These beautiful photographs of Afghanistan in the 50s remind me of Beirut in the 70s. I look at them both with fascination and sadness.
I’ve visited Beirut after the civil war, in the summer of 2001. I had the privilege of making many Lebanese friends and live among them for over a month. They are generous and proud people.
Years after the end of the conflict, there were still many signs of destruction. It’s hard to imagine that this city was once called the Paris of the Middle East – what a loss this is.
If I could travel back in time, this is one period I would like to visit – perhaps a nice three-day weekend, though that would hardly be enough.
Afghanistan seems to have had a similar bright but forgotten past. Today, what comes to mind, are pictures of Kalashnikov wielding Taliban, desolate landscapes, and sound bites with the ubiquitous “Allahu Akbar” that we hear on grainy amateur footage.
The beautiful pictures in this article portray two sides of Afghanistan. One that is firmly in touch with its culture and past, and another that is looking forward, not afraid of modernity and the positive change it can bring.
Then war happened.