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Rescooped by Emma Lafleur from Geography Education!

A Life Revealed

A Life Revealed | Seeing the World More Clearly |
Seventeen years after she stared out from the cover of National Geographic, a former Afghan refugee comes face-to-face with the world once more.


The original cover is one of the more famous National Geographic photos of all time, and yet the woman in the photograph has not lived a life as though millions of people could recognize her eyes.  This is her story. 

Via Seth Dixon
Emma Lafleur's insight:

Both these two pictures and the article illustrate the life of Afghan refugees. There is only a fifteen year difference between the two pictures, and this woman looks as if she has aged much more than those fifteen years. The picture shows the hardships she has gone through, and the article goes more in depth and describes her day to day life, and knowing her life is important. The life of one ordinary person gives great insight into the culture and society of Afghan refugees, and those all around her. However, even without the article, the picture illustrates so much about life as a refugee that words cannot describe. This shows new insights and perspectives of the world around us.

Amanda Morgan's curator insight, October 18, 2014 3:49 PM

The image of the Afghan Girl is easily recognizable and greatly popular, even to those born after it was made the cover of an issue of National Geographic.   It is mind boggling that the Afghan Girl had no idea she was on the cover of one the most notable publications of our time.  It is disheartening that they sought to find her so long after the fact.  I can only imagine how much money that image drew in, and how little she received for being the muse.  The image now is still just as powerful, if not even more powerful.  Her experiences have taken their toll and it is evident.  Her eyes still are haunting, this time less with beauty and more with hardship.  The photos of her show that images can sometimes convey emotions and meaning far more than words ever could.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, November 3, 2014 1:58 PM

You can see in this woman's face that the years have been hard for her living as refugee. Although this seems like National Geographic giving themselves a pat on the back it is important to remember that this women became a national symbol for refugees and yet her life did not improve and furthermore she had no idea that her picture was so well known.

David Lizotte's curator insight, February 27, 6:36 PM

I never would have imagined the "Afghan girl" being alive. It's amazing how National Geographic was able to catch up and speak with her and photograph her. This demonstrates the pure professionalism and global outreach national geographic has. 

One of the things I am most thankful about is that I do not live in a war torn society. Being separated from my family, forced to flee and become a refugee is a horrid way of life that I know I would struggle to endure. Some Afghanistan people have been doing this for over twenty years. 

One time I was having a discussion with my friend. We talking about America and the westernized part of the world. He and I agreed how lucky we were to be born in America. We were born white males in the United States of America. We could have been born a woman living in Iran or Iraq, or even as a little rural Afghan boy whom would eventually be taken and abused by theTaliban. We kept going on with different scenarios and different countries. 

Want I want for people to realize is how advanced the United States of America is. Yes, we have our problems... but non comparable to other nations. Look at nations such as Afghanistan, Iraq, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Uganda. These are first world nations which have war torn regions occupied by terrorists of all sorts. They also have little to no functioning government, although Afghanistan is improving. Even second world nations, although developing at a steady pace are plagued with an exponential amount of violent crimes and corruption. South Africa would be a prime example. 

Its amazing to read about the "Afghan girl"(s) or better yet Sharbat Gula. After all she has gone through she still has hope for her younger children. After enduring such a life of foul experiences she is still able to place all her faith into Allah and hope for the best for her children. It is also neat to see her place such a high level of importance on education. Education is the foundation for all development. 

Rescooped by Emma Lafleur from Geography Education!

Kabul, A City Stretched Beyond Its Limits

Decades of war, migration and chaotic sprawl have turned the Afghan capital into a barely functioning dust bowl. The city's tired infrastructure is crumbling; water, sewers and electricity are in short supply.


Keeping an urban system running smoothly is a difficult proposition in developed countries that are stable--what is in like a place like Afghanistan?  This podcast is a excellent glimpse into the cultural, economic, environmental and political struggles of a city like Kabul.  This is urban geography in about a problematic a situation as possible.   

Via Seth Dixon
Emma Lafleur's insight:

Once again, when most people think of the Middle East, they think of war and the dangers of being there. What they don't usually think of is how these wars affect the people. The environment of the Middle East is already harsh with limited access to water, becoming more so with shrinking rivers and lakes across the region. Then you add war to the mix so that governments focus their energy on fighting and have very little time to try to help the people. Consequently, we have places like Kabul that is crumbling and can barely support its people. People can just barely make ends meet week to week, they have very little. This isn't just some city in Afghanistan either, it is the capital. People everywhere are suffering from war and harsh climates, Kabul is just an example.

