Saturday, January 09, 2010

Great Facility Opens for Rural Afghan Women

Women in Bamyan, Afghanistan are celebrating a newly constructed community center, ARZU STUDIO HOPE. The unveiling happened on December 15th in front of 50 guests and Bamyan Govenor Habiba Surabi.

Funded with major support from Beyond the 11th*, this facility includes a Community Center, a Community Garden/Greenhouse, and a Sports/Wellness Complex. For the first time the women of rural Dragon Valley will now have access to indoor laundry, uch as an indoor "laundromat", a weaving room with looms, a tea room for socialization, and a large classroom for income-generating programs.

*Beyond the 11th was founded by Susan Retik and Patti Quigley, the two women featured in the film Beyond Belief.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The Military Intelligence Oxymoron in Afghanistan

A new report titled Fixing Intel: A Blueprint for Making Intelligence Relevant in Afghanistan blasts America's intelligence gathering in Afghanistan. Written by Major General Michael Flynn, U.S. and NATO military intelligence chief in Afghanistan, the 26-page report says analysts are more like fortune tellers than informed, knowledgeable information gatherers. While damning, the report does offer positive steps for turning things around. "Analysts must absorb information with the thoroughness of historians, organize it with the skill of librarians, and disseminate it with the zeal of journalists.”

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

After Fallujah

The "Marlboro Marine" is how Marine Lance Corporal James Blake Miller came to be known after this iconic photo was taken of him by LA Times photojournalist Luis Sinco. This story of how the two men's lives became intertwined after the battle of Fallujah is beautifully told - powerful images, haunting sound design and music (written by Corporal Miller himself). "How I feel about the war today," Miller reflects, "I can sum up in one question. It's the same question that can be asked of Vietnam: What have we accomplished? What have we gained other than the loss of some damn fine people?"

Is Yemen the next Afghanistan or Somalia?

The BBC reports on how poverty, illiteracy and a growing Al-Qaeda network are the perfect storm to further destabilize a state already on the brink of failure.