Only the Educated are Free
I’ve been working in Afghanistan for thirty years. I covered the Russian invasion and withdrawal, the civil wars, the rise and fall of the Taliban.
It seems that each time I return, control of a province or a city has changed hands. It was working in Afghanistan which taught me a lot about being a photographer.
War and turmoil are a way of life in Afghanistan. One thing that is guaranteed, Afghanistan will endure anything and everything. The people who murmur Inshallah (God willing) don’t bet on tomorrow, but strive each day to survive and take care of their families.
Bamiyan, Afghanistan, 2007
A Hazara boy has transformed old car tires into buckets.
After working in the Bamiyan province and seeing the dire stuation of the Hazara people, I founded ImagineAsia to work in partnership with local community leaders and regional NGO’s to help provide educational resources for students at all levels, from elementary schools to high schools and universities.
We are happy and proud to welcome Freshta, a young Afghan student from Bamiyan, Afghanistan, who has received a full scholarship from Goucher College in Maryland. ImagineAsia worked with the Afghan Girls Financial Assistance Fund. Our joint efforts were successful in bringing her here to study pre-med.
Ali Aqa lives in Bamiyan Province near Band-e-Amir. His family is poor, his clothes used, but this 15-year-old isn’t deterred: He plans to be a lawyer. Childhood memories include Taliban occupation of his village in Bamiyan.
“They burned everything, even my school,” he says. “I pray to God no regime comes like that again. After seeing my picture of him in the National Geographic article on the Hazaras, many people wrote to me who would like to help him. ImagineAsia is working to ensure that he also receives a college education.
“The Hazaras are producing the most enthusiastic, educated, forward-looking youth, who are seizing the opportunities provided by the new situation.”
– Michael Semple, Deputy to the European Union special representative to Afghanistan in 2004 – 2007.
“We must not believe the many, who say that only free people ought to be educated, but we should rather believe the philosophers who say that only the educated are free.” – Epictetus