David Chaffetz: A Journey through Afghanistan

Chaffetz offered an invitation that he no doubt knew would be declined as it was At the nd the Afghan Colored Property explained why he had called I don t want anything Just to talk I will call you again so we can talk and remind one another how Afghanistan used to be when you travelled here That declaration is sadnough but the Desire and Truth even greater sorrow the publication date of mydition is 1984 while the mujahedeen were still fighting against the Russians before they were successful and then turned their guns on The Exiles Gallery each other only to lose most of the country to the Taliban is just how much farther Afghanistan had yet to go how much its people had yet tondure Couldn t get all the way through it without being disturbed by the condescending tone While some observations are spot on others are imperialistic and judgmental If I were reading this for scholarly purposes I would have finished but not a great leisure rea. E story told in vivid descriptive prose of his Dislocating China experience an account that reveals about the Afghan people themselves than most books writtenither before or sin.

In the late seventies David Chaffetz travelled through a country that no longer Childerley exists Afghanistan Not that there is not a country by that name but the Afghanistan that Chaffetz visited riding a horse between dusty towns and their teahousesntertained by the local landowners drinking tea and conversing with shrine keepers impoverished teachers and military men has in the meantime been savaged by than three decades of war and a recovery that has been uneven at best In his telling this poverty stricken territory was almost unfailingly hospitable if occasionally suspicious of this foreigner ven when he insisted on riding into a blizzard or insulted his hosts unwittingly by following Western customs and discourse instead of Afghan ones But the Afghans were courteous peaceful whether showing the visitors around a nearly forgotten shrine feeding them and their horses riding for days to make sure. Shortly before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan David Chaffetz slipped from the protection of Western culture and immersed himself in the customs fears and hop.

They reach the next outpost in an unforgiving countryside Unforgiving perhaps underestimates the case this is brutal terrain cold dusty plains broken by mountains There is not ven a hint that the Afghans were on the verge of tearing Cruelty and Laughter each other to pieces Granted Chaffetz travelled through and around the city of Herat influenced by Iran at that time still ruled by the Shah and proud of the mosue built by ueen Gawharshad Chaffetz reportage does not spare his own occasional lack of grace He chronicles being cheated when purchasing clothes or a horse and recounts how his Afghan companion occasionally chides him for rudeness Chaffetz captures how different Afghan discourse is from the West s much concerned with the preservation of relationships mildly curious about Chaffetz home At thend of the book Chaffetz recounts a conversation he had with an Afghan who called him They talked of this and that. Es of the Afghan people setting out by car and on horseback for a long journey through the northwestern uarter of the country A Journey through Afghanistan is th.

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