a speech by President Hamid Karzai at the National Military Academy in Kabul on March 22. Afghanistan said that its forces would take over security in areas including the Helmand capital from NATO this summer, launching a transition as foreign troops plan an exit by the end of 2014. (Shah Marai / AFP - Getty Images)  *the woman you see is a general, and a paratrooper - I don't recall her name at the moment*

Street boys burn rubbish on the shore of a river in Kabul on March 13. (Musadeq Sadeq / AP)

A man walks his camels in the desert near Marjah in Helmand province on Jan. 25. (Kevin Frayer / AP)

A man buys a burqa at a roadside shop in Herat on Jan. 24. (Jalil Rezayee / EPA)
*I can just imagine the conversation "oh, that one will look lovely on her"*

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Soviet tank scraps help fuel Afghan building industry

Swords to ploughshares? Soviet tank scraps help fuel Afghan building industry

Image: Rusting remains of Soviet tank in Afghanistan
A man rides a motorcycle past the rusting remains of a Soviet tank in Bamiyan province, Afghanistan, in April 2009.

HERAT, Afghanistan — In an updated version of swords being beaten into ploughshares, caterpillar tracks belonging to abandoned Soviet-era tanks are being melted down into steel bars and used in west Afghanistan's construction industry.
The tanks from Moscow's decade-long war in Afghanistan wait under baking sunshine to be smelted at one of its few steel mills, a stark reminder of the humiliating end met by Soviet forces more than 20 years ago.
Soviet-produced tracks make up about 2 percent of steel production at the Wardak Atawla factory in Herat in western Afghanistan, about 62 miles east of the border with Iran.

'Really good iron' "The Russians came here, ruined our country, and now their tanks sit in a scrap dump," mill manager Azim Khan said as he stroked away sand with his sandal-clad feet from the tracks, which were stamped with Cyrillic letters.  "They are made of really good iron. It's funny to see them sitting here now," Khan said.
The tracks were taken off the tanks scattered around the Herat landscape by locals looking for cash.
They belong to forces from the former Soviet Union, who pulled out of Afghanistan in 1989 after defeat by mujahedeen fighters, handing security over to a shaky government that was quickly beset by heavy fighting and civil war.
Comparisons are being frequently drawn to the current NATO-led war, and fears are surfacing among Afghans and analysts of a repeat.
When asked if he believed American armored vehicles would end up in his scrapyard, Khan replied with a smirk: "Unfortunately we do not love peace in Afghanistan."
The mill went on stream two months ago, producing rebar from scrap to feed Herat's construction industry, which is enjoying a boom from better security and trade with neighboring Iran.
Beating swords to ploughshares refers to turning weapons of war to peaceful purposes.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Spaceman walk through Kabul!

I thought this was pretty entertaining!

-From 'Dry Mouth Kabul' blog

Monday, July 16, 2012

Tribe Elders Officially End Child Sacrifice Today in Omo Valley Ethiopia

Today the elders of the Kara tribe in Ethiopia’s remote Omo River Valley are holding a ceremony officially ending the practice of mingi—child sacrifice—that I wrote about in my story “Twilight of the Tribes,”  which ran in the January issue of Condé Nast Traveler. The decision follows four years of activism by Lale Labuko, the first Kara to attend university and the co-founder of Omo Child, a shelter for rescued mingi kids who would have otherwise lost their lives to superstition.
Labuko, 30, is one of the few members of the 2,500-strong Kara tribe with a foot in the modern world. Instead of taking care of cattle or chasing birds from crops, he was sent at the age of nine by his father to attend a distant boarding school opened by missionaries. During a school holiday when he was back in his village, he witnessed Kara elders tear a screaming two-year old away from its wailing mother. When he asked his own mother what was happening, she told him the toddler was a “tooth mingi,” and that two of Lale’s sisters who died before he was born were mingi babies, too. Mingi, she explained, was anyone born a twin, babies born to unwed mothers or to married parents who fail to perform certain rituals for the elders, and children whose upper milk teeth erupt before the lower ones. At the age when American high-school students read Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery,” about human sacrifice in a seemingly normal southern town, the stunned Labuko discovered that his own uneducated community believed disasters, such as drought and epidemic disease, were averted by killing “cursed” children. Infants identified as mingi would have their mouths stuffed with dirt, either to be abandoned in the bush and scavenged by predators or thrown into the crocodile-infested river; bodies were never buried for fear the earth itself would become infertile.