James Hobson's curator insight, October 21, 2014 6:28 PM

(Central Asia topic 1 {5 topics from here & 5 from Russia merged})

I see a few similarities between what Kabul has experienced and the "favelas" in South America. Both experience a major lack of infrastructure, government support, and an increase in small, crowded, unstable housings. However, Kabul seems to be taking at least a small step forward, economically and spatially speaking. The video mentions how on the undeveloped periphery of the city, large developments have begun to take root. Being able to plan ahead allows for more efficiency and simplicity. One small example would be that of roads: why continue to put up with crowded, narrow,  winding streets (like those found throughout Boston and Providence historical areas) when wider, straighter, more accommodating ways can be had (like the perfectly straight, right-angled streets of more 'planned-out' cities of Las Vegas and Phoenix).

John Nieuwendyk's curator insight, October 26, 2014 9:06 PM

Kabul, a once thriving city is now the product of a war torn Afghanistan. During the fighting mass exodus left the city empty and uninhibited. However, after the war civilians fled back to the slums of Kabul in search of job opportunities. With little infrastructure, no electricity, no water due to evapotranspiration and deforestation and a serious overcrowding problem, residents lack the essential resources needed to survive. Due to the cities destabilized economy corruption runs rampant, in consequence it is unsafe to live in the city center. The advocation for city services is high upon the minds of the people. In response, compounds have been made in the foothills to house impoverished people. These compounds will help the overcrowding problem but the informal economy and dangerous shortcuts will further cause destabilization and create an unsafe city center. 



Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 16, 2014 1:32 AM

This audio clip provided a detailed view of the capital of Afghanistan, Kabul. It doesn't speak of the city architecture instead it focuses on the failing logistics of the city. It talks about resource shortages and the sheer amount of people crammed within the city. These problems are largely caused by an influx of refugees from the war torn countryside flooding into the city for safety and work. This clip shows the Kabul of today, a ghost of its former prestigious self.

Rescooped by Emma Lafleur from Geography Education!

Daily Life in Afghanistan

Daily Life in Afghanistan | Seeing the World More Clearly |
We tend to look at Afghanistan through the lens of conflict, with good reason. Deaths of American forces recently reached 2000 in the 11 years since US involvement in the country began.


Yes, Afghanistan is a war-ravaged country; but it is also a place that families call home and where children play.  This photo essay is a nice glimpse into ordinary lives in Central Asia.


Tags: Afghanistan, images, culture, Central Asia. 

Via Seth Dixon
Emma Lafleur's insight:

Whenever we get a glimpse of Afghanistan in the news or in a movie, all we see are pictures of war. These photos show a different side of Afghanistan, a more real Afghanistan. Many people live in Afghanistan and many children call it home. Not everyone in the country are fighting in wars, some are just trying to live a peaceful life. It is good to see ordinary life of an ordinary person from a country like this, because we so often know nothing of it, and assume that all people in a war-ravaged country are constantly fighting and running. Assumptions like this make it hard to have good relations with other countries, because if we assume the worst, we can never learn and understand the people of another country. These pictures are a good way to get a small glimpse of what life is like in Afghanistan.

Maegan Connor's curator insight, December 17, 2013 7:14 PM

These photos are beautiful in their own way because they show the simplicity of life in Afghanistan for the common people who were not Taliban extremists, but rather peaceful Muslims living day to day.  The landscape and housing on hills is similar to the favelas in Brazil as most of the Afghan population lives below the poverty line but this photo essay exemplifies the lives of the average people.

There is a photograph of a woman during a protest for violence against women which is still a very common problem in this region but the photo also exhibits that people are fighting it and it is no longer being covered up and quietly accepted.

Afghanistan is not just desert with U.S. soldiers riding through it heavily armed, it is home to people who want nothing more than live in peace.

Edelin Espino's curator insight, December 13, 2014 3:04 PM

In this photo essay you will see many pictures of the normal lives of afghan people. There is one of two young boys riding a donkey and one about a boxing wearing his best suit after hi won a fight the last night. He wanted to show his friends how happy he felt.


Good post.

Jason Schneider's curator insight, March 3, 1:09 PM

It appears that Afghanistan has a poor economy. It's lifestyle is definitely different from the way we live in the United States. The buildings are not as well-developed as the buildings in New York City and Chicago. Also, Afghanistan seems to lack cleanliness which allows diseases to spread throughout the country, and perhaps throughout small parts of other countries that border it.