Afghanistan is talking to Hastings

Afghanistan: hidden voices from a forgotten war by Maya Evans - cover pic

180 years of conflict and misery, and no end in sight.

[Note added in August 2021: Hi, thanks for visiting this blog. The text here is about a book released by Maya Evans two years ago, but it’s coming up in search engines because Afghanistan is, sadly, in the news again. Here’s a link to a much more up-to-date report by Maya Evans. ]

We talk about Iraq, we talk about Syria and Palestine – there’s usually a remarkable silence on events in Afghanistan. If we hear about it at all, it’s usually in the context of our soldiers having a hard time – which they undoubtedly do, but…

Reading about its place in the history of the great world powers, you’d think Afghanistan was a chessboard rather than a breathtaking landscape of snow, sunlight and mountain heights. Both Britain and the US have been manipulating events there for nearly two centuries. In real life, that means a people who are born, live and die in the midst of wars and other cataclysms that often make little sense to them.

We have people here in Hastings for whom the realities of life in Afghanistan are far more visible and thanks to two of them, author Cllr Maya Evans, the UK co-ordinator of Voices for Creative Non-Violence and editor Felicity Laurence, Chair of Hastings Community of Sanctuary, we now have this extraordinarily appealing book of photos and personal testimonies that goes a long way to filling that gap in our understanding.

Photo from the book, showing Maya Evans with a group of children in a camp in Kabul

As you turn its pages and meet some of the people there, you realise that, because of our country’s actions, their stories should be understood as a very significant part of our history.

page from the book showing helicopter arriving in Kabul, and intro to Felicity Laurence's essay about 'diplomats and deportees'Women in Afghanistan gained suffrage before most UK women did, and before any US women did. They have had times when they have made inroads into education and professional life – and all too many times when they were kicked back to extreme oppression, and desperate poverty and danger. The most recent peace talks in Afghanistan have grudgingly made room for a few women, but they felt their part was symbolic – despite the fact that women and children usually bear the brunt of the consequences of war and the economic and strategic impositions of great powers at work.

By contrast, this book is packed with the voices of women, children and young people – and they do what no amount of news reports seem able to do – they bring the country alive. Get hold of a copy – experience it. It’s important!

back of the book - with photo of a group of women and children

Afghanistan: Hidden voices in a forgotten war by Maya Evans

Launch 8th Oct @OPEN in St Leonards

ISBN 978 1 916961 0 0

UK £5

available in most radical book stores or from the VCNV UK website

One response to “Afghanistan is talking to Hastings”

  1. It really annoys me when countries like the UK and the USA (along with other cohorts) ride rough shod over what they see as “lesser nations”…just because they can. The trumped up excuse for invading Afghanistan after 9/11….and other excuses for invading other mid-eastern nations (Iraq, Syria, Libya…) are quite pathetic and it makes me angry that the UN sit back and allow it to happen. It’s looking like Iran is going to be the next place on the list.


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