In 2008, Labuko, by then working as safari translator, started organizing other young Karo men who believed their brothers and sisters had died unnecessarily. Together they began confronting the elders of the three biggest Karo villages. After many meetings, Labuko received permission from the elders to take a two-year-old mingi girl named Bale to a house in Jinka, a large town three-day’s walk from the Karo tribal area, where he had rented a house with the help of missionary friends. Over the next four years through a network of sympathetic tribal informers, he was able to rescue 37 mingi children before the elders got there first. “I wanted them to become living proof that the mingi are blessed, not cursed,” he told me by phone earlier this year. With the aid of Omo Child’s U.S.-based president and fund-raiser, the photographer John Rowe, Labuko and Omo Child last summer installed water pumps in Karo villages to alleviate a severe drought, breaking the cycle of scapegoating mingi children for natural disasters. Meeting with the elders this June to review the health of the children at the shelter and the benefits of his own education to the community, Labuko convinced the elders to finally abandon the mingi murders.
After attending today’s ceremony, to which Ethiopian government officials have been invited, and where elders will celebrate with ritual food and beer tributes, Labuko and Rowe will spend the next two months in Ethiopia trying to convince the 45,000 members of the much larger Hamer tribe to also give up the harmful mingi tradition. The two men continue to raise money from overseas donors to build a permanent home, school, and clinic for the foundation, and to offer shelter not just to mingi children rescued from the Hamer and even larger Benna tribe, but to Kara girls who want to go to school instead of marrying at an early age.
There will be a lot of hard work ahead. The lack of efficient communication and transportation in the Omo River Valley, a region the size of Rhode Island with no paved roads, will make it difficult to convene tribal meetings and rescue even a fraction of the endangered Hamer and Benna children in time. Questions also remain about the Kara elder’s motives. If they demand payment from safari clients who travel to the Omo to photograph tribe members, what will elders demand in exchange for the sacrifice of an entire belief system? Will they expect a continual flow of aid and cash from foreign donors? (“We want to see for the coming years if it’s a blessing or a curse,” one Karo elder, Damo Bordo, told Labuko on July 1). And because babies born to unwed couples fall under the mingi category, what will happen to infants who survive but whose fathers can't necessarily be determined, and whose teenage mothers have no means of support? Will unwanted pregnancies still result in abandoned babies with or without the mingi label? To face these challenges, Labuko, who already has proven himself a remarkable leader, has enrolled as a student on full scholarship at Hampshire College studying food security and other subjects he hopes will benefit his community.

Mingi baby with caretaker at Omo Child Jinka shelter

Kara courtship dance. The culture permits sex before marriage, but in the past children born to unmarried couples were considered mingi and a curse on the community that could only be ended by the child's murder.
Photograph by Susan Hack

Kara Elder

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Saudi religious police doing their job?

Will someone who knows and understands Saudi culture and laws PLEASE explain to me why the police would have a problem with a man listening to children's songs with his wife and children in a park?  Is there a law against children's songs?  No music in public?  Are those songs illegal?  I am so confused...

Saudi religious police accused over fatal accident

Women and men in Saudi Arabia (file) Saudi Arabia's religious police enforce the country's strict Muslim code

Related Stories

A family in Saudi Arabia has accused religious police of being responsible for a fatal car accident.

Morality police argued with the driver of a car listening to children's songs with his family in a park in Baha province, reports say.

The driver, Abdulrahman al Ghamdi, drove off and was pursued by the police at speed before losing control of the car and dying in the crash.

The officers involved have been detained and are being questioned.

The incident happened in early July near the small town of Baljurashi in the south-western province.

After being followed for several kilometres by the police, Mr al Ghamdi's car fell down a bank at an overpass that was still under construction.

The 34-year-old's wife and two children survived the crash but were injured and remain in hospital.

A photo of the accident shows that the roof of the car was sheared off.

The Emir of the Baha region is reported to have said he was appalled at how the religious police behaved.

But supporters of the religious police say they have been unfairly blamed. Part of their role is to patrol the streets to stop what they see as infringements of the country's strict Muslim code.

Some have claimed that Mr al Ghamdi drove through a police checkpoint.

Mr al Ghamdi's family want a fact-finding committee to be set up under the direct supervision of the Emir of Baha.

A new head of the religious police was appointed recently and he has tried to rein in some of its excesses.

Incidents like this will only add to a public mood that is increasingly impatient with what many Saudis see as the religious police's arbitrary interference in their lives.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Illegal immigration from a Native American viewpoint


ALL THAT TO SAY - It happened.  Manifest Destiny.  It was wrong, and it makes me sick.  BUT we can't change the past.  We are not living in the past.  We are not our ancestors.  We are not 'directly and literally' responsible.  BUT we are responsible for changing policies that to this day keep people down and out. 

Iran 1970 vs. Iran 2009 - women in school

This was going around Facebook and I found it quite interesting.  I have no idea where these photos were taken. 

Monday, July 09, 2012

Afghan man shot after being accused of adultery!

.......... yeah, right!  That headline will never happen. 

When an Afghan woman gets accused of adultery she gets shot.  What about the man she supposedly committed adultery with?  Isn't he equally guilty as well?  Shouldn't he be shot in the same manner? 

What do you think?

Cafe Zarnegar

This is an onlie review for Cafe Zarnegar.  Look at this carefully.  Do you see anything strange?  Take a look at the price of the brunch.  $31 US dollars!  Really?  I'm sure it is a great buffet, but..... $31 dollars?

Is this correct?  Has anyone been there and had to pay $31 for a brunch buffet?

Friday, July 06, 2012

ARZU community field and family park in Bamiyan

May 2012

ARZU Country Program Director, Razia Jan and Governor Habiba greet children at the Ground Breaking Ceremony for the Community Field & Family Park, May 2012.

Governor Habiba lays gifts down in the foundation at the Ground Breaking Ceremony for the Community Field & Family Park, May 2012

 Governor Habiba being interviewed at the Ground Breaking Ceremony for the Community Field & Family Park, May 2012

ARZU Country Program Director, Razia Jan, helps children lay gifts down in the foundation at the Ground Breaking Ceremony for the Community Field & Family Park, May 2012.

June 2012
 The initial gardening progress at the Community Field & Family Park, June 2012




July 2012
Updated progress on gardening at the Community Field & Family Park





 All photos taken from!/arzustudiohope

This looks nice, I hope that people are able to enjoy it.  Is anyone in Bamiyan who can tell me if they have been here?  Does the general public have access to this park?