We believe a continuous discussion on Afghanistan is important and we wish that this project will help evolve one that will be focused on the human aspect of war rather than one - usually in the focus of the international community - that speaks about military operations and strategies.
With the new announcement of international troops withdrawal from Afghanistan by 2014, we believe it's even more important to emphasize the overshadowed development and humanitarian needs of the country that still leaves millions of Afghans with no access to basic assistance and has triggered their distrust of the international community and their government.
Promises of freedom, democracy and prosperity which were committed by international community to Afghanistan a decade ago are now the main reason for Afghan anxiety about being forgotten by the same community.
What are the real costs of war?
Beautiful Book of a sad-sad situation. Never been to Afghanistan but spent a lot of time in Iraq pre-post the war(s). Similar situation. A devastated country left in shambles….. so many lives lost
posted by Henry Arvidsson at 5:01 PM on December 21, 2012
I had Manca in my FB list but I just discovered that she had made this beautiful book & photos.
I am very interested in what happens in Afghanistan (women & kids)
The photos are poignant, touching but really beautiful..
I have shared the link on my personal page but also on my FB page "Afghanistan on my mind".
The photo with the young mum & her baby twins is in my head.. she looks like a Saint..
Well thank you!
posted by Sylvia at 22:03 PM on July 20, 2012
When the International community pulls out of Afghanistan and continues continue to fund salaries for the ANA and ANP what will be the use? When we pull out the Afghan will not have the heart or will to defend their own country and will run from the Taliban as before. Let’s not mince words about the future name of the country as it will always be Talibanistan and not Afghanistan.
posted by Price of War
Končno mi je ratalo dobit tvojo knjigo. Vse od Maroka me namreč firbec matra. Fotografije so zelo močne. Všeč mi je sama ideja o preprostih ljudeh in njihovih problemih, ki niso tako preprosti. Ko pomisliš na Afganistan, pomisliš prvo na vojake in talibane. Tvoja knjiga pa govori o drugih temah, ki so prisotne v Afganistanu vsak dan, a se o njih ne govori in posledično nič ne ve. Skratka Manca svaka ti čast! Knjiga mi je zelo všeč in jo bom priporočila.
posted by Elma Musić Jovanović at 4:45 PM on April 15, 2012
I recently returned from Afghanistan /Herat, where I stayed 3 weeks. It was my second visit after 37 years. In the 70ies, Afghanistan was an exotic country with open, hospitable and warm people. But after 30 years of war it is very different. All this years we could and still do read and watch about the war, suicide attacks, poverty, women seclusion, corruption ... . But during the time staying in Afghanistan I was impressed beside the terrible life stories by the extraordinary life energy of the common people, of their everyday struggle for a "normal" life. I stayed with artists, musicians,intellectuals. After decades they opened an art exhibition in the Academy of Fine Arts in Herat, they opened a wonderful new museum in the Citadel. More then half of the students of Art are young women. The streets in the bazaar are crowded, the refugees are returning and getting new opportunities. You can feel hope for a better future in the air. I really wish that it will come true very soon for this extraordinary and wonderful country.
posted by Ralf Ceplak at 3:10 PM on December 15, 2011
As the engagement of the United States and the international community in Afghanistan and South-Central Asia as a whole continues to spiral towards disaster, propelled by its own contradictions and a state of denial that finds faults everywhere except in its own catalytically tragic policies, there is one group that consistently reaps the harvest of this tragedy -- the people of Afghanistan itself. While there is no lack of opinions on this interminable crisis, with comments pouring forth erratically both in terms of attention and understanding, there is one photographic artist who has documented this tragic drama in a thematically comprehensive way over time -- Manca Juvan of Slovenia.
These are the most immediate, evocative, haunting, poetic, and above all revealing images that have come out of post--9-11 Afghanistan. Manca has come to know the country as few have, and has a special talent for conveying what she has seen to others. In Leonardo da Vinci's phrase she "knows how to see",
and challenges her viewers to open their eyes as well.
