When you think of Afghanistan today, you’ll probably have an image of a war-torn country in perpetual conflict, both within it’s own borders and with the United States. Amongst all the coverage of senseless violence, deadly bombings, displaced civilians and mugshots of supposed terrorists, it’s all too easy to allow these depressing images by define Afghanistan. The truth is back in the 1960′s Afghanistan was a peaceful (if developing) country, largely free from the perils of conflict.
In 1967, Dr. Bill Podlich a University professor at Arizona State moved his entire family (Jan and Peg his two daughter and his wife Margaret) to Kabul, Afghanistan. A culture shock at the time, but a pleasant one and one with a unique story behind it as well.
Ask yourself how many people would up and leave their present-day western jobs and move to such an alien land?
But for the Podlich family, it wasn’t just a change of scenery and lifestyle they were after, their motivation and inspiration came from Dr. Bill Podlich himself. He was an active participant in World War II and having seen the horrors of war and it’s impact, he wanted to be part of a movement for peace and collaboration.
That lead him to joining UNESCO, who placed him at the Higher Teachers College of Kabul, Afghanistan. It was there that he not only shared his knowledge and taught local school kids and the Afghan community at large, but also took a series of thoughtful Kodachrome photographs.
Today Peg Podlich hope’s that through her fathers photographs, we stop to remind ourselves that Afghanistan was once a country that was being built on peace and opportunity, a country that was on the rise, not the decline.
“I hope these photographs can encourage folks to see Afghanistan and its people as they were and could be. It is important to know that we have more in common with people in other lands than what separates us.”
We couldn’t agree more.
1. A stop during a bus trip through the Khyber Pass.
2. Peg Podlich arriving in Kabul.
3. The Podlich sisters in the Paghman Gardens.
4. Afghani men out for a picnic.
5. Dr. Bill Podlich on a hillside in Kabul.
6. Men and boys enjoying the Kabul river.
7. Young students in a playground.
8. An Afghani military band.
9. Parking lot of the American International School of Kabul.
10. Afghan girls coming home from school.
11. The Soviet-built Salang Tunnel.
12. A chemistry lesson in a mud-walled classroom.
Via Denver Post.