Helpfully White

If Sahar Spoke, She’d Probably Ask, “What’s Up With This Picture?”

Sometimes it’s just too hard to get a picture of the ever-elusive creature known as an Afghan girl.

Over the years in Afghanistan, Western forces have done what they could to make the war here look like something other than what it is. It’s not the overreaction by a colonizing power in attacking a nation that only tangentially had a hand in attacking the United States…it’s the hand of goodness reaching down to pull the brown people up from whence they came.

And they’ve taken great pains to catalogue these photos, covering everything from journalism training to Afghan soldiers handing out humanitarian supplies to kids. And because a lot of Afghan kids are in fact girls, they’ve got a lot of pictures of those, too.

Since they’re taken by folks in the employ of the US government, they’re free of copyright.

And relatively easy to find.

Like these here.

Which brings us to a post by the Borgen Project on Sahar Speaks. For those of you just joining us at home, from the article:

The stories of female Afghan writers and reporters are critical to the journalistic landscape of a country that sharply discriminates against women. FoundedĀ in 2015, Sahar Speaks brings these unique voices to light, providing mentoring, training and publishing opportunities for Afghan female journalists.

No snark: Sahar Speaks is awesome. And it’s done a ton of good for Afghan female journalists, like the one in the article’s lead photo.

If, like me, you’re thinking that is an unusual pattern for an Afghan blouse, and that is a remarkably pale Afghan woman, this is probably why:

Because it’s a photo of an American lieutenant, taken by an American master sergeant, as said lieutenant is interviewing an Afghan boy.


Serious note: unlike me, look past the helpfully white nature of the photo, and give the post a read. Sahar Speaks is one of those things where the Noble Order of White Helpfulness did good. It’s founder, Amie Ferris-Rotman, gives an actual damn about doing some actual good here in the country.

It’s a case of good happening out of both good intentions and expertise, where excellence has happened because of, rather than in spite of, Whitey’s efforts.

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