I’m not a journalist but sometimes get accused of being one. Admittedly, it can be hard to believe a guy with two cameras and a laptop is in some war-torn country is there purely for the fun of it.
Strangely you don’t get many tourist here. It’s not surprising then a good proportion of my more recent travels are spent with journalists. Most evenings in Kabul for instance basically comprised a bunch of journos and myself around a table talking about what shootings or kidnappings took place that day; Speculation on possible motives or methods; was any of us close at the time or indeed did this happen right around the corner; Did any of us have our own brushes with Taliban, possible kidnappers, various dicey circumstances; could any of us be next.
It’s more or less a war torn version of a knitting club.
That said, it’s not all about blood in the streets. Despite what you see in the news, not everyone is in lock down quivering in their sandals. Even here, people do get on with their lives and I’m not the only one to take notice. People such as Photo journalist Louis Quail are covering the more human experience of the Afghanistan people.
Stories such as a Museum director who saw most of his collection looted under the Mujaheddin or destroyed under the Taliban. Now he is slowing putting the collection back together, often literally, out of the pieces of what was left as well as putting new pieces on display. Or the story of Qudsia Zohab, a young woman who grew up in Taliban times not allowed to work or get an education. Her days were spent either at home doing little or if she was out it was always under the burque. Now in her mid 20’s she now has an education and works in ethnography.
Even I don’t escape the camera being pointed at me. I guess a random traveler who considers Afghanistan safe enough for my brand of haphazard wandering is a story all of it’s own. Thus I stand in front of a heavily shelled out building having my photo taken, all while I point my camera right back.
Who is documenting who on what story quickly becomes unclear.