6 comments on “Skateistan in Afghanistan – Films and Videos Documenting an Era Now Lost

  1. Richard,
    Thanks a lot for this excellent informative piece, juxtaposed with the terrible times in Afghanistan. One is at a loss to see that something like this can happen to a people in this age. I just heard a clip of ‘Judge’ Jeanine ranting against Biden on Fox News. You would know more about her. Why blame Biden or Trump for the savagery of a community? Biden could have managed the transition better, but the fundamental problem is elsewhere. The Dragon and its allies’ sole concern is to get the US out. They are not worried about the Afghanistan or its people. In hindsight the US should have stayed on, but they had no stomach for that now. Let us pray for the best for the Afghan people, especially its women and girls.
    AK

  2. [Note: My answer here has been edited after a somewhat hasty reply late at night. :) ]

    AK, thank you for the nice words about this post. I did stray quite a bit from the usual subject matter of this blog, so I don’t know how jarring the change might seem. But I did feel a need to write about these Skateistan videos and films especially at this moment, and I had actually thought of reviewing that Oscar-winning film earlier.

    I hear these names of Fox News personalities, but I don’t ever watch Fox News, except when clips are being shown in other places, often for the purpose of ridicule. :) Though once in a while someone from that crowd will come out with a legitimate criticism that you won’t see on most of the mainstream media. Fox, like Trump and other right-wing figures, is like the proverbial broken clock that tells the right time twice a day. On the other hand, I don’t think that is the case here.

    I have not been a fan of Biden (I am pretty far to the left in many ways, especially for someone in the U.S.; I was a supporter of Bernie Sanders, and for me, Bernie was actually the “compromise” :) .) On the other hand, I don’t think most of the criticisms being thrown at Biden in the corporate media are being done to serve any noble purpose. Maybe Biden could have coordinated this and that thing a little better, but I think that’s small potatoes compared to the blunders that have gone on throughout this 20-year occupation, not to mention the initial crime that the U.S. administrations of Carter and Reagan committed by funding the mujahideen back in the 1970s and ’80s. (By the way, Biden probably does deserve blame for supporting a few war efforts in the past, but much less blame for his actions to end this one.) This is a tragedy long in the making.

    I actually protested the initiation of the U.S. war in Afghanistan in 2001 (this was not the right way to respond to the attacks of 9-11), but there is no denying that many people in Afghanistan – especially women and girls – benefited from the Taliban’s fall from power during that time, even though there was a lot of needless death and suffering caused by the war, too. So it’s complicated trying to judge everything that went on during these 20 years. But it’s clear that the Taliban’s return to power was inevitable, given the now-obvious ultimate failure of this war, so I don’t think it would have helped to prolong the U.S. military occupation longer.

  3. Richard, seconding you on most of your points. I have great admiration for Bernie but I knew he wouldn’t win such universal acceptance as Biden – and my general view of the election was anyone but Trump.

    I don’t think that staying on would have helped any – our men and women in uniform are exhausted after a needless, pointless, thankless exercise that has gone on and on for no reason but to massage powerful egoes. I feel terrible about the women and children (and our allies) in Afghanistan. They are always collateral damage everywhere.

    I hadn’t heard about Skateistan, so your article was both informative and illuminating.

  4. Anu, I am happy to see that because of my post, you got to learn about Skateistan in Afghanistan – or now, I guess, the legacy of Skateistan in Afghanistan.

    I am also glad to see that you agree with my feelings about the situation in Afghanistan and the U.S. involvement (and need to get out) – but also, of course, share my sympathies for the “collateral damage.” Of course, the Skateistan film and videos focus most on providing a forum for some of the women and children.

    Regarding Bernie Sanders, I am not so sure that Bernie couldn’t have won as much “universal acceptance” as Biden, if both candidates could have been judged based only on their policies and according to whether people genuinely liked them. Many of Bernie’s policies have become very popular, and many people like him more than Biden (for whom I think I saw a dearth of enthusiasm during the presidential primaries). But – with much mainstream/corporate media collaboration – the political establishment managed to convey the idea (overwhelmingly) that Biden was more “electable.” And then, at the end, there was the (greatly manipulated) flocking of all the losing candidates to Biden. I don’t actually think that Bernie ran the best campaign he could have (he was better in 2016). But I think the outcome in the primaries was thoroughly manipulated, and Bernie got screwed over once again.

    For the general election, I kept track of which states were swing states and which were safe states. New York was very safe for Democrats (and Massachusetts even more so, right?). Because New York was/is a safe state, I didn’t feel that voting third party would risk letting Trump gain any advantages in a close race. He didn’t stand a chance in his home state. So, I felt perfectly OK casting my presidential vote for the Green Party candidate, Howie Hawkins. If I were living in the swing state of Pennsylvania (as I have for a few years here and there), I would have voted for Biden.

    But, anyway, we shouldn’t get too much into these kinds of discussions on our Indian film blogs. :) (I don’t know if you know that I parted with Greta/Memsaab on Facebook years ago because of some discussions between us about Bernie vs. Hillary. I would be very happy to see her do her Hind i film blogging again, and I have no negative feelings toward her in general, but because of that one issue… Oh, well. :) )

  5. So informative……. seeds of so many revolutions (quite unintended) get planted in such movements.
    As I watched the clip on Faranas on YT, i landed up on a TEDx talk by | Oliver Percovich – The founder of Skateistan (as mentioned in the note to the clip)

  6. Ashok, thank you for the good words, and thanks also for finding and sending this clip. I had had heard the basic story about how Oliver Percovich started Skateistan in Kabul, but it was nice to see him tell the story, himself, adding a number of details, too. By the way, I noticed that the audience reacted very positively when he mentioned that Skateistan had opened up in Cambodia. Now it is in a few more countries. But it’s still a shame that it can’t continue where it started – at least not right now…

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