Will the powers that be ever do so? As Manca shows so clearly, the harvest of tragedy is not only physical, but psychological and spiritual as well, and the West's current engagement in the region began with the existential shock that its victims need not be limited to distant exotic countries. Yet despite so much blood and treasure spent, America and its coalition partners have yet to reap the most important tragic harvest of all -- knowledge. For if the great tragedians have anything to teach us, it is that tragedy need not end in utter desolation. Aeschylus tells us that we learn by suffering, and Shakespeare tells us that the fault is not in our stars but in ourselves.
Until this level of consciousness is reached, the world community will continue to perpetuate the sufferings of Afghans and elevate the mortal risks to itself. In the quest to break this tragic spiral, there can be no better start than opening ourselves to Manca's photographs, and pondering with brutal honestly how much our ordinary lives have shaped these unordinary lives.
Afghanistan Foreign Press Association
posted by Vanni Cappelli at 4:54 AM on November 21, 2011
Manca Juvan's photos are extraordinary!
posted by Connie at 20:36 PM on October 17, 2011
I think that the other side of the question should be explored also as the question is really two sided. What is the cost of not waging war?
If someone like Hitler did not wage war then Germany may possibly still be a Nazi Germany. (I shudder to think of that).
If the US did not wage war against slavery then there would possibly still be slavery in the US ran by an independent Southern Republic and thus dissolving the reality of having states united.
If the French hadn’t raised arms then there would possibly be no humanity reforms on which to establish democratic societies. (shudder at the thought as it is all the French have ever contributed to humanity).
War is essential to the Alpha women and males alike. Without war our history would be gone, completely and the possibilities of overpopulation would be apparent. Shall we leave it all to Darwin?
War is an inherent and essential part of being a human being and without it the world would be worse off. Man has been waging some type of war whether against animal and mankind for survival and to eradicate it completely would be far beyond our young and hostile existence.
What would the alternative be to war? Peace? Apathy? Common good for all? Longer lives for all? Better living conditions for all? Better technology for all? More food for all?
It’s good to see a form such as this available for such a two sided question. Without suffering and grief there shall be no opposite emotions or realities.
Thank you for your time and I hope this helps.
posted by Robert Bouclin at 10:02 AM on October 12, 2011
Real costs of war - in the context of Afghanistan it can best be summed up in the mnemonic of CARE
C Corruption unlimited for the few at the top
A Apathy unlimited for the mass at the bottom
R Reversion unlimited for the mass at the bottom
E Enrichment unlimited for the few at the top
In a nutshell.
posted by Michael Hall at 5:49 PM on October 8, 2011
That is simple, it is a war that continued in the past and will never end in the future and the basic cost is lives of Afghans.
posted by Mansoor Bakhtar at 9:08 AM on October 8, 2011
I hate how besides precise numbers of western soldiers, who have been killed or injured, you never learn how many Afghans were killed or injured as well. There are no precise numbers. I have never been to Afghanistan and I do not speak any of the Afghan languages. In the 10 years of war I have learned some about its history, people and culture, yet incomparably more war-wise about its geography, clans and agriculture. Afghanistan for me is the best breathing proof that freedom we should strive for is not freedom from the state but freedom in a democratic and free, strong and just state. A proof that soldiers are disastrous at managing a society and should be kept inside the barracks in small numbers. We have forgotten this or we just do not care any more here in Slovenia, having shipped our soldiers abroad to roam the streets. They are whom we have sent and continue to send in greatest numbers to the people of Afghanistan. We should at least include a note: sorry, do not know what we are doing.
posted by Kristina Bozic at 8:35 AM on October 8, 2011
Today I spent some time searching internet for what was written in the world on 10 years of this war in Afghanistan. Most of it was depressing nonsense.
Your delicate pictures and text were an exception. I feel too embarassed to take such pictures: years ago the young man with only his left leg and left arm left, miraculously managing to balance with the help of one crutch, exchanging a few words in English with me, asking for nothing. I never saw him again.
Or just a few days ago the middle-aged man, moving along with crutches and pushing forward his heavy cart full of vegetables, with the short stump of what had been one of his legs.
