What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Uruzgan's yellow and the Ukraine's green

I wanted to come up with something more analytical, but I ended up being too tired by the end of the day once again. It's better if I don't try. So I'll just do what anyone blogging on Afghanistan can always do when the blogging gets tough. I'll refer to Afghanistanica's latest post. It's about the band called Lion of Panjshir. Listen to their songs, as suggested there. San Francisco is excellent psychedelic rock, with fittingly mesmerising vocals by Ariana Delawari.
But it is Chesme siah daree that put me in the sort of mood I find myself in at the moment.
And it's that song that makes me finally point to Akbar Khurasani's paintings which I wanted to do since a while now. This painting of his is displayed at UNHCR's website (a photo of it was taken by N. Prokopchuk):
It caught my attention, and then I saw that Akbar Khurasani had some story to tell. In the 1980's he was drafted into the army, and his talent for painting was spotted there, in Kabul. He was taught painting at a Soviet-run cultural centre by a Moscow artist, and then he got the chance to go to Kiev for further studies in 1986. He eventually had to stay there, as the Taliban took over most of Afghanistan, and in the wake of that, in 1996, he was recognised as a refugee by the Ukrainian authorities. "By now a professional artist, he continued living in his 9m² dormitory room, sleeping beside 300 paintings and developing allergies to the smell of paint. Only in 2002 was he able to afford a small, separate apartment," UNHCR writes. Well, since then he has had some more recognition and success, and had numerous exhibitions in Kiev and elsewhere.
You can see more paintings of his here and here, as well as on his homepage (currently only available in Russian), here. Look for some of his landscape paintings with the tear-shape motif.
Back in June, Afghanistanica mentioned a Ukrainian lorry driver who stayed back in Afghanistan after the Soviet troops' departure, and has a family there. It's interesting to reflect on a pair of such unconnected and yet somehow similar fates, isn't it?
Back on Akbar Khurasani's homepage you may read that for him the Ukraine, thinking back to the sandy yellow, dusty, rocky, desert-like landscapes of an unearthly kind of beauty in his homeland, looks in comparison like a garden, full of green. He is from what used to be Uruzgan province back then, from the Hazara village of Sangtakht, which now belongs to Dai Kundi province (territories detached from Uruzgan province back in 2004). A beautiful and, if you reflect on it, very moving photo by Muzafar Ali, from Sangtakht, can be seen here, do check it out.

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