Or yesterday, the old man bent horizontally and holding a cardboard box with things to sell in his trembling hand, leaning on a walking stick with the other.
Images which I will never forget but never dared to photograph, testimonies to the unbelievable courage and resilience of most Afghans, the real life people about whom so much callous nonsense was published today.
It's good that someone does have that courage and reminds the world of their suffering. Thank you. (And thanks to Karim by the same token!)
posted by Anna Minkiewicz at 10:47 PM on October 7, 2011
Nothing can break the will and the hope of the people not even warlords who got rewarded instead of facing justice.
Afghans are beautiful, strong and deserve to own their own fate and destiny.
posted by Haki Abazi at 7:03 PM on October 7, 2011
Beautiful photos, Manca, telling sad, true and important stories.
posted by Andy Worthington at 6:59 PM on October 7, 2011
the true costs of war? lost lives, lost generations, lost futures.
posted by Maja Ropret at 11:03 AM on October 7, 2011
The three years after the Taliban fled Kabul there was a lull in the general level of violence, but the U.S.-led coalition and international community failed to turn this respite into results. Instead of rebuilding the ransacked land, Western powers decided to leave the process to a ruthless consortium consisting of former warlords, private security firms and President Hamid Karzai and his circle. In the last five years, Karzai’s inner circle broke every regional record in corruption, including rigging the presidential and parliamentary elections. The consequences were precisely what were to be expected: more war, more ethnic tension, the efflorescence of the opium trade, the geo-strategic weakening of NATO, the absolute break-down of Afghanistan’s medical and schooling systems, the rise of unprecedented corruption, and the formation of mini-states controlled by local warlords who are now the de facto rulers of the fallen state.
Bostjan Videmsek, DELO
War of (T)error: 10 Years after 9/11
posted by Bostjan Videmsek at 12:36 PM on September 28, 2011
I travelled to Afghanistan in 1975 when the Daoud Government was struggling to maintain power and the Afghan border guards were dealing barefooted with the hippies travelling across their land. I remember the people of Afganistan as warm, hospitable and generous people who welcomed travellers with open arms.
International politics, the machinations of Soviet and US political forces and the hegemony and self interest of Iran and Pakistan have subsequently created armies of refugees.
Manca Juvan's extraordinary work on the ordinary people of Afghanistan has created a window of perception into political reality. The consequences of the politics of self interest have been devastating to ordinary Afghans and Manca's insight into their "unordinary lives" helps us understand the consequence of war and to see the realities of the victimisation of the people of Afghanistan.
"Unordinary Lives" is really a rare and valuable piece of photojournalism.
posted by Bohdan Warchomij at 4:45 AM on September 26, 2011
posted by Boz at 8:07 AM on September 25, 2011
Good luck and full support.
"Giving thanks for abundance is sweeter than the abundance itself..."
posted by Shakila K at 3:00 AM on September 23, 2011
A rare bird you are, thank you for what you bring in this world.
Lep pozdrav, eva
posted by Eva Marn at 3:22 AM on September 23, 2011
Manca Juvan's marvellous work underlines the categorically most important and neglected side of the Afghanistan issue, which relates to and is, ultimately, solely about people. For the very greatest part, people do not actually figure in the scenario that is written, directed and acted by the various American and European agencies corporate, governmental and other active (and inactive) there; instead they remain largely innocent bystanders, obstacles even, in the programs and agendas which address the real needs and issues there not at all.
All are complicit in the shameful disaster that is Afghanistan – and other nations/regions/peoples like it. For while Afghanistan is unique, it is not special; similarly it has become yet another impotent and tired/tiresome metaphor for yet more shameful injustice and shameless opportunism.
Meanwhile people there (and elsewhere, everywhere) triumph and fail, live and die, strengthen and suffer – and it is this that projects like Manca's and others' might serve to help us remember; that bring us, if for only a moment, back to our vital senses; that help re-frame the issue that is profoundly and exclusively human in nature. And by extension it asks, indeed begs the question – who and where are we in all of this?
posted by Jeff Bickert at 10:28 PM on September 21, 2011